Installing a new garage door opener on a new or existing garage door? Don’t be surprised if space ends up being a challenge. The carriage for a garage door opener is going to require a good deal of space so there’s room to allow it to move freely as well as store the door when it’s open. This is especially true if you are installing an opener on an older door that has never had an opener before. Sometimes the space just isn’t there. Fortunately, there are a number of creative approaches that facilitate an opener in nearly any space, no matter how enclosed the overhead area around the garage door is.
How Much Headroom Will You Need?
Most standard garage door openers will require at least 15 inches of overhead clearance — 3 inches for the garage door opener and 12 inches for the door and torsion spring system.
So what if you don’t have 15 inches to spare? Is your teenage son back on garage door opener duty? Fortunately, no. But you will need to get a little creative. There are several alternative approaches that will work well.
Jackshaft Garage Door Openers
Sometimes there’s a beam in the middle of the garage ceiling that doesn’t allow for an opener. (This happens a lot in older garages when openers were not yet common). Sometimes you just don’t have a few inches to spare for whatever reason. A jackshaft garage door opener is a great solution. They work just as well as your standard garage door opener, but sit on the side of your garage door rather than the more standardized top. Naturally, you’ll need enough room on the side of the door to allow for the opener, but that usually isn’t a problem. This is a great solution if you don’t have a lot of headroom or just prefer a more spacious looking ceiling for your garage.
A Frame Down Opening Door
A frame down opening door is another option. You can get them at 3 inch increments for no extra charge. That way the garage door opening can be raised or lowered to meet the desired opening height.
A Low Headroom Track System
They design low headroom track garage door systems specifically for when space is an issue. With this option, you can install a door and an opener in as little as 9 inches of space.
Consider Installing a Rolling Overhead Garage Door
Rolling overhead garage doors are typically used by commercial businesses, but they are a perfectly fine option for residential homes. These doors are constructed with interlocking flat or curved slats of galvanized steel, stainless steel or aluminum. They typically coil around a drum to open and close. The beauty of these doors is they can close in a very confined overhead space — typically the size of a long gym duffle bag. Beyond the head unit above the door, there really is no overhead space required. These types of doors may be a preferred option no matter your headroom. By eliminating overhead storage of your garage door, you have more room for other storage — storing ladders, boxes, or other storage crates. It’s a very versatile choice when it comes to new garage door installation.