The principal aim of lubricating your garage door is to foster smooth operation and extend its service life. You can achieve this using silicone or lithium grease because they are the ideal garage door lubricants you can easily get at your nearest hardware store.
However, choosing between the two can be a sport mainly because both are good at the job. This poses the question: Is the best garage door lubricant silicone or lithium? Let’s settle it.
- Best Garage Door Lubricants for Cold Weather
- How to remove oil stains from concrete garage floor
- Rustoleum garage floor epoxy problems
Garage door lubricant silicone or lithium
If utmost garage door durability is what you’re looking for, then silicone spray is the best lubricant for you. Not only is it easy to use, but it exhibits superior versatility and durability.
Silicone has the quality of an oil lubricant. For instance, Silicone is non-reactive to most substances, has low friction, does not oxidize, and maintains greasiness even at elevated temperatures. These qualities make it possible to be used in rubber materials even in hostile environments.
The qualities also make it possible to use Silicone in body implants, heat-resistant insulators, lubricants, and waterproofing for paper and ceramics.
This is not to say that lithium isn’t as effective because each of these lubricants has its advantages and drawbacks. If you’re still on the fence wondering which one to opt for, tag along as we explore each of them in detail so that you can make an informed choice.
Lithium mainly comprises petroleum and exhibits high density, making it suitable for heavy-duty garage doors. You can use it to sufficiently coat mobile metallic components of your garage door to minimize friction and prevent corrosion.
However, the petroleum component of lithium deteriorates rubber and plastic making it unsuitable for such materials.
That said, here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of using lithium as your garage door lubricant:
- High viscosity. A good lubricant is one that is highly viscous, an outstanding aspect of lithium grease. This feature makes lithium a perfect match for heavy-duty garage door parts such as hinges and springs.
- Good adherence. Lithium’s thickness and sticky nature enable it to adhere to surfaces, especially metals, properly. You can therefore use it sparingly because a little goes a long way.
- Long-lasting. Lithium can stick to metal surfaces for months, meaning you don’t have to constantly re-apply the lubricant, saving you time and energy.
- It has high-temperature thanks to the high boiling point of petroleum. This feature makes lithium ideal for use in areas with high temperatures.
- High moisture resistance enhances its ability to prevent corrosion.
In addition, you will notice that most lithium lubricants come in compressible tubes, allowing you to apply the grease to surfaces manually. This aspect gives you precise control over the application, enabling you to minimize runs by targeting specific parts of the garage door.
- Lithium grease can be messy because it comes in compressible tubes, increasing the likelihood of applying too much lubricant onto one surface.
- It can easily attract grime. Although desirable, the adherence quality of lithium poses a challenge because it makes it sticky, meaning all forms of debris can attach to surfaces with lithium. You will therefore have to clean regularly to prevent the accumulation of grime that would otherwise prevent your garage door from opening or closing smoothly.
- It is not compatible with plastic and rubber. The petroleum component that makes up lithium lubricants decays plastic and rubber and could end up impeding the performance of your garage door parts that comprise these materials.
As the name implies, this lubricant’s main component is silicone, a naturally slippery material. Unlike lithium grease, silicone lubricants often come in spray cans with a thin nozzle and an adjustable lid for convenience. These aspects, in addition to the following advantages, make them more user-friendly than lithium.
- Silicone is easy to use. You should spray the lubricant directly onto your target without applying it manually, and you’ll be done in no time.
- It offers a tidier application. Silicone evaporates faster following application, minimizing the chances of dirt building up on garage door parts and other equipment. Also, you can say goodbye to runs and greasy hands with silicone because you don’t have to apply it manually.
- It is highly versatile. Silicone’s impeccable versatility gives the lubricant an upper hand over lithium because you could use it for porous materials such as rubber, wood, and plastic.
- Long-lasting. Silicone permeates your garage door parts rather than simply adhering to the surface, enhancing its longevity.
