News From Fimbel Architectural Doors

Portsmouth Fire Department


Every so often I stumble upon a photo that takes my breath right away. A photo that speaks a thousand words engulfing the pride of a parent, the admiration of an artist, and the joy of a child. This was the case upon finding the featured image above of the Portsmouth Fire Department and our Roaring Twenties doors: I had to have it!

As many of us can imagine, those of us who spent the last year through COVID on the front lines are tired, busy, and stressed, so I hesitantly reached out to gain permission to use the image. When I got Assistant Fire Chief Bill McQuillen on the line, our chat began with laughter. He simply said, "This may be the best call I have this month: You only want information on our garage doors when everyone else has a fire to put out be it a real fire or COVID related or volunteer related or whatever else. So how can I help?" It was at least 45 minutes later we had to tear ourselves from the call as our joyful time was filled with history, humor, and an appreciation of our doors and their department for quality and service!

If you look closely at the photo above, you will see a hydrant; however, this one dispenses dog treats to the hundreds of canine passerby each day who visit this community hub. He spoke of this aspect with reverie for the connection it creates for the community as well as the members of the Portsmouth FD. As a family business and as a family unit, we support the efforts of Erin Fimbel, our President, who has fostered 27 dogs through her home and our office, this means a great deal to us! As I looked closer, it became clear the values that inspire this FD are aligned with those that inspire FADS.

The Doors

The Estate Collection, the platform for the Roaring Twenties doors selected for this project is built using a hand placed wood frame and nesting in our insulation. Next we laminate a vinyl back cover and a solid vinyl exterior that encases the face. This slab now becomes a blank slate to bring you more for your door and allow abundant design options. Applying solid, study overlays pocketed (nested) into the face creates the pronounced look of this classic style. Behind the smooth, high end look of wood, we use composite materials made from partners who value the earth as much as we do. Our doors are durable to stand the test of time as well as low-maintenance. It is this innovation and material selection that create the opportunity to be modified in myriad ways, including 1" height and width increments, to satisfy decorative features and historical applications. 

We don't stop there! The one-piece grille with no joints or inserts and various profile options adds instant design appeal. In most of our doors we offer both large or small window options with custom designs, including window shape and placement, and custom arches available for your design needs.

We are very proud of our factory finish and offer it in both standard and custom paint options but also in an array of hand-applied faux stain. Using proprietary systems and heat-reflective high-performance paint, all Factory Finished products will be delivered with the finest finish in the industry with a furniture-like finish for exterior architecture. With a strong warranty and compassion for the earth, our paint is an excellent addition to your garage door.

All Fimbel products are insulated and engineered for sustainability. The products and processes we design are done to serve you and Mother Earth. We run on solar and give back our extra to the grid. We also plant one tree for each and every door we sell to be sure that future generations can enjoy the bounty and breath of our forests.

The Connection

Our innovation and sustainability make it possible to keep the past alive in places like historic, downtown Portsmouth. They have three locations, two are newer, but this classic beauty welcomed six black, factory-finished Roaring Twenties to their facade and their operations. Our values and products lined up with their needs and navigated their obstacles. When reading this quote from Fire Chief, Todd Germaine, it's impossible not to agree with their mission and feel we are a part of their value: "Throughout our history, we have taken pride in balancing tradition with innovation, and demonstrating a strong commitment in celebrating the past while at the same time looking to the future."

Feeling inspired by their alignment with who we are and my admiration for the project as a whole, I felt compelled to offer you a little insight into this department! The information below is from their website (shown in italics), and I encourage you to read along and fall in love as I did with the dynamic Portsmouth Fire Department!


Our story dates back to 1756 when the citizens of Portsmouth decided to organize and regulate fire protection. In the years to follow, they would improve the community's fire protection capabilities by purchasing fire engines and the building of fire houses. By the late 1800s the city would boast four steam fire engines and a horse-drawn hook and ladder. The first motorized fire engine was delivered in 1912 and in 1945 the department would begin providing ambulance service in the city. Today we are a modern, full-service fire department made up of sixty-one extremely dedicated professionals operating out of three stations. Throughout our history, we have taken pride in balancing tradition with innovation, and demonstrating a strong commitment in celebrating the past while at the same time looking to the future.

