A garage door safeguards your garage, which then houses your cars and other valuable possessions.
However, it also produces vibrations when opening and closing, and consequently, loud and unnerving noises.
If you keep using a noisy garage door, you can wake people up and irritate neighbors.
Loose components, lack of lubrication, and worn-out parts are the major reasons why garage doors make noise. The loud sounds often mean there's something wrong with the door, which can cause not only noise, but also accidents. The good thing is that you can solve this problem through component replacement, insulation, and maintenance.
To help you operate a garage door in peace, we'll go over the most common causes of a noisy garage door.
Then, we'll provide long-lasting and straightforward solutions for preventing it from producing annoying sounds.
Causes of Noisy Garage Door
Before anything else, we must first explore the common reasons why a garage door makes noise.
Most of the time, it involves something related to the components or parts. If you continuously hear shrieking, rattling, or rumbling sounds whenever you open or close a garage door, know that there are several possible culprits.
Loose door parts and track hardware can result in garage doors making loud noises during operation. Worse, such sounds are usual signs of subsequent damage.
Loose hinges and rollers will wobble when you're operating a garage door. Sloppy or metal components like these two wear out after an extended period of use.
Bent parts with dust fillings, won't operate smoothly and just make squeaking sounds.
Aside from that, loose chains will produce slapping noises, causing the rollers to smack against the track due to jerky door movements.
Lastly, loose nuts and bolts can emit rattling or vibration sounds whenever you open and close a garage door.
If you hear grinding or squeaking noises, it's most likely coming from the rollers.
The door track rollers move every time you open or close a garage door, causing the rollers to sustain a lot of wear.
If they become bound up, they will slide in the track, resulting in friction and more noise.
Rollers normally last about 10,000 cycles or nearly a decade. Over time, pressure and friction will wear out the rollers, giving them cracks and uneven edges.
Instead of gliding smoothly over the rail, the rollers will bump and bounce whenever you operate the door.
Torsion and Extension Springs Issues
When a garage door emits popping sounds, you may have a problem with the torsion and extension springs.
You can find the torsion springs above the door after closing it while the extension springs are on the door's sides.
However, the spring coil over time can lock and prevent smooth operation. If not fixed properly, damaged springs can cause accidents.
Sometimes you get surprised that the garage door comes crashing down to the ground when closing it.
This is because the torsion springs are loose. Once the door hits the cement floor, you'll hear additional noise.
If you're having a hard time opening and closing the garage door, which also results in the door making noises, the issue could come from the metal rail bends.
If you hear rubbing noises when opening and closing the door, there might be bent tracks.
Like most mechanical gears, garage door parts rely heavily on lubrication to ensure smooth operation.
If you fail to lubricate your garage door, the parts may stick and grind against each other, resulting in unnecessary vibrations.
Due to constant usage, the parts of a garage door suffer from too much friction and force.
As a result, they make rattling, grinding, or squeaking sounds in an attempt to do their job, even if they are at the point of strain.
This usually means a lack of lubrication, which also results in wearing out components.
If you're wondering why you hear banging sounds, it's usually because of an unbalanced garage door.
This means that the springs are exerting too much tension or not providing enough for them to counterbalance the door's weight.
Such scenarios can lead to the door opener to also suffer from strain. An unbalanced garage door often causes springs or cables to snap, causing the door opener to fail prematurely.
If you're having a hard time opening and closing the door or it takes a long time doing it, it's possible that you have an unbalanced garage door.
Whenever you hear rattling or scraping noises, it's also likely that the doors are uneven when you open and close it.
Garage Door Opener
Garage door openers usually come in three varieties: chain drive, screw drive, and belt drive.
While chain-drive garage doors are the economical and dependable choice of the three, it is also the noisiest option because the chains bang against the metal rail as they pull your door open or allow it to close.
What's more, the chain guides deteriorate with age. As the pieces break off, the chain will bounce and make louder banging sounds.
If the garage door isn't installed correctly, it will make loud grinding or rattling noises that can wake you up in the middle of the night.
When the garage door won't close or stop halfway during operation, there may be a problem with the installation.
Too Much Friction
When there's too much friction between the metallic components, the garage door will inevitably make grating noise.
Hinges, springs, rollers, and tracks can rub up against each other over time, producing clunking and scraping sounds in the process.
Acoustics and Insulation
There are times when there's no obvious sign of loose or worn-out components yet the door continues to make noise.
In this case, the problem may be a matter of acoustics or the need to soundproof both the garage and the garage door.
