Adjusting Garage Doors

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Garage Door Remotes

Natural Handyman: Removing an Overhead Garage Door

Dear NH,
My garage door worked fine until I installed a garage door opener. Now it doesn't seem to close all the way anymore. No matter how much I increase the closing force or the closing distance, it still doesn't close flat to the floor. In fact, if I increase the closing distance, it just reverses! Can this problem be fixed?
LM from Storm Lake, IA

This can be a tricky problem to diagnose, even when the door is right in front of me! Generally speaking, there are two factors at work: the levelness of the surface under the door and the adjustment of the door itself.

Assuming all the pulleys and rollers are functioning properly, most garage doors will close completely if the floor is slightly off level. However, when you attach a garage door opener, it can restrict the slight sideways movement that had previously allowed the door to meet the floor. This is because of the way the opener moves the door. It pushes at the top instead of pulling.

In most cases, the culprit is friction at the contact point between the uppermost panel and the trim around the garage doorjamb. As the door moves its last few inches, the opener is pushing the top panel directly towards the upper piece of trim.

The friction between the door and trim can be great enough to stop the opener or even cause it to reverse! Hence, the door doesn't close completely!

The repair is to experiment. First, try changing the position of the uppermost door roller assemblies. When you adjust them upwards, the door closes more loosely against the trim. Also, the upper rollers will provide resistance against the track so the opener's force continues downwards instead of horizontally!

Of course, it's possible that there is no adjustment due to the installed position of the assemblies. If so, you can either widen the slots to allow more adjustment, shave a little wood off the edge of the trim where it meets the door, or take the trim off and move it slightly outward to relieve the friction.
Good luck!

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