Mission Statement

Provide quality emergency, life safety, and prevention services for our citizens, businesses and visitors, with the highest level of valor, integrity, commitment, teamwork, and community involvement.

Vision Statement

The vision of the Portsmouth Fire Department is to be a recognized leader in the fire service, respected by our citizens for anticipating and responding to their ever changing needs. The department will embrace new technologies and techniques, focusing on training and education to provide the highest level of customer services and satisfaction in a professional and caring manner.


The Portsmouth Fire Department provides fire protection, advanced life support ambulance, fire prevention, hazardous materials response, and special rescue services to the seacoast community of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The department provides these services through a compliment of forty-two firefighters, twelve fire officers, one fire inspector, three chief officers, an executive assistant and an administrative secretary. The Portsmouth Fire Department responds to over 4500 requests for services a year. The types of emergency and community requests consist of medical responses, motor vehicle accidents, structure and vehicle fires, fire alarm activations and services related to weather events such as flooding, lightning strikes and power lines down.

Additional services:

  • Sprinkler and fire alarm permits
  • Burn permit
  • Knox box
  • Dry chemical fire extinguisher disposals
  • Household sharps/needles disposal

What You Can Do

For 95 years, our family has committed to the Legacy of the past and the hope for the future. We want our doors to bring you the same pride, so we offer a robust long-life warranty regardless of geography. We are proud to stand behind our products, and we are excited for you to experience the Fimbel difference. Enjoy our website to help you get to know us and our products better! We look forward to offering you more in a garage door!

Wherever you are, it is likely you will find an organization with similar values protecting and overseeing your community's emergency services. We encourage you to ask the question of "How can I help?" when you see the brave men and women who have our backs. Thank you to all for your service!

To find a dealer near you, please visit our dealer locator!

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Stimulate your Exterior with the American Legends


We set out to elevate the garage door industry from just fine to fabulous (while still affordable), and we made that happen with the American Legends series: The first classic carriage style door made with vinyl clad steel and solid overlays. In the late 90's and early 80's, we saw the market lacked a true carriage door with the classic big windows and the sturdy overlay look, and we had the innovation and the experience to make it happen. The end result has all the appeal of a painted wood door, but the longevity, cost, and low-maintenance appeal for the needs of any home and homeowner!

Other manufacturers in the industry came close, but with the lumpy, embossed wood-grain texture, the plastic window inserts, and the weak construction, the end look lacked the quality and accuracy of a historic carriage style door. We saw this, and we stepped it up!

Using a vinyl-coated steel pan and applying composite overlays to create a classic wood door look, this Series lives everywhere - even near the ocean without rotting and rusting. Adding our smooth, solid overlays made of sustainable material separates us from the competition's fake wood grain. With customizable top designs in 1" height increments, we offer you more. The American Legends Series was engineered for longevity and designed for beauty at a price point sure to please.

Fimbel American Legends doors can be found in garages of old-fashioned neighborhoods and new developments alike. With head-turning curb appeal, they provide extraordinary beauty and require very low maintenance. Built using advanced materials, every American Legends door delivers superlative style, lasting beauty and a terrific return-on-investment.

Customizable Glass Section:

One of the predominant features found on a classic American carriage house door are the big windows. This highlight of the product is one to truly make it stand out. Where many others use window inserts or have to joint the pieces together, our tops are made of solid, one-piece vinyl material. This means the entire face of the top, or grille as it is referred, is one quality sheet of carved material with no joints or inserts.

Although the American Legends is limited to standard widths, the construction of the top section allows for either larger or smaller window options and are available in 1" height increments for greater flexibility. To truly make this top your own, custom designs and arches are available in nearly any configuration for simulated divided lites. You can also choose from a C-profile (standard) or a V-profile to complement the details of your home! For those projects that require a full, solid top, we also offer this product without glass! You can find a closer look at the standard available tops and profiles linked here!

