Garage Door Restoration

This is a photo montage of the recent garage door replacement on the William B and Mary Chase Stratton house located on 3 mile drive near Jefferson in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. Designed by William B Stratton and built in 1927.

The first photo shows the doors in place after 95 years of service. They were repaired numerous times over the years with metal brackets, small and large steel plates and various fasteners. Frankly, they didn’t owe the owners a dime.

The originals were made of two layers of pine laminated together to make the doors 2 1/4″ thick. They’re about 8 feet tall and fully closed, span about 15 feet.

We made them using a technique called stave core construction. This is the most stable way to construct a door because all of the stresses inherent in solid wood aren’t present. We also adhered all of components to the butcher block like cores using epoxy which doesn’t add moisture to the individual parts that can result in unpredictable wood movement. Once the epoxy cures, it acts as a plastic barrier between the faces and cores resulting in unparalleled stability. Once every surface on the door is painted, moisture transference is all but eliminated, yet the doors can expand and contract with the seasons without the usual problems.

It was important to match the doors exactly to the originals which we did, but added some important changes like the installation of Federally mandated, laminated safety glass which replaced the original polished plate glass in the 12 pane, full divided lites. There is also a small taper on the lower glass stops (moldings) that allows accumulated water to shed more easily. The steel surface mounted hinges were completely worn and were replaced with bronze parliament hinges. These differ from standard butt hinges in that the leaves and knuckles on the back side are on all on the same plane.

As the following pictures show, the cremones (interior, vertical locking bolts) had parts that were severely corroded, which I repaired by making new parts that were shaped, then welded to the undamaged sections.

Waldemar Steciuk, and I did all the removal and replacement of the doors which wasn’t an easy proposition by any means. In the end, the five doors align perfectly with an eighth of an inch gap between them and the access door closes with a sound that closely resembles a snick.

These doors should, with proper maintenance, easily be in place for another 95 years.

Restoration services, text and photos by Alan Kaniarz.