Kolpak Custom Walk-In

How to Customize a Kolpak Walk-in

Kolpak Polar-Pak units are a great way to easily add walk-in refrigeration to a location, particularly when you need a unit fast, but they aren't the ideal solution for every location. For larger options, oddly shaped rooms, aesthetic preferences, or specific functionality, a custom Kolpak walk-in refrigerator may be the best option. Almost every aspect of a Kolpak walk-in is customizable, from the floor type to the door size, so knowing what options are available can make the process easier.

General Construction

The most important thing to know as you begin planning your custom walk-in is what space you plan to put it in, which will determine the size of the unit and may also dictate what exterior finish you need. Kolpak's available panel sizes are 9014, 10214, and 11414 inches tall, and these can be stacked if needed for higher ceilings. Some of the other construction options include:

  • Location: Will your walk-in be located indoors or outdoors? Each option comes with its own set of requirements. Indoor coolers and freezers may require the installation surface to undergo some preparation, but indoor units are safer from tampering. In installing an outdoor unit, you must take the climate and common weather patterns into account. That will help you determine the type of roof required for handling potential snow loads, whether the unit should be flashed to the side of the building or freestanding, and what ambient temperature rating the system must have.
  • Refrigeration Type: Do you need your walk-in to be a refrigerator, freezer, or a combination of the two? To help ensure you make the best use of the space you have available, consider the products you will store and the sizes of the deliveries of those products. While a larger freezer storage space requires a higher initial investment, the money you can save over time by ordering larger and fewer shipments may make that investment worth it. Options are also available for aging meat, storing delicate ingredients, and other specialty applications that may require very specific temperatures or humidity levels.
  • Exterior and Interior Finishes: The interiors of Kolpak walk-in coolers can be finished in embossed white, Galvalume, aluminum, or stainless steel, though white is often preferred, as it makes the interior brighter and makes products easier to see. The exterior walk-in walls can be finished in embossed white, embossed beige, embossed black, Galvalume, aluminum, stainless steel, or paint grip. The paint grip finish allows you to paint the unit with a color that fits your restaurant's décor. Custom finishes are also available upon request.
  • Door Options

    Kolpak walk-in doors come in standard sizes of 30, 34, 36, 42, 54, and 60 inches wide. Consider the widths of the products and carts that need to be brought into the unit when deciding on a door width. You must specify whether the door is for a freezer or cooler to ensure you get the proper insulation, but in either case the door can be hinged on the right or the left. Consider the traffic flow, as well as what direction incoming deliveries will come from when choosing which side to mount the hinges on.

    Walk-in cooler door kickplates can be mounted on the interior and/or exterior. While this is an optional feature, we strongly recommended most operators consider it, as doors tend to take a lot of abuse. The kickplates can be 36 or 48 inches high, or can extend the full height of the door, and the finish can be stainless steel or diamond tread. The difference is mainly aesthetic; stainless steel is easier to wipe clean, but many operators prefer the robust appearance of the diamond tread.

    Door ramps can be placed on both the interior and exterior of the unit. If you are deciding whether you should add an exterior ramp, consider the traffic flow of the surrounding area and if the ramp might pose a trip hazard. Interior ramps are 20 inches long and exterior ramps extend 36 inches.

    Walk-in Floors

    Kolpak provides several walk-in floor options, each of which is optimized for a specific type of traffic. If your unit is a cooler being installed on ground level on a concrete floor, you may not need a floor installed, but you will need either 4-inch metal screeds, 4-inch vinyl screeds, or 112-inch metal screeds for mounting the walls to your floor.

    Coolers that are not on the ground floor and all freezers require installation of an insulated floor. The following floor options are available from Kolpak.

    Foot Traffic

    Kolpak's foot traffic floor is rated to handle as much as 700 pounds per square foot of stationary loads, with a metal floor over insulation. Smooth aluminum, diamond tread plate, and 16-gauge stainless steel are all NSF-approved floors offered by Kolpak. Although 16-gauge galvanized floors are available, this floor is not NSF-approved and requires a coved finish. These floors cannot be used with any rolling traffic, as they can sustain damage if used with carts.

