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Self-Storage Remodeling Case Study: The Owner of a 20-Plus-Year Facility Upgrades Buildings to Keep Competitive

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The roll-up doors, gutters, downspouts and wall panels all needed to be replaced. However, the existing structural columns and headers around the doors could be covered with an 18-gauge metal “wrap.” By covering the structural columns and headers vs. replacing them, no structural changes had to be made and no structural permits were required.

The cost for the material and labor for this project was approximately $580 per exterior unit. Figuring cost on a normal square-foot price does not make sense because the work is only done on the exterior of the building. Therefore, if a building has 25 units, for example, the total cost would be in the neighborhood of $14,500.

Residual Advantages

The roll-up doors, gutters, downspouts and wall panels were all replaced, giving the 23-year-old facility a fresh look.Through his facility refurbishment, Sutton realized some distinct advantages. He now has full material and coating warranties on the building exteriors. This would not have been the possible if he’d chosen to field paint the exterior components. Typically, the paint would have cracked and peeled in a few years, requiring him to prematurely start the process over again.

It's also a good bet that facility refurbishing and maintenance will qualify as a tax write-off quicker than the cost of a new building. It’s certainly worth a call to an accountant to see if it qualifies.

Although the economic outlook is getting brighter, keeping a facility attractive should never be ignored or put on the back burner. As an owner, you shouldn’t view refurbishing as simply keeping up with your competition. Look at it as an ongoing process that’s part and parcel of keeping ahead of your competitors.

Mike Gillikin is an independent sales representative for BETCO Inc., a single-source manufacturer of metal self-storage buildings and components. To reach him, e-mail; visit

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