Garage doors often lead to our homes or house expensive things we own, such as vehicles, tools and lawn equipment. Since garage doors protect our belongings from the outside world it is important for them to be secure. One of the oldest and most reliable means to secure anything is a good lock. Many older garage doors had manual locks installed at the time of installation, however that is not a common practice nowadays because garage door openers act as the locking mechanism. What if you do not have a garage door opener or it is broken though? How can you lock your garage door manually?
FIrst and foremost we do not recommend ever using a manual locking system in tandem with a garage opener. We have seen more doors damaged this way. What happens is that someone will lock the door manually and someone else in the home will not know and then they push the button which will destroy the door. Your garage door opener is a sufficient lock and two locking systems are not necessary.
Now that we have discussed that let’s move on. So, you do not have a garage door opener and you need to lock your garage door. There are 2 main styles of locks you can have. One is a T-Bar style lock and the other is a slide lock. Both of these locks lock the door by inserting a bar through a slot in the vertical track preventing the door from being able to be lifted.
T-Bar style lock
This style lock has a handle in the middle that goes all the way through the door. A T-bar lock allows for a key to be used from the outside allowing access to a locked door from the outside of the garage. These locks are required by code when the garage door is the only way into the garage. For example the garage is detached from the house and there is no man door. This is rarely the case. SInce these locks require drilling through a panel and are time consuming to install you will not find many companies still doing them. These locks can be bought at a hardware store but not the bars themselves.
These locks are most commonly used on doors today that need a manual lock. However, if your garage door is the only way into the garage it is against code to install this style lock. Thes locks are screwed onto the end stile of the door and have a short bar that slides into the track when pushed. They also have a hole in the bar that allows installation of a padlock adding another layer of security. On a double door we recommend installing one on each side of the door. You can find these at a bix box hardware store and they are inexpensive and easy to install.
What to do in a pinch:
If you need to manually lock the door overnight until you can get a lock installed or your opener repaired or replaced, simply stick something in the track above a roller, such as a screwdriver. You can also use a C-clamp or a pair of vise grips or locking pliers on the track above a roller. We recommend a clamp of some sort as the best temporary solution. The best permanent solution is to have a garage door opener installed.