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The demands placed on garage doors by commercial businesses are great; often times commercial doors must be incredibly large to allow trucks to enter or very strong to keep thieves and vandals at bay.
This can require massive doors and an immensely powerful motor to open and close them. To accommodate such great demands, garage door and motor manufacturers create doors and motors specifically designed for these commercial contexts.
What is a commercial garage door?
Commercial or industrial garage doors are those doors which are used in, unsurprisingly, a commercial or industrial setting. This can be for shops and stores, for factories and warehouses, for depots, parking facilities, or otherwise. The two ‘traditional’ types of commercial garage doors are roller doors and roller shutters.
Roller Shutters vs Roller Doors
Roller Shutters are the ‘HEAVY-DUTY’ iteration of a roller door. Shutters are typically much larger than roller doors – to accommodate larger vehicles – and are composed of individual slats of steel or aluminium.
These slats are much stronger than the single furled sheet of the roller doors. They provide greater security and are much more difficult to damage should a thief or vandal attempt to do damage to the door. These slats are also designed to slide into place, connecting each slat to the next. This allows the roller shutters to be any size, while roller doors are restricted to a maximum size of 5 meters high by 5 meters wide.
Which is the best choice for me?
Unless there is a particular reason you require the additional security provided by roller shutters, the size of your garage door will be the main determining factor in whether a roller door or a roller shutter is the ideal commercial garage door for you.
If your door is greater than 5m x 5m (height x width), you will require a roller shutter. If your door is smaller than 5m x 5m, a roller door will be satisfactory.
Commercial doors vs residential doors
Typically, commercial doors perfectly suited to the commercial application for which they are designed. As such, there is a huge variety of commercial garage doors in terms of size, shape and material.
Residential Doors are of a more standardised size, and generally made from Colorbond steel. These doors do however offer a greater number of ‘aesthetic’ and design choices, including patterns and textures.
Commercial garage doors can be used more frequently than residential garage doors – some commercial garage doors open and close dozens or hundreds of times throughout the day (as in the case of a private parking lot, where it will open and close with each entry and exit of a vehicle).
Some commercial garage doors are HUGE in comparison to even the largest of residential garage doors (especially those commercial doors used in a factory, warehouse, or hangar which accommodate trucks and other large transportation vehicles).
Additionally, cost, reliability, and ease of repair are of greater importance in the case of commercial garage doors – as such, typically Roller Doors are preferenced above Sectional Garage Doors.
Given the wide range of different applications, there is equally as wide a range of commercial garage doors. The best way to determine which set-up is the best for you is to you give us a call on (08) 9304 9334 and talk to us about the application for which you will be using the door. We’ll be able to walk you through the options and help you determine which is the best option for you.
You’ll usually find that for those commercial doors which are small and seldom used (eg, store entrance), that the cost-effective manual roller door will be the optimal choice as it is both cheap, easy to use, and the lack of a motor is not too great an inconvenience.
For those commercial doors which are frequently used, (warehouse, factory, and transport depots), it is ideal to have roller doors or shutters designed specifically for frequent use – these doors are tensioned with a specifically designed ‘high volume’ torsion spring.
The size of the commercial door will need to be matched to those vehicles which will pass through the door’s opening, with doors of greater height being used in those circumstances where trucks and large transport vehicles are used.
Finally, Roller Doors are the typical style of door used in commercial contexts given their cheaper price tag, the simplicity of their design and use. Roller Shutters are the second choice only when Roller Doors are inappropriate for the commercial context for which it will be used.
Commercial garage door style and colours
Commercial Garage doors come in two styles: roller doors, and roller shutters, both of which we have explored above.
Commercial roller doors are available in all colorbond colours, while commercial roller shutters are available in almost any and every colour. This is because roller shutter slats, the individual panel-like pieces are made from steel. This steel must be painted after its manufacture to colour the roller shutters. The paint can be customised to whichever colours is desired, but the vast majority of roller shutters are painted with a standard ColorBond colour. This is the case as Colorbond colours are very common, and cheaper than a customised colour, and aesthetics are often not the highest priority for warehouses and factories.
Repair & maintenance service
Unlike residential garage doors which is simply an inconvenience when it is not operational, commercial garage doors can carry significant monetary consequences when they are not working as they should be. Many businesses would struggle to continue their operations should their door fail to open or close when required. When commercial garage doors do fail and are in need of repair, if they are halting operations, their repair is prioritised above the service and repair of residential garage doors.
Additionally, commercial garage doors are often very high, and very heavy. Should a roller shutter come crashing down for one reason or another, anything that is situated within the opening will be crushed. To a person, this will cause very serious injury or death.