Lasting Beauty, Proven Durability:

You cannot go wrong with an American Legends. The smooth white, vinyl coated section with the look of real wood will satisfy your project needs. Yielding a 13.12 R-Value, the vinyl coated steel platform, is constructed with powder coated end styles (caps), an insulated core, and a vinyl backcover. Added to this are solid, decorative cope and bead overlays. Using a tenacious adhesive and a template system, our overlays come with a precision fit and a union that will endure. 

Although we coat our exterior steel in vinyl, we made sure the rest of the steel would hold up as well as the rest of the door. Using 20-gauge vinyl coated G90 design for over 3 times the rust protection of other door brands, we feel confident offering a warranty regardless of proximity to the ocean, waterways, or riverine locations. Other manufacturers with less quality in the process and in their materials cannot offer this, but we are committed to giving you more!

Life is Messy

We know that life can be busy and quite frankly messy! Fortunately the American Legends Series takes the stress out of life (at least as it pertains to your garage door). From damage to dirt, we have solutions.

Generally the doors simply need to be cleaned with gentle soap and water. When more demanding dirt presents, because sometimes it does, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser rubbed gently will do the trick! If anything beyond that has you puzzled, we are always here to help.

With matching replacement sections readily available we have your back when little Tommy or little Susie send a hockey puck into the vinyl clad steel of the intermediate section! Most other manufacturers will require full purchase of a replacement door to make sure it all aligns - not at Fimbel. We are proud of our precision fit technology to be sure that when left in its factory state and installed by an authorized dealer, our replacement sections will fit in snug as a bug!

We also know that sometimes their hockey puck may end up in the solid white vinyl overlays! Provided the damage is a dent and not a puncture, an easy repair with a heat gun is an option. Slowly distributing the heat over the damaged area will oftentimes pop the PVC back into its natural state!


Using our D200 High performance finish, all Factory Finished products will be delivered with a clean finish to last! While most of our products do not require finishing and may remain natural, adding color to your project can add the wow-factor that we are after! Our vast and ever-expanding color palette includes blacks, charcoals, and dark greens as well as faux stains to truly replicate the look of wood without the maintenance. 

We recently published several great blogs that address the topic of paint and our faux finish, so feel free to preview them to get more information on our finishing!

Why Choose A Fimbel Door:

If you want the best bang for the buck backed by a superior warranty – even in harsh waterside conditions, Fimbel ADS has the door for you! Whether it is the American Legends series or another of our fantastic options, you will be offered vast design options for your garage doors with the high-end wood look and virtually no maintenance. Add to this our Factory paint and faux stain options, you get the best quality in the industry.

We are proud to be a 4th generation business, driving excellence since 1924 that today is offering you more: More quality in our products and in our expert customer service with over 20 years average experience.

Find a dealer today to get started on your Fimbel door!

The Basics of the American Legends Series:

  • Available Heights: Any size in 1" increments
  • Available Widths: 8' ,9', 10', 16', and 18'
  • Thickness (whole section): 2 1/2"
  • Overlay thickness: 3/8"
  • R Value: 13.12
  • Fastening Points: White powder coated steel end and center stiles.
  • Section Joints: Interlocking tongue & groove vinyl-clad steel
  • Interior Face: High impact pre-finished white interior cover
  • Exterior Face: 20 gauge vinyl-clad steel face with solid composite overlays
  • Heavy Duty Bottom Astragal: Seals the bottom of the door and keeps water and debris from coming under the door. Our heavy-duty Astragal lasts longer.
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Spring Cleaning and Care


When we build, we build for beauty and durability that will last because we care about your satisfaction as well as our environment. From our processes to our products, we reduce, reuse, and recycle everything we can. We run on solar, and we love to help reduce your overall maintenance efforts and costs. This all speaks to our desire to provide a durable and sustainable solution with virtually no maintenance.

