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How Winter Weather Allows Critters Into Your Garage

Mice are active during the winter months and only need a small gap (3/8 inch) to get in. Ice chunks under your garage door can create a sizable gap, as well as the havoc salt can create for your garage door seal. This makes garage doors the perfect entry points into your home for mice and other critters.

Learn how to prevent gaps under your garage door: “How this wintry weather can give mice a direct shot into your garage“.

Winter Garage Door Maintenance

Winter Garage Door MaintenanceCommon Winter Garage Door Maintenance Issues
Everything runs a little slower in the winter—cars, equipment, and even garage doors.  Garage doors and garage door openers are affected by cold winter weather in a variety of ways.  Frigid temperatures, snow, ice and salt all take a toll on the garage door in the winter.

Overhead Door Company of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City wants to ensure your garage door runs smoothly at all times during the year.  Below, we offer our best advice for troubleshooting and fixing common garage door maintenance issues in the winter.

Preventative Maintenance
A garage door tune-up from Overhead Door is a great first step to preventing any garage door winter “down time”. It is a wise investment to give Overhead Door a call to perform a thorough tune-up on your garage door and opener system in the Iowa City or Cedar Rapids area.  Our technicians will inspect, lubricate and adjust if needed all moving parts of any brand of garage door and automatic opener system. Our inspection process includes springs, rollers, hinges, cables, pulleys and drive mechanisms.  A tune-up also includes the inspection and tightening of any loose hardware.  We recommend an annual tune up to stay ahead of maintenance issues.

Click here to learn more about winterizing your garage door, if you haven’t already.

Common Winter Garage Door Maintenance Issues 

Rollers, Springs, Track
If your garage door is not opening and closing properly, it may be due to one or more common problems. These issues are more prone to happen in winter as metal parts contract and expand with warm/cold fluctuations. Broken springs, defecting rollers and door and track shifting are common winter syndromes.  Contact Overhead Door Company of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City to coordinate service.

Garage Door Lubrication

Garage Door Lubrication

As temperatures drop, heavier oil and grease lubricants have a tendency to harden up. The door and opener may run rough with more friction and squeaking. You can fix this common winter maintenance issue by applying a small amount of high quality rust inhibiting spray lubricant to all moving parts (hinges, rollers, bearings, springs and the opener rail). We sell a high quality very affordable door and opener lubricant at our facility.

Damaged Weather Stripping
Falling temperatures during winter months can cause water to freeze around the bottom seal of a closed garage door.  This can cause the bottom seal to peel or rip as the garage door opens.  To prevent this, keep the front of the garage door clear of snow or ice.  The weather seal is intended to keep cold air out, and if damaged, should be replaced immediately to prevent an expensive heating bill and uninvited varmints.  If your door seal is damaged this winter, contact Overhead Door to coordinate service.

Not sure what the issue is?
Contact Overhead Door in Iowa City or Cedar Rapids. We will dispatch a tech to coordinate repair or replacement.  Our technicians carry most replacement parts and accessories with them at all times, and most likely can do the repair that day.

The best part about our technicians and our quality service is we are readily available to help you when you need it most.  Call any time of day, 24/7 and we will get your repair issues taken care of.  In fact, if you call before 10:00am (Mon-Fri) a technician will visit you before the end of the day! SAME DAY SERVICE.

To request service, call Overhead Door in Cedar Rapids at (319) 363-9976 or in Iowa City at (319) 338-9747.  Or contact us toll free at (800) 393-9976. You can also submit a service request via our website.

Is Your Garage and Garage Door Ready For Winter?

As the leaves begin to fall and the winter months approach, it’s important to winterize the garage door against another harsh Midwestern winter. The residential garage door is most often the largest and frequently traveled entrance of a home. The following tips will help improve your heating bills, energy loss, and keep your garage door and opener in reliable working condition all winter long.

Inspect Garage Door Seals

Begin the winterizing process by inspecting the bottom seal, also referred to as the astragal, of the garage door and the all-weather seals around the side and top of the garage door. While the garage door is shut, inspect the bottom from the inside. If light or cool air comes through beneath the seal, it may be a result of a rip or tear along the seal. Raise the garage door a few feet and check seals from the outside of the garage. If any noticeable rips or tears exist, replace your seals! You’ll be money ahead.

