A Glossary of Garage Door Terms
and Definitions The Safe, Dry Story
Garage doors open garage doors
close. Cars go in. Cars go out. With the garage door closed, the cars are safe
and dry. But what if that door didn't open? With the hustle and bustle of life
today, things like garage doors usually get taken for granted. And if they
suddenly stopped working, think of how fast they'd occupy our minds. We'd
certainly do whatever we could to get them fixed ASAP, wouldn't we? But to fix
garage doors, we need knowledge knowledge most of us probably don't
have. And thats why weve assembled this glossary of garage door
terms and definitions, so youll know whats going on when that
repairman or builder starts throwing garage door jargon at you. So read on, and
get a quick education. Itll be a lesson well learned.
Astragal is the name
of the weather-stripping that runs along the bottom of the garage door,
stopping any drafts or rain from entering the garage.
- Back hangs
Back hangs are the
vertical supports that hold the horizontal track in place, and stop the door
from moving around in the track.
Relating to garages,
the backroom is NOT the room where you go to play cards with the boys. It
actually refers to the amount of space required to install a garage door, and
is measured from the door to the back of the horizontal track.
- Bottom bracket
There are two
bottom brackets, or corner brackets, on a garage door one on the right,
and one on the left. The lifting cables are attached to the bottom brackets on
most sectional doors.
- Bracket-mounted track
Sometimes, a vertical track is attached to a doorjamb with angle brackets. This
is referred to as a bracket-mounted track.
- Cable drums
Cable drums are an
important part of a tension spring system. As the garage door opens, the
lifting cable winds around the grooves in the cable drum. It keeps the lifting
cable in line, so it doesn't get tangled.
- Cable safety device
safety device stops the garage door from falling if the cable
- Cable stop
A cable stop is
another safety device, attached to the end of the cable, that stops it from
slipping through the drum.
The cable, or lifting
cable, connects the bottom bracket to the counterbalance mechanism.
- Center hinge
The center hinge
is a flat hinge mounted on the door section that allows it to negotiate the
curve between the vertical and horizontal tracks.
- Center support bearing
center support bearing is mounted in the middle of, and above, the door,
supporting the spring shaft.
You'll need to know
your clearances before you start your garage door installation. That refers to
how much backroom, headroom and sideroom, or the distance around the walls of
the garage, is needed to efficiently install your door.
The curtain refers to
the face of the door that goes up and down, or side-to-side.
One cycle of a garage
door goes from when its fully closed, to fully open, and then back again
to fully closed. Torsion spring doors are rated by how many cycles theyre
supposed to safely complete in their lifetime, for example 25,000, 50,000 or
- Dead load
A dead load refers to
a load that doesn't move, like a garage door as it rests in the closed
- Door frame
The door frame holds
the garage door with two vertical pieces and a horizontal header, or top
- Door movement
refers to how much room a door has to lift in relation to the inside
measurements of the garage. Door movement may be standard lift, full vertical
lift, high lift, or low headroom.
- Door size
When specifying a
door size, you give the width first, then the height.
- Double-thick glass
glass is around 1/8 thick.
- Extension springs
springs are one of the two types of spring systems used to carry the weight of
a garage door as it lifts. They stretch on either side of the door, running
from a pulley attached to the door, to the rear track hanger.
- Flag bracket
A flag bracket
connects the vertical and horizontal tracks.
- Flush design
A garage door with
a flush design is flat, with no indentations or grooves.
Galvanizing is the
process of coating steel to prevent rusting. All steel garage doors are
- Garage door opener
openers consist of all the hardware that combines to open and close a garage
door. Automatic garage door openers are operated by a remote control
- Garage building plans
building plans consist of all the garage blueprints and designs that, when
followed carefully, will produce the garage of your dreams.
- Garage door screens
screens are similar to any regular screen door, but theyre big enough to
fit in the opening of a garage door, keeping out bugs and dust.
Gauge refers to the
thickness of steel. The higher the number, the thinner the steel.
Hinges are used to
connect the sections of a garage door, allowing the door to bend as it runs up
the vertical track and onto the horizontal track.
- Horizontal track
track runs parallel to the garage ceiling, and supports and guides the door as
it reaches its fully-open position.
