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Evaluating the ADA Compliance of Your Commercial Garage Doors

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires public and commercial buildings to be accessible to people with disabilities. Specifically, the ADA compliance of commercial garage doors must meet several critical criteria. If you are concerned about the ADA compliance of your commercial garage doors, read on to learn more.

Who is Responsible for ADA Compliance?

The commercial property owner must ensure that all architectural barriers are removed or modified to comply with ADA standards. Depending on the size and nature of your business, you may also be responsible for ensuring ADA compliance within your own office. If your company employs people with disabilities, this is an important consideration. The three types of businesses where ADA compliance is especially critical are Healthcare clinics, doctor’s offices, and hospitals that must comply fully with ADA architectural standards. This includes all building features, seating, and even parking spaces.

  • Medical: If you operate a medical facility, you must comply with ADA requirements for commercial garage doors.
  • Education: Federal law requires that schools must accommodate students with disabilities.
  • Retail: All retail businesses must make their facilities accessible to people with disabilities.

Doors That Are Accessible to People with Disabilities

ADA compliance for commercial garage doors begins with the type of door you install. A garage door must be “rideable” or “step-by-step ” to comply with the ADA. Rideable commercial garage doors allow people in wheelchairs to roll right through them. You can meet this requirement by using an “infill” style door. This type of door has a panel on the lower portion of the door. A “full-view” door may also be compliant, but it must be a high-quality door that is easy to open and close. Finally, step-by-step doors are easy to climb. Many buildings use step-by-step doors in commercial settings for stairwells, but you can also use them for commercial garage doors.

Doorway Width and Height Requirements

One of the most critical aspects of ADA compliance is the width of the doorways leading to the garage. The entrance must be broad enough to (minimum doorway width of 32 inches) accommodate a wheelchair. The doorframe must also be high enough to allow a person in a wheelchair to pass through it. The minimum doorway height is 80 inches. Select a model that meets these requirements if you install new commercial garage doors. It is also important to note that you should install it above the door opening if you have a ceiling lift.

Manual Doors Must Operate Automatically

ADA architectural standards require that commercial garage doors automatically open when the sensors detect a vehicle. If upgrading or repairing your commercial garage doors, select a model with an automatic opener. The only exception is if your garage is detached and accessible only by an alley or pathway that the public cannot access. Automatic door openers can be either chain or belt drives. The door opener must be outside the garage if it is chain-driven. If your garage is on a public street, it must have a door opener programmed to meet ADA architectural standards. These include both safety and sound level requirements.

Additional Requirements for ADA-Compliant Commercial Garage Doors

In addition to the criteria outlined above, your building design must meet several other critical architectural standards to ensure ADA compliance for commercial garage doors.

  • The garage door must be a soft-close model, with a maximum decibel level of 83.
  • The entry must have a light that indicates when the door is open or closed.
  • The door must have an audible warning device that sounds when the door is in motion.

When installing new commercial garage doors, you may need to make structural modifications to your building. For example, you may need to add an extra support column inside the garage to support the added weight of a new heavy-duty garage door.


ADA compliance for commercial garage doors is critical. This has been a brief overview of a few issues you should be aware of when you are planning to buy commercial doors. All new commercial garage doors and remodels must meet architectural standards for accessibility. These standards require commercial garage doors wide enough for wheelchair passage, high enough for easy passage by people in wheelchairs, and equipped with automatic openers. It is also essential to select a model that offers additional features such as sensors and light bulbs. When in doubt, consult an architectural engineer or an ADA compliance expert for assistance with commercial garage doors that are fully ADA compliant.

Work with an experienced commercial garage door company

If you are looking at ADA compliance for your commercial garage doors, A1 Door Company can help. We will take care of all your garage door needs throughout the Richmond area. Contact us today

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