On most new garage doors, replacing the bottom seal is done by simply sliding the astragal off and replacing it with a new one. (Double wide doors are more challenging) Bottom seals can be found at any home improvement store or through an Overhead Door dealer. It is best to take a sample of your bottom seal with you as there are a number of different styles. Older wood garage door astragals are nailed on. To replace, carefully pull out the nails and replace the astragal with a new seal and nails.

If your door is in need of a new all-weather seal, remove the old seal, measure and cut a new seal, and replace the seal and carefully nail back on. For a demonstration and more detailed instructions on how to replace weather seal watch a demonstration video here.

Don’t want the hassle of replacing seals yourself? Give Overhead Door a call and we’ll schedule Same Day Service. We can replace your weather seals and do basic door and opener maintenance at the same time. Not a bad idea if it has been a while since you have had your door serviced.

Insulate the Garage Door

A huge amount of heat escapes through the garage door if it is not insulated properly. Is your garage door insulated? If not, it’s time to consider a new energy efficient garage door like our Thermacore Series. Online tutorial videos suggest ways to insulate the door with glued pieces of insulation. Avoid this ineffective insulation method and consider replacing the garage door. Overhead Door of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City wants to help you save energy costs. We would love the opportunity in assisting you upgrade your door and opener system.

Check and Replace Batteries

Imagine being stuck in the driveway during sub zero weather because of a dead remote or keypad battery with a car full of small children and groceries. The final step to preparing your garage door for winter is to check and replace the batteries in all remotes and the keypad. New batteries are sold online and at many dealers. If you own an Overhead Door brand garage door opener system, simply bring your remotes to our showroom and we will replace them FOR FREE! FREE BATTERIES FOR LIFE!

Energy Saving Tips

• Avoid leaving the garage door open for any length of time. Any type of cold air infiltration will affect your homes heating efficiency. Our goal is to minimize winter air from hitting the inside walls of your house.
• Shut the garage door prior to entering the house. Drafts can flood the home with cold air causing the heat to kick on and work harder to warm the home.
• Insulate garage walls. Interior attached garage walls especially need insulation. If you are not experienced installing insulation, it may be a good idea to hire a professional.
• Inspect and replace worn or torn weather seals on the walk in door between the house and garage.


Getting your residential garage door winterized as soon as possible this fall will ensure the garage is ready for the elements when the first freeze hits the Midwest.

To contact Overhead Door for more information about garage door maintenance and winterizing, click here or call 319-363-9976 (Cedar Rapids), 319-338-9747 (Iowa City) or toll-free 800-393-9976, Monday thru Friday, 8am to 5pm.

Prepare Your Garage for Spring: How To Maintain Your Garage Door

Maintain Your Garage Door

The garage door is important in the form and function of your home. A well-maintained garage door adds value to the home by improving curb appeal. A garage door also serves important functions, such as securing your home or making entry easier—which go invisible when operating correctly. As you recover from the harshest winter on the books in most parts of the country, you will want to do a spring check of your garage door systems. The key to garage door maintenance is catching any potential problems early. You want to inspect your garage door for wear-and-tear issues and operating malfunctions. Your garage door is the single largest moving part of your home and requires regular maintenance.

Inspect Wear and Tear

You want to inspect the wear-and-tear of your garage frequently, perhaps once every month. But these kind of inspections can be particularly important following the severity of winter weather. You want to check the inside and outside of your garage door. Inspect the door itself (from both the inside and outside) for any cracks or damage to the material of the door. A garage door can absorb water as it melts off the garage (which can also freeze inside the door adding extra wear-and-tear during normal usage in winter months). As the weather is warming, it is a good idea to keep the garage door up for extended periods of time so that this water can drain from the door. If you notice any damage to the door, you want to contact a professional to do a more thorough inspection and get an estimate for repair. Fixing a problem with a garage door earlier can save you a lot of money.

After checking for damage to the actual door, you want to check the other components of the door. Check all hinges and metal parts for rust. Make sure that any sealing agents, like the rubber trim along the bottom, are still in-tact and in operating condition. These can be easy fixes to simple solutions that will save you time and money down the road. If you are not comfortable making any of these repairs, then you will want to consult a professional for assistance.