If both aren't appropriately insulated, sound can escape and make it seem louder.
Simple Solutions on How to Fix a Noisy Garage Door
A noisy garage door can be frustrating, especially if it's also affecting other people. The good thing is that there are tricks you can try on your own.
From regular checks to slight repairs, you can make a noisy garage door quieter.
Tighten Up Everything
Remember that due to constant operation, bolts, nuts, and screws suffer from wear and tear. In effect, you will hear vibrating or rattling sounds.
One of the best ways to fix noisy garage doors is to tighten up all loose parts.
With a wrench or socket, you can inspect the garage door and do the tightening yourself. Be careful not to overtighten the components.
If you tighten the loose nuts, bolts, and screws, not only can you cut garage door noise, but also make the door last longer by minimizing the risk of anything falling apart or breaking.
Lubricate Metal Components
Aside from tightening components, lubrication is a very simple and cheap solution to make noisy garage doors quieter.
When garage door parts are dry, pushing them to work will only produce unbearable squeaking sounds.
You can combat this by applying lubrication around the garage door and spray some to the hinges, rollers, springs, tracks, and chains.
When choosing lubricants, opt for white lithium grease, silicone spray, or aerosol. Wipe any excess off with a cloth and don’t use grease.
Remember, when your garage door can slide with ease, there should be minimal noise.
If you don't consider lubrication, metal parts will continue to grind and stick to one another, causing unwanted vibrations and sounds.
Know that petroleum can degrade nylon rollers or plastic components. Hence, lubrication is more suitable if you're still using metal rollers.
However, lubrication can only do so much at least once every six months. If you think you can't commit to doing lubrication often, consider the next set of solutions.
Install New Rollers
At some point, garage door owners will experience problems with rollers. If you have older metal rollers, it's likely that lubrication won't work anymore.
In this kind of situation, the most effective thing to do is to change the rollers.
It's recommendable to opt for nylon or nylon-coated rollers that are quieter and won't require lubrication, unlike metal rollers.
However, they usually cost twice the price of their metal counterparts. If budget is a concern, you can always stick to metal rollers, but you have to lubricate them religiously.
It's also important to identify if your door uses extension or torsion springs for lifting and lowering.
Torsion springs connect to the header, which is right above the closed door. Extension springs are located above the upper tracks on both sides.
It would be wise to seek professional help if your door has torsion springs because this type has a lot of tension, which may tamper with the bottom brackets and cause serious injury.
If your garage door has tension springs, you can get ready and do the following steps yourself:
Replace the Hinges
Hinges constantly flex and bend whenever you operate a garage door. As a result, the components suffer from too much pressure, causing them to make grinding sounds.
If lubrication isn't working anymore, the next best thing to do is to install new hinges.
Over time, the hole in the hinge that houses the roller stem becomes damaged. In some cases, metal fillings and dust surround the pin of the hinge.
Should you see a hole where the hinge bracket and tubular hinge pin link, do these steps to replace the hinges:
- Make sure to get the hinge's exact stile, size, and gauge.
- Close the garage door and use a cordless impact driver to remove bolts and old door hinges.
- Put the new door roller hinge.
- Drill new fasteners if necessary.
- Do not overtighten the self-tapping screws to avoid stripping out the metal on your door stiles.
- Inspect the newly installed hinge for alignment.
- Lubricate the hinges and test run the door.
- Raise the door slowly from the floor to see if the new hinges are working properly.
Change the Springs
While lubrication is ideal, it may end up dripping on the surface of the door. Thus, replacing the springs is the best option if the springs operate under extreme tension.
The first type to consider is torsion springs, which are heavy-duty springs that unwind to help lift the door.
When a garage door closes, the cables linked to the bottom corners pull on pulleys connected to the ends of the metal rod the springs are mounted on.
This is why when the pulleys turn the rod, the springs twist and create tension.
Meanwhile, extension springs are lightweight ones that stretch out using cables and pulleys when there's tension.
Because there are suspended springs between two brackets, they tend to have a safety cable running through each spring.
Since replacing the springs is far too complicated than rollers and hinges, it's advisable to contact a mechanic to do the job.
Put Insulation Strips
Insulation not only aims to make a garage better regulated and more comfortable, but it also absorbs noise from the operation.
Therefore, putting insulation strips inside the garage and on garage doors can further dampen sounds.
Some garage doors already come with insulation strips on the bottom. However, the strips may wear out or go missing eventually.
Without insulation, you will hear sounds passing through the small space between the door and the surface.
To create insulation, simply follow these steps.
