Torsion vs. Extension Garage Door Springs

Most of us don’t notice modern conveniences until they’re broken. However, when the moment arrives that we push the button and nothing happens… We’re very much aware! The same thing is true of our garage doors. In reality, the level of convenience and security provided by a functional garage door is just as high as that of any other modern convenience.

If we barely notice our garage doors, then it’s pretty likely that we don’t give a second thought to their components, such as the garage door spring. Garage door springs are the backbone of the whole system. They support the weight of the door and, despite what many think, they’re the power behind opening and closing the garage door. The opener starts the process, but the real energy is in the springs.

This is also why they’re the most dangerous part of your garage door system. Garage door springs are under tremendous tension. When that potential energy is released all at once, as it is in a spring failure, it can cause serious property damage and personal injury, even death. At Elite Door Systems, we specialize in garage door springs because we want to keep our customers safe.

A Garage Door Spring is a Spring is a Spring, Right?

Wrong! There are many different types and sub-types of garage door springs. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular types to help you know what you’ve got in your garage. breaks down the different types of garage door springs with helpful information about your garage door system.

Extension Springs

These are the most common springs in residential use. You’ll find extension springs above the upper horizontal tracks on both sides of your garage door. They’re meant to work together, but if your garage door wobbles when it moves, they’re working independently. Most likely, one of them is out of balance.

Extension garage door springs are under the greatest tension when your garage door is closed. The potential energy of the stretched, or extended, springs is slowly released when you activate your garage door opener. This energy is used to open your garage door. Without it, you’d need a much more powerful motor in your garage door opener.

Torsion Springs

This spring type is attached to a bar above the garage door and uses torque, not tension, to open and close the door. Torsion garage door springs slowly twist and coil on their shaft when you apply force in the form of activating your garage door opener or operating it manually.

Torsion springs also balance the opening and closing process to make it as smooth as possible through the amount of torque applied to the bar. Unlike extension springs, torsion springs are “fully loaded,” in that they are pre-tensioned. They are also under a tremendous amount of tension.

Wayne Dalton TorqueMaster Torsion Springs

These springs were developed by Wayne Dalton, a manufacturer of garage doors and accessories. The springs, one or two depending on the model, are contained within an oval tube. Gears at each end of the tube connect to the garage door cables.

This system uses special hardware, too. It has a smaller track radius and cable drums, as well as smaller wire size springs. The moment arm, or the distance from the spring’s center to where the cable peels off the drum, is also smaller at approximately 2” instead of the standard 4”. All of this combines to lower the strength requirement on the actual springs.

What is the Best Garage Door Spring Type?

Here at Elite Door Systems, we recommend torsion spring systems. Torsion springs:

  • Support greater weight
  • Last twice as long
  • Give better balance, which makes it easier to open & close your garage door
  • Provide greater safety with fewer exposed parts

They also cost a little more than the other options. However, don’t let that deter you. Not only do you get the benefits listed above, you’ll actually get more bang for your home improvement buck! If you’re planning to sell your home, installing a torsion spring system is a great way to increase the value of your overall garage door system and your home.

What about extension springs and Wayne Dalton’s TorqueMaster springs?

Well, we at Elite Door Systems want the best and safest set-ups for our customers. Extension springs are less expensive, true. However, they come with more exposed parts which, frankly, makes them more dangerous in the long run.

The Wayne Dalton TorqueMaster system sacrifices a lot in life cycle time with all of the special hardware and size reductions. The amount of cable that must wrap around the drum is roughly equal to the height of the garage door. Due to the smaller drum diameter, the system requires more turns of the spring. The more times the spring is turned, especially with the smaller wire size, the faster it will wear out and need to be replaced.

Our goal at Elite Door Systems is to provide you with the best garage door system possible at the best possible price. We just don’t feel it’s right to recommend a system with such a short life cycle.

Whatever your choice – torsion springs, extension springs or the TorqueMaster – we want you to be safe. That’s why it’s never a good idea to do garage door spring installation or repair yourself! This is simply not a DIY project. The potential for property damage and serious personal injury is too great to risk.

At Elite Door Systems, we specialize in garage door spring systems. We have all of the special tools and the training & experience to install the garage door spring safely. Plus, we have the necessary industry connections to get quality parts. Many manufacturers won’t sell garage door springs to anyone but a qualified professional due to safety concerns.

Be safe. Be sure that you’re getting the best garage door spring system possible. Call Elite Door Systems today.