For a bit of perspective, a typical commercial roller door (not a roller shutter, which is even heavier) which is ~5 meters wide and ~5 meters high (commercial garage doors can be much larger than this) weighs about 300kgs. If this door were to come crashing down on top of someone or something, this would be as if a Harley Davidson Fatboy (weight 310kg) Motorcycle were to fall from a height of 5 meters onto that person. They would NOT be in a good state.
Due to the nature of commercial activity, it is very common for roller doors and roller shutters to sustain damage as a result of forklift impacts. This sort of damage is generally covered under the vast majority of insurance policies but, if no repairs are made, the door is left in its damaged state, or the door is not maintained, the door’s warranty can become void.
As roller shutters are composed of individual slats, if a number become damaged, only those damaged slats must be replaced. This is in contrast to roller doors, which must be replaced in their entirety if they become damaged.
Is it important to service your commercial door?
Given the monetary consequences and the risk of serious injury or death that can result from a failed garage door, it is critically important to have your commercial doors regularly serviced to ensure that they continue to operate smoothly and safely.
How often should you service your commercial door?
In Australia, it is an OH&S requirement that commercial doors are serviced by an accredited service technician once per year at a minimum.
It is also very common for a landlord to request a service report of the door’s maintenance. Servicing also helps prevent costly downtime caused by the failing garage door hindering your business operations.
Commercial door motors
The motors (also known as openers) used for commercial doors are matched to the size of the door. The bigger and heavier the door, the more powerful the motor must be. While some residential garage door motors are acceptable for use in the case of the smaller commercial roller doors, for the larger roller doors and roller shutters, specific commercial motors will be required.
Which motor should you use for your commercial door?
The primary range of commercial garage door motors we recommend and use in our work is the LR Range by Grifco. This is a range of DC motors which will require an electrician to connect to 3 phase power. We recommend this range as it is a particularly great fit for commercial garage doors. They are not only great motors, but they also come with a warranty which is valid when used for a commercial application (many motors’ warranty does not apply when the door is used for a commercial application).
As with all garage door motors on the market, the motor remotes are paired specifically with their matching motors. They are generally sold together as a package. The remotes will be supplied with the installation of any new motor or can be supplied after the fact. If you are looking to purchase new remotes to work with your existing commercial garage door motor you will need to ensure the remotes are compatible with your motor before you make the purchase.
How many garage door opener remotes can I pair with my door’s motor?
Commercial garage doors can have a large number of remotes programmed to the door’s motor. This will allow an entire fleet of vehicles to operate the door. Additionally, if the motor does ‘max out’ the number of remotes which can be coded to the motor, add-on receivers can be added to the garage door set-up to allow further garage door remotes to be coded.
I require new remotes, where can I get them?
Opener remotes can be purchased from most garage door companies (including us, check out our online shop). If you’re uncertain as to which remotes you require, refer to your garage door motor manual or give your local garage door company a call – they should be able to identify which remote you require.
Keypads & wall buttons
As with the remotes, wall buttons are also matched them to their matching motor. The wall button is supplied and installed at the same time as the motor and can be replaced if it stops working. Additionally, external keypads are available. These keypads allow you to operate the door by entering a 4-digit PIN. External keypads are great options for those instances where it is not realistic for everyone who needs to operate the garage door to carry a coded remote with them.
Commercial door dimensions: height & width
There are 2 tiers of commercial garage door: Light Industrial, and Heavy Industrial.
Light industrial doors are roller doors and have a maximum height and width of 5 meters by 5 meters.
Heavy industrial doors are roller shutters and are used for those doors over and above the 5-meter height.
That being said, commercial garage doors range from being smaller than residential garage doors to being much larger. Regardless of the commercial application for which you require a garage door, you will likely be able to find a garage door to meet your size requirements.
Commercial door cost
Light industrial roller doors start from around $3,500 while heavy industrial roller shutters can be up to $20,000 for the extremely large shutters used in extreme circumstances such as airport hangars.
The best way to determine the cost of your commercial garage door is to give your local garage door company a call and allow them to determine which model of door and size of door is required. They should be able to provide you with an accurate quote.
Commercial garage doors have many individual moving parts due to their large size. It is not uncommon for these parts to endure some level of wear and tear before eventually breaking and needing to be replaced.
Roller shutter slats
Roller shutter slats are incredibly strong – much stronger than the solid panel of the roller doors and are much more difficult to damage should a thief or vandal attempt to do damage to the door. These slats have ‘hooked‘ ends, by sliding one panel’s hooked end into the corresponding ‘hooked’ end of the neighbouring panel, they are connected. There is no limit to how many slats can be connected, allowing roller shutters to be made to any size.
Additionally, as the slats are removable panels, should a number become damaged, they can be individually replaced.
