Structural Requirements for Overhead Doors

For commercial and industrial buildings, an overhead door is a vital decision that will impact the space’s structural integrity and functionality. Overhead doors are offered in many variations, each with structural requirements. The diverse range of options caters to many different needs, like weather protection, security, and ease of access. It is vital to carefully evaluate the requirements and considerations to ensure the proper functioning and longevity of the overhead doors. 

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Types of Overhead Doors

The many overhead doors serve specific functions and require distinct structural considerations. Some of the most common overhead doors include roll-up, sectional, vertical or horizontal bi-fold, sliding, and man doors. These doors are just a few common examples, with many applications and specific structural requirements. 

Roll-Up Doors

Roll-up doors are an extremely popular for commercial and residential applications, offering durability and minimal maintenance requirements. There are many different models and building materials like steel curtains. 

Sectional Doors

A sectional door is widely used in commercial and industrial settings as it offers durability reliability, and is highly customizable. The sectional doors are typically made with 2″ (51 mm) panel thickness with a 7.35 R-value. They are constructed from various gauges of galvanized steel, providing options for non-insulated and insulated heavy-duty doors designed for different applications.

Vertical or Horizontal Bi-Fold Doors

Vertical and horizontal bi-fold doors are particularly common in residential settings. A vertical bi-fold door is used for large cabinets and room dividers and is an alternative to a traditional door. A horizontal door offers the same uses but offers a beautiful visual effect. If you are debating between the two options, it is important to consider the available space, design preferences, and specific requirements of the building. 

Sliding Doors

Sliding overhead doors are an extremely versatile option for different applications, which offer different designs and functionalities. Sliding overhead doors could be used for extra-wide openings, barn doors, and sliding carriage doors. 

It is vital to consider the structural requirements and space available to ensure that sliding doors are viable. 

Walk Doors/Man Doors

Walk doors are an important structural piece of a steel and metal building as they provide quick and easy access for individuals. The doors are typically offered in a standard size of 3’x7′ or 4’x7. 

Structural Requirements for Overhead Doors

The structural requirements for overhead doors encompass various aspects essential to consider when choosing and installing these doors. These requirements include the mounting frames, floor details, installation, and suspension facilities.

Mounting Frames

Mounting frames ensure the overhead doors are properly installed and functional. The framing process typically involves installing head, side, and center bracket framing. These components help ensure support for the overhead door and create a sturdy and lasting setup. 

Floor Details

Floor details involve the interaction between the door and the floor. This includes the bottom bar, consisting of galvanized angles bolted back to back on either side of the extruded section of the floor profile. 

Installation Considerations

When installing the overhead door, there are a few different considerations one needs to take into account. Here are some of the most common and important to consider: 

  • Clearing the Area – remember to clear the area surrounding the door before installation. 
  • Professional Expertise – removing and installing tension springs is a critical step in the process, which could require professional care to ensure the process is completed safely and correctly. 
  • Manufacturer’s Instruction – when installing an overhead door, it is vital to follow the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure the door is installed properly. 
  • Structural Requirements – it is also important to consider the structural requirements, like placing it on an auxiliary structure in the wall of the building. 
  • Aesthetic Considerations – remember to take the aesthetic of the structure in which the overhead door is being installed. 

Airtightness Considerations

Air tightness is an important consideration for overhead doors as they improve energy efficiency, climate control, and environmental integrity. Overhead doors can be a challenge for air sealing simply due to the fact that they rely on gaskets to create an airtight assembly. In order to address the air leakage, it is vital to seal the overhead door properly. 

Suspension Devices

The suspension devices are vital to help support the horizontal tracks of the door. The suspension devices are important to ensure the proper function and installation of the door. Ultimately, the suspension devices help improve the safety and effectiveness of the doors. 

Four Important Considerations

Does the Door need to be Insulated?

Insulation of an overhead door is important to the energy performance of the building, particularly in terms of thermal resistance and air leakage. Doors with. High R-values could experience air leakage without proper sealing. 

Is Manual or Electrical Operation Required?

The decision to incorporate a manual or electrical operation will depend on a few different factors. 

Manual Overhead Doors

  • The overhead doors are operated manually through a chain hoist system.
  • Typically, it consists of panels that either roll or fold vertically along the tracks. 
  • Advantages – The manual operation offers a simple option and can be operated in the event of a power outage or mechanical failure. 
  • Considerations – They do require physical effort to operate and require regular inspections, lubrication, and occasional adjustments to ensure smooth operation and proper balance. 

Electrical Operation

  • The electric overhead doors are operated through an electric motor and remote control mechanism. 
  • Advantages – They offer convenience and additional features like safety and the ability to integrate other systems.
  • Considerations – They typically have a higher upfront cost and require electrical power in order to operate. 

Is Automation Required?

Automation is not exactly required for overhead doors, but it does offer practicality convenience, and adds an extra layer of security. An automated door could eliminate the need to lift heavy doors manually. 

How Important is the Speed of the Door?

The speed of overhead doors is extremely important as it offers the following advantages:

  • Rapid opening and closing
  • Improved energy efficiency
  • Enhanced Safety


One of the most important pieces of information when owning an overhead door is the structural requirements. Understanding the mounting frames, floor details, installation, and suspension facilities is vital to the functionality of the overhead door. As a full-service industrial door and loading dock equipment company, Hobbs Dock and Door understands the importance of selecting the right overhead door and mounting door frame for each unique situation. By partnering with Hobbs Dock and Door, you can benefit from their Expertise in identifying the most suitable overhead door solutions that align with the specific structural requirements of your building, ultimately ensuring optimal performance and long-term reliability.