- Measure the length of your old insulation strip.
- Purchase a roll of rubber insulation or at least 16 feet long.
- Remove the old and worn strip before putting on the new ones.
- Know that rubber insulation will shrink, so add a few inches long to accommodate any shrinkage.
- Cut off the pieces that are striking out.
- Add Rubber to the Garage Door Opener
Metals create noise. Rubber, on the other hand, absorbs vibrations and sounds.
If the actual garage door has insulation strips, the door opener motor can have buffers using small pieces of rubber.
- Unplug the garage door opener's motor.
- Take the door opener motor out of the mounting bracket and set it aside.
- Remove the garage door bolts connecting the tracks to it.
- Slide a ¼-inch-wide piece of rubber between the door and the bolts.
- Tighten up the bolts.
- Remove the bolts holding the door to the support frame.
- Cut two rectangular thick rubber pieces.
- Drill a couple of holes then bolt one end to the frame of the garage door opener.
- Hang the motor from the garage door opener mounting straps using rubber pieces.
- Suspend the garage door opener from the frame so that the rubbers can absorb noisy vibrations and support the metal frame from shuddering.
- Test the garage door and opener to ensure they are working correctly.
Upgrade to a Quieter Garage Door Opener
Whenever you hear squeaks coming from the garage door's upper side, there's a chance that the problem lies within the garage door opener.
However, familiarizing yourself with the types of garage door openers and their differences will help you select the quietest.
If you want to fix your existing opener, try spraying lubrication first. If this doesn't work, it's high time you replace the door opener.
This type features a chain that links the trolley to the motor. Since there are metal-to-metal contact and vibration, chain-drive openers tend to be so loud and clunky.
However, this is the cheapest option, which is why a lot of low-cost garage doors use this system.
Instead of a chain, this type uses a belt for a quieter operation. Hence, this one provides a quieter alternative to chain-drive.
This one includes a trolley that rides on a threaded steel rod as the motor rotates the rod.
Aside from using plastic-lined tracks to reduce noise, it has fewer moving parts and minimal vibrations.
This opener is usually situated on the side of the door. It uses a 24V DC motor that drives cables and pulleys that turn the torsion bar to raise the door.
While this is a more expensive opener, it's perfect for large doors that keep the ceiling free for overhead storage.
A direct-drive unit is the quietest type of garage door opener. It brags a stationary chain in a sturdy steel rail with only one moving part found in the traveling motor carriage, making the operation smoother and faster.
Maintain the Garage Door Properly
Proper garage door maintenance is essential not only to stop the door from making noises, but also to prevent sounds from coming back.
More than that, a well-maintained garage door will operate correctly, making it safe for daily use.
Here are some ways to maintain a garage door so they will always work quietly:
Should I Invest in a New and Quieter Garage Door?
Buying a new one should be your last option. Before you do this, make sure you've tried everything else, as in every single tip we've shared.
If you have an old, rusty garage door, you will inevitably face replacement. While most garage doors use wood and aluminum, it would be better to switch to an insulated steel door.
A steel garage door lasts longer because it can sustain rain, wind, and snow. Besides, it won't rust, rot, swell, dent, or warp, unlike wood and aluminum doors.
However, investing in a new garage door means pairing it with superb installation and quality opener. Otherwise, the new door will start making noises in no time.
When Should I Hire a Professional?
There are some hacks and tips you can try on your own, like lubrication, tightening up parts, and replacing rollers.
However, there are times when it's more practical to leave the fixing to the professionals. Not only can you guarantee safety, but also effectiveness and longevity.
For instance, it would be too risky to work on the bottom hinges without proper skills.
If you release the tension without following proper instructions, it can cause personal and property damage. Another example would be replacing a new garage door or door opener.
The bottom line— in any situation you find yourself unsure of what to do next, don't hesitate to hire a professional.
While there are several possible reasons why garage doors make noise, there are also many different ways for you to combat it.
From DIY hacks to hiring a professional, you can stop your garage door from emitting grinding, banging, or squeaking sounds.
Jessica is a Acoustical Engineer, currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. After graduating from her degree in Master of Engineering degree in Acoustics from Solent University in 2014, Jessica worked for a few companies before She will be blogging about her past and current experiences in the studio and sharing her journey as she pursues her career goals. She enjoy the balance of work inside and out of the office, solving practical problems on a daily basis as every project is different and requires a different solution, the variety of work (sound insulation testing, background noise survey, mechanical plant commissioning, external plant assessment, plant room breakout assessments) and the mix of independent and team work.