When you are confident that the garage door is fully functional, then you will want to follow with an inspection of the opening system. Check all tracks and cables. You want to look for any fraying in the cable system of your garage door. The good condition of your garage door cable is important because not only can a malfunction of this component be quite costly to fix (particularly given the relatively inexpensive solution of changing a cable), but a cable snapping can be quite dangerous as the garage door is likely to slam shut. You want to look for any bending or rusting in the tracks of the garage door. Once again, this is both an operational and safety concern. You can also do a general sound check of the garage door. Open and close the door multiple times (while standing in different places around the garage) and listen for irregularities. A garage door that makes grinding noises is not functioning properly. If you notice any issues with the movement system of the garage door, then you will want to consult with a professional.

Lubricate Moving Parts

One easy task in garage door maintenance, is lubricating the moving parts of the garage door. This is a particularly important task following such a harsh winter. The cold weather will likely cause many of these components of the garage door to expand. And heavy precipitation (particularly stagnant frozen water) can also be hard on these parts of the garage door system. Home expert Bob Vila recommends using common engine oil on the moving parts of your garage door, regardless of the type of garage door system (e.g., belt-drive, chain-drive, or screw-drive). You want to specifically target the following areas in your garage maintenance:

  1. Combination Hinge and Rollers. Use a generous amount of engine oil to prevent these components from jamming up or sticking. The key is to apply the lubricant liberally.
  2. Hinges in the Field or Center of the Door Panels. You can use either an engine oil or lubricating agent such as WD-40 to lightly lubricate these components. You do not need to use much of the oil. You just want to lightly wet, and not saturate, these parts.
  3. Lock Mechanism on the Door. You want to just use a simple lubricating agent, such as WD-40 in and around the locking mechanism of the door.

Garage Door Opener Maintenance

There are several tests that you will want to run for garage door opener maintenance. You will want to begin by testing all of the power sources for your garage door. Primarily, you should use spring cleaning as an opportunity to replace any necessary batteries for your garage door. This is a simple and inexpensive garage door opener maintenance task.

Next you will want to run a series of tests to inspect the operation of your garage door. It is important that your garage door is fully functional (and passes all of these tests) for the health of your garage door and the safety of your family.

  1. Door Balancing Test. Disengage the automatic garage door opener. You want to manually lift the garage door so that you can feel any difficulties or threats to the smoothness of the open. You also want to make sure that the door is balanced such that the door will stay open even with the system disengaged. If the door will not remain up or there are any bumps or difficulties in opening the door manually, then the balance of the door is off and requires further garage door opener maintenance from a professional technician.
  2. Reversing Mechanism Test. You want to open your garage door fully. You next want to place a sturdy object, such as a 2×4 piece of wood, at the base of the garage door. Close the garage door using the automatic opener and make sure that the door does not fully close onto the object. Your garage door is designed to not close when it detects the resistance. If your garage door does not reverse when an object provides this resistance, then you will want your garage maintenance completed by a professional.
  3. Photo Eye Test. You begin this test with the garage door fully open. You want to close the garage door using the automatic opener. As the garage door is closing, you want to wave an object, such as a broom or piece of wood, in front of the photo eye system at the base of the garage door. You want to make sure that this safety feature of your garage door is operable. If your garage door does not reverse the process of closing, then you will want to consult a professional technician.
  4. Force Setting Test. You want to be sure to complete this garage door opener maintenance test after all of the other tests for safety reasons. You begin with the door up and close the garage door using the automatic opener. As the garage door is closing, you want to hold your extended arms under the garage door and provide resistance. You want to catch the bottom of the garage door and provide resistance. If your garage door does not reverse and open, then the force settings could be set inappropriately. You will want to consult the manufacturer’s manual and a professional technician for correction.

If your garage door does not pass each of these garage door opener maintenance tests, it is important that you refer to the manufacturer’s manual and contact a professional. The safety of your family could be at stake.

Always Refer to the Manufacturer’s Manual

As a general rule of thumb, you probably want to consult with a professional when repairing or altering your garage door—particularly the garage door opener. In addition to a professional, you also want to refer to the manufacturer’s manual because it will contain key information in the maintenance of your garage door. For example, the year of your garage door will inform the features of your garage door; garage doors built after 1993 are mandated to have an operable photo eye at the base of the track. The information in the manufacturer’s manual will not only describe optimal performance, but it will give insights into the likely malfunctions of the system. The manufacturer’s operating manual is essential in garage door opener maintenance.

