Types of Garage Door Springs – Torsion vs. Extension
If you’re like most homeowners, you probably give little thought to your garage door — until it breaks. Suddenly, you’re forced to make all kinds of decisions about materials, installers and even the types of springs required to safely raise and lower your garage door.
Your garage door springs are more important than you probably realize. Property damage, personal injury and even death are just a handful of the dire consequences awaiting homeowners who gloss over garage door spring selection and safe installation. Yes, actual deaths have been a result of poorly installed springs, which is one of many reasons replacing a broken garage door spring should not be a DIY project. Always contact your local garage door experts when you are dealing with a broken garage door spring.
This article covers the most common spring types:
Different Types of Garage Door Springs
Although there is a broad range of different spring types (and sub-types), the two most popular categories are extension and torsion springs.
1. Extension Springs
Usually located above the upper horizontal tracks on both sides of the door, extension springs are the most common residential garage door spring type. In order to open the door, these springs extend — providing counterbalancing force to support the door. The more force that is applied (via hand or motor), the more the extension spring expands. All extension springs should be paired with safety cables. Safety cables prevent the extension spring from becoming a projectile in the event of a spring, cable or bottom bracket failure. These events can occur at any time while the door is open, closed or in motion. Safety cables should be installed on all extension spring doors.
2. Torsion Springs
Whereas extension springs “extend” or “stretch,” torsion springs use torque to raise garage doors. Attached above the garage opening, torsion springs slowly twist and coil on the shaft whenever force is applied (via hand or motor).
Torsion springs come in a wider variety of options, including various wire sizes and lengths. These variations are calculated specifically dependent upon your garage door weight, height, track radius and more.
Which Garage Door Springs Are Best?
Because extension springs are usually much cheaper, they are often the garage door spring solution in most residential construction projects. It is important to note, however, with more exposed parts, they’re also more dangerous.
By contrast, torsion springs are able to support more weight and last twice longer. They offer greater overall balance, making it easier to open and close your garage door. And with fewer exposed parts, they’re also safer to use. As a result, torsion springs tend to be more expensive.
If you’re in the market for new garage door springs, be sure to factor in the added benefits of a torsion spring system. When it comes to home improvement projects, garage door repairs provide some of the highest returns. You can further boost the ROI of your investment by choosing longer-lasting torsion springs over extensions springs.
Remember that whether through stretching or torque, both types of springs operate using extreme tension. To limit exposure to damage or injury, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a professional garage door installer before attempting any repairs on your own.