Despite our efforts, garage doors pose a threat to all when they aren't properly maintained. The International Door Association made several recommendations that can help provide safety year over year. Please refer to their checklist for the full list of suggested items to be on the lookout for and do seek out a reliable, professional technician to help you with the maintenance.

Find a Professional Technician

In our organization, safety must be the first priority. The first and most important aspect of maintaining your garage door is to understand what you, the homeowner, should keep an eye on and what you should rely on a trained professional to handle.

Professional maintenance should be done regularly and will include comprehensive checks of the rollers and hinges, motor, weather seal, cables, track, and most importantly – the springs. Choosing to tackle these aspects of the door may seem easy enough, but a trained professional is necessary for your benefit and safety. Please visit our dealer locator to find our partners.

Home Maintenance List

Second to safety, we value quality at Fimbel ADS. We believe in regular preventative maintenance to ensure quality, and we believe you should regularly check your door to avoid costly and dangerous situations. Listening and paying attention to the garage door may prevent issues.

Regularly check the mechanisms of the door to be sure they have adequate lubrication to allow the system to glide through the tracks. Lubricate all moving parts (metallic) using non-greasy, non-silicone-based garage door lubricant. If the movement of the sections becomes stiff and begins to make a squeaking sound, they may need oil. Be sure not to oil the tracks, overoil the parts, and subsequently collect residue and debris. You can also check your photo-eyes to be sure the trip sensor is connected. Beyond that - we highly recommend reaching out to your Professional Technician.

How it's Made Matters

We believe the little-to-no-maintenance solution is a garage door made with our vinyl material and our vinyl clad-steel; however, we also believe in given you all the information you need to make the right choice, so here's a rundown of some other products:

Basic steel doors do not require much maintenance, but they also tend to live a short life before looking weathered and worn. In contrast, wood doors will last a long time in the right environment, but they require a great deal of maintenance. Maintaining a wood door requires regular cleaning of the exterior to prolong the life of the wood and stain. The finish on your wood door should be inspected no less than every 12 months, and more frequently if the wood door is exposed to direct sunlight (facing south, southeast, or south west) or harsh weather conditions are present. About every 2-3 years it is recommended to sand and reapply a clear topcoat your wood doors with the paint or stain of your choice. Prior to refinishing, you will need to use wood filler to cover any cracks or blemishes and allow it to dry. Sand the door with the grain and with gentle pressure. Allow adequate dry time between each application and be sure to tape off windows and decorative hardware.

We know your time is precious - our only non-renewable asset, so we proudly offer options that will satisfy your lifestyle while sustaining our love of Mother Earth. The time, the resources, the chemicals, and so much more all take from or pollute something we love.

Keep it Beautiful with Vinyl

For our naturally white, vinyl doors, you can expect a lifetime of low maintenance pleasure. Using VERSATEX Building Products, we share a passion for the way we operate with respect for our planet, our product, and our partners. The solid, smooth vinyl material provides the incredible look of wood without the stress.

Similarly, our vast and varied factory finish and faux stain finish, you can count on a warm water rinse here and a little soap there to keep your door beautiful. For our factory finished doors, we use Tricoya which is a composite wood that was made to sustain and perform. We chose to partner with a paint and faux stain manufacturer, AquaSur Tech, not only for their commitment to sustainability but also because they offer an array of colors and a solid warranty against fading thanks to their innovative heat reflective pigments which allow us to bring dark colors to your door no matter the exposure.

Once our factory finish is applied to this material, the pair is ready to impress and endure with limited maintenance over time. The result is a cabinet-like finish on an exterior product. The result is stunning and enduring.

Fimbel Keeps it Easy

To ensure years of trouble-free performance, the face and edges of your vinyl sections are UV-resistant and may be left in their natural, unfinished white color. This technology allows the material of your door to remain in its natural, unfinished state. You can expect a lifetime of ease. No need to repeatedly refinish. You can repair many dents and dings due to our advanced material, VERSATEX. And you can count on the quality and beauty of our doors.

