Roll-Up Garage Door Guide

Roll-up garage door buying guide

Choosing a garage door for a commercial space is about more than just good looks. If you’re in the market for a commercial garage door, then your primary concern is most likely function. After all, a commercial garage door has to stand up to constant use, and it needs to protect the people and goods inside of your business.

You could go with a traditional sectional door system, such as the ones you’d find on a home, but there’s a better option for your business.

Sectional garage doors just aren’t designed to withstand constant open/close cycles and their bulky overhead requirements can get in the way of forklifts and other large commercial equipment. A commercial-grade roll-up door is a great alternative to a sectional door because it addresses both of those concerns. Besides being built to stand up to constant motion, rolling commercial doors also store themselves discretely above the doorway, leaving your ceiling clearance open for large machinery.

As you’re embarking on your search for the right garage door, consider the roll-up door.

What Are Roll-Up Garage Doors?

a roll-up garage door is a door made of flexible horizonal sheets of steel

A roll-up garage door — also known as a rolling steel garage door — is a door made of flexible, horizontal sheets of steel or, in some cases, aluminum. When the door is down, it covers the garage opening just as a traditional sectioned door would. When it needs to be raised, the sheets of metal roll up into one compact tube and remain stored there until it’s time for the steel door to go back down. Rolling garage doors are most commonly used for commercial and industrial applications, such as doors at storage facilities, warehouses or loading docks.

What’s the Difference Between a Commercial and a Residential Roll-Up Door?

the 4 differences between a commercial and residential roll-up door

There are several differences between commercial roll-up garage doors and a roll-up garage door for homes. But if it’s the first time you’ve had to purchase a commercial garage door, you might not be familiar with what they are.

1. Dimensions

Residential garage doors are typically constructed at certain standard heights. Although there are cases where door sizes are customized, residential garages — whether single- or double-doors — are typically the same from home to home. There’s not much size variation in the market because there doesn’t need to be.

When you’re purchasing an overhead roll-up sheet door for commercial applications, the height and width requirements may vary greatly depending on what you’ll be using it for. For example, in a warehouse or other industrial setting, the door may need to be oversized to accommodate loading equipment coming in and out of the space. If the roll-up door is being used at a loading dock or trucking depot, it will need to be big enough to cover an opening sized to fit a semi.

Commercial roll-up doors are usually around 28 feet by 4 inches high and 30 feet by 4 inches wide. Commercial overhead doors are around 24 feet by 1 inch high and 32 feet by 2 inches wide. However, there are usually custom garage door sizes available to customers, letting you get the exact door you need. 

2. Appearance

When you’re choosing a residential garage door, there’s a lot to consider — windows, colors and additional design elements. After all, a residential garage door plays a big role in the overall curb appeal of a home.

In a commercial setting, the primary focus is on purchasing a strong, high-quality door that’s going to get the job done. Although you want a door that complements the existing exterior of your business, appearance isn’t as important. You don’t need to spend time considering decorative features, and you don’t need a door with windows. Roll-up doors can be painted to coordinate with your business’ exterior, but the paint color just isn’t as important as purchasing a high-quality steel door that’s going to stay secure.

3. Opening Capacity

A residential roll-up garage door is designed to be opened and closed a handful of times each day. This is one reason why it moves slowly up and down the track when you operate it. Moving slowly reduces the risk of damage and preserves the life and durability of the door and its opener.

On the other hand, a commercial roll-up door is built to withstand heavy use. It will need to go up and down several times throughout the day, so it needs the durability to stand up to that process. In addition to durable construction, it also goes up and down faster so you don’t waste your day opening and closing the door.

4. Materials

Residential garage doors are available in several materials, including wood, steel, vinyl and aluminum. This variety affords homeowners the option to customize their door to the look of their home, as well as their budget and the climate where they reside.

Commercial roll-up doors serve one purpose — to protect what’s inside of your building until it’s time to move it outside. To offer maximum protection, all commercial roll-up doors are constructed with either steel or aluminum. These highly durable materials get the job done and last a long time. They stand up to the elements without requiring regular painting or maintenance to keep them looking nice and operating efficiently.

View Our Commercial Garage Door Styles

Benefits of Rolling Doors

Benefits of rolling doors

If you’re looking for a new commercial garage door, you’ve likely found several types of doors on the market. What makes a roll-up door the right choice for your business?

1. Durability

How many times a day do you open and close your existing doors? If it’s more than two, you need a door that’s built from high-quality, durable materials that can handle the wear and tear of regular open/close cycles. A roll-up door is designed to go up and down quickly over and over again, and, because it’s made of steel, repeated open/close cycles won’t cause unnecessary wear and tear.

2. Workplace Safety

Garage doors can present a significant risk in a commercial or industrial environment. If the spring on a traditional horizontal door snaps, it can send the door crashing down on top of whatever — or whoever — is underneath. In buildings where vertical clearance is an issue, a traditional horizontal track can reduce the space large machinery has to operate safely. In other words, sectional garage doors can pose significant safety issues in the workplace, putting your employees at risk as they go about their daily tasks.

