Door matters - Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Door matters

When it comes to the appearance of your carwash, your door plays a very important role.

There are many reasons that people need doors on their carwash. Doors can:

  • Offer security
  • Retain heat
  • Reduce wind
  • Control water overflow
  • Reduce noise from carwash equipment, and
  • Control traffic flow of vehicles.

 As we all know it is extremely important to the success of your wash to have a reliable door to provide the benefits above. However, the benefit that most people often overlook is that a quality door can also improve the appearance of your facility.

What’s your style?

The two most popular styles of doors for a carwash application are aluminum/polycarbonate overhead doors and vinyl roll up doors. If you are looking for doors for a new facility or replacing old doors, here are a few key items to consider based on appearances before making your next purchase.

Polycarbonate door sections can be constructed of a 5/8” thick five layer material or a ¼” thick single sheet. You may choose all sections to be the same material or mix and match between the two. Both allow high percentages of light transmission into the bay and allow a customer visibility into the bay to varying degrees. The five wall material allows you to see that there is a vehicle in the bay, but you would not be able to make out such detail as reading the license plate of the that vehicle. The solid polycarbonate sheet gives the same clarity and appearance of a glass panel door and allows maximum visibility into or out of the bay.

Five wall polycarbonate sheets are typically clear to allow maximum light transmission, but there are other color options available such as bronze, opal, black, red, and blue. Adding a little color to a door can really increase the curb appeal of your facility. The aluminum rails and stiles of the door can also be anodized a variety of colors to give the door a different look than the standard silver aluminum. Black, bronze, gold, and red are just a few of the shades available through the anodizing process.

The pattern of the aluminum framing on the sections can also be custom manufactured to match other overhead doors or window patterns on the building.

The other popular door type for carwashes is the vinyl roll up door. These sections are constructed of either 22-ounce solid vinyl panels or a 40 mil clear vinyl panel. A door can be constructed of all the same material or can be mixed with a combination of both styles. A typical door has three full vision panel s with a solid vinyl top or bottom.

There really isn’t a standard color for vinyl doors. Although red and blue are the most popular colors, a wide variety of colors are available to match the existing color scheme of your building or signage.

Clear sections for curb appeal

Curb appeal is extremely important for your carwash. You want your facility to be inviting to your customers and choosing the correct door can be a big part of this. With either style door, clear sections are very important. As mentioned earlier, clear sections are important to let light into the bay and create a more pleasant wash bay environment for the customer. Clear sections also let internal light out of the bay and a bright light up bay will grab your customers’ attention at night.

Now is the time to take a look at your doors before the busy winter season begins. Are your panels clean and clear and inviting to your customers or is it time to replace one or all of them? Changing out your sections can be a cost effective way to give your facility a face lift and show your customers that you are making improvements to your wash.

How to maintain door hardware

Maintaining the appearance of your door sections is important in attracting customers to your wash. However, once they are in your wash you want to make sure they are just as impressed with the appearance of the inside of the building as outside. Keeping your door hardware looking like new can be a challenge. Door hardware is subjected to constant water and chemical spray. Galvanized steel hardware in an average wash will start to show corrosion in less than one year and typically will not last for more than five years. Changing your hardware to plastic or stainless steel will not only prolong the life of the hardware, but it will keep the inside of your wash looking clean and new.  

Don’t panic if you did not buy the corrosion resistant hardware when you purchased your door package. Little improvements each year can create instant positive results. Hinges and track are a couple of the most visible items to a customer in the wash. Replacing these visible components with black plastic will improve both the look and performance of your equipment with a minimal investment.

Fall and winter are extremely busy times for carwash owners. All too often we do not pay attention to equipment at our washes unless something is broken.  I urge you to take a few minutes and look at your doors.  Look at them from the outside and inside and take the perspective of a potential customer. Do the doors give you the impression that this wash is well maintained and the equipment is constantly updated? Or, do you get the opposite impression? Remember, you do not need to replace the entire door to change the look of your wash. A panel or two and a set of hinges will go a long way in making a positive first impression.

Josh Hart is the vice president of Airlift Doors Inc. of Minneapolis, MI. For more information on Airlift Doors, visit, or call 888-368-4403.

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