For general situations:

  • Use warm water and a mild dishwashing liquid soap, such as Dawn or Joy. Mr. Clean Erasers also work very well.
  • Gently remove dirt and debris with soap, water, and a sponge or soft cloth.
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

For more stubborn situations:

  • After rinsing thoroughly, Soft Scrub, Clorox Cleanup, or Clorox Outdoors can be used. Mr. Clean Erasers using a gentle hand also work very well. Avoid abrasives.
  • The door surface can be wiped with isopropyl or denatured alcohol to remove any soap, cleaner residue, or dust.
    • Apply spray gently
    • Avoid pooling of the alcohol in the seam of the overlays

For dents, dings, and deep scratches: please contact your dealer.

  • DO NOT use solutions containing acid or solvents like MEK, acetone, or Toluene.
  • DO NOT use Simple Green, as it may yellow the face of your door.
  • DO NOT use abrasives.
  • DO NOT use a power washer to remove dirt or stains from the door.
  • DO NOT use heat* or induce heat when field cleaning. Heat guns, heat lamps, and heaters could cause damage and may void your warranty (*heat guns MAY be used by a Professional Technician on some parts and some dents/dings to the VERSATEX - consult your dealer).
  • DO NOT was your Factory Finished door within 30 days of production as the paint needs time to cure.

The final tip is this: DO NOT sell yourself short on your garage door. You deserve to have a beautiful, low-maintenance door that will welcome you home each and every time with a smile and peace of mind. When you find that door, keep it safe by following the suggested maintenance and care!

If you have any questions about cleaning and caring for your door, please feel free to reach out! We do our best to make it easy for you because we want you to relax and celebrate your independence. We know the pride of being a 4th Generation American Manufacturer, and we are proud to bring you more in a garage door! 

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One Year Later - COVID


It's been one year to the day that the way we lived, worked, and communicated changed with the onset of COVID-19 in the United States. Our executive team met for the last in person meeting on March 13, 2020. At this time, we had no idea what the future would bring, and we shared with the world a feeling of venturing into the unknown. This feeling could have paralyzed us; however, we chose to persevere with our values of quality, service, and safety driving us.

Working with the International Door Association and our legal advisors, we were able to establish our industry and subsequently our company and employees as essential workers. To keep safety as our priority, we relied on our agility to transition all possible employees to a remote working situation and kept only those essential employees in our buildings. With stringent adherence to the CDC and state guidelines, we worked tirelessly and safely to keep pace with our demand while protecting each individual - from our employees, to our vendors, to our dealers.

It was challenging to manage the company across facilities in two states as well as our delivery trucks traveling from Virginia to Maine. Our success in this effort springs from many aspects that allowed us to remain operational and healthy.

  • We were agile and responsive. We quickly shifted our operations, marketing, sales tactics, and any aspect we could to provide the best service while ensuring safety.
  • We were creative. We utilized skills and resources to best meet the changing demands of our customers, partners, and team members with new eyes and curiosity.
  • We were human. We know how intense this time was for the wonderful people we work with, and we allowed our decisions to support the needs of our team, their families, and our company at large.

Though we went to sleep each night wondering how we would know if we were doing the right thing while we challenged ourselves regularly to determine if our efforts were enough, we are incredibly proud of the dedication and commitment our team members showed. In a letter to our employees, Erin Fimbel, President of Fimbel ADS stated:

"Fantastic job team!! Despite the obstacles we experienced in 2020 and into 2021, as a team we remained focused on quality, and we are seeing the results of that effort and commitment. When put under pressure, many companies lose focus on priorities such as safety, quality, and service. We on the other hand, continue to improve. That is a huge accomplishment and differentiates us from others in our industry. Thank you and keep it up!"

These sentiments demonstrate the family values that have tied our company and family together for almost 100 years. Dedication, teamwork, and focus allowed us to keep our team gainfully employed, focused on the care of their families, and overall incredibly healthy.

