Panels bending in garage door


Old 11-19-13, 10:17 AM
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Panels bending in garage door

Hi: We have a double door garage door which started making noise recently when opening/closing. two panels were not quite moving together and seemed like getting streched open on one side when opening. Called the local guy and he put the two rails you see in the first picture across the panels. The problem was happening on the right side between the two rails where you see two panels meet
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He also said 'well . you should get a new door.. this one is 13 years old.. changing panels will clost you $600 or more'.
The noise was gone and the two panels seemed to be moving together correctly, I guess, because of the braces put in across then
But now the problem has appeared in a different way. It seems that there is now a gap behind the hinge (see next 2 pics) where the two panels meet, and that is causing extra play between the panels and they are rubbing against each other and ending up not exactly ailgned when the door opens up completely.
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BTW, there is thermocol behind the vertical pieces above the hinge on the other (working) side of the door .. and there is no gap on that side, and there is not any thermocol on this side.

Are the panels themselves bent that I should replace them?
or is it something else?
The guy did do the usual maintenance of checking the springs, lubrication etc.

Appreciate any help. Thanks!
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Old 11-19-13, 11:00 AM
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What's thermocol? I'm used to hearing it as a rigid foam insulation and it looks like your door is not insulated.

I recently went through a similar but different problem. In the end the distributor of the garage door panels had gone out of business. The manufacturer was still in business but without a local distributor replacement panels would have to be shipped via LTL common carrier (truck) which made a replacement panel almost the same cost as a new door.

It's hard to see for sure but it looks like there should be screws through the hinges into the raised rib of the door panel. Possibly you could squirt a bead of construction adhesive or caulk between the vertical rib and panel then use toggle bolts through the hinge and into the door panels raised horizontal rib to help pull everything back together.

The perforated angles the door guy installed probably help but he should have used full length strut bars like you have across the top of your top panel. They would be stronger and would carry the load all the way to the edge of the door and directly to the roller brackets.
Old 11-19-13, 11:04 AM
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Age has absolutely nothing to do with it. Maybe I'm reading more into it than I should. But I think he was fishing for more business.
If the panels are in good shape and have not been hit or twisted, then I see no reason to replace the door. If the panels were not moving together I suspect the hinge hardware was coming loose and the panels were no longer aligned. Especially since you said it was working fine just previously. Another problem can be the condition and alignment of the rails.
Unless those rails (lets call them bracing to differentiate from the rails that the door rides on) are connected to each other to provide alignment between them I don't see how they are doing anything.

Again, in your next statement about the panels now rubbing against each other and a gap behind the hinge tells me the hinge has disconnected itself from the door. The thermocol may be used as an adhesive to attach the hinges to the panels and may have dried out or disconnect. Most door hardware is bolted to the door panels by internal channels formed on the door panel.

See photo of my door.

Old 11-19-13, 12:02 PM
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Thanks for your replies.
Yes, thermocol is the white rigid foam material we use in packing boxes.

Norm201 - thanks for the photos. Yes, I see your door has the hinge bolted through the vertical plate into the panel. In mine, it looks like (I have to get pictures of the 'good' side) what they have done is - the hinge is bolted to the vertical rib [which is a square hollow tube, in which they pushed in the thermocol] and there are screws going from the hinge into the thermocol through the vertical rib, but not all the way to the panel. The rib simply rests against the panel [I couldnt find any screws connecting it to the panel].
So the answer may be like Pilot Dane says also, to glue the rib to the panel and somehow connect the hinges to the panel.
Can't figure out why they did a design like this - would leave so much play there to allow the metal pieces to bend.
But I am also thinking what caused only vertical rib on one side to pull away from the panel than the other in the first place - where could the imbalance be? Because is something else is not aligned, then just bolting in the hinge may make matters worse, as the panels may still try to pull away [which I am guessing what happened if after the guy put in the perforated braces].

