Corrosion-resistant doors may be necessary for a diverse range of settings where a sterile environment is required, including laboratories, hospitals, manufacturing facilities, restaurants and food processing companies, research facilities and pharmaceutical manufacturing and testing.
Often, these types of operations require commercial-grade doors that can be easily washed down and sterilized with harsh chemicals. In these types of commercial and industrial settings, door materials must be strong enough to stand up to these frequent chemical cleanings without corroding.
A building located in a coastal environment should have doors that resist salt-water corrosion, while facilities with doors that come into contact with water, whether from extreme weather events such as flooding, or in the normal operation of business, say in a car wash, require doors that won’t rust. The best choice? Commercial fiberglass doors.
Fiberglass Holds Up Against Corrosion
One of the best materials for creating corrosion-resistant doors is fiberglass. Fiberglass door laminates hold up well against a variety of corrosive conditions and can last decades, a claim that can’t generally be made for a steel or wooden door. Even aluminum-framed glass entry doors don’t hold up as well as fiberglass doors when it comes to corrosives.
The manufacturing process for fiberglass doors doesn’t vary that much, regardless of the intended use of the doors. Fiberglass door skins are created in molds. A gelcoat in a pre-selected color is applied over the mold, followed by a coat of resin, and then a layer of fiberglass matting. More resin is applied, which saturates the matting.
The process of manufacturing a fiberglass door usually results in a three-layer assembly of gel-coated skins. The finished product is a solid panel with a smooth finish. Corrosion-resistant doors are manufactured with a monolithic design, so that there are no cavities or voids that could harbor bacteria or other contaminants.
The manufacturing techniques for commercial-grade fiberglass doors is a big factor in why they’re so resistant to, well, everything. Not only are the composite materials themselves strong and lightweight, but the manufacturing process ensures a flawless, poreless, impenetrable surface everywhere on the door.
Now only if we could figure out how to make all our commercial door hardware fiberglass, too…
Other Advantages of Exterior Fiberglass Doors
This combination of materials presents a strong front against corrosive agents, be it from chemical exposures or weather. Further, fiberglass doors are resistant to dents, dings and everyday wear and tear.
Fiberglass doors are also easy to paint, so offer opportunities to spruce up the décor, storefront or entryway. In addition, they can be manufactured with fire ratings up to 1.5 hours, so they can be fitted in fire-rated walls. What’s more, fiberglass door cores are usually non-conductive. That means they eliminate galvanic corrosion, or the electrochemical process where one metal corrodes when in contact with another.
Further, fiberglass doors are readily acceptable in operations where production is regulated by the FDA, USDA and other government agencies. Business owners in these sectors know how careful they have to be about their commercial doors, windows, HVAC, flooring, paint – there’s a lot to keep on track so you can keep people safe. Fiberglass doors can take the guesswork out of a few point on your checklist.
Fiberglass doors do have a few negative points, including the chance of cracking under a strong impact. Unfortunately, once a fiberglass door’s structure has been compromised, you’ll need to have a new door installed. Additionally, some business owners may simply not like the look of fiberglass. However, in corrosive environments, fiberglass is usually the best choice, indoors or out.
Steel for Water-Saturated Environments
For businesses located in high moisture environments – boat yards, docks, marinas, coastal businesses, and chemical store houses, car washes, pool houses, and agricultural storage facilities – exterior steel garage doors with steel components are an option.
Powder-coated tracks and hardware offer more protection than standard galvanized steel, although powder-coated steel is not as resistant as stainless steel. Business owners may also opt for stainless steel tracks, hardware and stainless steel nylon rollers with sealed bearings, and stainless steel cables.
The great things about steel are in its use as secure doors and how easy it is to keep clean of dirt and grime. However, even the best-grade exterior steel doors can’t stand up to fiberglass doors when it comes to water and corrosion-resistance. Businesses often choose to pair fiberglass doors with commercial-grade steel door hardware.
Corrosion vs Commercial Doors: The Takeaway
Exterior fiberglass doors are great for corrosive environments like coastal areas or settings where they undergo a lot of chemical cleaning. Stainless or galvanized steel is great for wet environments because it’s rust-resistant. And aluminum is also an option – it’s less durable, but still holds up alright in these types of circumstances. But there are also a lot of industrial grade coatings you can find to really seal off the surface of any material commercial door. So you’d do best to consult a company that performs commercial door installations, because they’ll understand the intricacies of your business’ needs and all your best options.