    Light Rolling Cart Traffic

    This floor can support 1,000 pounds per square foot of both stationary and mobile loads. It is constructed with an upper metal layer, a 12-inch substrate, and foamed-in-place insulation. If your floor needs to be NSF approved, you may choose between smooth aluminum, diamond tread aluminum, and 16-gauge galvanized steel. There is also a non-NSF certified 16-gauge galvanized floor available for operations that may wish to apply a tile finish. If a ramp is specified, its surface will match that of the floor.

    Heavy Load

    The most heavy-duty floor available from Kolpak consists of a metal floor over a 34-inch substrate and foamed-in-place insulation. This floor can hold as much as 15,000 pounds per square inch of a stationary load and 1,000 pounds per square foot of mobile loads. If you need your walk-in to support more mobile weight than that, an overlay option adds another layer of metal to the floor, allowing it to support as much as 5,000 pounds per square foot of mobile loads. However, coolers and freezers with overlays cannot be NSF approved. Flooring options include smooth aluminum, diamond tread plate, 16-gauge stainless steel, and 16-gauge galvanized steel. Galvanized steel cannot be NSF certified, and diamond tread plates cannot be used with an overlay.

    Refrigeration System

    Walk-in coolers can use either self-contained or remote refrigeration. The best choice for your walk-in will depend on a number of factors.

    Self-contained refrigeration is attached directly to the walk-in, either on the top or on the side. Self-contained refrigeration adds more heat to the space it operates in, which can tax your HVAC system and raise your utility costs if you're installing an indoor unit. However, it has the benefit of being easy to install and service, thanks to its being easy to reach and not requiring long refrigerant lines. These are ideal for locations where the roof is difficult to access and for operators who need a lower initial cost.

    Remote refrigeration is usually located on the facility's roof and must be installed by a qualified technician with long lines to bring the refrigerant to the system and back to the box. Because of this, installation of a remote unit is more costly, but it removes the noise and heat generated by the condenser on indoor units from the building. Remote condensers from Kolpak can come with uncharged or pre-charged line sets in lengths of 10, 20, 30, or 40 feet.

    Kolpak refrigeration units are designed to function in ambient temperatures as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and have weather housings to protect interior components from the elements. All components are easy to access for service. Electronically commutated motors in the systems use permanent magnets and an electronic controller to turn the motor, resulting in a higher torque-to-weight ratio than is provided by traditional motors. That helps ensure energy efficiency, reduce noise, and provide for long service lives. Low-profile refrigeration systems are available for some walk-ins, which can open up more storage room inside the unit.


    Having the right accessories can be just as important as designing the right walk-in cooler for your business. While many of these items can be retrofitted onto a walk-in after it has been installed, some must be specified at the time of ordering, so carefully consider which you need.

    • Airshield: The Kolpak Airshield is an air curtain blower that mounts vertically along the interior side of the cooler door. The Airshield turns on automatically when the door is opened, creating a wall of air that helps prevent the loss of cold temperatures and stops the ingress of warm, moist air that can cause frost.
    • Strip curtain: A strip curtain is another option for helping protect your walk-in from incoming warm, moist air. Strip curtains create a physical barrier that users can walk through, but they do need to be replaced periodically as strips become worn or broken. Strip doors, which have only two large pieces, are also available.

    • Light fixtures: Multiple light fixture options are available, including an 18-inch LED strip and a vapor-proof light fixture that is protected by a wire guard.
    • Foot Treadle:: This option allows you to easily open the door with a push of your foot while your hands are full.
    • Locking Bar: This locking device fits across the entire door, with a padlock or combination lock (not included) on each end and an interior safety release.
    • Dead Bolt Lock: A standard Kason dead bolt lock that is operated with a key on the exterior and a thumb-turn on the interior.