125 Mitchell Blvd., Suite F, San Rafael, CA 94903   ph.415.472.6004   CCL # 627224

Frequently asked questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions from customers including answers to questions about garage door maintenance, steel doors vs. wood doors, garage door sizes, etc.

Why should I select Northgate Garage Doors?

Northgate Garage Doors has been in business since 1975. Our goal is to provide you the best quality products, installation and service for an affordable price. There are never any hidden charges, add-ons or surprises.

We align ourselves with the best manufacturers and pride ourselves on doing jobs that not everyone can do. We never sub-contract work, which allows us to have the same high quality installation every time. Because we live in the same community in which we service, our reputation depends on your satisfaction.

Which material is best for my project, wood, steel, or glass doors?


Pros: Unlimited styles, designs, materials and sizes. They can be painted or stained to match other existing materials. Excellent for custom installations. Easier to repair and can withstand minor impacts.

Cons: If your door has significant exposure wood doors are not recommended due to warping, cracking, peeling, rotting, expanding and contracting. Wood doors require more maintenance and are also heavier and noisier than other door materials. Wood doors tend to be more expensive. Door arrives unfinished and customer must finish and maintain. Dark shades are not recommended on southern or western exposures.


Pros: Less maintenance, longer warranty, less expensive, quieter, comes pre-painted yet can be painted with standard house paint. Insulated options available. Excellent with all exposures.

Cons: Limited to certain sizes, styles and designs. Not as strong as other materials. Typically has a woodgrain texture.

Aluminum or Glass Doors

Pros: Less maintenance, longer warranty, quieter, pre-finished with many design options and sizes. Excellent with all exposures. Lets in a lot of natural light.

Cons: Tends to be more expensive.

What type of care and maintenance is necessary for my wood garage door and hardware?

We recommend yearly inspection of both the door and the hardware. Inspection of the exterior garage door will pay dividends when refinishing eventually becomes necessary. If the finish appears in good condition, cleaning and touch up is often adequate. Do not use a garden hose to spray or clean your door. Use a damp sponge or towel to clean off your door—this keeps unnecessary water from shortening the life of the door.
If the finish becomes badly eroded and thin; refinish it.

In addition, lubrication and adjustments are recommend on a yearly basis for the following hardware; pulleys, rollers, hinges, and springs.

How do I finish the wood door myself and still maintain the manufacturer's warranty?

Most manufacturers have a one-year warranty on their wood door products. This warranty is valid if and only if the door is completely sealed on all 6 sides prior to installation and maintained. The 6 sides refer to all the edges on each section, not just the front and the back of the door. Refer to manufacturers’ warranty for specific details.

Why do I need an insulated steel door, rather than a non-insulated door?

A high-quality steel door is built with steel in the front, insulation in the middle and steel on the back. It’s chemically bonded to each side, creating a composite structure with higher strength, greater rigidity, improved dent-resistance and better thermal protection.

What kind of paint, stain, and varnish should I use on my wood door?

Northgate Garage Doors, Inc. does not specifically recommend one particular kind of paint, stain, or varnish over another. Standard house paint will work. For stain/varnish Sikkens™ has worked well for many of our customers. Dark shades are not recommended on southern or western exposures. Refer to manufacturers’ instructions for specific details.

My garage has very little space (headroom) above the door. What is the minimum headroom required to operate a sectional door? 

Standard headroom requires 12” to 18” of space between the bottom of the opening header and the unobstructed ceiling. However, Northgate Garage Door specializes in custom-built applications. Special track options are available and make it possible for many unusual garages to be fitted with doors. By using low-headroom track, it is possible to install a door in an area that has as little as 8” of headroom. Each situation is different and different things can be done this is why we check every job before ordering doors. Other special track applications include:

Vertical lift track—used in situations where the ceiling is extremely high and the garage door has room to lift straight up.

Follow-the-roofline track—used when the ceiling of the garage is pitched at the angle of the roof, making it desirable for the door to follow the same angle, thus providing additional overhead room.

Hi-lift track—used when the ceiling is unusually high, but the door must still retract to a horizontal position.

Framing—What Size Should the Finished Opening Be?

With a door stop; the opening should be finished the same size as the door.

Without a door stop; the opening should be an 1 ½” narrower on the width and ½” narrower on the height.

I have a custom-built garage with an unusual size, can you help?

Look no further, customization and unique designs are our specialty. Please call us at (415) 472-6004 to help you get started.



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