The insulation in a
garage door can be made of polystyrene foam or polyurethane filler.
Polyurethane insulates better than polystyrene, but polystyrene lasts
- Jamb seal
The jamb seal is the
weather-stripping that runs around the door jamb, stopping drafts and rain from
entering the garage.
The jambs are the
vertical pieces on either side of a door frame.
A life handle is
sometimes installed on a garage door for use if manual operation is
Lites are the
industrys word for glass or clear plastic windows in a frame. Some lites
are double-glazed for insulation.
- Low headroom
If your garage
ceiling is lower than normal, you may need special low-headroom track hardware
A muntin is a piece of
material that separates glass panes in a door.
- Opening size
The opening size
refers to the distance between the walls and the doorjambs in a garage door
- Overhead garage door
overhead garage door is one thats built in hinged sections, allowing it
to travel up and down tracks as it opens and closes.
A pane refers to one
section of a door.
- Perimeter seal
A perimeter seal
kit includes enough weather-stripping to completely surround a garage
- Photo-electric sensor
Photo-electric sensors are required by law for safety reasons. Theyre
mounted 6 above the ground in the doorway, and will reverse the direction
of the door if it hits an obstruction. If the sensor isnt working, the
door wont work, either.
- Pneumatic sensing edge kit
pneumatic sensing edge kit serves the same purpose as a photo-electric sensor.
It consists of an air hose that runs along the bottom of the garage door
thatll reverse the direction of the door if it comes into contact with an
- Portable garage
garages are made of UV-resistant and fire-retardant tarps or plastic sheets
supported by metal tubing, thatll house oversize items, like boats or
The radius is the curved
part of a track between the vertical and horizontal pieces.
- Rain stop
A rain stop, or water
stop, is a piece that runs across the garage floor, and holds the door flush
against the outside finish when its closed.
- Rear track hangers
hangers attach the horizontal track to the ceiling, thus stabilizing
- Roller assembly
assembly consists of an axle with a wheel attached, that runs up and down the
The rollers are the
wheel part of the roller assembly that roll freely using
- Safety spring containment
Safety spring containment is a system found in extension springs, whereby
cables run through the inside of the coil, holding it in place in case it
breaks, thus avoiding injury.
- Sectional doors
are just that doors made up of sections hinged together, thus allowing
it to bend around the track as it opens and closes.
- Shaft bearings
support the weight of the counterbalance system against the weight of the
Sideroom is a
measurement you need when youre figuring out what size door system you
need. It represents the distance from the door, back to the closest
- Spring assembly
assembly is the hardware that transfers the weight of the door to the
- Stop molding
The stop molding
is the wooden or plastic piece thats attached to the outside of the door
jamb, to seal out weather and light.
- Top header seal
The top header
seal is the piece of weather-stripping that runs along the top of the garage
- Torsion spring counterbalance
The torsion spring counterbalance assembly is all the hardware
that combines to evenly distribute the weight of the garage door as it opens
- Torsion springs
are the other type of spring system (as opposed to extension springs) that aid
in raising and lowering a garage door. Theyre mounted above the door, and
are loosened and tightened by the cables as they wind around the drum when the
door is opened and closed.
The track is the part
that holds and guides the roller assembly. It runs vertically to the top of the
garage door, then horizontally parallel to the ceiling.
- Winding sleeves
sleeves are the hardware that convert the tension as it enters the tension
spring, thus distributing it into a manageable weight for the spring
Windload refers to the
force of the wind as it hits a garage door in the closed position. In hurricane
or high-wind areas, doors are required to carry up to 110mph windload
Thats the basics, folks.
Weve included all the important garage door springs and parts so
youll know what you need for your garage door installation, whether
youre doing it yourself, or hiring a professional. If you want complete
garage door packages, then go online theres a wide variety of
These days, garage door manufacturers
are up-to-date with your demands, continually creating better looking and
better functioning garage doors. So, no matter whether youre remodeling
or building a new house, and no matter how far out you might think your ideas
are for a garage and garage door design, theres probably one waiting for
you. So go ahead start that project. Garage doors today are as efficient
and aesthetically-pleasing as ever. And when your garage is finished, your car
will be safe and dry and so will you!