Garage Home


December 5. On the weekend, I bought a standard 3' wide pre-hung door for the workshop. The rough opening was originally 82" x 38.5" which is the correct size for a standard 3' wide door. Here is an early picture showing the rough opening. Note the pressure treated sill:

The concrete company recommended removing the sill and pouring the floor to the edge of the block wall. Good idea. Here is a recent picture of the opening after the concrete floor was poured:

This gives a much cleaner entrance way but it shortened the rough opening height to 81". Since I bought a standard pre-hung door, I had to either trim the 2x8 header or trim the bottom of the door frame. I chose to trim the pre-hung door frame. I unscrewed the threshold (on the floor in the picture below) and cut about 3/4" off the bottom of the frame. Then I primed the newly cut wood with exterior grade primer-sealer to protect the wood:

I shimmed the door way with 1/2" plywood on both sides, then pushed the door and frame into the opening. It still required an 1/8" shim on one side so I used some thin panelling that happened to be the right width:

Then I screwed the door frame into the 2x6 door way with several 2.5" screws. On December 8, I installed the doorknob and deadbolt. I removed several of the original short hinge screws and replaced them with 2" screws so that the door is solidly screwed into the 2x6 doorway, as per instructions:

Close up, with brass strike plates:

December 15. I picked up the garage doors this morning. First I had to nail a 2x6 frame around the rough opening to provide a surface flush with the block wall. Here is a before and after shot. I had to shim the 2x6 with 1/2" OSB to make it flush:

Here is the 2x6 frame all around the opening. It extends to the top plate to provide support for the door track and torsion spring:

Here is some track and the torsion spring assembly, to be installed later. The instructions are a little cryptic. The door company gave me two sets of instructions. I have to decide which set to use depending on what hardware they gave me. Interesting puzzle...

I nailed some molding to the jamb as per instructions. I will replace this later with PVC trim.. Here is the first door panel, with hinges attached. I will build the door in place, then add the track and torsion spring after:

The door panels are temporarily held in place by nailing a 16 penny nail on each side into the jamb at an angle, as seen in the red circle below:

December 16. I installed 2 more panels. They are held to each other with three hinges. Then I installed the vertical tracks and angle pieces. The tracks are secured by various sizes of steel angles:

The last panel is installed, and here is the torsion spring in place but not yet wound. I have to find or buy a couple pieces of rebar to wind up the spring. When properly wound, this spring will somehow counterbalance the weight of the heavy door. Sure it will. Sure:

I need some perforated steel angle to hang the horizontal pieces of track, so I couldn't finish this door today. I started on the other door and worked until dusk. I nailed up the 2x6 frame inside and set up one panel. One and a quarter doors. That's the western horizon reflecting in the back window:

December 21. I bought angle steel at Fazzios, cut a piece and screwed it to the ceiling joists with lag screws, then hung the track with a second piece of steel, using 5/16ths and 3/8ths bolts, nuts and lock washers:

I did the same to the other track.

December 22. I filed the ends of two 2-foot pieces of rebar so they would fit snuggly in the spring winder:

I checked the cables and cable pulleys to make sure they were attached properly and tight. Then I clamped vise-grips to the counterbalance bar and insered a piece of rebar. Ready to wind:

I drew a straight line along the spring with yellow crayon so I could see how many turns the spring was making. As per instructions, I wound the spring seven and a half turns, then tightened the set screws (with red heads in the picture above) into the bar. For this door, the spring is wound by pushing the rebar up. At the top of the stroke - one quarter turn - I inserted a second piece of rebar into the next socket, removed the rebar from the top, pushed up the second piece of rebar, repeat. It was easy to wind at the beginning, then got progressively more difficult. I was careful not to let the rebar slip out of its socket or out of my hand. Here is the wound spring. See the faint yellow line, now a spiral around the spring:

With the counterbalancing force of the wound spring, the door rises easily. I added sway braces to the hangers so the tracks will stay parallel to each other. One door done:

December 26. I finished building the second garage door before Christmas, worked on the high lift track today. The high track is bolted to the vertical track and is also secured to the upper flag bracket as shown:

The track will hang from the rafters using perforated angle steel as was done with the first door. In this silhouette you can see the ladder I used to hang one of the high tracks. The ladder is resting on a collar tie. The angle steel hangs to the right of the ladder, bolted to the track:

December 27. I wound the big spring. I approached this spring with enough caution to keep me safe. I stood on a step ladder but still had to reach up high to wind the spring. Before winding, I snapped a blue chalk line on the spring to better view the number of turns. I wound four turns and took a little break:

Half-way done:

All done, 16 and 1/4 turns:

Here is the door. It lifts easily all the way up the track:

I secured the track with sway braces at the top of the tracks:

December 28. I made sure all nuts were tight, added a couple lag screws to the flag brackets, added handles to the door. The doors are done. With the building sealed, I can work inside, do electric wiring and insulation.