Making the right choice regarding doors can have long-term consequences with respect to not only satisfaction with the utilization of available space, but also expenses. When a bigger door is needed then the choices often pare down to two – an overhead door vs a folding door. This is a tough decision, for both types of doors have their pros and cons.
Experiences gained through decades of use have proven that, even though the overhead door costs less to purchase, it leads to a bigger drain on resources over the long term. Here are a few reasons why, in most instances, we recommend that our customers get the folding door.
Generally speaking, the thickness of the door itself is not the most important factor to consider when comparing heating costs. It is wiser, instead, to consider the weather-stripping seals, how they work and their long term durability. The folding doors have fewer seams requiring weather-stripping than do the overhead doors, and therefore there is less surface area to seal.
The weather-stripping on folding doors are also more weather-tight. The hinges cause the weather-stripping on the door’s side edges to squeeze against the jamb, while the guiding track and the locking mechanism cause the weather-stripping on the door’s upper edge to squeeze against the header face. The weather-stripping on the bottom edge of the door squeezes against the floor because the hinges lower the entire door structure as it is closed.
The weather-stripping on the folding doors lasts for years. When the folding doors are opened, the male-female design of the weather-stripping between the panels causes an immediate detachment from each other and the weather-stripping on the door edges also immediately separates from the door opening surfaces, which means they are not abraded by each other. Further, when the door is opened, the hinges lift the door off the floor, thus saving wear on the door-sweep weather-stripping at the bottom of the door.
When purchasing a door it is advisable to also thoroughly consider expenses over the entire usable life of the door, that is, how much it will cost to keep the door operable for as long as it lasts.
Findoor’s folding door is virtually maintenance free because the number of moving, and thus breakable, parts in the door opening mechanisms has been minimized. Yes, it is wise to lubricate the hinges every now and then, but no other maintenance is really needed. Once installed, the folding door can easily last for the next 20-30 years.
An electrically operated folding door requires no safety inspections, whereas an overhead door needs to have a safety inspection at 1-3 year intervals.
Even big folding doors are easy to operate by hand. For example, a 16’ x 16’ Findoor folding door can be opened and closed by a 10-year old person. The hinges lift the bottom edge weather-stripping off the floor, making its operation light work.
In and of itself, the door does not weigh much at all because it is a self-bearing structure. Generally speaking, bigger lift up doors require the installation of door opening mechanisms, which adds to inspection and maintenance costs. Findoor has provided folding doors as large as 49’’ x 23’ that are manually operable. And they work.
The folding door opens to the sides and tucks away into a space behind the door jambs, thus occupying space only adjacent to and not in the door opening. That is, when opened, the doors are behind the jambs, leaving the entire door opening wide open. The folding door usually reduces the height only 4 ¾” down from the header face. An overhead door opens overhead, taking up possible ceiling space, often requiring a lot of space above. This may create challenges in planning lighting requirements and what kind of spanning structure is needed to mount the lifting mechanism.
The windows on the folding doors are real thermal glass, so they will remain clear and easy to see through both in and out. The windows on overhead doors are often plastic, which may warp, thus reflecting and refracting light so that it is not possible to see inside from an appreciable distance. Plastic can also darken over time.