The Different Types of Commercial Garage Doors

Purchasing a new garage door for your business is a big step toward protecting your investment. When you take the time to select a high-quality garage door, you are investing in your business’s external appearance, as well as its security and productivity. After all, time is money. Any time you spend waiting for a slow door to open and shut or wrestling with a door that isn’t equipped for its job is time you can’t be focusing on the things you need to do.

This means it’s important to take the time to consider your options when it comes to installing a commercial garage door. When it comes to picking the right garage door, you should select a door that is built with high-quality materials, designed to last for a long time and built to withstand the frequent action that is sure to come from a busy business like yours.

When it comes to selecting the door that’s best for your business, it’s easy to get online and start looking at your options. But, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, the list can quickly become overwhelming. Before you just pick a door off of a list, do your homework. Understanding the different types of commercial garage doors — both what they’re made of and how they work — will help you to choose the one that will be best for your business.

Choosing a Commerical Garage Door

To select the door that’s the best for your business, you first need to think about how the door will be used. You won’t be able to narrow down your options until you ask yourself these four questions:

1. How Will This Door Be Used?

In other words, what will the door’s primary function be? Consider whether it will be opening and closing several times a day to move vehicles in and out, and whether those vehicles will be bringing in equipment or shipments to be unloaded. Perhaps you just need a door to seal off a garage or shed primarily used for storage. Will clients and employees be moving in and out of this entrance on a regular basis? Developing a clear understanding of how the garage door will be used will give you an idea of what features you need in a door.

2. How Important Is the Appearance of This Door?

Consider where this door will be installed. If it will be installed on the front of your building and be the first thing potential clients see when they arrive, you probably want something that looks nicer than if it is going to be installed in the back where only your employees know it’s there. Will this door be an integral part of your building’s design? While any garage door you purchase should be durable, some are more visually pleasing than others. Knowing where your garage door will be placed, as well as its role in the design of your building, can help you narrow down your options.

3. What Features Do My Local Building Codes Require?

Your local commercial building codes will give you some direction on what is or is not permitted in your area and in the type of building your business will occupy. Building codes are a set of regulations that govern the design, construction and maintenance of your building as well as the materials included in it — such as garage doors. Their intent is to make sure that you and your employees stay safe when working inside your building. Since the garage door is such an integral part of a building, there are specific regulations about what can and should be installed, so make sure you know up front what your locality requires.

Besides local codes, you’ll also want to do your homework and know what is required by the National Fire Protection Association and the Americans With Disabilities Act. There are additional guidelines in place to protect anyone who comes into your building.

4. What Is My Budget?

While cost shouldn’t be your only consideration when purchasing a garage door, we know it’s going to play a large role in your final decision. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what you can afford so you don’t waste your time looking at doors you can’t buy. As you are doing your research, pay attention to the costs of different designs and materials. Ask questions about installation costs and any extras that might not be included with the door, such as an automatic opener. As we said before, don’t compromise on safety or durability to save a few dollars. You’ll end up spending more on maintenance if you don’t purchase a high-quality product.

Types of Commerical Garage Doors

Once you have a clear picture in your head of how your door will function and what your building codes require, then you can begin to explore your options.

1. Overhead Garage Doors

An overhead garage door is similar to what you’d find in most modern homes. Also known as “Sectional Doors,” these doors are designed to be raised to the ceiling on tracks using rollers where the door either remains in a vertical position or, more commonly, rests parallel to the ceiling. These can be made in a variety of materials, including wood or aluminum, and they can be crafted to match a variety of exteriors. They can also be designed to have windows or not, and they are available insulated as well.

2. Roll-up Sheet Doors

These doors are the type of door you would typically see at a storage facility or a small warehouse. Slats made of steel roll are attached to create a sheet of metal and guided up and down by roll-formed guides. If you’ve ever rented a storage unit, then you’ll likely be familiar with this type of door because this is usually the type that protects the front of storage units. When they go up, they roll up into a coil, where they are stored until it’s time to pull them back down. This “roll” takes up less space and leaves the ceiling of the building open and free from obstruction.

Some people like this because it takes up less space, and therefore it looks much more professional. These doors are also very secure, making them a great option for keeping your building and its contents safe.

3. Fire-Rated Doors

These kinds of doors are good in facilities where chemicals or potentially flammable materials might be present. Fire-rated doors are designed to keep a fire from spreading through a facility by breaking a building into compartments that prevent the spread of flames and smoke. They look similar to a roll-up door, but they are fire resistant, which means that when they are in place, they can keep a fire contained. This method of containment gives people time to get out of the building, and it also protects other areas of your facility that might not have been the initial source of the fire. These doors can be raised and lowered manually, or you can install an automatic option that closes them when a fire or smoke is detected.