Roll-up doors don’t have heavy springs holding them up. When they’re up, the door is contained into one roll. There’s nothing to snap and nothing to fall on unsuspecting employees below. There’s also no track along the ceiling, so equipment isn’t at risk of running into it or getting caught if it gets too close. A roll-up door is a great way to create an environment built around safety and employee wellbeing.

3. Security

When you invest in a roll-up door, you’re also investing in peace of mind. Your product is your livelihood and theft can cut into your profits. Roll-up doors are made from high-quality steel or aluminum. They are easy for employees to operate throughout the day, but they provide a solid barrier against unwanted intruders who might try to break in and steal from your business. Roll-up fire doors can also be used to create a protective barrier against fire should one break out in your building.

Another benefit to roll-up doors is that they protect your commercial space from the dangers of extreme heat or cold. Many items need to be kept at a consistent temperature to maintain their quality. A roll-up door can keep outdoor air from making your interior space too hot or too cold and maintain the integrity of your products while they wait to be shipped to their final destination.

If you want to enhance your door’s security, ask about these additional features:

  • Interior and exterior locks
  • Wind load protection
  • Insulation
  • Fire-rated doors
  • Weather seals

4. Low Maintenance

Roll-up doors don’t need a lot of maintenance to keep them in good shape. Steel doors won’t rot, crack or become warped over time. Just clean them regularly, and they’ll be serving your business for many years to come. Besides saving you money, this also frees up your employees to spend their time on other more important tasks.

How Do Roll-Up Garage Doors Open?

If you’ve ever used a storage facility, you may have encountered a roll-up door that was operated by pulling down on a chain. As you pull down, the door rolls up and remains folded into the roll at the ceiling level until you pull on the other side of the chain to bring it back down. Roll-up doors are composed of strips of steel hemmed together to create a sheet of metal in the dimensions of a garage door opening. When the door is down, it creates a solid barrier between the interior of your commercial space and the outdoors. When it’s up, it creates a tight roll that remains out of the way of anyone coming in and out of the doorway.

Roll-up doors for commercial and industrial applications can be operated with automatic openers. What’s the best garage door opener for a roll-up garage door?

  1. Electric door operator: Similar to a residential garage door opener, this electric opener uses a low-voltage motor for quiet, efficient door operation.
  2. Jackshaft operator: Also known as a wall-mounted opener because it’s mounted on the wall next to the garage opening, a jackshaft operator provides quiet, efficient opening and closing capabilities for roll-up doors of all sizes. These openers are great to install in spaces where overhead space is restricted.

1. Electric Door Operator

Similar to a residential garage door opener, this electric opener uses a low-voltage motor for quiet, efficient door operation.

2. Jackshaft Operator

Also known as a wall-mounted opener because it’s mounted on the wall next to the garage opening, a jackshaft operator provides quiet, efficient opening and closing capabilities for roll-up doors of all sizes. These openers are great to install in spaces where overhead space is restricted.

How Much Does a Roll-Up Garage Door Cost?

roll-up garage doors prices vary depending on size and material

Roll-up garage door prices vary depending on the size of your garage opening, as well as whether you choose steel or aluminum. As you research garage door options, you’ll notice that roll-up doors do have a higher up-front cost than other types of doors. However, over their life span, their durability and low maintenance properties mean you’ll actually end up spending less.

Every garage door is priced differently. Consider all the features you need and want to get the best garage door for your facility. Here’s a list ranking the potential garage door options from least to most expensive:

  1. Standard overhead door
  2. Overhead door with windows
  3. Single roll-up door
  4. Double roll-up door
  5. Glass roll-up door

As you’re budgeting for a new door, be sure to factor in the cost of the door itself, a new garage door opener — if you need one — and other additional parts and labor. Requesting an estimate from a reputable roll-up garage door dealer will help you know what to budget so that there aren’t any surprises when it comes time to purchase and have a new door installed.

Different Types of Roll-Up Garage Doors

At AAA Garage Door, we are proud to sell Clopay® commercial roll-up sheet doors in a variety of colors and three gauges — light duty, medium duty and heavy duty. A high-performance hardware upgrade is also available for door applications that need to withstand a lot of use. Each of these doors is painted on both sides to prevent rust, and you can select from a wide variety of colors to complement the exterior of your property. They also come with weatherstripping and a heavy-duty bottom bar to keep severe weather where it belongs — outside.

