A Primer on the Overhead Door

Garage doors that roll up to the ceiling and hang on a track are called overhead doors. There are three basic types of overhead doors in use today.

Tilt Up Overhead Doors
A tilt-up overhead door unit is a solid, single piece overhead door that swings up on a pivot point and rolls on an overhead track near the ceiling. This unit is wide for single car or double car storage and could be wider for commercial uses. Found in older buildings, both commercial and residential, it tends to be heavy and awkward to handle due to the wide area of the door. These doors utilize either steel or aluminum “skin” with steel preferred for security.

The drawback to this type of door is the need to ensure adequate clearance space. Additionally, steel requires frequent painting of the surface to prevent rust. It is also not as weatherproof as other door types, certainly a negative in Wisconsin winters.

Roll Up Overhead Doors
Roll up overhead doors are comprised of many small sections joined into one large unit. Sections could be added as the height of the door increases. The door rolls up into a tight coil when opened. It is ideal when there is no space near the ceiling for the door to hang. Fiberglass is the most common material for these doors, which makes the unit lightweight and easy to roll.

The drawback to fiberglass is the tendency to crack and become brittle in cold weather. Aluminum can be used in cold weather areas. Roll up doors are the most expensive option of the three and its sheer abundance of parts results in frequent maintenance expense.

Sectional Overhead Doors
Sectional overhead doors are the most popular type of overhead door. Madison WI residents like it because its weather tight construction is ideal for tough winters. It is also popular due to its simplicity in design and the multiple uses of materials for special needs or visual appeal. Wood has visual appeal and a high “R” factor (thermal resistance to heat flow) but it doesn’t last as long as steel and aluminum. With sectional overhead doors, a wide variety of styles and finishes are available to enhance the beauty of any home.

Some drawbacks to sectional overhead doors include the need for frequent maintenance to minimize mechanical difficulties as well as occupying more ceiling space. It is the best option of the three types for cost, required maintenance, weatherproofing and security.

Looking for an overhead door in Madison Wisconsin Look no further. Northland Door Systems has the garage door to meet your needs. Go to

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