PERHAM, Minn. – As machinery gets bigger and taller, some farmers are retrofitting their shed/shop doors.

One farmer who had good success with a retrofit is Lennie Holmer of Perham.

His 36- by 56-foot by 16-foot tall gable roof shop had two overhead doors – one was 16- by 14-feet tall and the other was 12- by 14-feet tall in one end of the building.

He wanted to drive in his combine or one of his two kidney bean harvesters to work on during the winter months, but the doors were too small.

So he worked with Midland Door Solutions in West Fargo, N.D., to take out the two doors and frames and design and install one customized all-steel hydraulic door that was 35-feet 6-inches by 16-feet tall.

“We had great success opening up the entire end wall,” said Jason Myrvik, Midland Door Solutions salesman. “A lot of people will retrofit an existing building rather than build a whole new shop. We’ve done a lot of that this last year.”

Holmer’s hydraulic door requires a standard power source of 220V, single phase, and the operating system is a 5 HP, single-phase electric motor with hydraulic pump and solenoid valves.

The power unit uses open and closed solenoids to actuate the pump with the use of a wall-mounted control panel.

The cylinders are custom sized and secured to the door with a 1-inch steel plate. They are also mounted lower to take stress off the doorframe and provide balanced loading when the door is open.

With rafters spanning the width of the building, the original building contractor added some extra bracing for the new door. The new door also has a steel header and jamb attached to the face of the building to support the load of the door.

Holmer went with a hydraulic door rather than a bi-fold door to maximize headroom.

“If this would have been an 80-foot wide building, and he wanted to put a 40 foot door in there, you can mount the bi-fold higher on the rafter and still maintain the full opening from the concrete to the bottom of the rafters, because of the way the door opens,” said Myrvik. “Because he wanted the full length of the end wall, there wasn’t room to go higher on the rafter, so a hydraulic door was needed.”

Midland installs 99 percent of the doors they sell, he added.

“It’s how we do things – we want to ensure that it’s going in right, and that everything is designed right before we put it in,” he said, adding the company takes into account the building’s structural strengths and weaknesses when making door recommendations.

“We do a lot of homework up front, trying to learn what they have, what does their existing structure look like, how it is constructed, and we work with them in coming up with a solution with how are we going to make this work,” he said.

Midland Doors are designed for a 90 mph wind event in the closed position. It is recommended to close the door when winds are over 30 mph.

Holmer’s large door includes a pre-hung four-way universal walk door for convenience, and Midland Doors can also include 4- by 2-foot fixed or sliding insulated windows, as well as customized windows.

Myrvik added that Midland Door Solutions are used on many newly constructed buildings too, but it is always interesting to come up with retrofits for barns, Quonsets, machine sheds, shops and hangars.

Each door is built to individual customer specs at the West Fargo 40,000- square-foot Midland facility. Once built, the door frame and other components are delivered to the construction site ahead of installation.

Then the crew arrives at the jobsite with the tools and equipment necessary to complete the installation.

The door frame is welded, and the custom door is lifted into place using a telescoping boom forklift. After the door is attached to the frame and building, insulation and steel paneling are applied to the door frame.

By adding a door that was the full width of the end wall, Holmer took a shop that had limited uses and made it useable for large farm machinery.

Photos show Lennie Holmer’s before (left) and after shop project with Midland Door Solutions.