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Self-Storage Maintenance Retains Customers and Property Value

Elaine Foxwell Comments
Continued from page 4

Excess dirt and debris that collects in the guides and in the rain lip keep doors from sealing well at the bottom bar, Hughes says. Letting dust and dirt enter the guides causes wear and rough operation. The funnel effects between buildings caused by windy conditions, coupled with property cleanup by blowers, can force debris into, under and around the door openings. These conditions also leave scratches and pit marks, affecting the appearance of the doors, Hugh adds. The impact of winter salt can be minimized by regularly removing snow from the direct path of doors and guides.

Temperatures and moisture associated with direct sunlight, coupled with the dirt contaminants on the surface causes the paint on doors to chalk and fade. Wipe doors down with a wet cloth to remove dirt, then apply Armor All or any type of light-duty car wax twice a year.

Each time a unit is rented (or yearly, depending on which is first), managers should:

  1. Inspect door curtain for any scratches, dents or debris, and clean, repair or replace as needed.
  2. Sweep out unit, rain lip and guides.
  3. Apply silicone-based grease on the springs (white lithium works best).
  4. Spray inside of guides with a silicone spray.
  5. Inspect all guides and fasteners for tightness.

“Since the appearance and smooth operations of your doors project your image to the public, maintenance does not cost you money, it makes you money,” says Teresa Sedmak, president and co-owner of Everbrite Inc., Reno, Nev. After every vacancy, owners should check doors are securely screwed into the wall. The screws may have backed out after excessive use. Sometimes none of the screws are in place.

Check the pull cords, especially if they are on the outside, as they wear very quickly. Make sure you melt or singe the cord ends so they won’t fray.

Oil or lubricate the springs with a very light coat of oil to reduce friction and prevent rust. Finally, check the tension and adjust according to the manufacturer’s directions. Maintaining the spring tension and making sure it is balanced is critical. People who hurt their backs trying to raise doors that stick or open unevenly can file lawsuits.


When a roof is installed, it should be thoroughly cleaned by sweeping the entire surface with a broom or air blower, Stephano says. Metal particles on a metal roof can cause a chemical reaction.

A walking inspection of your roofs will reveal areas that need maintenance to prevent unnecessary aging and damage. When a roof has a nearly flat pitch, customers may toss debris up onto the roof where it won’t be seen or roll off.

Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned every fall, or more often in applicable geographical regions. Another inspection prior to the winter’s ice and snow is prudent. Care should be taken while using a garden hose to clean gutters and downspouts. Don’t let water pressure force water under the eaves, and look for roofing screws and other sharp objects that may wash into the roadways.  Installing downspouts into an underground water retention system reduces surface water, parking lot erosion, and ice in cold weather.

“Convenience, price and perception about the care your customers’ goods will receive are the three decision-making factors in choosing a facility,” May says. “Any one of the three can gain or lose a sale. That is why exterior maintenance is so important.”

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