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Rolling Bifold and Walkthrough Doors

Roundtable on Doors

Doors are the part of the building envelope that receives the most hands-on treatment from its occupants. Metal Construction News asked industry experts about current issues and future trends facing this market segment.


MCN: Why should a builder choose a metal door as opposed to an alternative material?What are the advantages of a metal door?

Scott Blue: Durability and strength standout as the primary reasons why metal is the material of choice. In particular, metal doors are best suited for large door openings.

Our doors are engineered for each specific application by mechanical engineers paying strict adherence to IBC2006 building codes, while designing the door in RISA analysis software. Couple these larger door opportunities with high wind load requirements and the care and design method utilized is even more critical. We have designed doors to withstand wind loads of up to 250 mph.

These demands require the door to have tremendous integrity and to perform under extreme conditions. Metal doors are up to the task.

Rita Kogoy: The benefits and advantages are the security. People automatically associate metal with a stronger, more secure product. Rolling steel products typically have extremely long life spans. There are doors out there that have been operating for 50, 60, 70 years. Engineering-wise, they just keep on operating.

Also, rolling steel can fit into spaces that other types of doors can't, as it has very low head-room requirements. Other products out there fit a variety of niches, but rolling steel has its own specific pocket and there are certain requirements that definitely lend themselves to a rolling steel application.

MCN: What are the newest innovations in exterior doors (materials, coatings, finishes, insulation, hinges, closures, etc.)?

Blue: Our aluminum doors utilize a unique construction process. Lighter weight than comparable steel products, yet incredibly strong, aluminum is aesthetically more pleasing than steel and, in areas on the coast where corrosion is a concern and rust is pervasive, the aluminum construction provides a rust-free solution.

Architects, engineers and end users continue to push the envelope and ask door manufacturers like Wilson to help solve their design/door opening challenges. With our build-to-order philosophy and unique, engineered solutions, tackling these challenges will very likely give birth to the next innovation.

Kogoy: We work really hard here to offer alternatives that meet safety design requirements; all kinds of different ratings for specific products. We work very hard to make sure there are safety standards in place that not all other products can meet.

Wind load is a huge issue for us right now; operable wind load. Not only having doors that can withstand high wind pressure but can operate in specific wind pressures. Another issue is seismic calculations for earthquake-prone areas. Right now we are working on having seismic calculations down to very close zip code areas, so we can have provable calculations for very specific regulations in those areas.

MCN: Where does the growth for exterior metal doors lie? What new market segments are ripe for your product(s) to enter and explore?

Blue: Wilson has produced metal doors for the aviation industry since 1956. Increasingly however, we have applied our doors and technology to the industrial, commercial and residential markets. We expect this to continue.

Kogoy: Sustainability is a huge issue right now, for everyone; making products more energy efficient. We have a very long-life product, which lends itself to the sustainable market. Materials and packaging-everything that goes into the door, making those as sustainable as possible-that's a big focus right now.

Ultra high-cycle is another one. Having doors that operate in intense, extreme conditions.

MCN: What role do metal exterior doors playing the 'green' building movement?

Blue: Metal doors like ours can have a fairly significant impact on LEED status and further a project's green goals. First the doors are manufactured of recyclable material-aluminum and steel. As well, the doors can easily be removed and reused on another building, another plus toward garnering LEED points.

As for functionality, the doors have been used on exterior openings to allow fresh air in throughout the warm summer months, limiting the need for air conditioning. Our Premier and Valu-Tec bi-fold doors and hydraulic doors can also act as a shade/canopy when in the open position. In the cool winter and fall months the doors can provide warmth from the sun by skinning the doors with a translucent plastic or glass.

This significantly cuts down the need for heating and can provide almost one-third of the desired heat for an adjacent space. Lastly,Wilson's door seals have been described as "refrigerator tight," limiting energy loss. These benefits can help enhance a projects' green status and contribute to its LEED point total.

MCN: What advancements/changes do you expect to see in the exterior metal door market over the next 12 to 24 months?

Blue: Wilson will continue to play its role in satisfying the increased interest in sustainable architecture and construction. Going forward, Wilson's five different unique doors will fill the need for a practical, durable large exterior door solution. They'll play a role in ensuring that the building is tightly sealed to prevent energy loss, create a more comfortable working environment and reduce waste. Wind load considerations will continue to be a requirement, particularly in coastal construction. Though we have had mild hurricane seasons over the past couple years, the long range predictions are for rougher weather. Large openings have to be protected to minimize losses from these incidences. Wilson has an on-going program geared towards meeting requirements for high wind conditions by providing doors that can weather these storms yet are able to enhance the look of the facility.

Kogoy: Sustainability and LEED-that's a big issue right now. There's a demand for more energy-efficient products. Both the operator performing at optimum cycle ability and producing the proper R-value calculations, where applicable.

MCN: What sets your product(s) apart from your competitors?


Scott Blue,
Marketing Coordinator,
Roundtable Cornell Iron Works

Blue: Innovation, longevity, performance, breadth of product. Wilson's made-to-order philosophy versus a cookie-cutter approach.Additionally, our customer service is unparalleled- we treat clients as partners and not simply as a sales opportunity. We have degreed engineers on staff. We don't farm our engineering out or have on staff non-degreed "sales engineers" engineer your product.


Rita Kogoy,
Wilson Doors

Kogoy: We offer a full line of products, not just a "onesie-twosie," you can get this or that from us. We offer a full range of closure solutions, from rolling steel to our new transform line which is also metal, in a side-folding partition. That gives architects and specifiers an alternative where there has previously only been one manufacturer [of side-folding partitions] in the market. Now we have a viable equal to offer people. And innovative solutions that no one else can offer the market. We have specific products that meet the needs of the market as far as design applications go, and we give people solutions.


Wilson Doors
Elkhorn, Wis.

Cornell Iron Works
Mountaintop, Pa.;