Steel Garage Doors
Frequent customer comment:
“I’d prefer not to have a steel garage door… The reason that we’re replacing is because the paint has flaked off… it’s rusting… the metal has split… it’s all dented… the spring has corroded… the cable is broken… it was always difficult to lift anyway… cold and draughty and UGLY!”
When you consider how much steel is a part of everyday life – cutlery, fridges, cars, trains - it is evidently a tough and durable material. It’s relatively inexpensive and easy to form. Steel, therefore, should be the perfect basis for mass-market garage door manufacture.
So what's gone wrong?
Frequently Asked Questions:
The likelihood and extent of minor panel damage during use– denting ,surface damage etc– is in direct correlation to the gauge– the thickness– of steel used in the construction of the door’s panel. Select the heaviest gauge your budget allows.
A steel garage door needs substance– [and, therefore weight] to withstand the considerable forces imposed on it during use and over time.
BUT– the ‘dead’ weight of garage door will not make it difficult to use-modern, high quality counter-balance systems will reliably allow you accurate and light operation THEREFORE– a “lightweight” door is actually likely to be more difficult to use than a ‘heavier’ but, crucially, better built, garage door; particularly in the longer term.
Garage Door Workshop offers twice as much door– literally!
Sample of Garage Doors steel panel put to the micrometer test. Reading of 0.58 mm [including coating].
Sample of Hormann Garage Doors steel panel put to the micrometer test. Reading of 1.21 mm [including coating]. Panel rigidity, physical security and resistance to indent improves dramatically.
Visit your nearest showroom today, do the test for yourself!
The system of internal bracing and reinforcement employed is the key factor relating to build ‘integrity; overall- door chassis strength determines how long a steel garage door is likely to last and how well it operates during that period.
A stiff, rigid, door panel will directly transmit your initial lifting effort directly to the counter-balance system producing a much easier to use door action.
Machine welding, mitred joints and enclosed steel box section reinforcements are indicators that the manufacturer has made the necessary investment in modern production technology required to properly make durable product, backed by a TEN [!] year structural guarantee.
A well made steel garage door of modern design will not exhibit any deflection or ‘sag’- even ‘double width- in the ‘fully open’ position!
Broadly, there are two ‘build’ methods for steel up and over type garage doors:
Engineered Integrity. Fully enclosed 50x20 mm steel box section perimeter chassis. Machine mitred, all welded ,corrosion proofed. Incredibly strong and durable.
Inferior cut, drill and rivet type garage door assembly - Note inaccurate butt corner joints with sharp exposed edges.
Steel degradation by corrosion is virtually unheard of with garage doors assembled using modern automated manufacturing and corrosion protection systems.
Corrosion failure along unprotected cut ‘join’
Rivets= greater risk of Rust.
Invariably, if rust appears the cause is linked to old fashioned build methods using hand drills and pop rivets. This crude fastening system requires the galvanised sheet steel to be perforated in numerous places– creating numerous points of potential corrosion and weakness.
Rows of blind pop rivets– all visible from the outside– are aesthetically unacceptable so these are often hidden behind cover trims, which if used along the bottom of the door creates a water-trap, potentially further accelerating the corrosion process.
Virtually no-one these days buys any garage door with the intention of painting after installation onsite or the prospect of redecoration at a later date.
This is as true of steel garage doors as it is of ‘premium’ materials A wide range of factory applied coatings and permanent decorative finishes are available. Hi-tech processes applied in optimally controlled environments offers guaranteed performance and proven durability.
For most applications, in our experience, satin or low gloss powder coatings are the best– good colour fastness, extremely hard, easy to clean, very abrasion resistant, and for practical purposes maintenance-free; but also importantly maintainable; and repairable in situ without special skills or tools– an option not possible with all finishes.
Gloss type coatings– perhaps initially attractive– tend to highlight minor manufacturing blemishes or panel damage that would not be readily visible with a low gloss coating. Very difficult to satisfactorily repair.