We may never know the answer to the question of 'did we do enough', but we know that we gave every effort to navigate this incredible obstacle while making our dedication to quality, service, and safety paramount in the way we operate. We may have seen an ample amount of fear, loss, and isolation, but we also saw a tremendous amount of strength, collaboration, and growth.

As we move past this anniversary, we look forward with hope to what tomorrow will bring us all. May we learn from the experience and use this opportunity to continuously improve for ourselves, our partners, and our world.

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Fall in Love with Fimbel Finishing


For nearly a century, our family has manufactured garage doors, and in that time, we have

learned a great deal about the industry through our partners, products, and passions. Today, we
are proud to include in our already environmentally friendly product a paint and faux stain
coating that will endure the elements using molecular bonded paint to stand the test of time.
Using D200 High performance finish with our proprietary system, all Factory Finished products
will be delivered with a clean finish to last! While most of our products do not require finishing
and may remain natural white, adding color to your project can add the wow-factor that we are
after! Our vast and ever-expanding color palette includes blacks, charcoals, and dark greens as
well as faux stains to truly replicate the look of wood without the maintenance. With solutions
for replacement of damaged sections to black paint in tough exposures, we are sure our
finishing options will satisfy you with beauty and durability!

So Much to Love!
The finishing program offers myriad options to satisfy the needs of your project. From solid
colors covering the entire door or perhaps used in a two-tone application as shown below, we
offer custom color matching in addition to our extensive standard offerings.

The magic of this paint system is the versatility to allow us to create our faux stain! Using a two
part process of the same paint we use to coat our doors, our team of Artisans use their trained
hands to apply first the grain design and then the top coat offering the final overall richness of
color. The result of this process allows us to increase grain depth or decrease it as needed as
well as custom color match to your desired finish.

Love in Every Door!
Fimbel doors are hand crafted and every detail perfected from our patented construction
through the processes all the way to our logistics operations, so it's no doubt we apply this
same level of quality to our finishing. You can count on an Architectural coating with a cabinet
finish unseen in other exterior applications. The detail applied to the multiple applications to
achieve this look is engineered for the strongest adhesion and cleanest finish.
We know that vinyl garage doors tend to respond adversely to the extreme temperature and
weather conditions they face. This began as an obstacle that has since turned into an
opportunity. While our VERSATEX PVC doors are crafted to remain in their natural white, we
found a solution to the projects requiring dark colors in tough exposures. Using Tricoya and our
proprietary finish system, we have not yet found a stain or a color request we couldn't satisfy!

We Love our Planet!
Our factory finish, made with D200 High performance paint, is an exterior waterborne coating
system designed for sustainability and aesthetics. It's extremely fast air dry and quick clean up
offers efficient processes for in-factory and DIY finishing. Additionally it is formulated with heat
reflective pigments to minimize heat gain for dark colors and is considered non-hazardous by
EPA standards allowing for the vast color options in our palette. Above all else, D200 exceeds
all environmental and performance standards, and the result is absolutely stunning!
Highlights of our Finishing System:

● Long lasting for continued satisfaction
● Custom color matching available
● Water-based coating
● Safe, odorless, and non-toxic
● Passes test requirements for AAMA615 (Organic Coatings on Plastic Substrates)
● Low heat absorption due to heat reflectant pigments
● Excellent adhesion and abrasion resistance
● Excellent elasticity can withstand thermal expansion
● Excellent impact resistance
● Environmental Advantages:
○ Low VOC
○ Non-flammable
○ Lead and chromate free

You Will Love Your Door!
Our paint and faux stain options will blow your mind! With this paint system, we are able to offer
you all the benefits and beauty of real wood without the regular maintenance. The finish has a
warranty of 15 years for adhesion, cracking, peeling, and reasonable fading. Additionally, this
product can be refinished as time and trends roll on. Add all of these benefits to the long
standing quality of our garage doors, and you will be sure to find satisfaction.

If you are looking for a little color inspiration, please enjoy our recent blog on 2021 Exterior
Color Trends.

For more details and to take a peek at our standard paint and stain offerings, visit our website at 

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