Do you know how much your garage door weighs? There's a good chance you don't, but you're not alone. In many cases, not even the manufacturer of your garage door may have this information on hand. Garage door weights depend on a variety of variables, including door size, panel thickness, steel gauge and much more.
You'll need to know your garage door's weight if you plan on replacing the extension or torsion springs, since having springs rated at the wrong weight could be dangerous. The following offers an in-depth guide on weighing your garage door using an ordinary scale.
You'll Need an Analog Scale for This Job
That digital bathroom scale you have lying around won't be up to the task of weighing your garage door. As it turns out, digital scales tend to register weights in such a way that you won't be able to pick up minute fluctuations in the door's weight as it settles. For that reason, you'll need a properly calibrated analog scale to get the job done.
Although an ordinary household bathroom scale is more than adequate for the job, an industrial floor scale offers better durability and more precise measurements. It's an alternative to consider if you have one of these scales lying around.
Don't forget that if you have a large single garage door or double doors, you'll need a scale placed at each end of the door. Make sure the scales are positioned at least a foot away from the edge of the door opening.
You'll Also Need to Make Preparations
Before you can start weighing your garage door, you need to take care of the following prep work first:
- If you have a garage door opener, make sure it's disconnected from its power source. You can accomplish this either by unplugging the garage door from its power outlet or by shutting off the circuit breaker for the garage door opener.
- Completely disconnect the garage door opener arm from the garage door. This will insure that the trolley arm won't snag on the garage door carriage hardware and distort the weight readings in the process.
- Find the bottom track bracket and the garage door cable on both sides of the garage door. Use a C-clamp or vise grips to clamp the cable to the bracket so it doesn't move. This will allow all of the door's weight to rest on the scale.
Weighing Your Garage Door
For this job, you'll need several large and small 2x4 pieces of lumber for leverage and support, as well as a pry bar. In addition, you may want to weigh each 2x4 first so that you can subtract their weight from the reading you'll get on the scale.
Here are the steps for weighing a typical garage door:
- Wedge the pry bar underneath the garage door and then slide a small 2x4 underneath the pry bar. You'll use the small 2x4 as leverage to lift the door open. Once you've cracked the door open, slide a longer 2x4 underneath it to keep door open.
- With the longer 2x4 in place, remove the shorter 2x4 from under the door. Lift up the longer 2x4 and wedge the shorter 2x4 underneath. Use the longer 2x4 as leverage to lift the door open some more.
- Slide your scale under the center of the door. Do not place the scale on top of the 2x4s -- instead, you'll keep the scale on the garage floor. Make sure the scale is positioned so you can easily read the dial.
- Use the longer 2x4 to carefully lower the garage door onto the scale and remove the shorter 2x4 from underneath the longer 2x4. At this point, you can read the weight of your garage door using the analog scale. You may want to give the scale a few minutes to settle so that a more accurate reading can be achieved.
When you're finished, carefully remove the scale from under the garage door and restore the door to its original working condition by reversing the above steps.
If you have a garage door made from steel or aluminum, you'll need to take care to avoid deforming the door when it's leveraged open. Instead of leveraging the garage door open in the middle, you may have to leverage it open from the corners using a set of 2x4s on each side of the garage door. This way, you can slowly lift the door without fear of damaging it.
However, if your garage door appears to be acting up, consider hiring a local garage door repair professional. You may want to investigate the websites of local specialist, such as http://www.garagedoorjax.com/, to learn more about each company and check out all your options.