Torsion springs take the strain of up to 80% of the door’s weight, such that only 20% of the door’s weight must be moved by the door’s opener. If the spring were to snap, and someone attempted to operate the garage door, the motor would fail and the door would likely come crashing down.
While roller shutters don’t have seals, roller doors do. These seals are designed to ‘seal’ the opening to prevent fire embers, dirt, dust, and vermin from slipping through the gap around the edges of the door.
All garage doors, commercial or otherwise, require tracks to guide the door as it opens and closes to ensure that it opens and closes safely and without issue. These tracks can wear down or be pushed out of alignment in the case that the garage door is impacted. As soon as an issue with the track has been identified, it must be addressed before the door can be operated. Attempting to operate the garage door while the track is not in a working state will put your garage door set up at risk of enduring further damage.
Locks are frequently required for commercial garage doors to ensure thieves and vandals do not do damage to your property. Roller Doors come with in-built door locks and have the option of additional floor locks and side bolts – 3 different types of locks attached to 3 different parts of the door. A minimum of 1 lock is required for roller doors as a roller door, whose spring is correctly tensioned, is easily opened by hand.
In the case of roller shutters, they do not come with locks nor are locks required. The roller shutters are so large and so heavy that they cannot be opened without the assistance of a specific commercial roller shutter opener.
Garage door safety beams project a laser beam between two points on either side of the garage door opening. When someone or something passes through the beam and cuts it off, it will detect that something is in the opening and will not allow the door to close. This is a critically important safety feature of any commercial garage door given their immense size and weight, and their potential to crush someone should they be in the door’s opening when it is closing.
Given their importance, these safety beams are a requirement for all commercial garage doors in Australia. The safety beams do come included with any commercial motor purchase and installation. The expected lifespan of the safety beams is comparable to that of the motor, meaning that it is unlikely that they will need to be replaced before the motor is. Though, given the safety beam’s location – close to the ground – it is in a position where it is prone to damage. If it is damaged and no longer working, it will need to be replaced as soon as possible.
Commercial door installation
Commercial garage door installation is much more difficult a task than traditional residential garage door installation. Given that the size, weight and height of the door, specialised skills and equipment is required and cannot simply be performed by a regulation qualified garage door technician.
While a ladder is usually sufficient tech required to install a garage door, to successfully install a commercial garage door both an elevator work platform and lifting equipment is required.
An elevator work platform is required to get the technician up to the appropriate working height to allow him to perform the installation. It is not uncommon for this height to be above 5 meters, especially in the case of roller shutters.
Lifting equipment is required to raise the garage door, which can weigh up to and over several hundred kilograms, up to the position where it can be installed.
Additionally, given the immense weight of the commercial garage doors, different and specialised fixings are required to be able to take the weight of the door.
A traditional garage door technician will not have the skills nor the required qualifications to perform a commercial roller shutter installation. If in Western Australia, the installation will need to be performed by a specialised technician with the appropriate White Card, High-Risk Work License, and Working at Heights tickets.
Commercial door insulation
While sectional garage doors – the most common type of residential garage door – can be insulated to reduce the transfer of noise and heat through the garage door, unfortunately, insulation is not possible in the case of roller doors nor roller shutters – the two most common commercial garage door types.
This is the case as garage door insulation requires the thickening of the door with an insulating material; foil, foam, or fibreglass. Commercial garage doors, in the process of opening, furl into a cylinder. The slats (in the case of roller shutters) and the steel (in the case of roller doors) if thickened with an insulating material would not be able to furl, effectively preventing the door from opening. It would be stuck closed. This is not a very useful garage door if it cannot open.
For this reason, commercial garage doors cannot be insulated… UNLESS you use a sectional garage door in place of a roller door or roller shutter!
Using a sectional garage door for commercial purposes is not common but can be done if there is appropriate ceiling space and if the door dimensions are less than 6 meters wide, and 3 meters high. If the door’s dimensions are outside this range, you will, unfortunately, be restricted in your choices to roller doors and roller shutters.
Manufacturers of commercial doors
The two primary commercial garage door manufacturers are B&D, and Centurion Garage Doors.
B&D offer three types of commercial garage doors: roller doors, roller shutters (both of which we have explored quite extensively), and sectional doors. Their commercial sectional doors are heavy-duty doors and are much stronger than a traditional sectional door. Additionally, their P7 Industrial Range is unique as it is composed of an aluminium frame with a variety of inserts. These inserts can be solid, transparent, or mesh which will allow the flow of air through the door.
Centurion Garage Doors do not offer sectional garage doors, nor roller shutters, but they are the leading manufacturers of roller garage doors in Western Australia. If you encounter a commercial roller door in Western Australia, there is a high likelihood that it is a Centurion manufactured door.