Archives for December 2015

garage security winter

Securing Your Garage Before Winter Vacation

garage security winter

From homebodies who occasionally drive to town on errands, to people working a steady 9-to-5 job, to retirees who regularly leave for week-long RV trips, home security is a concern.  Thieves strike when they see an opportunity, either something valuable left out in sight or a home that looks like an easy target.  One of the main ways these criminals enter a dwelling is through the garage.  How can you thwart them?  Build up several layers of security.

Garage Door Security

The obvious first step is to keep the garage door closed, but sometimes people forget to shut it.  Consider a garage door timer, which can be set to close the door after a minute or two.

Your garage door opener likely comes with an emergency release lever and an easy-to-grab string, allowing you to open the door when the power’s out. Unfortunately, someone with a coat hanger and a little patience can abuse this system and get in.  Secure your garage in a few ways:

  • Disable the lever.  This option, which can stop thieves cold, may work for homeowners who rarely experience power blackouts.
  • Remove the string.  You can still reach up and use the lever, but you’ve added time and inconvenience to any break-in.
  • Lock the lever.  A padlock or plastic cable tie can be threaded through the mechanism.  In an emergency, you can cut the tie.  In a home break-in, thieves will not be able to open the door.

Next, consider your garage door opener.  With these, you trade some security for the convenience of being able to cruise into your garage.  Thieves can steal the opener or hijack the signal it uses to enter your house.

  • Never leave the opener in the car.  Most garage doors can be operated with a key fob that goes on your keychain.
  • Consider using a manual garage door opening system instead, such as a key and lock or a keypad.

Window Security

Thieves can use a window next to the garage door to look for items worth stealing and see what they’re doing as they probe for the release lever with a length of wire.  They may also bypass your impressively secure garage door and simply break a window, entering that way.  Prevent this with a few easy home upgrades.

  • Add curtains or frosting to the windows’ glass.
  • Install locks on the windows.
  • To truly secure the window, add bars.  If you dislike the look of them, there are removable bars that can be installed inside the garage and set up before you leave on a longer trip.

Home Door Security

Many homeowners overlook a key area of home security: the door connecting your attached garage to the rest of the house.  This door offers a valuable opportunity to stop thieves who have managed to get by your other security methods.

  • Consider replacing a thin wooden door with a stronger model.
  • Install a lock and deadbolt.
  • Reinforce the door with metal plates around the locks and kickplates.
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LiftMaster garage door opener chicago illinois

Garage Door Opener Buying Guide: What to Keep in Mind

LiftMaster garage door opener chicago illinois

In urban areas like Chicago, garage door openers are a must to keep your garage secure.  These home improvements are so commonplace that they seem invisible … until a homeowner starts looking for one of their own and find themselves overwhelmed with the wide variety of options available.  This guide can help clear the confusion and narrow down the right model to fit any needs or budget.

What do you want from your garage door?  A install-and-forget model that may never break down?  One with multiple security features that would-be thieves will have trouble getting past?  A backup battery in case of power outages paired with Wifi capability so you can operate the door via your smartphone?  A whisper-quiet door that won’t wake the household that’s sleeping one thin wall away?  All these concerns need to be balanced against your budget.

Now that you’ve decided what you need, it’s time to look at your options.  Garage door openers fall into  several groups, depending on how they work.

Chain drive openers are durable and among the most inexpensive models.  They work well with a variety of doors, from lightweight to large and heavy-duty.  However, they are notoriously noisy.  This may not be an issue if the garage is separate from the home.

Screw drive openers have a reputation for reliability and tend to be quieter than chain drives.  They require basic maintenance a few times a year, in the form of lubricating the screw, or they can break down.  These openers are ideal for one-car or lightweight doors but may not be able to handle larger loads.

Belt drive openers such as the Liftmaster garage door opener line are famously quiet thanks to the rubber belt that lifts the door.  These reliable openers also carry a relatively high price tag.  It pays to read the small print on these motors: Direct current drives offer softer, quieter starts and stops along the track, while alternate current drives may be easier to find.

Jackshaft and direct drive openers are growing more popular as higher-end openers thanks to their quiet and reliable operation.   Jackshaft models may include additional security features such as automatic deadbolts, making them attractive for safety-conscious homeowners.  However, due to the way these operate, they only work on sectioned doors.  Direct-drive openers may resemble noisy chain-drives, but in these models the chain is stationary and the motor moves softly along it.  These openers can be pricey, but are also extremely durable and often come with lifetime warranties.

One last thing to consider is the garage door opener’s horsepower.  How much you need depends on what garage door you have.  1/2 horsepower openers are the most common variety for a good reason: this power is enough for the the majority of lightweight, one-car doors.  For oversized, industrial, or wooden doors, it’s time to move on to 3/4 to 1 horsepower openers.  These motors carry a higher price tag, but they offer more than enough power for the job at hand.

