Things to know before choosing a garage a door

A good garage door will last decades, maybe even a lifetime. So it makes sense to spend a little extra time and effort making the best choice possible. We get some advice from Mike van Arkel from leading garage door and automation supplier, Specialised Building Supplies (SBS).

04 September 2019, Johannesburg: Specialised Building Supplies, or more commonly known as SBS, is leading supplier to the building industry, Swartland’s latest acquisition. Says Mike van Arkel from SBS: “SBS is the latest addition to Swartland’s offering that sells Hydro garage doors and Digi automation.

“Hydro garage doors and Digi automation have been synonymous with reliability, security, attention to detail and superior finishes since 1983. Hydro is the only end-to-end garage door manufacturer in South Africa with a national footprint that specialises in doors, automation and spares to suit. This means we can offer a full range of quality products through our SBS branches nationwide, supported by comprehensive after-sales service and spares. Our products have been used everywhere, from factories to fire stations, luxury homes and affordable housing.”

Mike notes that there are more to garage doors than merely being an entryway – garage doors can improve a building’s curb appeal, safety and insulation. However, with all the different makes and options to choose from, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered before making your final choice – here are Mike’s top considerations:

Decide on how the space will be used

Mike says that the primary thing to decide, is to work out what the garage will be used for: “Will the garage be used for parking cars, will it be used as a storage unit, a workshop or a living space? What the space will be used for will play an important role in determining what features the chosen garage door should have. For example, if the room is going to be used for anything other than storing a vehicle, perhaps you would like to include some glazing in the garage door for added natural light.”
Check for added insulation

No matter how the space is used, it is important to consider insulation, notes Mike: “For attached garages, choosing a well insulated garage door will improve the energy efficiency of the entire home. Even for a detached garage, you’ll want to increase the insulation to protect what is stored inside the building. Hydro’s sectional steel garage doors for example, can come with a foam-filled backing, which improves their thermal efficiency – keeping the space cool in summer and warm in winter. However, there are the added benefits of increased security due to the double skin strength of the door, and it helps absorb vibration – resulting in quieter operation.”

Customise with colour

The colour of your garage door is an important factor, and you should be able to choose something other than white, notes Mike: “Choosing a colourful garage door will add character, and enhance curb appeal. However, you don’t want to choose anything too wild – it is always better to opt for more muted tones for longevity of appeal. Hydro’s steel section garage doors for example are available in Rustic Bark, Snow White, Chalk and Charcoal, and they can also be painted to match your specific requirements. The powder-coated finish requires virtually no maintenance, and is easy to clean – offering a long-lasting and durable good looks.”

The difference is in the detail

In addition to good looks, any garage door worth its salt should be packed with numerous under-the-skin strength, safety and security features, notes Mike: “Garage doors are an important part of the appearance of a property and can contribute significantly to its curb appeal and value – but they should also offer a lot more. You really need to look at the quality of the hardware and inner workings of the door – not just its aestetic appeal. Hydro garage doors for example, aren’t just visually pleasing and exceptionally secure, but they also offer top-end inner workings, such as double-throw locks, long-life coutnerbalance springs for example, and they comprise best-in-market quality and durability.”

Different types of garage doors

The most popular types of garage doors comprise section and roll-up doors:

Sectional garage doors: Sectional garage doors are made up of steel or wood panel sections that are connected with hinges. As the door opens and closes, wheels at the edge of each panel roll inside a vertical track on each side of the door opening. The hinges between each panel section bend over a curved portion of the track. This feature allows the door to sit parallel to the ceiling when completely open or in line with the walls when completely closed. A pair of high-tension springs above the opening are attached to cables that operate the door and hold it from drifting down when only partially open.

Notes Mike: “These doors have many advantages over traditional solid (up and over) doors, such as maximising the drive-through width of a garage opening, allowing for close parking inside and providing increased headroom clearance to accommodate vehicles such as 4X4’s and MPV’s. We’re proud to say that Hydro’s steel sectional doors have been described as ‘over-engineered’ and ‘the Rolls-Royce of garage doors’ – but never cheap or inferior. The value for money you get is unmatched – with features like true anti-pinch hinging, quality hardware and long service life counter-balance springs.”

Roll-up garage doors: These garage doors are used in both commercial and residential applications – they are a no-frills design option built for areas with limited ceiling space. This style is made with steel slat sections that roll around a drum above the door opening. Roll-up or coiling doors are built to withstand heavy usage and high-performance units can be built without springs or enclosed to prevent rust, corrosion, and freezing.

Says Mike: “Strong and secure, Hydro roll-up doors provide compact and attractive solutions, especially in smaller spaces. Hydro steel Roll-Up doors are stronger, more durable and have a superior design to other roll-up garage doors on the market. Made from 0.4mm Aluzinc for superior corrosion resistance, our doors include a unique “roll-over lip” built into the tracking that makes them significantly stronger in heavy wind and prevents intruders from forcing the door open, which can quite easily be done with cheaper doors.

“The lock is also far stronger – a high quality, double-throw unit fitted with a 10mm round steel tube instead of the thin flat bar commonly used on lower cost doors. Our doors are also fully encased when closed, making them more attractive but more importantly longer-lasting, more reliable and more resistant to ‘coning’. They install easily making them the go to DIY choice.”

Garage door automation

Automating your garage door is an essential consideration – from both a practical and convenience point of view, as well as for added security, explains Mike: “It is far better from a security perspective to be able to press a button and the door opens for you, without you having to get out and leave your car. In today’s current climate, it is highly advisable to automate any garage door.”

He says that garage door automation is quick, easy and affordable: “At SBS, we pride ourselves on many years in the garage door automation field with proven technology, as well as long term spares availability for our products assisted by our large distribution footprint. Digi-One for example, features a powerful 1,000Nm lifting capacity, which is a very reliable and affordable automation system is ideal for all types of sectional garage doors. It is supplied standard with 2 *Digi-E-key transmitters (with secure Keeloq® technology), as well as electronic obstacle sensing Optional battery backup, which allows for trouble-free operation during power failures.”

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