Commercial vs. Residential Roll-Up Garage Doors

Commercial doors are built for frequent use and feature high durability, often best for businesses. Commercial conditions require additional safety features and solid strength. This makes them more expensive than standard residential roll-up doors. The additional costs get you a door that can withstand the heavy wear and high demands of commercial use. Residential doors are less expensive and built for fewer cycles, since they see less use than commercial doors.

contact AAA Garage Door in Omaha Nebraska for commercial roll-up doors

Industries That Use Roll-Up Garage Doors

Roll-up garage doors are used across different commercial industries. Any operation that needs to maximize space and door use can benefit from a roll-up garage door. Here are some industries that often use roll-up garage doors:

  • Manufacturing facilities
  • High-security buildings
  • Mechanic garages
  • Parking facilities
  • Emergency spaces
  • Storage businesses

Design Options

Commercial roll-up doors come with several design options to ensure you get what you need. Choose from light, medium and heavy-duty doors as your base, then add your extra features. Clopay® commercial roll-up door features include:

  • Roll-formed guides of hot-dipped galvanized steel
  • 26-gauge hot-dipped galvanized steel curtain
  • A range of colors
  • Baked-on silicone polyester top coat
  • Self-lubricating wearstrips
  • Full bulb-type bottom weatherstrip
  • Durable bottom bar

Roll-Up Garage Door Safety

The best way to protect your employees and your investment is to keep roll-up garage doors clean and incorporate regular inspections into the workplace routine. Identifying a small problem early is the best way to prevent a big problem — and a big repair bill — later on.

Although these doors are low-maintenance, it’s still important to make sure they’re always clean and in good working order. If you suspect a problem, don’t put off a maintenance call. Postponing maintenance or repairs could result in costly damage or injury to one of your employees. It may be tempting to ask your employees to figure out how to repair the door, but this can be dangerous if they don’t have experience working on garage doors, especially if there is a chance the door could fall. If you suspect a problem, contact a reputable repair company to identify and repair it.

FAQs: Everything You Need to Know About Roll-Up Garage Doors

Still have questions about roll-up garage doors? Here are some answers to the most common roll-up garage door questions.

Are Roll-Up Doors More Expensive?

Roll-up garage doors are typically more expensive upfront than traditional overhead garage doors. However, the exact price will depend on the door material, size, installation and design. Additionally, roll-up doors often have longer life spans and lower maintenance costs than traditional garage doors, reducing your long-term costs. Decide whether you want to spend more upfront for a better life span and maintenance to help you find the right door.

How Long Do Roll-Up Garage Doors Last?

Standard garage doors can last anywhere from 15 to 30 years, but you can expect a well-maintained commercial roll-up door to last 30 years with the right installation. Doors made from high-quality steel and aluminum will have the longest life spans. With the right garage door company and installation, you can enjoy your commercial roll-up door for decades.

What Is the Difference Between a Roll-Up Door and an Overhead Door?

A roll-up garage door rolls up into a coil at the top of the door. This makes installing and storing them in the “open” position convenient. Comparatively, overhead doors do not roll up. Instead, they stay in one long unit and move up tracks, sitting parallel to the ceiling when in the “open” position. Each door offers a different cost, energy efficiency and benefits.

What Is the Disadvantage of Roll-Up Doors?

Roll-up garage doors are heavier, less customizable and more expensive than overhead doors. However, they’re durable and secure, providing you with an excellent door for commercial uses.

Choosing the Right Roll-Up Garage Door for Your Needs

Choosing the right roll-up garage door for your needs

When you’re choosing a commercial roll-up garage door, you need to consider several factors:

  • Space: Look at your available installation space. You may want a roll-up garage door if you have limited overhead space or need maximum clearance. Make sure you know your space’s dimensions to ensure you get the right fit. 
  • Safety: Commercial spaces must prioritize safety. Protect your employees, property and equipment with commercial-grade safety features. Safety edges, photo-eye sensors, auto-reversal mechanisms and more all help keep everyone safe on the job.
  • Energy efficiency: Choosing doors with good energy efficiency helps you save money in the long term. Get doors with excellent insulation properties to reduce your heating and cooling costs and keep your spaces comfortable. 
  • Design: You should also consider the look you want. Consider at your existing space’s texture, color and designs. Try to pick a door that complements those elements to create a cohesive and functional space.


Commercial Roll-Up Garage Doors

You’re dedicated to your business. Choose fixtures and features that demonstrate your long-term commitment to success. A commercial roll-up garage door provides a safe, effective way to protect your business — and what’s inside of it. When you purchase a commercial rolling garage door, you show that you want to protect your investment and that you care about the comfort and safety of your employees.

If you’re looking to purchase a new roll-up garage door for your business, call AAA Garage Door, Inc. With more than 25 years of experience selling and repairing garage doors throughout the midwest, we’re eastern Nebraska’s go-to source for high-quality commercial and residential Clopay garage doors styles and openers. Our goal is to ensure complete customer satisfaction each and every time. And we’re proud to offer lifetime warranties on certain products, as well as personalized assistance choosing the right garage door for your needs.

If you’re ready to improve safety and security with a new roll-up garage door, schedule a free estimate today.

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Felipe Pinales

Reviewed By: Felipe Pinales - Felipe is Nebraska’s first IDEA-certified Master Technician. He has been employed by AAA Garage Door for 6+ years, and has had the Master Technician Certification in his sights since he began. Felipe has also passed four written examinations including Residential Installer Certification, Commercial Sectional Door Systems Technician Certification, Commercial Rolling Door Systems Technician Certification, and Rolling Steel Fire Door Technician Certification. Felipe is constantly looking for ways to improve his abilities within our industry. His goal is to become the best garage door technician possible to best assist his customers and fellow co-workers.