Big, All-Steel Doors

Hydraulic and bifold doors, as you know, come in many sizes, shapes and styles. Some of these custom-made doors are small, but then there are also big, big all-steel doors that can measure from 25 feet to over 100 feet in width and over 50 feet in height. If you are in the market for a big door that carries a lot of weight, your door will only be as good as the building or hangar that it will be going on. You don’t want to buy a door and then find out your building wasn’t built strong enough to hang your new door.

What you need to know about big hydraulic or bifold doors

By Pat Schmidt

Schweiss Jan21 1

If you are building new, your structure and door opening should be properly designed to hold the weights and moments of either of these style doors. Both styles of doors have their own advantages.

Spec Sheets

When you place an order for a hydraulic or bifold door, make sure the manufacturer gets the spec sheets for your door to you, your architect or your builder that show the weights and moments that you will need to prepare the opening to accept your new door.

Make sure your hydraulic or bifold door order is designed to fit your structure. Schweiss will answer your questions and provide AutoCAD shop drawings, door weights, loadings, hinge locations, specs and fine details. Customer satisfaction is our number one goal.

These specs take into consideration the weight of windows, walk doors, cladding and insulation you are planning to put on the outside and inside of your door; whether it be sheet metal, glass, wood or whatever.

A well-lubricated door will open and close with less stress to your building. Schweiss hydraulic and bifold doors come with beefed up wrap-around hinges with removable hinge pins and grease zerks on each hinge for easy lubrication eliminating the need to remove the top rubber weatherseal.

Existing Buildings

Let’s say you have sliding doors on your existing structure. Your door manufacturer may request you send photos of the interior of your building so he can make recommendations as to whether or not it will need to be reinforced or possibly need a freestanding header to handle the extra weight. Schweiss hydraulic doors frames are pre-hung inside their own subframe.

When replacing a door, you will need correct dimensions the door can be built to match up to your existing structure. What is needed is the exact inside vertical height and width measurement. Give the correct dimensions and you will get the right size door. Endwall rafter header placements are different for wood and steel buildings. A round roof building can be modified to hold a bifold or hydraulic door to stay within the roofline. The entire endwall can also be opened to gain width and height. Sidewall doors can also be mounted.

Wind-Rated Doors

If you are located in a high-wind or hurricane region, you’ll want your door bolstered up to handle those forces. Some states require that your door be wind rated. A new option offered by Schweiss Doors is automatically engaging hydraulic wind pins. These handy additions make it no longer necessary to manually retract or engage the wind pins during operation of the door. Bifold doors can also be ordered with automatic latching systems that lock your door in tight to your building.

Door Size

Door size is important. You may think the door you are ordering is big enough now, but take into consideration that in the future your farm equipment or aircraft may increase in size. Should you decide to sell your hangar or building, the resale value will be much more if the buyer needs a larger door. It could be money well spent up front to go larger.

Pat Schmidt is a technical and feature editor at Schweiss Doors, Hector, Minn., a manufacturer of hydraulic and bifold liftstrap doors. To learn more, call (507) 426-8273 or visit