By Greg Carannante
City & Shore HOME Issue
When it comes to curb appeal, homeowners tend to focus on things like landscaping, lighting and their home’s paint job. But one of the exterior’s most prominent areas is often overlooked.
The garage door can take up to 30 percent of a home’s exterior but is usually only thought of when it refuses to open or close. Yet, consider its value: A new garage door provides a home’s No. 1 return on investment, according to a 2019 cost vs. value report by Remodeling Magazine.
“A new garage door virtually pays for itself,” says Jack Trout Jr., president of EDL/Gate Masters in Fort Lauderdale, which has been supplying garage doors to South Florida homeowners and builders since 1964. “It returns a whopping 97.5 percent of the cost recouped when you decide to sell your home.”
The value of a garage door is magnified in hurricane-prone South Florida, where a new door could bring a better rate on insurance and, more importantly, a failing door could spell disaster in a storm. Some doors add the benefit of insulation to minimize heat and noise from the outside.
New garage doors must be tested for specific wind code requirements and be impact-rated for wind-borne debris to comply with building code requirements for wind speed, exposure and structural type. Because Broward and Miami-Dade counties are in a High-Velocity Hurricane Zone, garage doors must meet the strict Miami-Dade building codes.
“And the answer is yes to the question, ‘Do I need a permit?’” Trout says. “We only install impact garage doors rated to meet the required building code to pass a final inspection by the specific municipality.”
“It only takes two to three hours to replace a garage door in most cases,” says Trout, 63, who in 1977 started working at the family-owned and -operated business begun by his father 58 years ago. In 1963, while employed by an early manufacturer of radio-controlled openers, Jack Trout Sr. came up with the idea to build a miniature replica of a home and put it on the back of a truck with a working garage door. It served as a roving advertisement for the convenience of automatic openers.
The demonstration proved so successful that only a year later he started EDL, which stands for Electronic Door-Lift. Trout Sr., 87, continues to work for the company, and his grandson, Travis, 38, handles day-to-day operations. In the 1990s, EDL purchased Gate Masters among other companies and expanded into automatic openers, custom aluminum gates, automated access systems, security barrier arms and other specialty products.
“Most often, we pair the new garage door with a new opener,” says Trout, a resident of Lake Worth. “Quality garage door openers should last from 15 to 20 years. Openers can be equipped with motion sensors that light the garage the moment you enter, as well as with a battery backup that gives you access even when the power is out.”
Of course, that’s not the only way that technology has expanded on the convenience of the rudimentary openers that gave birth to the company. For example, Trout says, some openers come with an app that allows you to operate your garage door from your smartphone, as well as receive real-time alerts when it opens and closes. Doors can also be synced with popular smart home devices, allowing owners to enable secure in-garage delivery of packages. Some openers come with a built-in camera that makes it possible to view or record what’s happening in the garage, and others allow two-way audio between garage and smartphone.
It’s well-known that the homebuilding industry has been hampered by labor shortages and supply-chain issues. This is especially true for garage doors, for which prices have reportedly doubled or tripled in the past year. A supplier for several South Florida builders, EDL/Gate Masters has also been affected. But Trout says his company’s “long, outstanding relationships with our suppliers” — such as this year’s 50th anniversary with Raynor Garage Doors — has been helpful in trying to minimize the cost for customers.
With a three-generation profile in South Florida, it’s no surprise that the Trout family enterprise has cultivated connections to the community. “In one unique initiative, we’ve partnered with the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department to help first responders save lives,” Trout says. “We contribute garage doors from previous projects for training demonstrations that show rookie firefighters how to access burning homes.”
In addition, Trout says the company has partnered with the Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum, at 1022 W. Las Olas Blvd. “We are donating garage doors with 3-inch-thick, impact-resistant glass that will look spectacular on this historic fire station built in 1927.”
PHOTO: Courtesy of EDL/Gate Masters in Fort Lauderdale