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Roll off roof - garage door rails VS v groove wheeks

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25 replies to this topic

#1 tjay

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 08:05 AM

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

I am in a climate that does get snow and ice in the winter, so I think garage door rails might be better.



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#2 DeanS

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 08:13 AM

Garage door rails and wheels are not designed for this kind of loaded application, although many use them on lighter roofs.  I would only use V-groove as they are made for supporting a lot of weight.  If you get much snow they can handle that, and will crush any ice that has accumulated on the angle iron.

 

Dean


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#3 tjay

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 08:49 AM

Garage door rails and wheels are not designed for this kind of loaded application, although many use them on lighter roofs.  I would only use V-groove as they are made for supporting a lot of weight.  If you get much snow they can handle that, and will crush any ice that has accumulated on the angle iron.

 

Dean

Thanks the the reply Dean.

 

I'm definitely planning on a light weight roof.  I have good luck with the steel panel roof over a framed roof with some roofing paper in my last observatory.  

 

how thick is the angle steel most people use?  Is 1/4" strong enough?



#4 fullotto

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 09:02 AM

hello,

 

I have a small 12x10 A frame (not flat ) roll-off. had it for going on 10 yrs now. it uses garage door rails.

being an a-frame of that size its not very heavy I do not believe. in those years I have as yet to have any trouble

with it. I always grease up the bearings, rails &  and wheels themselves. I live in Pa. so I get the best/worst of

weather.



#5 Ishtim

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 09:11 AM

We do not get much snow here.  I went with a standard rafter design with 2x4's for my 12'x12'.  1x4 furring strips were added for attaching the sheet metal to and allow for ventilation.
This is supported by eight, 4" steel v-groove casters that roll on 1"x1"x 1/8" aluminum angle stock.  The roof is secured with 4 hasps and opens/closes easily with one hand. 

It is now in its 11th year of service.

post-34323-14072476358813_thumb.jpg post-34323-14073071684578_thumb.jpg post-34323-14072479924809_thumb.jpg
 


Edited by Ishtim, 10 June 2019 - 09:12 AM.

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#6 DeanS

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 09:13 AM

Thanks the the reply Dean.

 

I'm definitely planning on a light weight roof.  I have good luck with the steel panel roof over a framed roof with some roofing paper in my last observatory.  

 

how thick is the angle steel most people use?  Is 1/4" strong enough?

I just used a standard iron angle iron, about 1.25" each leg. 

 

But this design is probably overkill for light weight roof.

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#7 *skyguy*

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 09:30 AM

I used grooved wheels (4) on angle iron welded to steel square tubing for my garage-top observatory ROR track. The supporting framework was constructed using the same size angle iron, also welded together. The observatory has been in service for the past 18 years without experiencing any problems with ice and snow preventing the roof from rolling off.

 

Good Luck with your observatory build .....

 

Observatory Track.jpg

 

OrbitJet Observatory:

 

https://www.flickr.c...57644177074161/

 

 



#8 tjay

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 12:18 PM

Thanks for all the great replies everybody!

 

What I'm taking away from this is that either grooved wheels or garage door rails will work with grooved wheels working better for a heavier roof.



#9 t-ara-fan

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 12:44 PM

I will be building in an area prone to regular high winds.  My plan is to use garage door rails and wheels.  Probably a wheel every foot on each side.  So the per wheel load is relatively light.   There is already a roll-off on site, with the same design. No problems in 10 years. 



#10 Starman27

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 12:58 PM

I used standard angle iron tracks with grooved wheels. It has bee working for over 20 years in northern Illinois weather. It will actually plow through snow and ice. BTW I open and close each section of the roof by hand.

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#11 DMRandall

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 12:46 AM

I have garage door tracks on my ROR.  I had one occurrence of snow melt that re-froze in the track while the roof was open (solved by a drain hole).  The other thing I've noticed is that the entire roof can move back and forth on the roller axles.  That causes some problems with the overhangs catching on the siding.  I'm considering putting in V groove casters to assist in weight carrying plus accurate tracking without any side to side motion.  



#12 Alex McConahay

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 08:06 AM

>>>>>> The other thing I've noticed is that the entire roof can move back and forth on the roller axles.

 

Consider that this movement is also the movement that allows the rollers to adjust to slight differences in the width of the rails/tracks. In my experience, there is slight irregularity in the separation of the tracks. This can be due to construction, settling, and flexure while rolling. (That is, through time, or as a roof opens, the distance between tracks change as things settle or flex.) The movement of the roller axles accommodates this slight flex. 

 

Eliminate this, and you may have trouble when your system flexes or settles. 

