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Schweiss Doors

Schweiss Doors provided a little imagination and a little innovation to help a Washington homeowner work his way around a zoning ordinance limiting garage doors to 8 feet in height.

Herb Korthuis of Lynden, Wash., owns a 12-1/2-foot-tall motorhome and wanted to keep it at his home. Unfortunately, any garage door bigger than 8 feet did not conform to uniformity code in the neighborhood. Korthuis, aware of the restrictions, discussed options with the developer, including installing a larger door disguised as a smaller door.

A vegetable farmer, Korthuis was visiting relatives who farm in Iowa and took a trip to the Iowa State Fair where he visited the Schweiss Doors display and demonstration booth.

“After seeing the Schweiss Doors I said ‘That’s exactly what I want for my motorhome garage door!’” He picked up some Schweiss Doors literature and took it home with him. He also visited a local airport where a friend owned a big Schweiss airpark hangar door to see a bifold liftstrap door first hand and get a general idea of how the Schweiss door operated. The gears started turning in his head and he was sure he could come up with a solution.

Korthuis was convinced he was going forward with his idea for a motorhome garage door and made an appointment with architect Mark Ouellette of Ouellette Residential Design in Lynden Wash., and told him what he wanted to do. He shared the Schweiss Doors folders from the fair and they discussed several ways to do it to conform to the zoning restrictions. Ouellette was familiar with Schweiss Doors, having specified them for airplane hangars and agricultural building projects.

Ouellette and Korthuis eventually came up with a sketch of what they wanted to do. The building inspector looked at the sketch and said because the door blends into the rest of the architecture of the home and conforms to the look of the neighborhood there would be no problem with it as far as he could see.

Ouellette’s first idea was to use a downward ramp that went halfway into the ground using a conventional garage door. Then recalling photos and things he had seen from Schweiss Doors literature he and Korthuis devised a brilliant alternative to make the top half portion of the garage door above the windows exactly match the siding of the Korthuis home.

At one point Korthuis and Ouellette juggled an idea back and forth whether to use a Schweiss one-piece hydraulic door, but eventually decided to go with a Schweiss bifold liftstrap door 12 feet wide, with a 14-foot tall clear opening, making the total height of the door 16 feet. Korthuis decided to fasten a regular garage door without the tracks to the lower portion of the Schweiss Door frame; masonite siding would go above that. With the added weight of the exterior cladding he asked Schweiss Doors to supply a heavy-duty bottom-drive motor. It needed only two liftstraps to raise the additional weight. Autolatches, a remote opener and insulation put the finishing touches on the door.  

The contractor, John Schuten, and his brother who worked in a metal shop, fastened a metal garage door with windows to the Schweiss Door frame. After some fine-tuning they finished the job. So what appears from the outside to be an 8 foot tall door is really a 16 foot door.

“I’ve always liked the Schweiss doors, but the Korthuis door is crazy cool and the vertical seam on the horizontal siding has a very tight tolerance,” Ouellette says. “John Schuten did a bang up job cutting it on a bevel so the seam is virtually invisible. It locks up like a vault. Even when you stand right next to it you can barely see it. The finished product is better than I ever imagined. I’m still amazed when I look at this Schweiss door.”

Korthuis says that everyone who sees his Schweiss garage door is amazed. Some of his acquaintances have indicated they are going to do the same when they build their homes.

About Schweiss Doors

Schweiss-logoBased in Fairfax, MN, Schweiss Doors is a leading manufacturer of bifold and hydraulic one-piece doors, and is an established leader in the design and manufacture of designer and custom doors for all types and sizes of buildings. No door is too small or too big for Schweiss Doors. The company has more than three decades of experience and has sold its doors worldwide. Key markets for the company’s doors are aviation, agriculture, commercial and industrial, but its products have been used in theaters, major league ballparks, homes, exclusive hotels and buildings of all types. To learn more, visit www.bifold.com or www.schweisshydraulicdoors.com.

And to learn about Schweiss' new Build Your Own Door Kit, which gives customers the plans and essential components to build their own Schweiss Doors, visit www.bifold.com/build-your-own-door.php.

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