The garage door serves aesthetic and functional purposes. It keeps your house locked up from intruders. It makes your easily accessible to you and your family. And it contributes to the general appeal of your home. Spending an afternoon on garage door maintenance is an investment you cannot afford not to make.

Increase Your Home Value through Curb Appeal

First impressions are important. This tried-and-true American ideal is true in professional and personal contexts. And the hit HGTV series Curb Appeal has solidified the importance of a first impression on real estate. The perceptions that someone will have about your house are first developed based on what your home looks like from someone standing on the street. And no single feature of your home has a greater impact on the curb appeal of your home than a new garage door. The garage door is one of the single largest features of your home and an upgrade to your garage door can directly increase the value of your home.

The value of your property is determined by many factors: location, square footage, features, and appeal. Some of those factors are fixed. You are unlikely to move the location or neighborhood of you home. And major renovations, such as remodeling or an addition, can be expensive ways to increase the value of your home. One of the most important, and sometimes subtle, contributors to the value of your home is the curb appeal. Realty expert Kathy Price-Robinson argues that the outside of your home directly impacts how the inside of your home is perceived. In fact, many potential homebuyers will not even walk into a house if they do not find the home appealing from the curb. In an interview with ABC News, Dave Seymour, property improvement expert and star of A&E’s hit Flipping Boston, argues that a functioning and appealing new garage door can yield a 400%-1000% return of investment. A new garage door is a solid way to increase the value of your home.

If you wish to improve the value of your home, you should strongly consider a new garage door. A recent survey of 300 realtors found that a new garage door can increase the value of your home by up to 4%. This is a simple way to make big dollars and can be done in just 3 hours. This is one of the few improvements on a home that sees a complete return in investment. According to Remodeling Magazine’s annual report on national trends, a strong return of investment of a home improvement is just above 60%. Installing a new garage door has a much higher return of investment and is one of the top ways to increase the value of your home. For anyone worried about the resale value of a home, it is not a matter of if to install a new garage door, but a matter of when or which garage door to select.

When selecting a new garage door, there are multiple things to consider. Home improvement expert Bob Vila argues that when selecting the correct door, you want to start with what you already have: your home. The garage door, color and style, should be selected to match the style of your home. You can use architectural details such as windows or material to seamlessly match a garage door to your home. When selecting a color, you can opt to have the garage door blend in with the palate of your home by selecting more neutral colors such as tan or white, or you can have your garage door add a pop of color to your home by selecting an accent color, such as hunter green. As long as you pick a new garage door that is appropriate for you home, you are sure to increase the value of your home (and make your neighbors envious of your newly gained curb appeal).

Given the significance of curb appeal when assessing the value of one’s home, you should not stop with the new garage door. A well-manicured lawn, including grasses, shrubs, and flowers, can also give the perception that you care a lot about your home. This perception will impact how the inside of your home is perceived. Having defined walkways and proper lighting will also increase the value of your home by highlighting the positive features of the home and instilling a sense of security to all potential buyers. These curb appealing tips, along with a new garage door, can contribute to an increase in your home’s value.

There are very few guaranteed ways to improve the value of your home. Most of them center on improving the curb appeal of your home. Not only does an attractive home from the street attract more buyers, it also improves perceptions of the inside of the home. A new garage door is an easy and efficient way to increase the value of your home.

To view new garage doors, visit Overhead Door Company of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City product line.

Get the Most from Your Insulated Garage Door

Choosing an insulated garage door is the first step to keeping your garage and house energy efficient through the heating and cooling seasons. But choosing an insulated garage door is not all you need to do in keeping extreme temperatures out. Check out the tips below to get the most from your insulated garage door. They will likely reduce heat and air loss if you have an attached garage…not to mention reducing your utility bills.

Thermacore Garage Doors

Thermacore Garage Doors from Overhead Door of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City

Seal leaks.

Doors, windows, garage doors and even the foundation can allow outside air to seep into your garage and let your temperate air to escape. Check for air leaks with a quick hand test and seal up windows or holes with caulk or spray foam. Also check your entry door and garage door seals. The garage door bottom seal and perimeter seal should fit properly with no air or light gaps.

Insulate walls and ceiling.

