Tips for Tucson
Making Good Choices on Garage Door Repairs
Making Good Choices on Garage Door Repairs
It's not uncommon for people to find themselves having problems with their garage door and searching online for the best Tucson garage door repair company. For example, you might suddenly find that your door no longer wants to open like it's supposed to do. Maybe your door isn't closing all the way, or it's only closing part way and then reversing directions and opening up on its own again. It could be that your door is making a lot more noise than you think it should. Or maybe your garage door opener 'sounds' like it's working, but nothing is actually happening as far as moving your door.
These are all very common issues with garage doors. And while they don't happen often to any one particular door, when you think about how many garage doors there are around the greater Tucson area, you may start to appreciate that this is something that actually DOES happen very often.
The reason that should be reassuring to you is that it means that if your door breaks, you're not "jinxed" - it happens to everyone at some point. It also means that there are professional garage door repair service companies here in Tucson and surrounding communities like Oro Valley, Marana, Saddlebrooke, Green Valley and Vail who are ready, willing and able to help you get things working again.
However, just because there are quite a number of companies to choose from doesn't mean they're all equal. Choosing the right garage door repair or replacement company in Tucson can be tricky and making the wrong choice can be the difference between a safely operating door that will continue to work well for you for years to come, and one that still presents a safety hazard to you, your family and your home.
Another significant difference can be the price you end up paying. And when we say significant, we mean… SIGNIFICANT differences in prices! Do your homework before committing to a repair! This article will help you have an idea of what you might expect to pay for some of the more common repairs as well as why it can be difficult to get an exact price quote from someone on the phone (there are both good, legitimate reasons why you may not get a price quote over the phone, and there are shady, 'bait-and-switch' reasons as well. We'll cover both for you here).
The first point we want to make clear is something that many homeowners don't really consider much, and that is that your garage door is probably the hardest working part of your home. When you consider that the door probably weighs anywhere from 150 to 400 pounds or more, and that it's being opened and closed repeatedly, multiple times a day… the mechanical systems involved with doing all that work are bound to wear out at some point!
For example, when you think about the springs that actually act as the 'muscle' to pull the door up and let it down easy (without slamming to the ground), and that they're just coiled up pieces of steel getting wound and unwound, wound and unwound over and over again, eventually that metal is going to get fatigued and just break. It's normal. But when it does, your door is (probably) not going to be moving. (If you have 2 springs on your door, you might still be able to open and close it with the one remaining good spring, but it'll be rough. And that spring is bound to break before long. If you only had one spring and it broke… your door is NOT going to want to open for you!)
The point of all this is that if you have a garage door, you have garage door springs that, at some point, are going to break, leaving your door non-operational. Unfortunately, it often seems that this happens at the most inconvenient time, leaving you and your car stranded inside (or out of) your garage, and maybe your home too, if you're using your garage as your main entry to the home, as so many people do these days.
When it comes to garage door springs, remember the amount of work they do. They are powerful pieces of wound steel under a tremendous amount of pressure to be able to do the work they need to do. This isn't something to be guessed at, much less played around with.
While there are many handy people throughout Tucson, from home DIY-ers to "handymen for hire", garage door springs are dangerously and deceptively simple. But getting them wrong can be devastating! Not only to the garage door, but to the person mishandling the springs when removing and/or installing them. There are some scary stats in this video that you might want to pay attention to!
Springs come in a HUGE variety of diameters, wire gauges and lengths. These variables combine to give a certain amount of "pull", and it's critical that you get the right one for YOUR garage door, and that it is wound the EXACTLY right number of times. And in case you didn't know, there are also springs for the right and left side of your door, but even that can flip-flop depending on how the door was installed (a low headroom door might have been installed in reverse, meaning the springs and drums need to be reversed and the springs are wound 'backwards' compared to normal).
If all this sounds confusing, it doesn't need to be any concern of yours. You simply need to recognize that between getting the right springs put on the right door and installed the right way - meaning both correctly and safely - it's worth paying a few dollars to have a true professional do the work for you.
Which brings us to the other point you need to be aware of, which is that not all "garage door repair" companies in Tucson are equal. Not in knowledge and customer service and not in pricing.
From our personal experience and from talking to numerous customers, we're not impressed with the "big name" companies that advertise all over the place. Paying for billboards and "wrapping" city buses with ads and running TV commercials… it adds up. Our experience is those costs seem to get passed on to the customers in a big way.
They often send out a sales person to "look at the job" who has had more training in "high pressure" sales than they have in actual garage door repairs. The more they 'up-sell', the more they make. They're incentivized to push the price up, and because people are often desperate to get the door working again, they fall victim to paying too much. Then again, "too much" is relative. If someone can get your door working for you RIGHT NOW for $400 and someone else can do it for $300 but it'll be a week before they can get to it… only you can make the determination of what is a 'fair price' that you're willing to pay.
