How To Retrofit Your Building For A Sheet Metal Hangar Door
Pretty much any type of building can be retrofitted with a hydraulic hangar door. New systems can be installed without having to impose any dead weight onto your building. That is, your building doesn't need to be strong enough to hold the door weight. A frame around the doors is planted in the ground and seamlessly secured to your existing sidewalls. You could install a modern hydraulic hangar on an old brick warehouse, a corrugated steel structure, or a building with wooden framing.
The basic design of hydraulic hangar doors consists of a heavy duty metal frame, the hydraulic springs, and the door. The metal frame needs to be securely installed in the ground, so this is the only possible issue. As long as the ground is sound, there probably won't be any problems. Most doors are made out of sheet metal.
Sheet metal is far and away the best material for large doors. In fact, vinyl and fiberglass, which are used on residential garage doors, are really only suitable for one or two car garages. Unless you have a very small plane so your hanger is less than about 30 feet across, these materials won't be strong enough. Sheet metal is ribbed so that it can be thin, but still rigid and sturdy. Metal is obviously still going to be quite heavy, so the hydraulic lift needs to be substantial.
Luckily, modern lifts are assisted by the hydraulic springs. They open and close quite easily, so the lift doesn't make too much sound or suck up too much energy.
These system require very little overhead clearance. Many systems need less than one foot of clearance. This means that you could conceivably have the top of your door reach within a single foot of the interior ceiling.
Hydraulic hangars can be opened to any degree. They can be left angled or all the way out (horizontal with the ground). The door sticks out quite far and even provides shade. Plane owners love being able to have some extra shade outside their hangar.
If needed, the metal doors can be padded with fiberglass insulation sheets on the inside. This shields the inside of your doors and makes it all the more affordable to heat and cool the inside of your hangar. So, you can work inside your hangar for longer hours and more months out of the year.