Preventative Maintenance

This article was published in the Apr/May edition of the Insider magazine.  Author Mark Venz from Bridgmond Projects Pty Ltd.

Doors, doors and more doors!  Ask someone to give their impression of a Self Storage complex and that is definitely one of the most common descriptions.  We have doors to welcome customers in, doors to keep unwelcome folks out, doors used as decorative facades and of course the gateways to a customer’s personal treasures.

Being such an integral factor in a Self Storage facility, we would do well to look after them.  Particularly with roller doors, because there are so many of them, the odds of a couple needing a bit more than minor maintenance are high. There are quite a few parts to a roller door and each one needs different attention to keep the door working optimally and avoiding costly repairs.

A roller door’s job is basically to look good, be secure and go up and down.  To aid the up and down function of a roller door, in Australia, the curtains are fitted with a nylon sheathed “felt” runner attached to the very outside edge which runs in the guides that are fitted to the inside of the door opening.  This felt quite effectively reduces friction and helps the door to go up and down smoothly. Over time however, grit and dirt can build up inside the guide causing it to operate less smoothly. A remedy for this is very simple.  Whenever the unit is vacant or you have access when the door is open, dip a rag in some methylated spirits or kerosene and run it up and down the inside of the metal guide a couple of times.  Best to push the rag with a small stick or pencil as the edges of the metal guide can be quite sharp.  The methylated spirits or kerosene does two things, cleans the guide and coats the guide with a very light film.  As it says in the care manual that came with your roller door, don’t use oil as this will damage the “felt” and this is one part of the roller door which is not replaceable.

The slide locks don’t usually require much maintenance.  If they are getting a bit tight then a light spray of lubricant or silicone spray will assist with the friction.  This will also help if you have a sticky key cylinder. Be careful not to get any spray on the paintwork as it will damage the finish.  Occasionally the actual sliding bar may be bent by an enthusiastic storer lifting the roller door (or pulling a swing door) before the bar is completely drawn.  In this situation, it would be best to engage an installer to repair or replace the slide lock.  An installer can also adjust the receiving slot for the bar and this is sometimes all it takes.

Most of the hardware on a roller or swing door can be replaced if it is damaged or missing.  Metal or plastic “D” Handles, footpegs and even the weatherseal rubber on the bottom of the door can be supplied separately and replaced.  More importantly, on the doors to the external of your buildings, the rubber weatherseal is what keeps the outside from getting inside when the door is closed.  This rubber can sometimes be cut or split or over time just plain deteriorate.  An installer can replace this for you, but I have also known some very competent managers who have been able to carry out this repair as well. Saving some money and giving a well-deserved sense of achievement.

When roller doors are installed correctly from the start there is rarely a need to adjust things like tension.  However, occasionally you may have a door that is difficult to lift or comes down a bit too fast. An incorrectly installed roller door sometimes can develop “coning” where the door doesn’t roll even or true. These issues are easily rectified by an installer when there is access to the inside of the unit.  It is important that an experienced installer carries out these types of adjustments as there are a few tricks to avoid damage to the door and injury to ourselves.

A quality roller door is made from Colorbond™ coated steel.  Bluescope™ have developed sophisticated coatings for these products but they still degrade over time.  What would you guess to have the most detrimental effect on a colorbond™ finish? The worst offender of course is salt air.  The next however is dust.  Just like your car, dust and dirt will degrade the paint finish of the roller door curtain.  The doors on the external of your buildings get rained on and the dust is washed off.  Hopefully it doesn’t rain in your corridors though so regularly wiping the dust off the roller door curtain will help maintain the paint finish.  If there are light marks or scratches, try to avoid using a touch up paint sprayed directly onto the door.  The paint fades differently to the coated steel and looks patchy.  The best way is to spray some touch up paint into the lid and use a cotton bud or similar to dab just the mark or scratch.

A damaged door can be a security issue.  If the lock is broken or the curtain is loose from the guide then the door is no longer secure.  While not all builders are interested in the small stuff, specialist self storage builders (like us) and installers usually are.  For example, we are more than happy to carry out “one off” or multiple repairs, supply parts for you to replace yourself and we can set up a regular maintenance regime at your facility.

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