Plasticised vinyl coatings– commonly referred to as ‘Plastisol’ - are no longer commonly used for steel up and over garage doors as the permanently soft layered coating embeds dirt and pollution and leather-grained texture makes cleaning very difficult. Satisfactory repair not possible.
Pre-assembled powder coated door and frame, with new uPVC facia and soffit. Quick, inexpensive, excellent long term value.
Steel Box fixing frame. Folded, welded, corrosion proof and maintenance-free.
Given that up and over garage doors require a goalpost sub-frame [for fixing of springs, tracks, weather seals etc.] ; generally the best approach is to use welded steel box components which,- suitably corrosion proofed and powder coated -will provide guaranteed long term performance to match your new door. Ideally, door and frame would be supplied and installed as a single pre-assembled unit; this greatly improves alignment of moving parts and, therefore creates the possibility of producing much more accurate and tighter ‘shut’ lines than with previous fixing methods–eliminating gaps and enhancing both weather sealing and security.
It’s long been common practice for builders to pre-erect a standard softwood garage door frame and use this as a form to construct the masonry opening around it. At some point later the frame is then painted in situ. All fair enough but, of course this then leaves cut, open grain– unprotected– in close contact with a damp floor surface. No amount of subsequent decoration can prevent likely wet rot failure from below.
If, for technical or sizing purposes wooden frames have to be used it’s obvious that a little thought and preparation prior to arrival onsite– at least pre-treating surfaces that cannot be accessed afterwards– will save a great deal of time and money later on.
Preparation at our Workshops includes; 25 year preservative dip, sanding and pre-priming or staining, or fully finishing as your project requires.
A popular option is our composite uPVC/ timber cored framework – internal strength combined with a fully finished and maintenance-free external protective capping. Smart and very durable.
Our comprehensive solution – upvc composite garage door frame, matching trim, fascia's and guttering.
With some manufacturers, markedly. Credible steel up and over garage door security relies on a combination of factors:
Gauge/ thickness of steel used in door construction – the thicker the better.1.2mm if available in desired door design.
Amount and type of bracing and panel reinforcements – ideally welded, not riveted .Steel box in preference to ‘U’ channel.
Width of gap between door leaf edge and frame when closed – with a good quality steel door/steel frame combination this can be optimised at 3-4mm. A well designed frame will shield latches from outside interference.
The number of places the door leaf is held/restrained on it’s frame when closed - Six points are achievable. Effective latching in bottom corners is crucial – since this is the most likely point of attack with a levering tool.
Lock cylinder types
‘Wafer’ type cylinder fitted to base spec.garage doors. Inadequate security by modern standards.
‘Half’ Euro-profile cylinder fitted to most modern garage door types. Not ‘ultimate’ high security but offers good protection,comparable to most front doors.
‘BSI Kite marked High security cylinder upgrade. Greatly enhanced resistance to bumping and picking. Sacrificial front section prevents access to internal lock mechanism. Police Preferred Specification.
Available external handle types.
Obsolete ‘T’ handle assembly. Single ‘wafer ‘ cylinder- very simple to pick; combined handle and lock vulnerable to being sheared off together.
Intermediate type. Handle and locking now separate components, but still uses lower grade ‘wafer’ type cylinder.
Current standard. Euro-profile cylinder and separated plastic handle assembly offers good resistance against forced entry.
Superior cold cast aluminium or stainless steel handle and escutcheon components; chrome plated BSI Kite marked high security cylinder.
The ability of a garage door to resist forced entry with levering tools is determined largely by the number and positions of internal latches and restraints. Six point restraint is achievable at moderate cost, and markedly improves a garage door as a physical security product.
Effective latching in bottom corners is crucial– since this is the most likely point of attack with a levering tool. The Hormann bottom latching system and frame reinforcement shown above left would have prevented the forced entry shown above right.
Locking operation is simplicity itself – you simply close the door and automatic latches self ‘click’ into place!
However, wire activated systems carry the risk of cables stretching or breaking. Particularly if the garage door is your only entrance ; regular checking and adjustment of lock cables is essential to avoid the risk of being permanently locked out! Specify steel tube lock rods instead, – no possibility of breaking or stretching, low maintenance and more reliable.