Tag Archives: self storage

Post Frame Building Doors-Coil or Sectional?

Post Frame Building Doors – Coil or Sectional?

In my 40 plus years of post frame buildings, I have provided tens of thousands of overhead steel sectional doors and not so many coil roll-up doors.

Where we park our vehicles is pretty darn importantish for us Americans. Our garages and shops serve as a unique space for us to carry out different important projects. And as it usually contains a lot of pricy and critical equipment, our doors need to be just perfect.

First –  rolling steel doors. These may be a perfect pick for commercial settings, especially self-storage. People will also refer to these as overhead rolling, coiling, or roll-up doors. Same thing, different names.

Coil doors most often have three inch multiple layer steel slats. As the door opens, these slats roll together in a circle. Diameter of the circle will depend upon the height of the door.

These doors will be exceptionally durable and, in fact, can withstand a higher design wind load than most average doors. These doors might be bent but they will not break. Coil doors robust construction materials allow them to withstand heavy usage and be able to withstand wear and tear for an extended time.

One option includes a thin layer of foam, acting as a minimal insulation material.

Aesthetics is typically a strong deterrent for coil door usage in residential applications. Face it, they do look rather industrial.

Sectional steel doors will utilize panels – most often of 21 or 24 inch heights. Typically, when retracted, they will rest parallel to the ceiling. However, it is possible to order with tracks to high lift up or to follow the slope of the roof to minimize ceiling space being covered. Sectional doors also can have windows with a variety of insert patterns as an available option. Much higher insulation values than coil doors are available.

For extended reading on sectional steel overhead door insulation, please see https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/07/barndominium-high-r-value-overhead-doors-part-i/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/07/barndominium-high-r-value-overhead-doors-part-ii/

Sectional steel doors, in most cases, will require roof or ceiling support. These will require a comparatively higher amount of overhead space, as opposed to wall mounted coil doors.

Additionally, factor in how many resources are there in your headspace. If there are HVAC vents, lighting, sprinklers, hanging signs, or hanging storage shelves, sectional doors might block them.

Steel sectional doors are going to be more cost-effective initially, however rolling doors have a comparatively lower lifetime cost, with little or no required maintenance.

Lastly, consider overall durability offered by either choice. Even though sectional doors boast a one-piece construction, they have comparatively more moving parts to wear and tear. 

Now, my humble opinion – if aesthetics and/or insulation value are my dictates, I will pick sectional doors every time.

Storage Wars

We don’t have network television access out here in the sticks where I live, so we see little TV except for Netflix.

Our 19 year-old son Brent was out to visit one afternoon and started watch a program originally aired as a reality TV series in 2010 on the A&E Network. I suppose I always knew Americans were hoarders, but Storage Wars gave it an entirely new spin for me.

The premise of Storage Wars is, the contents of storage units with unpaid rent have their contents sold by an auctioneer as a single lot of items in a cash-only auction. Storage Wars follows professional buyers who purchase the contents based only upon a five-minute inspection of what can be seen from the unit door when it is open. The goal of the potential buyers – turn a profit!

storage-units55 years ago there were no self-storage facilities at all in the United States, today there are now 2.3 BILLION square feet of self-storage space in the United States. This equates to over seven square feet of storage for every single person alive in the U.S. today!!

Before 1996 only 6% of the population used storage services, in contrast to 65% of today’s population. Over the past four decades, self-storage has been one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S.

In the 1980’s my Dad had done a fair amount of research into the post frame industry and felt he had a pretty good grasp as to what it takes to be profitable.

#1 Dirt – the land needs to be affordable, located conveniently and not have overly onerous Planning Department requirements.

#2 Unit mix – having a broad variety of sizes allows customers to move up in size when their belongings expand.

In 1991 I built a self-storage project with three buildings – totaling 20,400 square feet. I couldn’t convince the owner to go with anything other than 10’x20’ units. When he couldn’t pay me, I foreclosed and became an, “I really don’t want to own this, owner”. It was a true challenge only having a single size to offer.

My frequent readers are familiar with the adventures working on Eric’s new storage facility. With a unit mix of three 5’x10’, two 10’x10’, five 10’x15’, five 10’x20’, five 12’x22’ and five 12’x27’ – he has covered all of the most popular size bases.

#3 Don’t overpay for the building, or scrimp trying to cheap out. Here is where pole buildings shine – great value for the investment and for the DIYer, it offers a tremendous money savings. Make your storage building look attractive. Eric’s building has “warm” inviting colors as stone for siding with contrasting dark gray for wainscot, roof and trim. The impression you want to have shine is your storage building is a clean place to store valuable “stuff” where folks are willing to pay for the space.

My bride and I recently took a motorcycle trip to Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada. Although it was no surprise there were storage buildings for boats, even we were amazed at row after row of storage buildings for miles on end – both on the U.S. and Canada side of the border.

Next break from watching Storage Wars, get out the pencil and paper and see if the numbers could work for you. Most self-storage properties are free and clear within five to seven years!