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30th January 2017
Guide to Buying Roller Garage Doors

Although roller garage door appear to be the one door type that is easy to understand and get prices, why are the prices so very different?  Let us explain some of it...


When searching for a roller garage door you will probably already have gathered if you have been on the internet there is an enormous choice in the UK and surely they are all about the same? Definitely not! - the differences are enormous in the different roller door types and you should be cautious and ask a lot of questions to be sure it will be the right roller door for you. It is an exspesive and very annoying thing to get wrong when you start to have problems.
 
Which Roller Garage Door is Best?

There are 2 main types of roller garage door, a single skin ‘continuous curtain’ steel roller door and a double skinned aluminium insulated slat type masde from individual slats.
The single skin steel roller door is great for a basic door where insulation and security are not a priority and you also have plenty of headroom internally (limited sizes of smaller roll models are available). They are ideal for a manual door in single sizes and spring loaded for easy operation, larger sizes do need to be motorised ideally for ease of operation.
 
The double skinned aluminium roller door is made from individual foam filled slats and will roll into a much smaller roll size.
This door type is generally quieter, usually electrically operated (manual versions are available) and will provide higher levels of security and insulation for sound and temperature – BEWARE of cheap versions of this type of roller door!! Anything with remote control and made from aluminium under around the £600 level in a single width size is to be kept well clear of and you are better off with the single skin steel roller door as it will serve you better and longer as well as being legally compliant.
 
To pick out one roller garage door as the best depends on useage, size and other factors but there are some clear leaders in roller door manufacturing – SWS, Hormann, Gliderol and Samson.
 
What makes a Roller Garage Door Good?

The trouble is roller garage doors can all look the same so making a decision on one type being better than another can be very hard. It is the quality of internal components that really makes the difference and although low prices are tempting we know too well the troubles of buying cheap specification with roller garage doors. It will inevitably lead to reliability issues very early as there are so many moving parts that have to perform correctly together in order for the whole door to work and keep working.
 
Look for roller doors using German manufactured aluminium slats for the best in strength and durability as they are one of the most experienced at these types of door products and components.
Look for manufacturers who have been producing roller doors for at least 5 years (not just garage doors!) as this is the minimum period for a good reliable motor drive unit to have a guarantee for.
Make sure the door is using the very latest control systems for operating the door and has the correct standard safety features installed.
Higher degrees of safety control are always required when your roller door is in close proximity to a public path or highway.
 
Which Options are Recommended?

Most electric roller doors  should expect 2 hand held transmitters with radio control to open and close the door from up to 20 metres away. These vary in quality and range and the best have 'rolling code' technology for the best security.
You should also have an internal control box and receiver unit with a courtesy light that comes on for about 3-4 minutes when the door is operated either up or down.
An internal manual override system is also an essential item which is a winding handle that engages on the motor side to drive the motor in the event of a power failure from inside your garage.
Above these items you can specify control accessories such as external digital keypads or pulse activated key switches, emergency external manual override systems to ensure access to the internal override if you do not have another door into your garage and even a battery power back up system to give several operations even when the mains power has failed.
 
Options for the actual door itself include vision slats to let natural light into the garage using cut out sections with polycarbonate glazing inserts, extra wide side guides for increased security, aluminium hood covers for the curtain roll to enclose the entire rolling mechanism and sloping bottom slats for where the ground is not level.
Other options include tricks such as smartphone apps to give control of your roller door from your mobile phone - alarm systems to detect if an attempted break in is taking place - auto closing facilities so you never forget to close your door and ‘Secured by Design’ specifications to give total peace of mind for security.

What about Sizes?

For domestic roller garage doors generally the largest width available is 5000mm and the maximum height is 3000mm. Larger roller doors are available but the curtain slat type and specification may change and be larger or in double skinned steel.
The guides and roll curtain size would also change on all doors over 3000mm high and careful attention would need to be given to installation on very large doors making sure the building structure you are fixing to is sufficiently strong.
 
What Colours can you Have?

The normal colour range for aluminium roller doors is usually 10 – 20 tough painted colours and for single skin steel roller doors is usually a plastisol coated colour range of about 20 colours.
Both types have more choices and you can specify laminate coated woodgrain effect finishes offering up to nearly 50 beautiful choices matching oak, rosewood, mahogany, sapele and many other finishes usually obtained in either real wood or Upvc doors and windows from other manufacturers.
 
What about Door Security?

It is possible to specify certain roller doors to a ‘Secured by Design’ level 1 specification - a prestigous and sometimes required certification for modern homes.
We can advise you of how best to do this if required and what is needed for the installation to be compliant.
Basic design features in a roller door will make it very secure but it is also surprising how easy certain roller doors can be broken into when there is little effort  paid to the mechanics by which the curtain is held secure when closed.
The electric tube motor holds a basic roller garage door closed and secure, but with a roller door like the Seceuroglide model it also has a patented security system holding the curtain firmly in place when closed to give no chance of lifting the curtain from outside and applying extra force to try to dislodge the curtain from the barrel internally. 
Security is the main factor when buying for most garage doors so pay attention to the locking system on any roller door you look at.
 
Our Conclusion?

Buy too low a price with a roller garage door and you will definitely be buying twice!!  Don't be fooled by extraordinary low prices with roller garage  doors as they will let you down very quickly.
If you cannot afford an aluminium roller door then buy a single skin steel roller door as it will be better than any of the cheap aluminium roller doors available.
Make sure any roller door you look to buy is compliant with CE regulations and has a bottom edge safety detection system as standard.
 
How do they compare with sectional garage door?
See our comparison overview >
 
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