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Whether you are constructing a new building or renovating an existing one, it is extremely important that any opening in the building envelope is filled with a closure that meets the needs of that specific application. When an opening calls for a commercial overhead door, there are two main types from which to choose – rolling or sectional doors. One is not better than the other, they just simply have their own characteristics which allows each type to shine when put in the proper application.
The first question you should ask yourself when choosing an overhead door is, “How often will this door open and close?” Although not every rolling door is made for high cycles, there are high performance rolling doors that are designed for use in high cycle applications – some even offer up to 1 million cycles. Sectional doors do not come in high performance / high cycle models, but some manufacturers offer springs that will allow a sectional door to cycle up to 100k times. An important thing to remember is more is not always better IF the extra cycles are not necessary.
Rolling and sectional doors are mounted differently, which means the amount and location of space will vary between the two. A rolling door can be mounted face of wall or between jambs - it coils up onto the shaft which requires headroom right above the opening. This is perfect for an application that has limited headroom and does not want to compromise access to the backroom. A sectional door can be mounted in various ways: standard lift, high lift, full vertical lift or low headroom. The amount of space and the location of where this space is required will vary based on the mounting style that is chosen. For example, a sectional door that is mounted vertical lift will require the most head room and a sectional door that is mounted low headroom will require the most backroom. Various mounting styles allow for flexibility when installing a sectional door.
Installation is an isolated event while maintenance is an ongoing requirement. It is commonly said that rolling doors are easier to install due to fewer parts, but it is also heavier which means there may be specialized lifting equipment needed to complete the install. While both rolling and sectional doors require regular maintenance, rolling doors may require a bit less since there are fewer exposed moving parts.
Generally speaking, rolling doors can be manufactured in larger sizes than sectional doors but both are available in custom sizes. Rolling doors can be manufactured to exact dimensions that are needed while sectional doors are available in certain increments. Steel sectional doors are available in 2” increments in width and 3” increments in height. Aluminum sectional doors are available in 1” increments in either direction.
While we are on the subject of size – the slats / sections of each type of door are significantly different. A rolling door consists of slats that are most commonly 2 5/8” high but can be 1 ½” high, while a sectional door can be made up of sections that are either 18”, 21” or 24” high. Both variations will create an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Gauge, material and finish will vary based on the manufacturer, but generally speaking – rolling doors are available in steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Sectional doors are available in steel and aluminum, with steel being used 99% of the time.
Each door type is available in various gauges, but rolling doors are commonly manufactured in a heavier gauge than sectional doors.
When it comes to finish, rolling doors may take the win for the number of different options but sectional doors are a close second with a trick up their sleeve. Rolling doors can be powder coated steel, stainless steel, aluminum mill, aluminum clear, aluminum color, powder coat and hot dip galvanized on steel components. Sectional doors come in anodized aluminum, pre-finished painted steel or powder coat steel – their secret weapon is that the sections can either be smooth or embossed.
When it comes to R-value, sectional doors steal the show! R-value is the measure of how well a barrier resists the conductive flow of heat. Rolling doors generally have an r-value of up to 8 and sectional doors up to 22.2.
Both rolling and sectional doors can be operated using a hand chain, push up or motor operation.
Hard Decision when Both are so Appealing
As you can see there are many different characteristics for each type of door, it is important to take the time to understand the requirements of your application in order to choose the best type of closure for your opening. Luckily Cornell offers both rolling and sectional doors! We would be more than happy to assist you with choosing the correct door for your specific application!
Cornell is the industry leading rolling door, security grille and closure product experts since 1828. To inquire how Cornell's long history of innovation and customer service can help you with your next rolling door project, call 1-800-233-8366!