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Commercial Garage Doors vs. Residential Garage Doors

Commercial Garage Doors vs. Residential Garage Doors

October 24, 2019

Commercial garage doors and residential garage doors perform the same primary function — letting people and vehicles in and out of their garages. So how are they different from each other, exactly?

One obvious difference between commercial garage doors and residential garage doors is where they are used — in business and industrial applications or in homes. But the differences extend further than that into the design, construction, and aesthetic and functional qualities of the doors.

Understanding the key differences between these doors will help you make the right choice for your home or business. Below, we’ll outline some of the major differences between residential and commercial garage doors and how these differences affect their uses.

An Overview of Commercial Doors vs. Residential Doors

When it’s time to invest in a new garage door, it’s important to understand the differences between types. Traditional residential doors are not made to be opened dozens of times every day, and they are not available in large sizes that will accommodate trailers, big trucks and heavy equipment. Designed to withstand heavy use and protect a larger opening, commercial doors are the right choice if the door will see heavy use or must fit a larger area.

Though residential doors are not designed to be the industrial workhorses that commercial garage doors are, their visual appeal and even their financial impact are hard to ignore. An attractive new garage door can brighten a house’s appearance and enhance its curb appeal, but more practically, it can also help boost the resale value of the home. Homeowners typically recoup 90% of their costs in the increased sale price of the house. And 70% of real estate agents report that a home sells faster when it features an attractive new garage door. If these options are important for your home, you’ll want to go with a traditional residential garage door.

At first glance, commercial doors cost substantially more than residential doors. However, though they are not always as flashy-looking, they are also more durable. If you are going to put the door through heavy use, then a commercial door is the right choice. Where a residential door would have failed and fallen apart, your commercial door will still be operating smoothly. Consider the difference in lifespan and potential savings with a commercial door before making your decision.

Commercial and residential doors can also differ in how they open and close. Most commercial doors are overhead doors that roll up toward the ceiling. While you can find a few side-sliding doors and even swinging garage doors, the overhead options are the most popular because you don’t have to leave an open area on the sides for the doors to swing out. However, residential doors are readily available in swinging and sliding options.

Some commercial doors are roller doors, which feature multiple thin panels that roll neatly up into a narrow space. One of the more expensive doors, they are chosen by many businesses when space is at a premium and a large standard door would take up too much space along the ceiling when it was opened. Due to the utilitarian look and expense, these doors are not typically available for residential properties.

The Size of the Garage Door

One main difference between residential and commercial doors is their size. Commercial doors are designed to admit much larger vehicles and are substantially larger than their residential counterparts.

Though some custom-built residential garage doors can be several feet taller to accommodate motorhomes, standard residential doors are available in 7-foot heights and are designed for one- or two-car garages. Commercial businesses typically need taller doors as they are pulling in trucks, accepting deliveries from large trucks or just need the extra clearance for large items. If you are building a private garage and want a taller door to accommodate an RV or other large equipment, then you should consider commercial garage doors.

The dimensions of residential and commercial garage doors also correlate with their weight. Residential garage doors generally weigh only a couple hundred pounds, whereas commercial garage doors can weigh upward of a thousand pounds.

Employees working on any garage doors should take care to protect themselves from grievous injury, but this is particularly true concerning massive commercial garage doors. For this reason, it’s smart to engage with an experienced, professional garage door company for maintenance and repairs.

The Material of the Garage Door

Homeowners often choose the materials used in a residential garage door for their appealing appearance, along with their durability and cost-effectiveness. Residential users may also have strong feelings about the insulative properties of their garage doors.

So what are the different types of garage doors? The following are some materials commonly used in the construction of residential garage doors:

  • Wood: Though wood is less durable and requires more upkeep than other options, the classic, rustic beauty of a traditional wooden door is hard to beat.
  • Glass: Though it’s rare to find an entire garage door made of glass, glass paneling provides an attractive feature to let in some light and enhance the modern beauty of the door.
  • Steel and aluminum: Steel provides for an exceptionally sturdy and low-maintenance door, and though it lacks the charm of other materials, many paints and finishes are available to make the metal look cheerier. Or a steel door may have a wooden overlay for a more natural look. Galvanized steel also resists rust and corrosion, as does the lighter-weight aluminum, though it tends to cost more.
  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass is beneficial for giving a door the natural appearance and charm of wood without requiring the same level of maintenance. It is also a cost-effective option for residential garage doors.
  • Composites: Composite doors provide the benefits of multiple materials in one door. For example, a residential garage door made of steel and polyurethane offers the durability and security of steel with the insulating properties of polyurethane for greater energy efficiency.

With residential garage doors, the aesthetic appeal of the door is often a high priority for the homeowner. With commercial doors, however, functionality usually takes priority over aesthetics. The materials used to make commercial garage doors reflect this priority. Commercial doors are usually made of galvanized steel or an aluminum blend. Larger and heavier, they are more difficult to open if the automatic lifter breaks.

Generally, the reason for the use of steel and aluminum blends in the construction of commercial garage doors has to do with their durability. Though residential garage doors get plenty of use — on average, a garage door in the United States opens and closes about 1,500 times every year — that’s nothing compared to the frequency of use of a commercial garage door. The garage door at your home is opened a few times each day, but the door on a loading dock may be opened several times a day.

The extra wear and tear could destroy a residential door, but the commercial options can withstand the additional use. If you know your door is going to be raised and lowered continually throughout a day, then you should invest in a more durable commercial door.

The added durability of a commercial garage door also increases the security of the garage. Security is of paramount importance in commercial facilities that store substantial quantities of expensive products. A hardy, durable commercial garage door helps protect the products from theft and damage.

The Appearance of the Garage Door

With residential garage doors, curb appeal is an essential factor. Depending on the layout of the home, a residential garage door can make up a large percentage of the home’s facade, so the door should have an attractive appearance.

Ideally, a residential garage door should have an aesthetic appeal that coordinates well with the architecture and style of the house. A well-chosen and well-designed garage door can accent the home’s exterior and harmonize with its architectural features. It should appeal to the eye and help create an attractive appearance for the home. Customizable options like windows, panel designs, wood-grain finishes, a bold palette of paint colors, and decorative handles or trim help create this appealing, polished look.

With a commercial garage door, these concerns are less important. Commercial garage doors are typically stronger and more durable, but they also aren’t as ornate and tend to look utilitarian. While you can find residential doors that will beautifully match a carriage house, most commercial doors will be plain. While you can get basic raised or glass panels to make them a little more attractive, you probably will not find very ornate styles in commercial garage doors.

This unornamented style tends to fit perfectly with the no-frills aesthetic of many industrial garages and loading docks, and the decreased focus on appearance allows manufacturers to focus on the functionality of the doors. The customization options for commercial garage doors tend to be limited to the choice of paint color and sometimes windows.

Commercial garage doors can still look sleek and attractive, though. Many commercial garage doors feature an appealing modern industrial look.

Contact Halo Overhead Doors for All Your Garage Door Needs

At Halo Overhead Doors, our motto is “Tough doors, loyal service,” and that’s precisely what you’ll get when you partner with us.

We are a family-owned, full-service garage door company and one of Texas’ premier garage door businesses. We offer the most extensive selections of doors in Houston, and our staff members have years of collective expertise. We also take enormous pride in our long-term customer relationships and are dedicated to kind, caring, helpful customer service. Our quality doors are rugged and reliable over the long term, and when you need us, our friendly service gets the job done right.

Contact us today to get started on finding a residential or commercial garage door solution.


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