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Expert Tips on Buying a New Garage Door: An Interview with Nikki Cook Francis of Florida Door Solutions

By Nikki Francis

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We are a family owned and operated Garage Door/ Overhead Door company. By that I mean my parents Bill & Robyn Cook own Florida Door Solutions. I have grown up in the industry, my dad started hanging doors for another company before I was even born. I grew up climbing on Rollup doors in the yard. We service, sell and install Residential garage doors, commercial Overhead doors, operators and gate operators.

What are the main factors to consider deciding to get a new garage door?

1. Design/ Elevation. What look are you going for? Historically, we didn't have many options besides the standard raised panel, now we have a lot to choose from.

2. Is there a r-value or insulation level you are looking for? We can get non-insulated models, up to something with a r-value of more than 18.

What are some of the most popular garage door styles and features for Florida houses?

  • Disney's neighborhood, Golden Oak, is using Eden's Coast custom composite garage doors. These doors look and feel like real wood, with a better warranty and low maintenance. They are finished with an automotive paint so you just wax them and it will bring back the luster! EdenCoast.com
  • Clopay offers the Coachman model that is one of the most popular models available right now. Clopaydoor.com
    • Features:
  • Windload Rating/ FBC approval: With the threat of hurricanes in Florida. We have a high requirement for Windload rating. Depending on the area of Florida you live in, could be 115 mph up to 180 mph requirement. All products that are approved by the Florida Building Code can be found online at Florida Building.org
  • The insulation and R-value: If you park your car in your garage, or do laundry in there or spend any amount of time in your garage, you definitely want to invest in something with a high r-value to help maintain the temperature. We can offer some models with a r-value up to 20.
  • What is one of the biggest challenges people face with garage door openers, and what do you offer them to solve this?

    We always attempt to trouble shoot the issue over the phone first. This is a pain for some homeowners while we start from scratch and ask many questions. We always ask you to call us from the garage so we can ask questions and attempt to correct the situation or determine the issue before scheduling a service call. The biggest challenge we face is the manufacturer or quality of the operator itself. Just because a company is well known, because of great marketing, doesn't mean is a quality product.

    Also, operators sold at retail outlets (Lowes, Home Depot, Sears etc) are made to fit in one box. So they alter the rail and other pieces so they are packaged smaller. This causes issues and a lot of homeowners don't realize it until it is too late. If your door is 7' tall, the rail will be more than 8' in length. If you buy it from us, it comes in one piece, if you buy it from a retailer, it will come in 3-5 pieces, which just leaves more room for error!

    What are the best maintenance tips you can give garage door buyers to help them keep their garage doors last for long?

    Lube all the moving parts (hinges, rollers etc) twice a year: NEVER USE WD-40! I know your grandma always told you to use it for everything. STOP! Use something that is a non- silicone lubricant so that dirt and dust doesn't stick to it. If you use WD-40 on your garage door it will be quiet for a day or so, but by next week it will be the loudest door on the block. We sell a lubricant for $15 a can. Or you can visit your retainer (Lowes, Home Depot, Sears, etc.) and purchase a "Garage Door Lubricant".

    It is always good to check the tension on your door too. Disconnect your garage door opener; pull the red string! So you can operate your door manually. Lift the door to the half way point and step back/ don't touch it. The door should sit at the halfway point. It shouldn't fall to the ground or open in to the header. If it does then your door is not balanced and you need a service call to adjust the tension on your door. If you continue to use your garage door opener on a door that is not balanced correctly, you will end up causing more damage on your operator and door in the future. There is 100s of lbs of tension on that springs, so please do not attempt to adjust them by yourself. This is definitely a job for a trained professional.

    What advice do you have for a homeowner who isn't sure what garage door is the right one for them?

    Do your research and ask to see samples. We are in the process of setting up our showroom. By summertime we will have a fully functional showroom so you can stop by and see the different models and designs available.

    If you can't see, touch and feel the actual product, don't buy it!

    You can always send me a picture of your home with your current door, and what design you are interested in. We can superimpose the new door on your current house and show you an idea of what it would look like. So, you don't have to guess what the end result would look like. This is a good idea to bring with you if you visit the showroom too. Or just email it to me at any time.

    What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

    Visit us at www.FlaDoor.com or stop by 777 S Park Avenue Apopka, FL. Call 407-884-5955 or email me anytime NikkiFrancis@fladoor.com.

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    About The Author

    Nikki Francis is one of the two children of the founders of Florida Door...

    Phone: 407-884-5955

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