- Water repellent. Once you spray silicone onto garage door surfaces, it saturates them, displacing moisture. In this way, silicone effectively prevents corrosion while simultaneously preventing the accumulation of dirt.
- Highly resilient. Not even harsh weather conditions can hinder the efficacy of silicone lubricants, making it an ideal choice if you live in too hot or cold environments.
- Easily navigates hard-to-reach areas thanks to the thin nozzle on silicone spray cans.
- Silicone lubricants don’t adhere to paint. If painting your garage door is on your to-do list, consider covering the surrounding garage door parts to prevent the grease from spilling or penetrating them.
Which is Better
With the pros and cons, you have probably chosen your best lubricant, depending on the type of material you want to lubricate. Even though both silicone and lithium lubricants are long-lasting, the latter is effective for heavy-duty garage door lubrication due to its high viscosity.
However, they are numerous advantages that come with Silicone lubricants. I’d go for Silicone lubricant due to its added benefits. For instance, silicone lubricants are easy to use as they eliminate manual applications, thanks to their spray cans with nozzle and an adjustable lid that enhances the convenience.
On the contrary, the Lithium or Grease lubricants are thick and are designed for manual applications on flat or almost flat friction surfaces. In addition, the Lithium and Grease lubricants also attract dust or dirt that can cause wear on your garage door. The problem of dirt transmission is eliminated by the silicone lubricant characterized by tidier applications. Silicone evaporates faster, which reduces the instances of dirt building up in your garage door.
Coupled with its high versatility, Silicone is better than Lithium Lubricants. You can use it on porous materials like wood, rubber, and plastic.
How do you lubricate a garage door opener?
Lubricating the garage door crosses the minds of most homeowners only when the door is squeaky and noisy. You should, however, regard it as a routine maintenance practice, without which your garage door will eventually crumble. Consider the squeakiness as your garage door’s cry for help when the wear and tear become unbearable and hinders its operation.
You may shy away from lubricating your garage door regularly due to the stereotype that it’s a mind-numbing process. On the contrary, you’ll be surprised to learn that the process can only take a few minutes and requires minimal effort to complete.
All you need is a step ladder, protective gloves, and a quality lubricant. Even better is that you only need to concentrate on specific parts rather than the entire garage door, and these include:
- Hinges. You will find garage door hinges in the middle of the door, holding it together. They make the garage door flexible and able to arch while opening or closing.
- Steel rollers. Consider rollers as the wheels through which the garage door glides as it opens and closes. Excess friction on the rollers is, therefore, a contributing factor to your garage door’s squeakiness.
Also, note that rollers can be made of nylon or plastic, so you should desist from lubricating these materials, especially if you’re using lithium grease, to prevent deteriorating them.
- Springs and end bearing plates. The springs serve as the source of balance for your garage door. Corrosion on the springs can therefore result in unbalancing your garage door, causing nuisance sounds. It would help if you also lubricated the end bearings on torsion springs to prevent them from jamming.
- The arm bar, lock, and keyhole. Remember to grease the armbar, which connects the garage door to the opener’s carriage to enable it to lift and lower the door smoothly. Lubricating the door lock and keyhole also goes a long way in allowing you to lock and unlock your garage door easily.
More importantly, it’s not advisable to lubricate your garage door tracks. The main reason is that the lubricant will likely build up on the track, causing them to jam. This could overwork your opener’s motor, compromising its durability. Concentrate on the moving parts of the garage door instead.
Additionally, keep the garage door lubricant away from cables and components made of rubber, nylon, or plastic, which don’t do well with grease. With this information in mind, you can get to work by following these steps:
How do you lubricate a garage door opener?
- Close the garage door and disconnect it from any power source to avoid accidents or electrical shocks.
- Inspect the garage door parts beforehand. This entails fastening all the removable components. Follow up by checking the rollers, hinges, and torsion springs for defects to establish whether it’s time to replace them.
- Clean the garage door tracks using a damp cloth to eliminate debris.
