Metal Buildings: Hangar, Overhead, and Walk Doors

Published August 12, 2016 by Whirlwind Team

 metal buildings hangar doors

If you have a metal building, you need a way to get in and out. Depending on what else has to go in and out, you may need a particular type of door. The most common doors in use are hangar doors, overhead doors, and walk doors.

Most can be operated manually, but electric motors and hydraulics take some of the strain off your back with the really big doors.

All of these types of metal doors can be fabricated in almost any size you need and can be coated or painted in a wide variety of colors.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these doors.

Hangar doors

These are the big boys of the door world. They are ideal when you need a humongous clear opening for, say, an airplane where you can’t have exterior columns. Hangar doors are perfect.

They don’t just accommodate airplanes; hangar doors make it possible to move any large equipment or materials without breaking out the fancy moves.

Hangar doors are also known as sliding doors or bottom rolling doors, so-called because the door panels roll on wheels that are fitted into a track or rail embedded in the floor system. These wheels make the door opening quick, quiet, and safe when maintained properly.

The panels are typically operated individually so you can be flexible about airplane wingspan. Along with that flexibility, you get energy savings because you don’t always have to open both doors.

Hangar doors can be:

  • Bi-parting
  • One-way stack
  • Floating

You want to take into consideration the width and height of the opening, the regional climate, and the door pockets when selecting a hangar door.

Manual open

Double-sliding doors and stack doors can be operated manually. You most often see these in agricultural buildings but can be used in hangars as well.

Double-sliding doors split vertically down the middle, or center-line, and each side can part and run along a track placed above or below the door half. One problem with this type of door is that it doesn’t seal very well. A gap runs around the perimeter that can leave an opening for cold air and critters.

Stack doors are like double-sliding doors except there are more than two panels. There are multiple vertical sections hinged together; each side of the door will fold into vertical stacks parting from the middle. Stack doors also run on wheels that fit into tracks in the building’s floor system.

Electrically opened

Bi-fold and hydraulic doors look just like an exterior wall of your metal building.

A bi-fold door pivots on a hinge located in the center of the panel that allows the door to fold in half horizontally. The sections are generally larger than on a stack door, and they don’t move vertically like a stack door.

A bi-fold door of the size needed for an airplane hangar or large equipment requires either a cabled winch or a hydraulic motor to open. You need to have a failsafe for power failures.

A hydraulic door typically has a single panel with an excellent seal. When the door is up, it can act as a canopy and provide shade or protection from rain and hail. This is a very heavy-duty door, and the building frame may require some extra bracing.

Overhead doors

Metal roll-up or overhead doors are some of the hardest working of any building component. So they have to be tough and durable yet remain quiet. Overhead doors are found in both residential and commercial use.

Flame retardant, these doors can be insulated or not, and come in heavy and light duty models. They are easily installed and secure. You can fit them with a breakaway lower panel for a high traffic area with a lot of forklifts or other vehicles.

If the door is struck, the breakaway panel will give way, saving damage on the building frame, the vehicle, and the operator. The panel is easily reset, so you have little downtime and no repair costs.

Overhead doors can come with electric motors and have multiple mounting options available, depending on your needs. You can even get translucent panels to allow in some extra light and provide some visibility to the outside of the building.

Overhead doors are used as:

  • Loading doors
  • Hangar doors
  • Agricultural doors
  • Storage doors
  • Sectional doors
  • Rolling doors
  • Fire doors
  • Traffic doors

Walk doors

What if you have a lot of foot traffic? Would you want to open your big hangar door or overhead door every time someone wanted to enter or leave the building? Probably not. It’s a waste of energy in a number of ways.

A walk door saves you from having to open a larger door and letting all the cold air out, or in as the case may be. You would need to use electricity to open the larger door, and you might let in more than you bargained for. If the larger door is manually operated, it’s a sure bet everyone would appreciate not having to open it every time they want in. Or out.

A walk door is a lighter weight door that can be installed into a wall or even into one of the hangar or overhead doors. They come preassembled, knockdown, or custom, in any color you want.

Walk doors can also add to the building security. You can have a keypad for entry and record everyone who comes and goes. It is easier to guard a smaller door since it will limit the number of people moving through it. For a retail location or for when people just want to visit your office, a walk door is a perfect place to post your hours and make it easy for those customers to get into your store.

Hangar doors, overhead doors, and walk doors are the most widely used and common types of doors available. The type of vehicles, loads, or equipment that needs to fit through it determines the best type of door to install. All can be prefabricated of the highest quality steel that can endure for decades.

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