What’s Right For You: 6 Types of Commercial Garage Door You Need to Know

Not two businesses are the same. No two business locations are the same. And, they all need a specific look at their commercial garage door needs.

Most business owners don’t even notice their garage door until it needs repair or replacement. For example, distributors may open and close their doors hundreds of times a day especially where the weather affects the business. You may need security as well as speed and performance out of your commercial doors.

Other businesses need easy access for visitors and customers. But, that access could invite invasive entry by thieves, burglars, and hijackers. A segmented commercial garage door with a  limited entry will help with security and air circulation.

Some operations in healthcare and hotels are at special risk of a spreading fire. They may need garage doors to close automatically when alarms are engaged. Such fireproof doors stop the spread of fire or other threats to people and property.

And, some businesses require good looks. Doors that face the street should be presentable enough to say positive things about the operation behind the doors. They need a durable but attractive appearance and utility.

So, when thinking what type of commercial garage door is right for you, you must consider your business purpose and plan, your building’s architecture and space, and your budget and time constraints. You might start with research among the Technical Data Sheets made available by DASMA (The Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association International).

6 types of commercial garage doors:

Chances are your residential garage door is pretty standard. Home developers and local ordinances usually standardize the doors they frame and install. So, other than color and features, they are similar.

Your residential door will open only a few times a day, is usually operated with a remote, and is easily repaired or replaced. But, business doors serve different purposes.

1. Sectional garage doors raise and lower like your home garage. Hinged panel sections are pulled by a powered chain drive to raise and lower on wheels inside a vertical and horizontal track.

The open usable space is determined by the width and height of the building design. Commercial garage doors will be thicker and heavier than residential doors, so the spacing must allow for the hardware that runs the size and weight. But, the latest sectional garage doors come in different weights, and some have full view glass panels. Each option changes your space and construction factors.

2. Fire-rated garage doors operate like other door configurations. The difference is they offer greater protection against fire or the spread of fire. Typically roll-up doors, they are thicker and heavier.

Fire-rated garage doors are made of stainless steel or other durable metals. Used in warehouses, regional distribution centers, and parking garages. They are custom-built for location and building design with automatic closing hardware to respond to fire alarms.

Fire-rated garage doors must be UL and fire-rated to prevent a fire breach for four hours. Providers work with business owners to integrate fire doors with their escape and emergency plans.

3. Tilt-up garage doors are lightweight doors. Instead of rolling up like sectional doors, they are one piece. They lift on a pivoting hinge. When the door is open, it lies parallel to the garage roof and sticks out from the building. The tilt-up device uses a fulcrum for balance and leverage, and while the system makes lifting some weights easier, it has its limits with larger bay commercial needs.

They take up more space than sectional garage doors. But, they are light enough to lift by hand. Low-budget, they lack the durability and insulation features of other doors. For small businesses with little traffic in their garages, they are the go-to option for budget-conscious owners.

4. Scissor-gate garage doors are unique in looks and operation. They work horizontally rather than vertically. The door sections move to the side. Constructed of durable and secure steel, one panel opens like a regular door before moving to the side. And, you can design them in trifold and four-fold configurations.

Scissor gates are a modern spin on the original garage doors in barns and stables. They require enough room for the panels to sit at the side when open. They do provide a lot of flexibility, versatility, and headroom because they run along trolleys in tracks. And, they may be moved manually or by motors without the need for ceiling mounts.

5. Hinged garage doors are simple in design, hanging and opening like normal doors from hinges on either side. However, hinged commercial doors are larger and heavier depending on the material and insulation. The galvanized steel, aluminum, or wood doors are installed in existing door frames or with pre-configured door frames.

They open at the center to present a good experience and can be customized to include windows and other features. They are no-frills doors that can be managed manually or with powered automation.

6. Roll-up garage doors fill large spaces at distribution centers and warehouses. Springless versions provide a high-speed and programmed operation that manages speed, gathers traffic data, and assures emergency stops.

Appearance is standard, but materials vary in strength, durability, and insulation. Some roll-up doors include pedestrian entry to avoid engaging full operation. Larger doors should be rated for wind and other tough weather conditions. On a smaller scale, roll-up doors can be powered or operated manually.

Determine what’s right for you before you buy

Function usually trumps appearance in the selection of commercial garage doors. The doors must work dependably and securely. They must comply with building and health and safety codes. As the Door and Hardware Federation recommends, “Manufacturers and building owners/managers must be aware of their maintenance obligations under both health and safety legislation.”

Owners want insulation, convenience, endurance, and easy maintenance. Employees want ease and speed of operation. You should read more about roll-up doors and other commercial garage door options before you make your choice. Materials, durability, power, and space requirements can mean so much more than price.

Image: Jill 111

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