To celebrate 40 years of garage door excellence, we thought it would be great to give you an idea of our potted history, put against the context of what was happening in the UK garage door market over the last four decades.
Up&Over Doors was formed in 1979 by Ran and Etta Morrison as a partnership – Ran had previously worked for a builder’s merchant who had specialised in garage doors and he saw a niche in the market. We then became one of only a handful of specialist garage door companies in the whole of the UK.
The business ran successfully for many years from our premises at 1 Glenfrome Road. Over time the business expanded to include numbers 3 and 5. The showroom and offices are still based at the address, and we have an additional unit in Parkway Trading Estate, about 500m away, where we store the doors, vehicles, tools and have a small workshop.
Due to failing health the business was winding down until, in 2010, the Stagg family took a controlling interest to revive it. The Stagg family became involved after Tim Stagg married Rebecca Morrison, Ran’s daughter and Up&Over Doors became a Limited company. With the continued involvement of Ran and Etta’s children, Rebecca, Richard and later Alex, and an ever increasing group of key colleagues, we have seen strong organic growth year on year.
Ran founded the business based on providing independent, friendly advice to all in our specialist area of garage doors, coupled with access to all the doors available in the market – including our namesake the Up & Over door but also rollers, sectional and side-hinged doors - and competitive pricing. We have continued to carry that same spirit forward and hope to do so for another 40 years to come. Here’s what we have seen happen in the market for the last 40 years:
Car ownership continued to expand in the U.S in the 1970s, as did the road network and at the same time the demand for the home garage. The 1970s saw a shift from wooden doors to metal garage doors. However,these early versions of the doors had problems: structural stability, the need for frequent oiling, and the prevalence of rust. As such, wooden doors remained the most popular choice for residential garage doors with more metal components.The single piece up and over garage door remained king, with only a few sectional doors in more commercial applications and the occasional roller door.
By the 1980s, more and more homes had garages attached and they were predominantly used for storing cars in to protect them from the elements. However, in a sign of the times, the doors on these garages were mostly made from steel. This was also the decade where steel doors began to resemble the better-looking wood garage doors of the past: raised panelling and even faux-wood grain enticed buyers as much as the durability and low maintenance of steel garage doors did. The sectional door was gaining ground and a primitive domestic roller door was increasing in popularity.
While the first electric garage door openers were invented in the 1920s, they did not become standard until the 1980s. Luckily during this period they had also become wireless. But the garage door openers of the 1980s were nowhere near as smart as today’s garage door openers. In fact, when garage door openers first became popular, it was common to push your garage door opener, only to see your neighbour’s garage door open! Garage door openers of the day were not specific to their own garage. This was of course also an opportunity for thieves who could troll neighbourhoods simply pushing a remote to see which garage doors opened.
But by the late 1980s, these problems were fixed with the widespread sale of fixed code systems and another advancement became standard on garage doors: safety measures.
In the 1990s, the UK and European governments passed a series of laws which dictated that any garage door opener had to meet certain safety requirements. Foremost amongst these was that every electric garage door had a system that would cause the garage door to stop moving and actually reverse if something broke the plane of the door’s path or if the door encountered resistance of any kind.
In the late 1990s, the advent of doors with finger-trap protection was introduced. This was a major step forward for safety. Old-style sectional doors would often have large gaps between panels which could pinch hands and fingers and could even crush the hands and fingers of children. The finger saver technology created shaped joints between the sections that actually push fingers out of the way. If you have kids, you simply must get a garage door with this finger-saving technology.
Whilst single piece doors are still the most popular style, sectional doors have been broadly adopted on roller doors are becoming more and more reliable.
To overcome the issues of security around garage door remotes, the 21st century brought us the new feature rolling code which was pioneered in car keys. Rolling code remotes are not 100% safe from hackers, but they’re better than fixed code ones so check your remote and update if you need to.
But just like everything else in our lives these days, the real advances in garage doors are linking them to the internet.The first to market were LiftMaster with their MyQ system, which sought to connect your garage door from your smart phone. If you get to work and think “did I close the garage door when I left?” you can simply go onto an app to check. With another click you can then close the garage. The same works in reverse, so you can open the door, as well as set up the app to notify you whenever the door opens or closes too. With the ability to link to a Nest camera you can also look around and even speak to anyone in your garage so you can take a delivery, direct the delivery person where you would like your items left and then watch them leave.
The connectivity that is available is accelerating with offerings from all the big players including developments in the MyQ system and Somfy’s own system. These systems, already available and getting more sophisticated all the time, enable your garage door to be part of a full home automation system. Geo-fencing will sense when you are approaching and open for you as well as enable you to control the lights, thermostats and anything else you can think of.
Here at Up & Over Doors we have taken great pleasure in helping our customers to choose the best system for them through the decades and we look forward to seeing what the next 40 years will bring!