Most garage doors today come with an electric operator to open and close your door. Openers let you operate your garage door with a button on a remote or wall panel. While operators make it more convenient, you can opt for a manual garage door.
Our article answers some of the most common manual garage door questions and sheds light on when they make the most sense. If you still have questions after reading this, call us at 817-500-5988 or submit a form.
Do they still make manual garage doors?
Yes, every garage door can be used manually. Garage doors are built with a variety of operators in mind. Whether you keep the garage door manual or add an electric operator is your choice. We always recommend pairing a garage door with an electric operator.
Can you buy a manual garage door?
Yes, your garage door doesn’t need an electric operator to work. To buy a manual garage door, let your local garage door company know you don’t need an operator because you plan to open and close your garage door manually.
If you’re shopping for manual garage doors, there are a few questions to consider before deciding.
Do you want to be able to open the garage door from the outside?
If yes, buy a garage door with an exterior keyed lock. This feature lets you unlock and manually open and close your garage door from the outside. Because you don’t have an electric opener, you cannot use a wireless keypad or other devices to open your garage door from the outside.
How do you lock a manual garage door?
Garage doors typically have a lever you can engage to lock your garage door manually. It sits on one of the lower sections of the door and should be lined up with a hole in the track. This hole receives the lever, locking your garage door. This is the only way to secure your garage door if you don’t have a keyed exterior lock.
How does the lock work?
Manual garage door locks are secured to the inside of your garage door frame. Locks have a lever and frame that slide into a slot on your garage door track. They work by manually shifting the arm to slide into one of the slots. Once engaged, the metal arm provides resistance against the door opening, securing your garage door.
Will the door lock automatically when closed?
No. Manual garage doors do not have automated locks.
Are manual garage doors secure?
Manual garage doors cannot be hacked because there’s no technology for bad actors to access. And, if you engage the lock on your manual garage door, it cannot be opened from the outside. We like to say manual garage doors are as safe as you are responsible. Keep your door locked, and it’s safe. Forget to lock it, and it’s not.
How to open a manual garage door without a keyed lock?
The first thing is to make sure the interior lock is disengaged. If the lock is engaged, you cannot open the garage door from the outside.
You would place yourself in the middle of the door for a single-car garage. Place your hands between the door and the floor, and lift about halfway. At the halfway point, your springs should keep the door in place. From there, you lift the door the rest of the way, guiding the door along with the springs.
You would need two people to open a two-car garage door manually. Each of you will go to opposite ends and walk towards the middle for a few steps. This distance lets each of you take on roughly 50% of the garage door weight, making it manageable to open. Like before, your springs should keep the door up at the halfway point. From there, guide the garage door, with the support of the springs, to its fully open position.
Do manual garage doors need springs?
Yes, garage door springs are equipped on manual overhead garage doors and those with an operator. Without springs, you would have to lift the full garage door weight on a manual garage door. Standard garage doors weigh from 90 lbs to well over 300 lbs, making it dangerous to get in and out of your garage.
A broken spring is bad news, whether you have a manual or electric overhead garage door. The springs do the heavy lifting while you or the opener do the rest.
All overhead garage doors need springs so that door does not slam down to the floor. The springs, full of tension, slowly guide the garage door down to the floor. Without the springs, all of the weight comes down at once. That is a bad, no-good thing because garage doors are heavy and can hurt someone or something that gets caught underneath them.
What are some cons of manual garage doors?
Manual garage doors are not popular today for a few reasons.
- They don’t work with safety sensors. These sensors, placed at the bottom of your garage door track, relay to the opener that the door path is free of objects so it can safely close. If you left a bike, a rake, or a trash can in the way, the sensor would tell the opener it’s not safe to close the door. This keeps your garage door intact and your items free of damage. Manual garage doors do not work with sensors. You are responsible for checking the patch of the door and acting accordingly.
- They’re inconvenient. Electric operators can open and close overhead garage doors with a button. Manual garage doors require you to do all the work; lifting, disengaging the lock and checking your door’s path.
Why buy a manual garage door?
- You don’t plan on opening it very often.
- You don’t want an opener.
- You don’t want to spend $600 – $1,000 for a new operator.
Though not as popular as they once were, you can still purchase a manual garage door for your home. Be aware that these doors often lack the convenience and security features of their automatic counterparts. However, if you’re interested in a manual door for your garage, let us know, and we can help you find what you’re looking for.