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4 Tips to Protect Your Automatic Doors from Road Salt Damage

Automatic Sliding Doors in the winter

From December to March, Ontario is basically made of snow, ice, and road salt.

It’s the same every year, and we suffer through it. But did you know your automatic entrance could be suffering too?

Road Salt Can Damage Your Automatic Entrance

Automatic sliding entrances are built on tracks. On a good day, these tracks are clean and clear of obstructions, and your door can operate as designed.

But when those salt crystals, large and small, start working their way into the sliding tracks/paths they can:

  • Cause your automatic opener to work harder, straining the electronic parts.
  • Create structural issues in your tracks.
  • Prevent your doors from closing fully.

These problems will leave you with big headaches – and depending on the extent of any road salt damage, expensive repair bills.

Tips for Protecting Your Doors All Season Long

You need your doors to work all year long – here are some tips for keeping your doors safe from road salt damage this winter.

1. Sweep Your Entryway Every Morning and Evening

This is something we do at our headquarters every day in the winter. When we first arrive in the morning, one of us will thoroughly sweep the area immediately outside our door, as well as check the mats inside for any large debris.

Commercial Automatic Door Issues in Winter with Salt Build Up
The door to CFS Canada offices in Ottawa. We sweep the tracks daily to remove salt and other potential blockages.

The less salt in front of your entrance, the less likely you’ll experience any road salt damage.

How often salt is spread on the sidewalk outside our building, or how much foot traffic we’re getting in a day dictates how often we sweep. In general, we do it once in the morning, and once at the end of the day.

Remember: It’s okay to leave some salt: after all, it’s there to combat the ice. Just make sure that there’s more sidewalk than salt – which brings us to our next tip.

2. Go Easy on the Salt

Road salt is one of the key ways we prevent falling in the winter. What most of us don’t know is that we really don’t need that much.

Yes, it’s great for ice, but too much and you get a lot of problems. In an opinion piece from the Toronto Star, one woman in a wheelchair talks about road salt damaging her wheel bearings, sticking to her tires, and getting all over her hands and her floors. That’s incredibly inconvenient and frustrating.

Yet many places – especially public city spaces and retail shops – go heavy on the salt so there is a lower risk of people slipping. That’s why you see those little mountains of road salt in parking lots and outside buildings.

You can still use road salt to keep your sidewalks and entrance from being too slippery – just be more mindful of how much you’re using. A light, even sprinkling will work well, and you won’t have to worry as much about road salt damage.

If you’re interested in learning about alternatives to road salt, this article from Global News has some examples which will definitely surprise you!

3. Perform Daily Checks on Your Tracks and Systems

Now that you’ve swept your entrance and applied a reasonable amount of salt, you need to inspect your actual door.

No matter how diligent you are with the first 2 steps, some debris is going to sneak it’s way in, hitching a ride on a customer’s boot or getting caught in the closing swing of your door.

We recommend setting your automatic opener to keep the door open and doing a carefully inspection of your door tracks at least once a day. By doing so, you can pick out any road salt, or even give the tracks a quick vacuum to remove debris.

You should also run an operational safety test to make sure your door is working as it should. Activate the door and have it open and close a few times, keeping an eye out for any irregularities.

4. Book a Professional Maintenance Appointment

No one knows automatic doors like the pros – so what better way to make sure your entrance is working at peak efficiency?

Our maintenance technicians perform thorough test and inspections that will catch any potential problems, reduce the risk of surprise breakdowns, and give you peace of mind.

We’ll Keep Your Door, Tracks, and Equipment in Tip-Top Shape

If road salt damage is giving you the winter blues, we can help. Our team is fully-equipped to perform maintenance, diagnose repairs, and get your door back to 100%.

Learn More About Automatic Door Maintenance