Having doors that work well and look good can open the door to success at your self-storage facility.
It may sound like a small thing, but if your doors won’t open easily, you won’t have happy tenants. Prospective customers who come by to view your facility will go elsewhere if a unit door is sticking. Any savings you realize by delaying maintenance or replacement of doors will be lost when your business declines.
Diane Gibson, owner of Cox Armored Mini Storage Management, which manages facilities in Arizona, said doors that are maintained well last longer.
In addition to promptly responding to complaints about doors from your tenants, you should conduct thorough inspections whenever a tenant vacates a unit, she said. This gives you a chance to take a close look at all the moving parts, especially on roll-up doors.
Fixing sticky doors
A sticky door often is an easy fix. Sometimes all you need to do is clean the guides of a roll-up door or adjust the tension of the spring.
Bray Allen, inside sales and estimating manager at door manufacturer DBCI, said roll-up doors typically require more maintenance than standard swing doors. One reason is that swing doors often are used in interior hallways and aren’t exposed to the elements. They may require occasional hinge lubrication and little else.
Doors on exterior units can accumulate damaging dirt and dust. Allen said these doors should be washed periodically. Take care not to spray water under the doors, as it could damage items stored inside. Rather than using a garden hose, try a bucket of mild soap and water that can be applied with a rag or a brush with soft bristles.
If your facility is near the ocean, salty air can corrode metal doors, said BA Wilson, operations manager at Personal Mini Storage in Orlando, FL.
“The paint starts to degrade,” Wilson said. “There is even a possibility of rust or developing holes.”
If your facility is located where winter temperatures drop below freezing and you use salt to melt the ice on your asphalt, be sure to wash self-storage unit doors with fresh water.
No matter what your climate is like, door paint can fade over time. Cleaning doors regularly will slow the process, Allen said. If you never clean exterior doors, the dirt eventually will wear its way into the surface of the paint, much as sand can grind into the finish of a hardwood floor.
“The cleaner you keep them, the longer the brilliance of your doors will be there,” he said.
Problems with repainting
While using touch-up paint on dings and scratches can make your doors look better, Allen doesn’t recommend repainting the surface of roll-up doors. That’s because the labor required to sand them is intensive. If faded paint detracts from the appearance of your facility, “you are better off at that point to replace the door,” he said.
Gibson said she typically keeps doors as long as they can be repaired.
If you repaint a door without removing the old paint, moisture can work its way between the original factory coat and the new layer, Allen said. This may cause peeling.
Gibson said there is an alternative to repainting. Clear-coat products can be brushed over the surface of faded doors to restore the appearance of the original paint.
“A clear coat can make it look better,” she said.