The differences are enormous in the various roller door types, and consumers should be thorough and ask a lot of questions to be sure the product in question is the right and most reliable roller door for you.
Which roller garage door is best?
Firstly, you need to be aware that there are two main kinds of roller garage doors sold in the UK – single-skin ‘continuous curtain’ steel roller doors and a double-skinned aluminium insulated type. Both have their uses in different applications and budgets.
The single-skin steel roller door is great for a basic door where insulation, noise and security are not a priority and you also have plenty of internal headroom above the lintel. They are ideal for a manual door in single sizes and spring-loaded for easy operation; larger sizes really need to be motorised, however, for ease of operation. The double-skinned aluminium roller door is made from individual foam-filled slats and will roll into a much tighter roll size, usually, therefore, maximising your garage height for driving through.
This door is generally quieter, usually electrically operated for convenience and will provide higher levels of security and insulation for sound and temperature. However, beware of cheap versions of this type of roller door. Anything aluminium with electric operation under around the £600 mark in a single-garage 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.
What makes a good roller garage door?
As mentioned already, the trouble is roller doors can all look the same so making a decision on one being better than another can be hard. It’s the quality of components that really makes the difference and although low prices are tempting, we know all too well the trouble and frustrations of buying cheap with roller doors. It will always lead to reliability issues as there are so many moving parts that have to perform correctly together in order for the whole door to work and keep working.
Which options are best?
For most electric operated roller doors you should expect at least two hand-held radio transmitters to open and close the door from up to 20m away, preferably with ‘rolling code’ technology. Operation by your smartphone is now becoming readily available for convenience.
You should also expect an internal wall-mounted control box and receiver unit with a courtesy inbuilt light that comes on for about three minutes when the door is operated although some offer adjustable timers as well as additional low-voltage lighting add-on options. An internal manual override system is also an essential standard item which is a winding handle that engages on the motor side to drive the motor in the event of a power failure. Above this, you can specify control accessories such as external digital keypads or key switches, emergency external manual override systems to ensure access to the internal override if you do not have another door into your garage or even a battery back-up system to give several normal operations even when there is no mains power.
Options for the actual roller 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.
What size roller shutters are available?
For domestic roller garage door specifications, generally, the largest width available is 5200mm and the maximum height is 3000mm. Larger doors are available but the slat type and specification may change and be larger or in double-skinned steel. The guides and curtain roll size would also change at doors over 3000mm high and careful consideration would need to be given to installation on very large doors making sure the structure you are fixing to is sufficiently sound.
What about security?
It is possible to specify certain roller doors to a Secured by Design Level 1 specification. Basic mechanical design features in a descent roller door will make it very secure as standard but it is also surprising how easy certain roller doors can be broken into when there is little attention paid to the method by which the curtain is held secure when closed or substandard curtain slats are used. Security is the main consideration for most garage doors so pay attention to the locking system on any roller door you may choose to look at.