The Latest Automatic Gate Safety Features

Automatic gate safety featuresWhen it comes to offering convenience, automatic driveway gates do as well as their garage door counterparts. Both let you drive right in without getting out of your car. Sadly, many homeowners fail to realize that each of these contrivances can also be equally deadly. If your automated gate dates to 2001 or earlier, trouble could be right around the corner.

A Deadly Trap

Between the years of 1985 and 2001, more than 30 individuals died in automated gate accidents. In addition, about 25,000 others suffered injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to broken bones and amputated limbs. The unsettling fact is that prior to the year 2000, most of these gates lacked the safety features that would have prevented those mishaps.

What Do New Gates Have That Old Gates Don’t?

Thanks to the combined efforts of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Underwriters Laboratories, the UL325 standard now includes a set of requirements specifically intended to prevent automated gate tragedies. In addition to directives for installation, UL325’s most important mandates include photoelectric sensors, opening guards, and audio alarms.

Photoelectric Sensors

The biggest safety feature, and one that was glaringly absent prior to 2001, is an automatic sensor to reverse or stop the gate’s motion in the presence of an obstacle. The extreme force exerted by an automatic gate can crush whatever gets in its way. Photoelectric devices will sense the intrusion and reverse the gates before any damage occurs.

Opening Guards

A traditional swing on the garden gate is almost a childhood ritual, but where automated devices are concerned, a ride such as this can be deadly. To put an end to this dangerous practice, new standards insist upon the installation of a screen that stretches from the gate’s bottom edge to a height of at least 4 feet. Similar guards installed between and alongside the gates will discourage anyone from reaching through to retrieve a dropped item or activate the controls.

Audio Alarms

If, while the gates are in motion, two entrapment protectors should activate sequentially, these alarms will alert those nearby that the gates have malfunctioned and that someone could be in danger. This feature alone could help save a life.

Pedestrian Protections

To prevent any injury to passers-by, an automatic gate must always open toward the property’s interior. A proper installation will also include a separate pedestrian entrance to thwart attempts at walking through the gate, and homeowners should always be sure to locate manual controls far from the gate’s extended reach.

While the convenience of an automated gate has always gone without question, these modern standards are an essential means of ensuring their safe operation. If you have any questions about your own gate, Overhead Door Company of Portland has answers. To see what you can do to eliminate the dangers of your automated gate, head over to our website for more information or contact us today.

6 Tips on Finding the Most Dependable Garage Door Opener

Find a garage door opener that will stand the test of time

If you’ve never purchased a garage door opener, you may be surprised by the number of options that are out there. Indeed, it’s easy to feel pretty overwhelmed. Still, this isn’t the time to base your decision on intuition. By understanding a few basic facts about modern garage door openers, you’ll have a much easier time selecting the right one the first time.

6 Things to Consider When Buying a Garage Door Opener

Garage door openers, chains, and beltsWhen you’re in the market for a dependable and durable garage door opener, keep these things in mind:

Drive Style

Garage door openers come in three main styles: chain-driven, screw-driven, and belt-driven. Belt-driven openers excel in almost all ways. They’re quiet and they deliver superior performance. If your door is extremely heavy, though, you may be better off with a chain-driven model. If it’s a one-piece door, a belt-driven opener is probably best.


Don’t skimp on horsepower when choosing an opener. 1/2-horsepower models are the most ubiquitous, but you’ll enjoy better durability with a 3/4-horsepower model. For superior power and efficiency, though, you can’t beat a 1-horsepower opener.


Instead of buying separate components for your opener, choose one that has them built in. Many models include keyless entry, which is typically provided through a keypad that’s installed to the side of the door. Some models scan fingerprints, however, and they are even easier and more convenient.


Avoid stumbling around in the dark when in your garage by opting for an opener with bright lights. Ideally, your opener should support 100-watt bulbs or whatever the LED equivalent is. In this way, you can kill two birds with one stone.


Do a little research about popular garage door opener manufacturers so you’re familiar with the most reliable ones. It’s far better to pay a little more for a model from a reputable brand than to save a tiny bit buying one from an off-brand manufacturer.

Motor Style

Without a doubt, you’re going to want an opener with a DC motor. They are faster, quieter, smaller, and lighter than their AC counterparts, and they often offer variable-speed operation for soft starts and stops. As an added bonus, many models include built-in battery backup systems that allow the door to keep functioning even when power is lost.

Looking for quality opener and durable garage doors? Overhead Door Company of Portland has you covered. Check us our website or give us a call today to learn more.

Blaze Barriers: When Do You Need Fire-Rated Doors?