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accent plank garage

Curb Appeal: Modernize Your Garage’s Look with Accent Planks

accent plank garage

Modern technology has done it again! Imagine a garage door with the warmth and eye appeal of wooden tones that looks almost exactly like doors made from real wood, except these garage doors are made from steel. Is that possible? One has to see it to be able to believe it.

The finishes come in the choice of beautiful cedar, classic dark oak, contemporary light oak, and powerful dark mahogany. It is very common for clients to have neighbors come over and ask, “Where did you get that garage door?” Even strangers may stop, knock on the front door, and ask the same question. They really are attractive.

The Look of Wood Combined with the Durability of Steel

Garage doors made of real wood, have many problems. This is how we used to make them in the old days. AR-BE Garage Doors has been a family business since 1947. Real wood garage doors need re-staining and re-painting almost every year to remain looking nice. The wood warps and wood garage doors quickly get out of alignment. Not to mention the problem with termites and the possibility of dry rot when wood is exposed to the outdoor elements.

Still, we have to admit to having a warm place in our hearts for those old wood garage doors because it reminds us of the good old-fashioned days. Imagine our delight when the factory designers at C.H.I. came out with the Accent Plank garage door series. We had to touch the door ourselves to convince us it was steel and not wood. That’s amazing.

Quality Construction

We like the technical specifications of these long-lasting, low-maintenance steel doors and you will too.

There are two models to choose from:

Model – 3216P

Each section is two inches thick.
Each section has four micro-grooves, which have a horizontal alignment and are spaced evenly.
The thermal breaks in the design prevent thermal transfers from outside to inside.
The insulation material used is polyurethane in a sandwich-style construction.
It does not contain any chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
The insulation R-value is 17.54.

Model – 3285P

The construction is the same as Model -3216P.
The only difference is that polystyrene is used instead of polyurethane.
The insulation R-value is 10.29.

Both models are offered in the wood-tones of cedar, dark oak, light oak, and rich mahogany.
Many options and accessories are available.
These doors are only sold through authorized dealers.
We are the dealer for Accent Plank Garage Chicago and the surrounding areas.

Designer Ideas

Homes with the most curb appeal, catch the eye with a combination of attractive elements, which include beautifully manicured landscaping that leads the eye to the home in an inviting way. The next thing that catches the eye is usually the front door when it is made out of wood and the garage door remains somewhat unnoticed.

With an Accent Plank garage door the “front door” appeal is magnified, especially when the garage door, window shutters, and front door match in color. This creates the “wow” factor.

AR-BE Garage Doors won the Best of Southland Award for 2015. We attribute our success to always putting our customer priorities first. Once you see a beautiful Accent Plank garage door, we know you are going to love it. We look forward to installing one in your home. Call 800-339-3256 for a free consultation.

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old garage door

Garage Door Maintenance: When to Repair & When To Replace

old garage door

Knowing when to repair your garage door versus when to replace it completely can save you a lot of money. But how do you know when it’s time to replace it, or when it can simply be repaired by a specialist? Follow these guidelines to understand what can be repaired on your garage door and what can’t.

Dents and Other Abnormalities

Small dents and dings in a garage door can often be repaired by a specialist. Big dents, however, may require part or all of the garage door to be replaced. To help minimize unsightly dents and dimples in your garage door in the future, have a garage door with a thicker steel gauge installed. You can also consider investing in a bonded insulating core for your door.

Sagging, Slumping or Bent Doors

Some garage doors — especially those made of wood or some other non-metal material — are prone to sagging and slumping. When water repeatedly comes in contact with wood, it tends to warp it. If your garage door is suffering from sagging, the best course of action is replacement. A slumping garage door can result in considerable gaps underneath it, which can result in unwanted critters entering the garage and high energy bills. Doors can also become bent and damaged if they’ve been improperly reinforced.

Higher Energy Bills

A high energy bill can be an indicator that it’s time to get the garage door replaced. Many times, the door will degrade over time, and older doors might not be very well insulated. Installing a new garage door with proper insulation can cut down drastically on energy bills because it will effectively seal out the outdoor elements, which is especially important if you have a living area next to or above the garage. A garage door that’s insulated properly will help keep your home cooler in the warmer seasons and warmer in the colder seasons.

Difficulty Opening and Closing

If you’re having difficulty opening or closing your garage door, any number of things could be wrong, including:

  • The springs could be damaged or broken.
  • The cables along the door could be loose, worn or otherwise damaged.
  • The rollers might need to be replaced or lubricated.
  • Certain sections of the door might need to be replaced.
  • The track that the door runs along may be bent or warped.
  • The hinges might need to be replaced.

In many of the above cases, a garage door specialist can be called on to fix the damaged parts and sections.

Chicago Garage Door Maintenance: Call the Experts

If you’re looking for a Chicago garage door repair company, look no further! AR-BE Garage Doors has been the top name in garage door installation and repair in the Chicago area for the last 68 years. We specialize in a variety of garage door styles and can repair a wide variety of garage doors. We also install garage doors and can repair door openers. Give us a call at 800.339.3256 for a free estimate today!

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