Is the Garage Door Pulling Double Duty as Your Front Door? Here’s How to Keep it Safe

Kristi Pahr
Written by Kristi Pahr
Updated February 7, 2022
Children biking down driveway
Photo: iStock / Getty Images


  • People use their garages as the main entrance to their homes, but you must maintain them for safety.

  • Garage doors are becoming an opportunity to add fashionable curb appeal.

  • Safe storage of chemicals and tools is vital for garage safety. 

  • Installing an electric keypad can make your garage even safer.

  • The garage door should be serviced and repaired by a professional.

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Ah, yes, the garage. No longer just for the safe storage of the family car, the garage is now a multipurpose feature leveraged as a storage room, activity corner, workshop, and entryway. So if your family has eschewed the front door for the garage door as the main entry into your home, here’s what you need to know to eliminate potential dangers and create a space safe for your family.

The Garage Door is the New Main Entry

Since the invention of the automatic garage door opener and the attached garage, using the garage instead of the front door is now trendy—and for obvious reasons. It’s super convenient to push a button, drive your car in, and walk a few steps to enter the house, especially in bad weather. 

Garage doors are now focal points, a far cry from the detached garage you tucked into the back yard, invisible from the street. These days, you have plenty of garage door styles to give your curb appeal a boost, including: 

  • Carriage house style

  • Modern metal and glass

  • Cedar

  • Traditional panel

No matter how much you spend on your garage door or how nice the system is, it’s essential to keep your garage in tip-top shape, especially if your family comes and goes through the garage.

Garage Organization 101

The first step in maintaining a safe garage is to ensure it’s well-organized. Sure, you may be tempted to toss every random odd and end that doesn’t have a home into the garage, but this can create a dangerous space full of trip hazards and potential spills.

Lock Up Hazardous Materials

If your garage is the repository for all things poisonous,  take care to clearly label all chemicals and store them out of the reach of children and pets. High shelves are fine, but a locked cabinet is even better for storing high-risk materials like pesticides and paint thinner.

And when using any hazardous chemicals, like noxious paints or sealants, crack the garage door or a window to ensure adequate ventilation.

Store Tools Up and Away

It’s great to have various tools, but their haphazard placement makes injuries more likely. Utilizing tool chests and pegboards is a great way to keep your saws, hammers, and screwdrivers in order and prevent injury to yourself or the tools. No one likes broken drillbits, after all!

Labeled bins and organizers for fasteners like nails and screws are also handy. You won’t have to hunt for a few 1 1/2-inch wood screws or worry about said screw going through the bottom of your shoe and landing you at the doctor’s office for a tetanus shot.

Make Your Garage Door Even Safer

We’d understand if your fashionable, trendy door has you enamored, but it’s important to remember that it’s also a heavy-duty mechanical object that needs a little door safety and security tune-up every now and then.

Give Your Sensors Room to Work

Frequently check that your garage door sensors are not blocked. These sensors will stop the garage door from lowering if they detect movement, like a child or a pet attempting to scoot under the door while it’s closing. If these sensors aren’t working correctly, children or pets can become trapped beneath the garage door. The safety sensors should be properly connected and aligned, approximately four to six inches from the garage floor.

Leave Garage Door Repair to a Pro

Man repairing garage door
Photo: Andrey Popov / Adobe Stock

If your garage door needs repair, this is one we recommend leaving to the pros. A local garage door professional can assess the damage and give you an estimate to repair any problems they find with the door or with the motor or sensors that make the magic happen.

Understand Manual Release

Make sure you know how to use the garage door emergency release. A cord that dangles from the motor box, the manual release is vital if your electricity is out or there’s an emergency that renders your opener useless. Simply look for the red emergency release rope hanging from the door's track. Pull it to release it from the opener and lift the door manually.

Get a Keypad—and Back it Up

If you use your garage as the main entrance to your home, you may find yourself unable to gain entry if the power goes out. Installing a keypad and a garage door battery backup is one way to avoid being stuck in your driveway during the middle of a thunderstorm or other hazardous weather event.

A battery backup will provide your garage opening system with juice even when the whole street is without power. Most battery backups turn on automatically in the event of a power outage, allowing you to enter with your door opener or a keypad mounted on the exterior of the home.

Keypads are also a safe and convenient way for modern-day latchkey kids to enter the home. No more worrying about a lost key—if they remember the code, they’re home-free.

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