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Tilt-a-Door Maintence

Updated on February 8, 2013



Tilt-a-door The original overhead opening garage door

In the evolution of garage doors, the tilt-a-door does seem like a relic from the dark ages. They were succeeded on family homes by the roller door which has been annihilated as far as popularity on new homes by the panel lift door.

The tilt-a-door was first seen in the 1900’s and they are still manufactured today and can be seen in many houses an units. Tilt-a-Doors were quite revolutionary. They made it practical to have a garage as part of your house as it is such an easy door to open and close.

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Tilt-a-Door is a Balanced Opening Door

The secret of Tilt-a-Doors success was in their hinging system. The sides of the door are connected to the door frame by a pair of large hinging mechanisms. The door hinges allow the door to move from a vertical closed position to a horizontal open position. In the open position the door is moved upwards as well to make a fully open doorway that a car can be driven through. The door uses large springs to balance the weight of the door and help kept them in the open or closed position. Even without the springs a Tilt-a-door is fairly well balanced.

Tilt-a-Door Hinge and Spring

Tilt-a-Door Hinge and Spring
Tilt-a-Door Hinge and Spring

Check the Door Frame

When servicing a Tilt-a-Door the first thing to check is the door frame. The frame is usually made from solid timber bolted to the edges of the building. Over the years this frame can rot or get damaged as it is exposed to the outside elements. Make sure the wooden frame is securely bolted in place.

Tilt-a-doors can get buckled and bent as it is easy for a car to roll into the door and do some damage. If the door is damaged it will need repairing or replacing. Check that the hinges are not bent or buckled. Repair or replace any bent or damaged parts.

If the tilt-a-door is not closing straight, it can be adjusted by moving the adjusting arms up or down as required. When closed the door should sit square in the frame. Or as square as possible.

More Secure Locks are available for Tilt-a-Doors

Once the door is opening and closing correctly. Check to see it is locking correctly. Tilt-a-doors have an angled strike fitted to both sides of the door frame. As the strikes are at the bottom of the door they are prone to water damage. Check for rusty broken bolts. Also check the timber frame is not rotten on the bottom.

The Tilt-a-Door uses a T handle lock in the center of the door and a wire mechanism to pull the catches at the bottom of the door. They also have a release handle attached to the inside of the T handle.

If the T handle is broken or worn out it is best to replace it. More secure locking handles are now available to suit the tilt-a-door system and locks can be fitted to match your main house key for one key convenience. If the door needs the lock wires replaced, a tilt-a-door kit is available to replace the wire and opening assembly.

T Handle for Tilt-a-Door

Old worn out T Handle
Old worn out T Handle
New T Handle with Keys
New T Handle with Keys

Locking Cables and Lubrication

The wires on a tilt-a-door lock are attached to the locking catches and thread through the opening mechanism in the center of the door. The wires are not tied off in the center of the door as the opening force is balanced between both sides of the catches to make the catches open simultaneously.

Lubricate the door hinges with a small amount of white grease. The lock can be lubricated with a lock lubricant every once in a while. This will help keep the tilt-a-door in good working condition.

Tilt-a-Door Inside Assembly

Old Tilt-a-Door Lock Assembly
Old Tilt-a-Door Lock Assembly
Newly Fitted Tilt-a-Door Lock Assembly
Newly Fitted Tilt-a-Door Lock Assembly

Tilt-a-Door Wire and Catch

Tilt-a-Door Wire and One of the Catches
Tilt-a-Door Wire and One of the Catches

Comment on the Tilt-a-Door Hub

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      My trackless single piece garage door won't open as the top of the garage door has started to hit the concrete at the top. Can anyone help me on how to adjust the side mounted hinge very similar to the one in the picture at the top ?

    • Keri Machin profile image

      Keri Machin 

      6 years ago from Miami Florida

      nice hub thanks for the great info!

    • profile image

      Suzy Frame 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this great information! i have been lookin into doors burnaby and what they can offer me! Can you tell me where I can find more information like this? Thanks again for sharing! Through my research this website has been helpful:


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