Tips to Choose the Right Garage Door Springs

Garage Door Springs

Springs are an important part of the design of sectional doors, serving to balance the leaf and make it more convenient to open. There are two types of springs – tension and torsion. To make the right choice between these two options you need to know the features of each type of spring, their advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will discuss these questions and figure out in which situations you need to appeal to a garage door spring repair service.

Types of springs in sectional doors

Depending on the balancing side of the sash, the spring mechanisms of garage doors are divided into torsion and extension. Let’s try to figure out which type suits you best.

Tension springs 

Tension springs work by stretching and contracting. They are installed in pairs on both sides of the canvas vertically. When the gate goes down, the balancing mechanism is brought into a state of energy accumulation – the springs are stretched and ready to contract at any moment, lifting the canvas up. The springs work independently of each other, each connected to the gate structure with its own cable. If one of the springs becomes unusable, the gate continues to function, but needs to be repaired, since the load is redistributed to the parts that remain in working condition.

The disadvantage of tension springs is that when closing the gate, a certain force must be applied to stretch it. The more massive the gate is, the greater the stiffness of the springs or their number will be. In any case, the amount of effort applied to close the gate increases with its mass. So, it turns out that tension springs are suitable for ordinary garage doors, but not suitable for industrial ones. In addition, they do not like frequent use, so experts recommend using them for gates with a frequency of no more than 5 opening/closing cycles per day.

Torsion springs

A torsion spring is a mechanism that works by twisting. Unlike the previous version, they are mounted directly on the shaft. When the shaft is driven by the actuator and rotates, the spring begins to unwind and store energy. If you release the handle of the gate, it will automatically open, as the torsion bar will tend to return to a state of rest.

The torsion actuator is quite powerful and reliable, therefore it is used to equip heavy gates, but can also be installed on a small canvas.

The resource of the torsion bars is the same as that of the extension springs, but at the same time, they are more enduring in terms of the weight being lifted. However, regular maintenance is required even for such hardy mechanisms. Torsion springs must be tightened to avoid jamming or falling of the sash. Here it is worth noting another advantage – even in the event of a malfunction, the fall prevention mechanism will work. The ratchet clutch will block the movement of the blade, and neither the machine nor the person will be injured.

How to make the right choice between torsion and extension springs?

It is worth evaluating both options on key points: work resource, difficulty in installation and adjustment, operational safety, and price. 

1. Work resource

The resource of work, as we have already said, is approximately the same. The factory claims official figures – 25,000 lifting / lowering cycles. But at the same time, torsion springs can lift more weight. If you install doors with different leaf balancing options correctly, observing all technical requirements, they will last the same long time, and after 5 or more years they will work properly. Of course, you need to remember that the mechanism needs to be looked after, tighten the springs in time, and not overload them more than the design suggests.

Torsion springs win here for one simple reason – they are more versatile and can be installed on both domestic and industrial gates.

2. Difficulty in installation and adjustment

The installation of torsion springs is more difficult since it is necessary to pre-tension them. Installing them on a wall with a noticeable curvature of the surface will not work – otherwise, they will fail, and the canvas will wedge. But if you do everything right, the gate will work smoothly, quietly, and smoothly.

Tension springs do not require a scrupulous approach. They are easy to install, but they will make more noise, even when properly secured.

You can always tighten the torsion springs, and after that, they will be like new. Tension springs most often just need to be replaced with new ones. Luckily, they are also cheaper.

3. Operational safety

Sectional doors weigh not so little that the leaf falling due to a broken spring seems like a trifle. It may fall on you or your vehicle and cause injury. Therefore, the gate is usually provided with a security mechanism.

There is another mechanism, a smaller one in the extension spring. It is located inside and, in case of external failure, acts as a safety net. This is called a “spring in the spring”. In a torsion spring, a ratchet mechanism plays such a safety role.

4. Breakdowns and malfunctions in the spring mechanisms of sectional doors

Some situations can directly indicate a malfunction of a particular mechanism. The garage door device is a one-piece, single structure, in which the slightest violation leads to the failure of the entire mechanism. The fact that the springs of the torsion doors need to be replaced may be indicated by a non-rising door leaf. Springs tend to deform or break completely. Experts recommend contacting sectional door maintenance and repair specialists at least once every six months if the frequency of opening and closing exceeds 20 in one day.

You will also have to buy new springs for sectional doors if the opening and lowering of the sandwich panels occurs with long delays and pauses if the structure periodically jams. Incorrect balancing of the springs leads to a tight movement of the gate, but if the adjustment does not give a positive result, then they have become unusable and need to be replaced. This must be done as soon as possible to avoid deformation of the guides and distortion of the structure doors.


Torsion springs were the first in the design of sectional doors. Tension springs began to be used later to reduce the cost and simplify the design. For home garage doors, both design options are equal in terms of safety, reliability, and technical resource. At the same time, extension springs are cheaper and easier to install. Over time, when using both options, breakdowns may occur, which are recommended to be fixed with the help of specialists. STI Garage Door offers reliable garage door spring repair service which is available within 24 hours.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.