Garage Doors with Integrity

Keep your original garage doors—repair and automation are easier than you think
Garage Doors
With repair and automation, garage doors stay modern—and with plenty of curb appeal, like the homes pictured here. Photos: David Toerge
Garage Doors
Garage Doors
Two Eichlers with doors preserved and automated by Artistic Garage Doors. Photos: Artistic Garage Doors

There are so many decisions involved in keeping a mid-century modern home functional and attractive. One of the easiest, though perhaps challenging to the uninformed, has to do with garage doors.

Most original Eichler garage doors are, like their myriad glass doors, sliding. Homeowners might be tempted to replace them with another style, but not if they knew how easy they are to repair, automate, and keep around the home for many years to come.

Original doors usually become an issue when wood construction breaks down, when door tracks get stuck, and when homeowners decide they want the advantages of an automated system.

The convenience of automated doors is obvious, especially during the rainy season. Many think this upgrade requires replacement of the original manual sliding doors with an overhead style, but that's not so.

Some Eichler owners, perhaps out of ignorance or expedience—and sometimes it comes after getting sold a bill of goods by contractors looking for the big-ticket replacement sale—opt for changing out their garage doors with traditional roll-ups, most of which are incompatible with the mid-century modern look.

"There are a lot of them out there"—those ugly roll-ups, says Ron Fouts, who, along with his wife Marge, have owned and operated Artistic Garage Doors, Inc. in San Carlos since 1987. "They look awful. You see a lot of that in Palo Alto."

The Fouts have long been well acquainted with Eichlers, starting with growing up in the San Mateo Highlands. In fact, Marge's parents live in one.

"I've been doing garage doors since I was 17," Ron says. "We repair tons of Eichlers,"—more than a thousand over the years. "We do a lot of jobs where people don't know where to begin."

Repairing and automating existing sliding garage doors is basically a two-step process, starting with an assessment of how well the doors work manually.