Noises produced by the garage door are commonly attributed to the opener, just as furnace noises are commonly attributed to the blower. In both cases, you are dealing with a system made up of many individual parts that must all work together to allow you to enter and exit your garage. Yes, it could be the start. But, before you make any major decisions, I believe you should follow a logical sequence of inspection, repairs, and maintenance. Some, if not the majority, of the grinding, squealing, vibration, tapping, and banging will come from the system’s peripheral components.
There’s a reason they’re called rollers rather than sliders. Examine your rollers and tracks thoroughly before applying lubricant. Worn rollers not only make noise, but they also cause vibration, which you can feel throughout the structure because the tracks are attached to the garage framing. The rollers should not be flat on one side or show signs of excessive wear on the sides. If the roller face flattens out, it is most likely seized and must be replaced. Although the rollers are designed to move laterally to compensate for minor track variations, they will eventually show wear as they rub against the track.
Even if your existing rollers appear to be in good condition, they are most likely metal on metal. New nylon rollers promise a 75 percent reduction in noise-and if you find one that appears worn, why not replace them all? Even if the existing ones aren’t all that bad, you want to reduce noise. Before replacing the rollers, ensure that the tracks are straight and in good condition. If your tracks are out of alignment, you will most likely hear a metal-on-metal grinding or screeching sound.
Door tracks can be easily bent out of alignment. Hitting it with your car is obvious but banging it with the lawnmower or anything else you’re moving around-even tying your crazed Rottweiler to it-can bend the mounts. Check that they are straight (perpendicular) to the wall and that there are no narrowed spots in the channels where the roller wheels run (like someone snapping a vice grip onto it for some reason). The rollers should then be replaced.
Unless you enjoy putting things back together, do not remove the bottom hinges with the cables attached. More importantly, it is hazardous.
Soak everything in a good silicone-based lubricant, such as 3 in 1 Garage Door Lubricant. Tracks, rollers (if not sealed bearings), hinges, springs, trolley, chain, and any metal moving part
This product is wet when it comes out of the can. That is the catalyst required to get it out of the can and onto what needs to be lubricated. The liquid will evaporate, leaving only pure silicone behind. Lubricating your door system once or twice a year helps to prevent noise, and premature wear, and extends the life of the system.
If you did this when Jimmy Carter was president, you may want to spray all moving parts monthly for a while to ensure the silicone penetrates completely. Silicone is my go-to lubricant for almost everything. It does not stain, does not dry out, and the odor fades quickly. Do not use any oil. It attracts and retains dirt.
This should go without saying, but make sure everything is tight. Bolts and nuts tend to loosen with movement. It doesn’t take long to grab a wrench and tighten everything up. Avoid overtightening. If your hinge bolts have been loose for so long that the bolt holes have worn into oblongs, or worse, the hinge itself has worn-then replace them. Everything fitting snugly will prevent panels from banging together as the door closes.
You can buy service kits that include hinges, rollers, and lubricants. You’ll almost certainly have to re-use your existing screws, nuts, and bolts, which shouldn’t be a problem unless some of them are worn or broken. Although most garage door parts are interchangeable (most rollers will fit into most hinges), purchasing everything from the same manufacturer should eliminate the possibility of a mismatch.
Make sure to tighten the belt or chain as needed. Hopefully, you still have the instruction manual or can find it online. Loose chains will slap, tap, or drag against the mast, making no difference in how much silicone is applied.
The electric motor rarely causes noise problems. Unless they are smoking, they are very quiet. They usually stop working once you let the smoke out. The Impact Noise you hear is caused by some or all of the parts attached to the motor and hangars, which transfer through the mast to the garage ceiling. The suggestions below will undoubtedly help to quiet your opener.
Change out your old chain drive opener for a belt drive opener. They are much quieter. Ensure that you have everything you require, including a new mast that is the correct length. Because of the 8′ door, some require an extension. It snaps right at the joint. A screw-drive unit is another option for an opener. It is gaining popularity due to its smooth operation and ease of installation. Regular lubrication and polymer-coated trolley rails will keep them relatively quiet. Please keep in mind that this works best on single doors. They may be insufficient for heavy double doors.
Noise insulators between the motor block and the mounting brackets, as well as an RSIC-GDS garage door silencer from Acoustical Surfaces, can be used to decouple your mounts from the framing, whether you are replacing the opener or making your existing unit quieter. The noise insulators are simple and inexpensive, but before you tackle the garage door silencer, you should read the PDF installation instructions at acousticalsurfaces.com. It is much more involved than simply replacing a couple of bolts.
Place soundproofing material on the ceiling above the motor and along the mast’s length. Unless you want the motor to overheat, do not wrap it. This will not reduce Impact Noise from the motor mounts, but it may help with Airborne Noise directly above the equipment. This is not a good use of your time or money. To be truly effective, you would have to complete the entire ceiling.
Some of the strange squealing could be caused by the door sliding against the door weatherstrip. A 2 x 4 can be cut as quickly as a chop saw with some old weatherstrip that has been painted four times. It is, at the very least, scratching your door. It should be replaced.
Insulation is standard on many newer garage doors. However, uninsulated panels are still an option, and many existing doors are simply heavy gauge metal. Insulating your garage door will not only keep it warmer/cooler inside, but it will also help to soundproof the garage. I’ll also eliminate, or at least reduce, the ‘kind of hollow booming’ sound produced by the flexing panels as the door moves up and down. This noise is frequently caused by the door not being properly aligned as a result of the track, roller, and lubrication issues you addressed earlier.
‘How does this have anything to do with a Quiet Garage Door Opener?’ Perhaps quite a bit. If your bottom weatherstrip is missing, torn, or thin, and the base it is resting on is uneven, heaved, bowed, or broken up, the door will not seat properly, causing stress and wear on the hinges. It may also cause the door panels to flex, producing that hollow booming sound. Replacing the bottom weatherstrip has the added benefit of soundproofing the garage, keeping it warmer, and keeping small rodents and insects out.