Garage doors operate with a variety of spring systems torsion springs and extension springs are the most common types. In this post, we’ll explain the differences between torsion springs vs extension springs so you can identify the type used in your existing garage and decide which type you want moving forward.
What are Torsion Springs?
Torsion springs↗ are helical springs that exert a “torque” force. A torque force is a twisting force that causes rotation. This spring can hold or release energy to hold the door in place or to assist the door opener in lifting or lowering the door. Torsion springs can be designed to work in a clockwise or counter-clockwise rotation.
Torsion springs are growing in popularity. These springs have lots of benefits starting from the way they work, instead of extending and contracting torsion springs turn which typically results in a longer life cycle.
- Springs don’t fully extend when in operation
- Torsion springs last longer
- Torsion springs allow for a steady controlled motion when opening or closing
- Less likely to need adjustments
- Good at keeping the door in balance
- Requires fewer parts
- Broken torsion springs are less dangerous than extension springs (still call a pro!)
- Doors with extension springs can usually be converted for use with torsion springs
The downside? Torsion springs are usually more expensive than extension springs.
What Do Torsion Springs Look Like?
Torsion springs are made up of tightly wound coils and are available in various wire sizes and lengths. They are attached above the garage opening and they twist and coil when force is applied to lift and lower the door.
Which Torsion Springs Should I Buy?
The torsion spring for your door depends on the door weight, height, track radius, and more.
What are Extension Springs?
Not all springs are the same! You’ll see that here with extension springs↗. Extension springs are attached at both ends to other garage door components. The job of the spring is to help lift and lower the door and it does so by providing return force to the component that extended it from its original position. Extension springs do just that through extension instead of rotation. When the components the extension springs are connected to move apart the spring tries to pull the components back together.
Extension springs will get the job done! But they don’t have as many benefits as torsion springs.
- Doors with extension springs require more components which can also fail
- All extension springs should be paired with safety cables to prevent the spring from becoming a projectile in case of breakage
- After significant wear and tear springs or cables can break and that can happen when the door is open, closed, or in motion
- Are known to support less weight
- Don’t last as long as torsion springs
The benefit of extension springs is that they are more affordable than torsion springs.
What Do Extension Springs Look Like?
Extension springs have hooks or loops on the ends that are attached to different components in the garage door system. They are usually located above the upper horizontal tracks on both sides of the door to provide equal support on each side.
Which Extension Springs Should I Buy?
Like torsion springs, extension springs vary and the ones you should buy depend on a number of factors including the weight of the door. Extension springs are typically color-coded on the ends of the spring to make replacement easy. When ordering new springs it’s a good idea to double-check the weight of the door or the spring diameter to make sure you’re getting the right spring.
What’s the Verdict? Torsion Springs vs Extension Springs
Torsion springs have lots of benefits, if your budget and the construction of your garage allows, choose torsion springs. For a tighter budget choose extension springs, they are more affordable and are used in most residential construction projects.
Now that you know the difference between each spring you can go out to your garage and identify the current system. Decide if you want your new springs to be torsion or extension and contact professional to ask about replacement or conversion.
Homeowners in Southern California can reach out to our team at Heritage Garage Door by giving us a call or submitting a form.