Torsion springs are a mainstay of overhead garage doors. Most homeowners have at least a passing knowledge of what they are and what they do. They know that the torsion spring sits above the door parallel to it and lifts and lowers the door by uncoiling and coiling respectively. They also know that torsion springs store massive amounts of energy when coiled and thus are extremely dangerous to work with and around. But what most homeowners aren’t aware of is that there are two main types of torsion springs, oil tempered and zinc galvanized, and that both have their advantages and disadvantages. In this post we’ll compare the different types of garage springs.

Many garage doors use extension springs instead of torsion springs. Click the 'Torsion springs' link above to see the difference.

Comparing the Different Torsion Garage Springs From Loveland to South Denver

It can be useful to know about the different types of torsion springs. So below we’ll introduce you to the advantages and disadvantages of both; oil tempered springs first.

oil tempered garage door torsion spring

Advantages of oil tempered springs

  • Strength and durability - The process of oil tempering results in a spring that is incredibly strong and durable. The oil tempered torsion spring will typically have a lifespan in the neighborhood of 10,000 up/down cycles which is usually good for 7 to 10 years.
  • Little or no adjustment required - If you maintain the oil tempered torsion spring properly they’ll almost never need to be adjusted. They are typically able to maintain their energy storage capabilities slightly longer than zinc galvanized springs.
  • Affordability - Perhaps the number 1 reason why oil tempered garage springs are the preferred choice of some garage door manufacturers is their affordability. This allows the manufacturer to keep the price of their garage door systems low and also means that the spring can be easily replaced if need be without breaking the homeowner’s bank.

Disadvantages of oil tempered springs

  • They rust - Oil tempered springs are prone to rusting. This can significantly shorten their lifespan and inhibit performance as well. One way to avoid the oil tempered spring rusting, snapping and requiring garage door repair is to have the pros from A Better Garage Door in to lubricate the spring on a regular basis.
  • They’re not attractive - Too many Colorado homeowners the fact that oil tempered springs are not exactly beautiful is not an issue. They’re high up on the wall out of sight so who is going to see them anyway? However some are more conscious of appearances and want a spring that looks good just in case someone should see it.

As you can see oil tempered springs have several things going for them that make them a popular choice for garage door manufacturers as well as homeowners. But what about zinc galvanized springs?

galvanized torsion spring
Dave Martin of Martin Door (one of our suppliers) holding a galvanized garage door torsion spring

Advantages of zinc galvanized torsion springs

  • They look great - Where oil tempered springs fail in the looks department zinc galvanized springs shine, literally. Where even well maintained oil tempered springs can look like they haven’t been cleaned in years zinc galvanized springs, due to the nature of the manufacturing process, retain a clean lustrous appearance that appeals to many homeowners.
  • They’re residue free - Garage door technicians will tell you that zinc galvanized springs arrive on the jobsite clean and aren’t burdened by the oily residue that emanates from oil tempered springs. This makes them easier to work with in that work gloves and clothes don’t wind up covered in that residue.
  • They resist rusting - Because they’re galvanized the zinc galvanized torsion spring will resist rust far better than the oil tempered spring ever will. This makes them a preferred choice in areas where high humidity is prevalent or in areas prone to flooding. Homes by the sea will also benefit from the rust resistant qualities of zinc galvanized garage springs.

Disadvantages of zinc galvanized torsion springs

  • More frequent adjustments - Because of the way they’re produced zinc galvanized springs will typically lose their tensile strength faster than oil tempered springs. Because of this you’ll need to have the pros in to rebalance your door from time to time or else you’ll wind up with a garage door that doesn’t open or close completely.
  • They can be a little noisy - As zinc galvanized springs coil and uncoil they can produce a high pitched squeal many homeowners find annoying. The sound will typically become even louder and more annoying as the spring ages. For some homeowners it’s simply too much and they wind up swapping out their zinc galvanized spring for an oil tempered spring.

So there you have it. Both the oil tempered spring and zinc galvanized spring will give you years of service and hardly ever require garage door repair. One is affordable but needs to be lubricated on a regular basis while the other is attractive but needs to be adjusted on a regular basis. Which one is right for you will depend on the location of your home as well as your own personal preferences.