Alex



#13 DeanS

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 08:28 AM

Alex is right in that the angle iron must be aligned well or you will get resistance.  the wheels have a little bit of side to side play but not much.

 

When I installed my roof we did it by tacking down one side wall angle iron.  Set the roof on with the other side angle iron not attached.  Roll the roof back and forth as we tacked it down so it was aligned properly.  My post footers are 36" deep which is below our front line, concrete pad for the observatory is also that deep.  After 15 years I have noticed nothing changing.  Except rust, really need to paint it this year wink.gif

 

Dean

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#14 DeanS

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 08:34 AM

One other comment.  I think having the outboard rails slightly inclined up is not a bad idea.  If you ever have a power failure or roof motor go out, it would be much easier to pull it back on then.



#15 gregj888

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 10:16 AM

Something often suggested it a V track and wheel on one side, flat or flat bottom U channel with extra width on the other.  That relieves a lot of the alignment issue.   



#16 kolsen

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 11:22 AM

Something often suggested it a V track and wheel on one side, flat or flat bottom U channel with extra width on the other.  That relieves a lot of the alignment issue.   

That's what I have done and it works great.  The place where I bought the V-groove wheels recommended to do this also.



#17 Raginar

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 12:32 PM

Thanks the the reply Dean.

I'm definitely planning on a light weight roof. I have good luck with the steel panel roof over a framed roof with some roofing paper in my last observatory.

how thick is the angle steel most people use? Is 1/4" strong enough?


We get a lot of snow in South Dakota. I used garage door track and never had any problems. Lightweight roof with steel roofing. No issues. i did end up putting a roof heating wire down the length of the track to melt the ice that would build up sometimes. It was just plugged into a toggleable switch so I could use it as needed.

#18 HunterofPhotons

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 12:46 PM

Some things to consider:

---  A U-channel for a flat wheel will 'channel' water into your observatory when it rains, collect snow in the winter, and debris all year long.  Gutters are the highest maintenance item on a house.  Do you want one coming into your house (observatory)?

 

---  A garage door track will also collect water and it's difficult to make it weather tight unlike an inverted angle track which can easily be made weatherproof and insect proof.

 

---  It's a trivial matter to have V-groove wheels running on inverted angle track for both sides of a roof without binding.

      One side is set up as a 'leader' with perfectly aligned wheels running on a perfectly straight track that is well-fastened.

      The other side is the 'follower'.  These wheels are also securely fastened to the roof in a straight line, but the track is only snugged down and allowed to shift horizontally.

      As the roof moves with temperature and over the course of the seasons the following side naturally aligns with the leader.

 

---   Any moving roof needs additional support to keep it from racking.  This is especially necessary when a roof is motorized to pull at one side.  A simple diagonal attached to the top of the ceiling joists is sufficient.

 

dan k.


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#19 Raginar

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 02:16 PM

You drill a few drain holes just prior to the track coming into the observatory. I never had problems with dirt.

#20 tjay

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 10:36 PM

Wow, thanks for all the great posts with tons of useful info everybody!

#21 ScottW

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 12:40 PM

Skyshed plans all use garage door wheels, up to 14' roofs.   They say just don't buy the cheap ones!

 

Scott



#22 krockelein

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 06:39 AM

Very good ideas, especially drilling the holes in the bottom of the garage rails to eliminate water before it runs into the building.  My problem right now is finding the rails!!  



#23 DMRandall

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 03:51 PM

I got rails from a local garage door installer - he offered the "old used" ones from his recycle bin - which were perfectly usable for my purposes.  Maybe you can score some that way too!


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#24 tjay

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 06:43 PM

I got rails from a local garage door installer - he offered the "old used" ones from his recycle bin - which were perfectly usable for my purposes.  Maybe you can score some that way too!

It's definitely worth a shot!  Thank for the idea!


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#25 krockelein

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 08:50 AM

I got rails from a local garage door installer - he offered the "old used" ones from his recycle bin - which were perfectly usable for my purposes.  Maybe you can score some that way too!

I've been calling around to several.  I live just outside of Atlanta in Gwinnett county, so there are a plethora of garage door installers.  Problem is getting past the receptionist whose stock answer is universally, "We don't keep/have old parts."  I would prefer to go in person, but not sure if I would be able to actually connect with someone behind the front desk, and with COVID going on a rampage here, don't think the risk is worth it.  I neighbor suggested trying a Habitat for Humanity Restore store, and there are a few around here, so I'll try that next.  If all else fails, it looks like I'll be buying some Clopay (thickest ones I can find) on eBay...




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