Requirements depend on national and local fire safety standards

Serving as an integral part of a building’s fire protection system, fire-rated doors minimize the break in the safety barrier provided by the fire walls. According to the U.S. Office of Compliance, properly installed and maintained fire doors, frames, and hardware are fundamental to interrupting the spread of smoke, toxic gases, and fire.

Rolling fire doors Locations to Install Fire Doors

While many requirements exist for where a fire door must be placed, there are generally six locations that you should be aware of. These include doors that:

– Are marked with exit signs

– Provide access to hallways or long corridors

– Lead to stairwells and elevator shafts

– Close in hazardous areas, such as flammable storage or boiler rooms

– Divide occupancies or smaller fire areas in the building

– Separate buildings

How to Choose a Fire Rating for a Door

Fire ratings range from 20 minutes to three hours, which indicate the length of time the door can withstand the blaze. These classifications are determined by the manufacturer’s controlled tests. The strength of the door’s fire rating depends on where the access is located and typically equals three-fourths of the fire rating for the surrounding wall. However, a door with a higher fire rating can be installed for greater security.

Where to Locate Fire Barrier Codes

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides the principal requirements for fire doors, which are outlined in Standard Number 80, “Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives.”

While these detailed instructions are followed by the International Fire Code (IFC) and the International Building Code (IBC), both organizations also supply their own installation guides.

Additionally, the local fire code, the specific building code, the product’s manufacturer, and the insurance company may mandate extra conditions to ensure maximum fire protection.

Fire Door Safety Concerns

Safety and liability are the two main concerns of business owners when it comes to operating and maintaining fire-barrier doors. Every door must retain a legible certification label on the inside edge, which is provided by the testing laboratory. This tag not only proves safety compliance but also supplies important information when it is time to perform maintenance or replace the door.

In high-traffic areas, residents and employees often prop open fire safety doors, which creates a significant hazard. OSHA regulations require that fire exit doors are equipped with electromagnetic latches that automatically release when fire alarms activate. The doors should never be held open with blocks, wedges, ropes, or chains.

NFPA 80 also mandates that fire-door assemblies must be inspected annually and repaired immediately by experts in the industry.

Overhead Door Company of Portland, OR, can help business owners determine if fire-rated garage doors and interior doors are needed in their commercial and industrial facilities. Contact us today if you need to purchase, inspect, or perform maintenance on a fire-rated door.

Gated Community History: From Ancient Times to Today

From Ancient Rome to West Palm Beach

Residential gates for communities

Certain parts of the Portland area are no stranger to residential gates. From the gated communities of the West Hills to the semi-rural parcels with broad driveway gates out east, our little slice of paradise has plenty of “gate variety.” You might be surprised to learn, however, that the urge to create gated spaces goes back thousands of years. In fact, some ancient gated communities may have predated the Egyptian pyramids!

Walled Cities of the Ancient World

The ancient world was a violent, unpredictable place. To maintain some semblance of order, city-states constructed massive fortifications that walled off the center of town from outlying districts and ensured that the most important structures and people remained protected. Access to fortified areas was controlled by massive, reinforced gates that prevented all but the most determined invaders from entering. To back up these gates, city-states would often employ a whole host of defenses, including hot oil, archers, water barriers, and other nasty implements. The ancient world’s most impressive gates were found in China, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

A Gate for Every Castle

During the medieval period, towns were often controlled by a royal or noble family that lived in a castle or fortified estate house. Along with the castle or house itself, surrounding outbuildings – often occupied by other members of the nobility, clergymen, or important support staff – were blocked off from the surrounding countryside by walls, berms, moats, and other defenses. As in the ancient world, access was only allowed through reinforced gates.

Modern Gated Communities: A Return to Form?

These days, gated communities and individual homeowners don’t really worry about being overrun by barbaric hordes or rival clans. However, Americans do have to deal with safety and security threats that can be mitigated by the strategic use of gates. Today’s gates are more varied than at any time in history. They deftly straddle the line between practicality and beauty. From wrought-iron residential gates designed for single-family properties to commercial-grade swing, slide, and lift gates that can handle all manner of traffic, it’s a great time to invest in a gate for your property.

Turn to a Trusted Gate and Door Resource in Portland, OR

We might never be able to turn back the clock and see what life was really like behind the residential gates of ancient Rome or Greece, but there are plenty of modern alternatives that entice American homeowners today. If you’re in the market for a gate or door that does your property justice, we’re happy to guide you on your buying journey. For more information about all the options available to you, call us at (503) 252-5111 or contact us online.