Walk-Through Garage Doors

pedestrian garage doors

Hot new trend does more than keep the warmth inside.

Previously seen almost exclusively in the commercial market, pass-through or walk-through garage doors, which allow one to pass through the garage door without opening it, are becoming one of the most sought-after features in the industry. Sparing residents the need to open their manual or automatic garage door every time they enter or exit the garage, the added comfort and aesthetic appeal of walk-through doors are readily apparent, but let us look at some other factors which may be contributing to their rising popularity.

Rental markets hit by the 2020 pandemic are slowly recovering and prices are rising steadily, but it’s noteworthy that even during the lockdown months of the previous year, basement rental prices did not see the same level of decline, as many renters fleeing urban centers to the suburbs sought more affordable but equally spacious accommodations at a time of higher unemployment and inflation. As new vaccine-resistant variants emerge, destabilizing markets and harming supply chains, emergency stimulus spending will drive increasing inflation at a time of stymied growth. Unfortunately, further economic woes are in store for the working class and for small business owners in the coming years. This inevitably will keep more young people living at home with their parents for longer, often in basement units. A 2020 report from Pew Research found that for the first time since the Great Depression a majority ( 52%) of young adults in the US now live with their parents. This number is identical for Canadians, marking a sharp rise over the 2016 census, which put it at about one-third.

Similar economic factors incentivize more homeowners to rent out their basements in order to cover their mortgage payments. With a real estate market that remains tight and competitive, in the City of Toronto, for example, 15.4% of homes now include a secondary unit, according to a recent report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. For students and young professionals striving for success in the big city and their landlords, a pass-through garage door offers not just privacy and convenience, but also helps them comply with municipal safety codes. City regulations require easily accessible egress doors leading outside for each dwelling unit so that in the event of a fire, basement apartment residents would not have to pass through the upstairs dwelling unit to escape. In addition, a pedestrian door allows access to and from the garage during power outages, which unfortunately are a yearly occurrence during the cold season in many cities including Toronto. Especially for densely-built townhouses with little space for side doors, a pedestrian door can be an ingenious solution.

There are some drawbacks, however, to this type of garage door. Care must be taken to prevent an automatic garage door from opening when the pass-through door isn’t properly closed, which may cause serious damage, for which reason a special safety mechanism has to be installed, adding to the cost. Creating a pedestrian door in a garage door also slightly reduces the strength of its insulation simply by virtue of having more openings for warm air to escape. However, if residents frequently enter the garage, such as in the case of using a pedestrian pass-through door to access a basement unit, the net energy savings from not having to open the garage door every time more than offsets this small reduction in energy efficiency, helping keep the garage and rooms attached to it warm and comfortable during the winter.

In light of the above, it’s easy to see why pass-through garage doors are in high demand among Canadians, especially before winter, despite the high price tag they come with. Making a door inside another door will always be cheaper and easier than bringing down part of an exterior wall to install a side entrance. So if current trends continue, you’ll be seeing much more of these in your neighborhood soon.

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