There are commercial regulations in place regarding fire-rated garage doors. If you’re considering this option, it’s important to do your homework and know what the regulations are in your area. These building codes will also give you information about which type of door you’ll need since ratings and specs vary depending on the purpose of the building and the location they’re in.

4. High-Speed Garage Doors

High-speed garage doors offer businesses faster opening and closing times. Why is this important? It minimizes the amount of time the door is open, which means that your facility’s temperature will stay more even and won’t take on extra cold or hot air — no one wants to lose all of their air-conditioned air to the summer heat because the garage door was open too long. These doors can save you money on heating and cooling your facility, and will also protect any temperature-sensitive materials that might be housed in your facility.

5. Aluminum and Glass Doors

Aluminum and glass doors provide a unique contemporary look that maximizes the light in any commercial space. They are typically recommended as a great option for restaurants, service stations, fire stations or car dealerships, but their unique modern vibe and the way they showcase the view outside your building can make them a great option for many different kinds of businesses. They have even been used as a divider between two indoor spaces or between a building’s interior and a patio or other exterior space.

Some of these designs can be made with steel instead of aluminum. While these doors are often recommended for their stylish and modern look, they are not lacking in durability. Because they are made with aluminum and strong glass, they are sturdy and will hold up to the volume of use they’ll get in a commercial setting.

6. Insulated Garage Doors

Insulated garage doors are designed to keep heat inside where it belongs in the winter, and they keep the cool air in place in the summer. This option is designed to keep you comfortable, but it also to keep your company’s energy costs down. These doors are even stronger than regular commercial doors because, unlike regular doors which are a single layer of material, these doors have more than one layer. If you’re looking for a sturdy option that’s going to keep your energy costs down, this door may be the one for you.

7. Service Doors

Similar to roll-up doors, service doors are typically made from steel or aluminum and work by coiling up. You often see these types of doors used around loading docks, warehouses or storage facilities. They work by placing slats made from aluminum or steel together into a continuous curtain of metal. Unlike roll-up doors, these doors are usually operated with a chain-hoist or a motor. Also, this coil rolls inside a protective metal hood rather than simply around itself. This creates an even cleaner look compared to roll-up doors.

This type of door has many benefits. These doors can be insulated, which can be important to maintain an even temperature inside your business throughout the year. They come in a wide variety of options and work well in a multitude of openings. Finally, these doors are extremely secure, providing you with great peace of mind every step of the way.

Which Door Is Right for Me?

Once you understand which doors are out there, you can start narrowing down your list. First, apply the criteria you established after answering the four questions at the beginning. Then, if you are still debating between two or more options, break it down by evaluating each door for:

1. Appearance

Consider the color and design options available. Is there a look that fits with the appearance and architecture of the building? Are there other doors or features you need to match?

2. Durability

What materials are available in the style you prefer? Consider whether they will hold up to the intended function of the door, as well as the wind and weather in the region where your business is located.

3. Operation

Do you need an automatic door? Most people would say yes, but this can be an added expense you’ll need to factor into your budget. Also, do you need a high-speed door that will open and close faster than the average door?

4. Initial Cost

Will the door you are considering fit within the parameters of your budget? Don’t forget to factor in any extra costs that might be associated with your door. Also remember that once you select a style you like, pricing can vary by size and the material you choose.

5. Cost of Maintenance

Over time you will need to service and maintain your commercial garage door to keep it operating in peak condition. What are the maintenance costs that will be associated with this particular door? Do you have the budget to maintain it appropriately?

6. Energy Efficiency

How does this door compare to the other options in terms of its ability to keep a steady temperature inside your facility? Will it prevent conditions outside from impacting indoor temperatures? Determine whether you can expect to see any savings on your monthly energy costs if you select a particular model over another.

Contact RCS Garage Doors for Commercial Installations

When it comes to selecting and installing a commercial garage door, it’s important to work with an experienced company with a reputation for excellent customer service and high-quality products. Servicing clients around Charlotte, N.C., for more than 30 years, RCS Carolinas has an experienced staff ready to work with you through the installation process, and then continue to be your go-to for repairs and maintenance for years to come. We are proud to offer a selection of LiftMaster® electric operators and accessories, as well as a variety of Clopay® garage doors for both commercial and residential purposes.

We pride ourselves in offering high-quality products as well as service. We know garage doors, and we are ready to help you find the best door for your business. If you’re in the market for a commercial garage door, look no further than RCS Carolinas. Contact us today, and be on your way to a brand new garage door.

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