Industrial Basics – Roll-Up Door Considerations

If you are interested in buying a warehouse or industrial building there are a few critical items to familiarize yourself with. Roll-up Doors are a defining feature of  industrial buildings, and it’s important for users and  investors to know some the details regarding their selection, use, and construction.

What are different kinds of industrial building doors?  There are a few different types of industrial doors; overhead doors, roll-up doors, and scissor doors.   Here’s an overview with some pros and cons for each type:

  • Overhead Doors (Or Sectional Doors)–these doors fold or bend to open, and slide into an overhead track.  They don’t coil, and they may have multiple sections, like residential garage doors.  When these doors are open, they hang overhead in front of the opening.
    • Pros: Often the panels that make up an overhead door are much wider and thicker than the small slats of a roll-up door, and can be heavily insulated.
    • Cons: Because the track hangs in front of the door, they limit the ceiling height of a building, and are seldom used for industrial buildings.
  • Scissor Doors (or Scissor Gates or Security Grilles) open to the sides, like a mesh, and often function as security measure in front of a storefront or opening, and can be used as a movable fence.  Often these doors are closed during operating hours for air flow and visibility.
    • Pros: These doors are easy slide open, and don’t take up much space. You can also easily see through them.
    • Cons: Generally used as security gates, often in conjunction with roll-up doors, and not usually used by themselves.  They also are not insulated and don’t block the elements.
  • Roll-Up Doors (Coiling Doors).  These doors are series of slats in a coil that pull into a drum with an enclosed greased spring.  They can be insulated or non-insulated.  These are are the industrial doors that probably come to your mind: ubiquitous in self-storage facilities and warehouses.
    • Pros:  Dont’ swing out (maximize space in warehouse), open and close quickly, are difficult to penetrate, and when open provide clear and open visibiliy.  Roll up doors coil into a drum, and provide maximum use of interior space.
    • Cons:  More difficult to insulate as they roll into

What size doors do you need?  That generally depends on what size vehicles will be using the door, what size the loading dock is, and how high the materials are that you will be moving.  For loading doors, trailers tend to be 8′-8’6″ wide, so a 9′ door will accommodate a 8’6″ trailer, and 10′ high door should provide unobstructed access to most trailers.

What have been your experiences with the selection and operation of industrial doors?  Are you satisfied with your current doors?  Do you have a certain type or size of industrial door and have regrets or lessons learned?  We’d love to learn from your experience!

This post originally appeared on Jonathan Aceves’ Blog.