If your walls and ceiling are not insulated, your insulated garage door won’t help your energy efficiency much. With two or three non-insulated walls, you’ll quickly lose the air you’re trying to maintain. And, since warm air rises, much of your heat during the winter will escape through the ceiling. Minimize this by adding a layer of high r-value insulation and sheet rock to your walls and ceiling. Learn more about insulation >

Find the right R-Value for your area.

The R-value of insulation is measured by the amount of heat the insulation is able to resist. The higher the R-value, the more thermal protection your garage will have against wind and extreme temperatures. For garage ceilings, choose an R-value of 38 or higher when installing insulation. For walls, choose insulation that is at least an R-13 value.

Choose a reputable door company to install and service your doors.

When buying a garage door, your r-value will be important but proper installation is crucial. Garage floors can be uneven and garage doors will wear prematurely if not installed properly and well-maintained. Choose your doors from a door company that has a knowledgeable staff and service department. Overhead Door Company of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, has expert service technicians available 24/7 to make sure your doors and openers are always working properly through every season.

Choosing a Garage Door Style and Color

In today’s market you can find garage doors in all sorts of materials, styles, sizes and colors. This opens the door (no pun intended) to some great design opportunities to compliment your home. Whether you’re looking to add some personality or charm to your property, opting for a quicker sell, or just improving the function and protection of your home, an upgrade to your garage door’s style and color will likely do the trick. Here’s a checklist to help you unlock hidden potential:

steel garage door

Overhead Door Traditional Steel Garage Door Collection pictured above.

Select the Material
A crucial part of your garage door decision should lie in the functionality of the door and protection from outdoor weather and intruders. Safe to say, garage doors offer a variety of solutions depending on your needs. So consider the following:

  • What sort of climate do you live in?
    For properties with colder climates and winter, consider an energy efficient insulated door.
  • What is the exterior of your home made of?
    When considering the material of your garage door, choose materials that are complimentary to the rest of the home. For instance, if your home has a lot of stone detail, consider wooden doors or maintenance free metal options with a wood grain finish. Homes with flat or stucco finishes might consider a modern, aluminum door. Homes with siding will generally work with most materials, while color and design will play a larger role.
  • Safety and Security precautions to consider: 
    New automatic opener systems such as the Overhead Door Odyssey 1000, feature the latest in safety and security technology for families with pets and children. The opener has Rolling Code technology, a super quiet DC motor and comes belt or chain driven.
aluminum garage door

Overhead Door Modern Aluminum Collection pictured above.

Match the Design
Once you’ve chosen one or two materials to work with you can start looking into your design options. If you’re designing for an attached garage, this is where it can get tricky. When choosing a garage door, the design of the door should fit the design of the home. For better visualization use tools like our Overhead Door Design Center to upload a picture of your home and match different door styles.

For modern homes like the one featured above, choose a door with strong lines that move in the same direction as the other exterior features. In this case, sleek aluminum doors with light filtering glass compliment the home’s look. View more examples of modern garage doors.

Steel and wooden doors offer both minimal and ornate variations that draw in the level of attention you want. View some examples of Custom Wood door designs.

wood garage door

Overhead Door Custom Wood Collection pictured above

Accent with Color
Whether you’re drawing attention to or trying to blend in, don’t overlook the power of color on your doors. This is where a little planning goes a long way. If you’re looking to minimize the appearance of the garage, painting the doors the color of your siding is often your best bet. This reduces the visual attention seen from the street. If you want to give the doors a bit more character, choose a door that allows for an accent color (light colors are almost always better). A little pop of white or a light accent color can draw attention to a beautiful design. Traditional white or natural wood grain will likely draw the most attention depending on the style and color of the home.

Overhead Door Courtyard Collection pictured above.

Enhance with Accessories
Some understated accessories and accents can add a lot of charm to your doors and distinguish them from your neighbors. Here are a few accessories to consider:

  • Adding painted trim around the door can define your door space with little work.
  • Doors that come with accent trim can add additional character and design to fit your house’s style.
  • Windows add contrast and detailing to your doors while letting natural light into the space of your garage and almost always add value to your home.
  • Decorative hinges and handles add charm and detail to carriage style doors.

So there you have it. Keeping these four areas in mind will help you choose a complimentary door for your garage and add to your curb appeal. Check out our residential door gallery for more styles and examples or Overhead Door’s Design Center to get started customizing your own doors.