- Open the garage door manually, then lubricate the hinges entirely while ensuring you don’t miss the intersection points, which are prone to wear and tear.
- Grease the rollers which attach to the hinges. Note that this step only applies if your door has metal rollers. Silicone spray cans could come in handy in enabling you to access the inner parts of the rollers.
- Clean off any overflowing lubricant using a sponge so you don’t apply too much.
- Subsequently, sufficiently lubricate the torsion springs to ensure the garage door balances properly.
- Grease the upper part of the rail, so the chain glides smoothly.
- Follow up by operating the door repeatedly, so the grease settles in and spreads out evenly.
- Finish off by lubricating the lock and keyhole, then wipe any excess grease for best results.
Remember that lubrication isn’t a one-time procedure but a process that you should carry out at least twice a year. With a suitable lubricant, lubrication should be a straightforward procedure that could save you from costly repair services in the long run.
White Lithium Grease vs Silicone Lubricant: What’s the Difference?
Before we get to the difference between white lithium and silicone grease, it is essential to note that the former isn’t the same as regular lithium grease. White lithium grease often comes in spray cans and exhibits a thicker consistency than regular grease. Therefore, in terms of application, white lithium grease graces you with more preciseness as it doesn’t run or create a mess.
Among the main aspects that make silicone lubricant stand out is that it often comes in spray cans, which offer a more convenient application. However, now that white lithium also comes in similar containers, you may be wondering what distinguishes the two. Despite serving a similar purpose, white lithium grease and silicone lubricants differ in terms of:
The material that makes up each of these lubricants is the main distinguishing factor. The reason for this is that the material significantly contributes to the different properties of these products. Grease products usually combine base oil, thickener, and performance additives to achieve a thick consistency.
However, the type of each of these components varies from one grease product to another. For instance, silicone grease combines silicone oil and a thickener that gives it a semi-fluid consistency.
On the other hand, lithium grease combines lithium soap with a thickener to achieve its buttery appearance. Lithium also comprises petroleum, making it unsuitable for specific applications, which brings us to the next distinguishing factor.
In terms of versatility, silicone tends to be more versatile than lithium. You can use silicone with porous materials, including rubber, wood, and plastic, without causing damage. It is also as effective on metal surfaces because it prevents corrosion by displacing moisture.
Unlike silicone, white lithium grease isn’t a suitable go-to for porous surfaces, thanks to its petroleum component. However, you can go for it if you’re only dealing with metal surfaces because it’s very effective in coating metal.
Adherence to surfaces
White lithium grease is superior in terms of adherence to silicone lubricants. Among the outstanding characteristics of lithium grease is its stickiness. Thanks to this aspect, lithium protects metal surfaces from wear and tear by easily adhering to the surface.
This means that when you spray white lithium grease onto a surface, it stays there. While this contributes to the lubricant’s longevity, it can cause the accumulation of debris on your garage door. When you spray silicone onto a surface, it soaks rather than sticks onto the surface, minimizing the chances of dirt sticking onto your garage door parts.
Resilience, in this case, entails the ability of the lubricant to withstand harsh weather conditions. If you reside in an area with extreme weather conditions, this is a factor you would want to consider when selecting a lubricant.
Both silicone and white lithium grease are sufficiently resilient to harsh weather. If anything, it is a contributing factor to the lubricants’ popularity. However, white lithium grease is the way to go if you live in very hot or cold temperatures.
It can withstand temperatures ranging from -30 to 150 degrees Celcius in addition to extreme pressure. Silicone tends to be less resilient in very harsh climatic conditions.
When not to use Silicone Lubricant
Even with the massive benefits and versatility, there are materials or areas where the silicone lubricants should not be used, as described below;
- Never use Silicone on painted Surfaces. Silicone can quickly be taken up or sucked by the paints. Paints are non-sticky to Silicone, which means your lubricant can go to waste.
- Silicone is slippery and can slide off if you apply it on your floors where you walk or lay. This can cause injuries to you or members of the family.
