A Hidden RV Garage Door Idea Helped This Man Create A Unique Storage Solution

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Two Schweiss liftstraps and a heavy-duty bottom-drive motor easily lift the 16 ft. RV bifold garage door.

Two Schweiss liftstraps and a heavy-duty bottom-drive motor easily lift the 16 ft. RV bifold garage door.

Not Your Average Garage Door Problem

Herb Korthuis of Lynden, Washington needed a large garage for his motorhome, but ran into problems with local zoning restrictions. The local zoning ordinance prohibits residents from building garage doors taller than 8 ft. This restriction helps maintain the uniformity of the city and neighborhood.

Korthuis’ large Country Coach motorhome is 12.5 ft. tall, so meeting the 8 ft. restriction seemed impossible — but was it?

Side-Stepping Zoning Restrictions Takes a Little Creativity

Korthuis began to brainstorm hidden RV garage door ideas. He was aware of the strict garage criteria when he bought the lot to build on, but he decided to consult with his developer to find potential ways around the restriction.

Korthuis came up with the idea of creating a garage door that presented itself as 8 ft. but could actually open up to accommodate his RV. His developer said if it looked like it was 8 ft. he would build it, but noted he would need to see a preview of what it would look like.

After much thought, Korthuis devised the brilliant RV garage door idea to make the top half of the door match the siding of the his home while leaving the bottom half to resemble an 8 ft. garage door. Now he just needed a method and a preview to show the inspector!

The hidden bifold RV garage door in action

The hidden bifold RV garage door in action — then folding back down to hide its true height.

Off to the Drawing Board

Convinced his motorhome garage door design would be a success, Korthuis went to architect Mark Ouellette of Ouellette Residential Design to get his expertise. Korthuis shared his research on Schweiss Doors, and the two discussed several ways to create a perfect door that still met zoning restrictions.

Ouellette’s first thought was to use a downward ramp that would use a conventional garage door and lower halfway into the ground. When that idea presented multiple challenges he considered his previous work with Schweiss doors.

Ouellette worked with Schweiss doors to outfit airplane hangars and agricultural building projects in the past, but nothing like this.

However, when it came down to it, he knew that Schweiss’ innovative capabilities, custom-building options, and reliable service would provide the unique hidden RV garage door they needed.

Next, Korthuis and Ouellette had to decide whether a hydraulic or bifold door would provide the ideal look and function they were going for. The one-piece hydraulic door provided the hidden RV door with the right feel, but when it came down to it, the functionality of the bifold door was the most optimal option.

They decided the on a 12 ft. wide, 16 ft. high bifold door, with the clear opening reaching 14 ft. — in total, it almost doubles the 8 ft. restriction!

“The Korthuis door is crazy cool! 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.”
– Architect, Mark Ouellette

The garage door folds in half as it opens into a full position.

No longer hiding its true purpose, the garage door folds in half as it opens into a full position.

The 16 ft. door opens up to 14 ft. high in its fully-open position.

The 16 ft. door opens up to 14 ft. high in its fully-open position.

Getting the Green Light

Together, architect Mark Ouellette and homeowner Herb Korthuis came up with a sketch of the garage door design as they envisioned it.

Next up, Korthuis needed approval. He approached the building inspector to get his opinion and decision on whether or not they could move forward. The inspector decided that since the door blends into the rest of the architecture of the home as well as the look of the neighborhood they could proceed.

The Unique Door Takes Shape

With a will there became a way! Schweiss came to the rescue with a 16 ft. x 12 ft. bifold liftstrap door which when in the closed position gives the appearance of an 8 ft. tall door — the first of a new niche market for Schweiss. Korthuis had a contractor attach a conventional garage door without the cords or motor to the bottom half of the Schweiss door frame. After all, if it’s going to need to look like a regular garage door why not add a real one?

The complete RV door is equipped with:

  • A metal garage door with windows to make up the lower portion of the frame
  • Masonite siding to match the exterior of the home and make up the top half frame
  • Two durable lift straps to raise additional weight
  • Autolatches, a remote opener and insulation features
  • A heavy duty, bottom-drive motor installed to lift the added weight from the siding, insulation, and bottom half of the garage door

The vertical seam on the horizontal siding has a very tight tolerance making the seam above the door sides almost invisible to the naked eye. In the closed position you can just barely see the seams on the door sides — alleviating any of the building inspector’s concerns. The finished product is a good example of an architect and contractor doing an excellent job of designing and installing the door.

The exterior of the garage looks as though it is a normal 8 ft.

The large bifold door blends seamlessly into the exterior of the garage making it look as though it’s only 8 ft. tall.

“You have to really look to see the seam … The siding fits at a 22.5 degree angle and fits in there perfect.” – Explained the satisfied homeowner, Korthuis.

A First of Many Hidden RV Garage Doors

Korthuis says that everyone who sees his bifold garage door is amazed. The hidden RV garage door idea has spread, and others in his neighborhood are now considering doing the same thing. Across the country, we recently created another RV door for a Minnesota resident.

“The doors live up to my expectations. I’d recommend Schweiss Doors to others. If I had to do it over, I would do it exactly the same, it turned out really well. It all goes to show you, if there’s a will, there’s a way,” said Korthuis.

Schweiss bifold and hydraulic doors provide unique solutions for consumers across many different industries. Contact us today to see how our reliable doors can meet your needs!

The homeowner’s motorhome drives freely out of the garage as the door fold up above it.

The homeowner’s motorhome drives freely out of the garage as the door fold up above it.