With that being said though, we have heard some outrageous prices being charged for spring replacement jobs around Tucson. Prices from $800 to $1200 and even as much as $1600 for simply replacing 2 springs on a standard garage door. If you don't know what to expect to pay, just be assured that that is too much! Way too much!
When you are able to get a price quote over the phone, there are a few other things to be aware of too.
First, if you are told springs go for "between $xx and $xxx", you can bet that the spring that is right for your door will never the the low-end price (funny how that works, eh?) So if you hear, "Springs are from $89 to $149 each", plan on the $149, not the $89.
Also, get the full, final price. The "out the door" price with all add-on fees, taxes and labor included. Here's why…
You might be told that springs are $99 each, flat price (or whatever price you're quoted; pick a number). However, the final invoice could add any of, or even all of the following (and maybe even other items that we're not thinking of here)
Your $99 spring can quickly that you thought you were saving money on can quickly turn into a bill that gives you sticker shock! Be prepared and ask for the FULL price when you get a quote over the phone.
To be fair, there are variables that can make prices different. For example, the popular 'rustic' garage doors can be incredibly heavy, and they might be taller than a normal door and requiring springs that need to be special ordered and are considerably more difficult to install. Compare that with a single, run-of-the-mill budget door and yeah, you'll get price variances. However, a standard garage door needing 2 springs changed shouldn't cost more than around $300, and probably less.
At the same time, shopping around for the absolute cheapest spring repair job is probably not the best idea either. Going on CraigsList and asking a 'handyman' to come change out the spring you bought on e-bay is not a smart idea… if you're trying to save money going this route, I suggest you re-read this article where it explained the importance of having it done right.
Trying to cut corners to save a few dollars isn't worth the hassle of having a no-name company come out and get it wrong. In fact, you'll probably end up spending a lot more because you'll need to have it done over again by an actually professional anyway.
When it comes to garage door openers, the same general concepts apply about hiring someone who knows what they're doing. The big difference is that if you get it wrong with a garage door opener (and you have the right springs on your door), you're not really risking your safety. No one is at risk of getting seriously maimed or killed from putting a garage door opener in wrong (very real possibilities when working with garage door springs!)
Nonetheless, having a skilled, knowledgeable professional install a quality brand garage door opener is almost always worth it compared to realizing after the fact that you put in a poor quality operator, or purchased the wrong one for your door. While places like the Home Depot sell some models that are OK (Chamberlain for instance), we would definitely recommend staying away from anything made by Genie or that has the Big Brand Garage Door Company's name on it. If you hear, "We have our own brand of garage door openers that we install" - run! It will be something super cheap (quality wise - not price-wise), and if you ever have issues with it, only that company will be able to 'service' it, and you can expect to pay a premium for that too!
The brand that we would recommend you go with when it comes to a garage door opener is LiftMaster. They've been around for years and make an excellent, durable product. They have a variety of different models available, depending on what you want or need, such as a chain drive or belt drive models, battery back ups so you'll never be stuck even during a Tucson monsoon storm when the power gets knocked out (never fun!)
The other nice thing about LiftMaster models is that they all come wifi enabled, so you can connect to them with your phone. That means that you don't need to have a garage door opener remote in your car, which can get stolen, leaving the security of your home vulnerable. It also allows you to monitor your garage door from your phone. Why???
Have you ever left your house and suddenly been unsure of whether you closed the garage door or not? Now you're left with the decision of wasting time going back to check, or stressing the whole day being unsure of whether it's up or down. Not good.
Well, with the wifi enabled garage door opener and the free app on your phone, you can simply check to see if it's open or closed and for how long it's been that way. It also allows you to open it remotely, so if someone needs to borrow something from you, you can leave it in the garage, tell them to call you when they're there at which point you open the door for them. Then just close it again a moment later when they've left the garage. Pretty cool, right?
The base model for this kind of LiftMaster wifi enabled garage door opener, professionally installed will probably run you somewhere around $500 "out the door" (remember to get the FULL price so you don't get those sneaky surprise up-charges on the final invoice). The fancier models with things like battery back up or quieter belt-drive systems will cost more.
So now you have the basic information you need to make an informed decision about getting your garage door repaired at a fair price. Remember that sometimes you will be better off simply getting an entirely new garage door, especially if the one you have has been severely damaged by a car or has been abused for many years.
Many things can be fixed, but sometimes replacement is still the way to go, even if you have the best garage door service. If you think someone is trying to push too hard on a replacement rather than a repair, consider the source. If the person pushing is more of a 'sales person' than an actual 'technician', something might click in your head now thinking, "This guy will make more money selling a new door rather than trying to figure out if this can be fixed." Make sure the recommendation comes from someone who is capable of diagnosing and fixing broken garage doors first, and not just someone trying to sell you a new door.