- You should not use Silicone lubricant on switches, electrical connections, or relays since it can result in contact problems in these components, especially the switches.
Frequently Asked Questions- FAQs
Which is better lithium grease or silicone grease?
Silicone is better if you’re dealing with various materials other than metal. It’s an ideal choice if your garage door rollers or springs made of nylon. Silicone will minimize the accumulation of grime that would otherwise impede the performance of garage door parts following lubrication.
However, as a resident in an area with possibly rough weather, you should use lithium grease instead. In addition, lithium grease is your ultimate option if you’re dealing with metal surfaces only.
What should you not use lithium grease on?
It would be best if you didn’t use lithium grease on anything incompatible with petroleum. This includes vinyl, plastic, nylon, rubber, wood, and other porous materials that will decay following lubrication using lithium grease. Instead, use lithium whenever you want to lubricate metal surfaces, and it won’t disappoint.
Is silicone grease good for metal?
Yes, if anything, it is a popular lubricant for metal surfaces because it offers easy application and soaks into metal parts. Silicone can effectively protect metallic parts and equipment thanks to its water-repellent nature that prevents rusting.
What is silicone lube used for?
You can use silicone lube to waterproof, lubricate and protect your garage door parts and other equipment. Its slippery nature comes in handy in eliminating the squeakiness of garage door hinges and other components.
Apart from the garage door, silicone can adequately prevent corrosion of other materials such as bike chains. You can use it to displace moisture from wooden drawers, nylon, or plastic. It is an ideal go-to if you’re torn between which lubricant to use for different materials.
Will silicone spray damage rubber?
No. Silicone is a versatile lubricant. You can use it on different materials due to its corrosion protection and waterproof features on wood, plastic, metal, and rubber without worrying about possible damage.
If you are unsure of an ideal silicone lubricant, go for Barryman 1716 Professional Silicone spray. It has all the needed qualities to be used on different materials, including rubber.
Can you use Silicone on Metals?
Yes. Silicone is perfect for metals and can be used as a rust-retardant. The Silicone Spray is water-resistant; hence you can use it to protect your items from damage by moisture or a humid environment. For instance, you can use the Silicone Spray on Marine, home, and automotive metals to protect them from rust.
Besides, you can use it on your garage door hinges as a lubricant and protect the outside paint from corrosion or rust.
What lubricant is best for garage door rollers?
Both Silicone-based grease and lithium lubricants are perfect for your garage rollers. However, ensure you have a drop cloth when applying the lubricants to protect your garage floor from the grease stains. To realize a tidy finish, use a soft clean cloth to wipe off the drips, especially when using Lithium lubricant. Silicone lubricants result in neater finishes.
What is lithium-based grease used for?
Lithium-based grease, also called white Lithium lubricant, is a versatile or all-purpose lubricant. You can use it on various materials, including metals and plastics, to enhance movement efficiency by reducing friction. Most essentially, the lubricant is also ideal for protecting the materials against rust, making it perfect for metallic materials.
How often should garage door springs be lubricated?
Ideally, your garage door should be lubricated after every 6 months. However, the lubrication time may vary depending on how often you use your door. You may be prompted to lubricate the door springs before 6 months if you regularly use your garage. All you need is an efficient garage door spring system. Lubrication efficiently enhances the spring’s longevity by minimizing wear and tear.
The video below illustrates how you can lubricate your garage door
Ultimately, both silicone and lithium can sufficiently lengthen your garage door’s lifespan, and you can’t go wrong regardless of the one you choose. However, your choice should depend on various aspects.
The main factor is the material you’re dealing with; if it’s pure metal, then either can do. Also, use lithium grease if you don’t mind performing regular cleanups when grime sticks onto your garage door parts. Otherwise, silicone lubricant should be your ultimate solution.
If you have any question or comment, please feel free to interact with me in the comments section below. I hope you enjoyed the piece. Regards!