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Installing your first garage door motor can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re used to the world of swingers and sliders. It’s a bit like going for your first all-you-can-eat sushi buffet: at first it seems like an insurmountable task, and even a bit dangerous, but it’s all smooth sailing once you’ve had your first tuna hand roll.

When I was recently tasked with installing a roll-up garage door operator in order to rewrite the installation manual, I must confess that I was more than a little nervous. There’s the spacing of the operator, the adjustment of the door and, of course, the notorious balancing of the springs. The last time I balanced anything was in high school accounting class, and that one ill-fated attempt at riding a motorcycle.

Since both of those things ended pretty badly, I decided to consult an expert, CENTURION’s very own exports manager Scott Wilson, for the GDO installation. I was so impressed by this man’s encyclopaedic knowledge of all things related to garage door automation, I knew I simply had to interview him for this article.

According to Scott, the number one most important thing to check before attempting to install a garage door operator, is the door balance. “The easiest way to determine whether your door is properly balanced,” says Scott “is to ask yourself whether your child or your grandmother would be able to open or close the door unaided. Remember: the motor doesn’t lift the door, the springs lift the door. The motor is there to assist it and guide it, but in reality the springs do most of the heavy lifting”.

He goes on to say that the International Door Association standard for garage doors is between 9 and 10 kilograms of applied force. The force needed to move the door can be tested using a fish scale, available from most angling supply stores.

Scott also stresses the importance of fitting an additional safety tek-screw when installing roll-up type garage door motors.

“This is a scary must-know when it comes to roll-up doors. It’s such a small thing, but it serves as an anti-lift measure to prevent would-be intruders from pushing the door upwards and peeling it off of the drum, leaving enough of a gap for someone to get into the garage”.

Finally, Scott cautions against using varnish on garage doors.

“Use a wood sealer or a penetrating oil. Why? A penetrating oil will seal from within out, while varnish only seals the top, and you have to keep on doing it on a regular basis, which is why most of the top guys nowadays use a penetrating oil. Varnish on a garage door is a no-no”.

He closes off by saying that, like anything, garage doors have to be serviced at intervals consistent with their usage.

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