And yeah, now that I read through others here, I agree the guy should have put the braces from end-to-end.
Old 11-19-13, 01:35 PM
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here is the pic of the 'good' (left) side of the door that shows how they had put thermocol behind the vertical rib and the hinge is connected to the thermocol but does not seem to be connected through the thermocol to the panel door.

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And i checked the vertical rib is snug against the panel surface on the good side.

And like I said, the thermocol is missing from the 'bad' (right) half side of the door. See the picture below

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but the rib is not snug against the panel .. it is bulging out.. see below the other view.

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Something else is causing the imbalance on the right side so that the rib is pushing away from the panel. I have a feeling that just putting thermocol back and screwing the hinge on to it and glueing in the rib to the panel will hold it in place only for a short while.

I called a local overhead guy .. let's see what he says..

thanks for your suggestions..
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Old 12-07-13, 06:36 AM
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I am getting back to this thread since the overhead guy came by.
first of all, the white material you see behind the vertical ribs is styrofoam (not thermocol).

Norm201 is correct.
Yes now the hinge has come away from the door panels. The guy explained to me that the rivet has broken behind the hinge that connects to the white rims of the two panels and he does not think it is worth fixing that .. not sure why.. he says these are 'garbage' doors installed at the time the house was built and wants me to replace the whole door rather, since it is about 15 years old. My neighbors have similar doors but I don't see them having to replace them.

The white rims of the panels seem to be of soft material (is that aluminum?).

Should I try to get someone to fix the rivet or do you have a different suggestion?
Do these doors last only about this much time?
Of course, replacing the door is always an option at a much higher cost.
Old 12-07-13, 07:33 AM
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Glad to hear I was correct.

If re-riveting the unit would work, then I guess I would give a try if it didn't cost too much.

However, after 15 years maybe its time to get new ones. Mind you, age in itself has no bearing, but how they were maintained in that time period has. Get competitive bids and go to a few show rooms to see the construction.

Now that you know what to look for you will be able to make an intelligent decision and not be baffled by sales talk. A steel door in the mid-range price with proper construction is a good bet. Stay away from the cheapo s. Some of the things that might affect your choice of doors can be weather you want or need an insulated door, windows installed with or without a decorative overlay or no window at all. Panel design, and color.

Here's another thing you might ask your dealer (only because this was an issue for me), does the door face the sun side throughout most of the day and how might this affect expansion and contraction. Because mine face the south side exposure with no trees or anything blocking the sun and the hot summer vs the cold winter I am always having to make minor opener adjustments between the seasons. And keeping the wheels (not the rails) well lubricated is a must for me. Another thing, make sure that if you get a new doors that the new rails are at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the ground to allow the garage floor to heave or settle without hitting the rail and causing a binding affect (that also was one of my problems).

Last but not least the argument of insulated vs uninsulated doors rage on. If you don't use your garage for "living" space or use it to work in during the winter months then don't waste your money on insulation. You don't need it. Yea, it looks nice on the inside , but you don't admire the inside of a garage door.

I strongly suggest windows in the top panels. It allows just enough light to be able to see with out turning on the light each and every time.

Good luck.

10:58 am....I just re-read your last post and if you don't mind I'll offer some advise. Since cost is a major factor I can see why you want to repair vs replace the doors. Lets look at this from another angle. This is your home. You must live with it every single day. Homes require regular maintenance. Some of these maintenance jobs can be put off, and many of us in fact make do with things that should be replaced. Do this often enough and at some point you'll end up with replacement cost that are very extreme and almost unobtainable. If possible try to budget one or two necessary maintenance projects a year or every other year. Yea, a tough act with job, kids, family, car payment and what not. If you can afford it, I would replace those doors now and have piece of mind for the next fifteen or twenty years. That way five years from now you'll be able swing that bathroom remodel job or the new roof or whatever, without having to replace those doors that you wish you had when you had trouble with them at that time.

OK, I'm done with the fatherly talk.

Last edited by Norm201; 12-07-13 at 08:12 AM.
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