By Marcus Josiger

Many of us recognize the need for storage—storing vehicles and personal items in sheds, garages, barns, and storage units. However, many of us take for granted our storage buildings and the components that make those buildings function. Doors often are overlooked. Customers frequently focus on square footage, ceiling height, and other features. Yet doors play a large part in moving property out of storage. According to Kellen Anderson of Trac-Rite Doors, roll-up units are a viable option and are extremely popular. Offering numerous possibilities, roll-up doors are excellent all-purpose doors.

Space Saver

Roll-up doors are great for cramped spaces. Compact and lightweight, these doors only occupy space directly above the door opening. Commercial storage units frequently pair up with rental companies for this reason, providing clients with more bang for their buck. Compact closing mechanisms are additional space-savers and prevent objects from getting snagged while moving in and out of the unit. The price per unit is another factor when pairing with storage facilities. This goal is to make the unit as cost-effective as possible, while still maximizing your storage profit. Typically, lower prices associated with roll-up doors keep unit costs down, maintaining higher profit margins. Furthermore, roll-up doors have smaller profiles; installation generally is more accessible due to lighter, less cumbersome parts.


One of the greatest assets roll-up doors offer is flexibility. Roll-ups can fill a need and are compatible with many different climates. From the Caribbean to Canada, units can be seen everywhere. They are capable of withstanding winds up to 100+ mph, according to many manufacturers. Add-ons such as nylon “pucks” can be attached, which cuts down on door shaking. Other flexible features include a variety of locking mechanisms. Frequently used locks include padlocks and latchs. Placed on hinges, padlocks can be easily secured, while latches have a mechanical device connecting the door to the wall. Key cylinders (that looks like a small barrel) are also highly requested.

Size is a concern for every storage unit. Boats, trucks, and farm equipment must fit into their containers. Roll-up doors can accommodate those needs, with doors spanning 16’+ in length, offering a tremendous level of versatility for users. However, due to weight constraints, doors of these sizes will need more than a pully system. Manufacturers recommend that large doors be fitted with automatic door openers. Smaller units can open with pully systems as the axle at the top of the door mount reels in the door. 

Coated springs enable doors without motors to be easily opened. Large doors over 12’ will have a dead axle, meaning the axle stays in place while the drum that stores the door rotates around it. Units under 12’ will operate with a live axle. The difference between the two is simple. A live axle, unlike the dead, has its axle rotate with the door. 

The Downside

Despite roll-up doors being compact, squeezing a hand between the ceiling and the drum can be difficult because of tight spaces. Furthermore, roll-up doors are thin with foil insulation placed inside the door, dampening the effects of the temperature. During winter months, insulation provides a slight barrier, maintaining a moderate level of heat inside. Homeowner Associations (HOAs) and other regulatory groups may require garage panel doors. 

Other issues associated with roll-up doors are jams. Problems occur when the roll-up door wheels become misaligned and run off the track. A jam effectively eliminates the opening or closing of the door. Lastly, painting roll-ups doors can be difficult due to movable panels and all the spaces in between.

Automated stacker preparing cut and formed metal. Material will be sent to final assembly afterward. Photos and additional information from Kellen Anderson of Trac-Rite


Before purchasing roll-up doors in any climate, be sure to weigh the benefits and concerns. No product is perfect. However, roll-up doors offer a reasonable solution to getting in and out of storage facilities, especially if space concerns your customers. Options like insulation can make the roll-up door viable in any climate. RB