Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Garage Doors: Steel or Wood

If you are considering upgrading your home with a new garage door or are preparing for the construction of your new home, choosing the best door to meet your needs will be an important decision which alters the curb appeal of your home for years to come. Since new garage door models are far more advanced than older styles, offering better insulation and protection, it pays to do your homework before assuming that either steel or wood is the best match for your situation.

While not the only options available, steel and wood still make up the majority of market choices for garage door construction materials. Both steel and wooden styles have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Steel has become the single most popular option, mainly due to its lower cost and maintenance requirements when compared to wood, but homeowners who particularly appreciate the curb appeal of a wooden door are often willing to spend the extra time and money on the initial purchase and upkeep of a wooden model, especially if the garage faces the road.

Steel Has Become the Most Popular Choice

Steel doors can handle humidity, rain, solar exposure, and heat far better than wooden models with less maintenance. Those of you who use your garage as a workshop or an extension of your living space should be concerned with how much insulating value your door provides, and steel typically leads the pack in this regard as well.

Rust is a common concern when most homeowners imagine steel with constant exposure to the elements, yet all but the cheapest styles are covered with a polyester or fiberglass coating that resists rust. If you do purchase a model that rusts, a simple sanding followed by touch up paint will easily correct the problem, leaving your door good as new.

Denting is the other main concern expressed in regards to steel garage doors. Yes, steel does dent, and those dents can be difficult to remove, so it pays to choose a door constructed from thicker gauge metal panels. The best steel doors are made with 24 gauge steel, which resists denting far better than the thinner 27 or 28 gauge models. Doors with a fiberglass overlay also add protection against dents, but will need to be repainted or restained every few years, as the color tends to fade.

Wood is the Choice When Appearance is Top Priority

No other material can match the beauty of a properly maintained wooden garage door. The least expensive models are constructed with a lightweight wooden frame, filled with foam insulation, then covered with plywood or a thin layer of hardwood. Some of these models may be competitive in price when compared to steel models, but higher end custom made wooden doors crafted from cedar, redwood or mahogany can cost as much as $10,000.

In order to withstand the outdoor elements, a wooden door needs to be repainted or refinished every few years. You'll never need to worry about denting or rust, however, and the price you pay for your new wood door can often increase the property value of your home in excess of what you paid for the door itself, due to the high curb appeal of the wooden look.

No one garage door material is best in all situations. With careful consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of each style, homeowners will be able to select a model that best meets their needs and budget requirements while providing beauty and functionality for years to come.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Choosing Between a Slide Gate and Swing Gate

An automatic gate is a straightforward, effective way to control access to a home, community, or facility. The gate ensures that all vehicles that enter and exit the premises must do so via the automatic gate. You get the security that you need for your home without having to hire a guard or put in cameras or other security devices. The following details two popular types of automatic gates – slide gates and swing gates – so that you can make an informed decision about the gate that you install for your home.

Slide gate

A slide gate may also be referred to as a rolling gate or V-track gate. It is installed parallel to the fence interior. A slide gate moves back and forth across the opening in a horizontal fashion. The rollers on the bottom of the gate support the sliding motion. Generally there is a metal track installed for the rollers along the ground that spans the gate opening.

A slide gate is a great choice when a swing gate is not an option. For example, if the area where the gate would swing open is limited (i.e. large rocks in the way), a slide gate may be a better choice. A slide gate can also be a simpler option for driveways with steep uphill slopes.

As slide gate rollers must run along the ground, sometimes issues arise when there is ice, snow, or debris. The rollers may also generate friction, which can make it a little tougher to open and close the gate. The best way to minimize these issues is to purchase a brush that you can use to sweep the track periodically.

Swing gate

A swing gate is hinged on one side. It swings open and shut just like a regular door. Typically a swing gate moves in a 90 degree arc between its open and closed positions. Swing gates can either have a single or double leaf and can have an in-swing or out-swing motion.

Swing gates are widely used for residential properties because they're affordable, easy to install, and require minimal maintenance. Many people also like swing gates because they are safe and quiet with few moving parts. Additionally, swing gates offer a compact, classic aesthetic that matches a wide variety of home styles.

The most important thing to keep in mind when considering a swing gate is that your home must have adequate space so that the gate can move in a large arc to open or close. People must take care to keep their vehicles clear of the gate when it opens or closes. You don't want a person or a vehicle to get trapped or hit by the moving gate.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Loading Dock Maintenance

It’s no secret that safety is your organization’s first concern. In achieving that end-goal of an accident-free environment, good maintenance goes hand in hand with keeping everyone—from employees to vendors to delivery people—safe and sound and all equipment and goods in working order. Loading dock maintenance is an important job as the loading dock area is likely a busy crossroads that is central to the operation of your business or facility.

Regular maintenance will head off preventable injuries and stop damage to property and products coming in and going out. Keep in mind that ‘maintenance’ refers to the daily and timely chores that keep the loading dock clean, tidy and in good repair. A maintenance schedule should be set in addition to a company safety policy that includes loading dock procedures, rules and regulations. Employees should be routinely trained on safety rules and policies, and they should be enforced for employees and visitors at all times.

You’ll find a general schedule for loading dock maintenance below. Adjust the schedule to fit the needs of your facility. You may want to put some tasks on the daily schedule while others can be made weekly or monthly,  but make sure that you clearly outline which employees are responsible for which tasks and when the tasks are to be done to ensure that the maintenance tasks are completed as needed.

Loading Dock Maintenance Tasks

1. Clean up debris, spills and any other objects or items that should not be in the loading dock to prevent trips, falls and other injuries. Typically, this task should be completed more than once a day; for instance, you might have an employee complete an hourly sweep of the loading dock area to check for clutter and debris.

2. Make sure that the lighting on and around the loading dock is adequate and in good working order, especially if the area is in use during the dark morning and evening hours.
3. Inspect dock approaches for potholes and crumbling blacktop. Complete any necessary repairs in a timely manner.
4. Ensure dock bumpers stay in good working condition, and replace any that are damaged or missing as soon as possible.
5. Test dock warning and safety systems—such as trailer-restraint systems—to ensure they are in good working order at all times.
6. Inspect dock components such as dock levelers, dock plates and boards for wear and tear. Red tag any equipment or machine until it is fixed, replaced and returned to optimum working order.
7. Ensure loading dock signs and all painted or tape lines are bright and visible, especially under adverse conditions like rain, snow or dark of night.
8. Make sure that the surface of the loading dock does not pose a slip hazard when wet.
9. Inspect mobile equipment—such as wheel chocks, used to ensure that trailers and trucks stay in place—for damage and replace any items that are lost.
10. Check safety equipment kept at the loading dock to ensure it is clear, undamaged and is either in good working order or within its expiration date.
11. Inspect seals and shelters to ensure they are keeping the elements out of the dock area.

Keeping to daily and weekly loading dock maintenance schedules will ensure that small issues don’t grow into serious problems over time. Such schedules also ensure the safety of employees and visitors, as well as cargo, so that your facility doesn’t miss a beat.