Garage Door Headroom Requirements – Low Headroom

Most people forget about minimum garage door headroom requirements when planing for new overhead doors. Before framing in an opening or replacing an existing garage door always measure the space between the top of the door frame and the closest obstruction. Usually this is the ceiling, but could be any object hanging down from the ceiling such as a beam or pipe.  The proper amount of headroom allows garage doors to move around the radius of the track without hitting the ceiling or any obstructions below the ceiling level. Here are the recommended minimum headroom requirements for overhead garage doors for both torsion and extension spring systems. When possible always leave 18″ of headroom space to install your garage door. Almost every residential sectional and roll-up door & opener combo installation can be installed easily in 18″ of headroom. If you don’t have 18 inches of space here are the minimum requirements.

Residential Overhead Doors (Torsion Spring System) 

(21 inch sections, 12 inch Radius Track)

  • Standard Track Manual Operation (Torsion Springs) – 12 inches headroom minimum (Most Common & Recommended)

  • Standard Track With Garage Door Opener (Torsion Springs) – 15 inches headroom minimum

  • Low Headroom Track Manual Operation (Torsion Springs) – 9 inches headroom (Additional Cost $$$)

  • Low Headroom Track Using Garage Door Opener (Torsion Springs) – 12 inches headroom (Additional Cost $$$)

***Low headroom & rear torsion spring option***

 

Residential Overhead Doors (Extension Spring System)

(21 inch sections, 12 inch Radius Track)

  • Standard Track Manual Operation (Extension Springs) – 6 inches headroom minimum

  • Standard Track With Garage Door Opener (Extension Springs) – 9 inches headroom minimum

  • Low Headroom Track Manual Operation (Extension Springs) – 5 inches headroom (Additional Cost $$$)

  • Low Headroom Track Using Garage Door Opener (Extension Springs) – 12 inches headroom (Additional Cost $$$)

 

Most residential doors use 12″ radius track to accommodate 21″ and 18″ panels. Commercial style panels are 24″ and typically require 15″ radius track. The larger radius allow for smooth operation as the door curves. This reduces vibration and frequency of cables slipping off the drums. Unfortunately, the increased radius takes up more headroom space.

Commercial Overhead Doors

(24 inch panels, 15 inch Radius)

  • Standard Track Manual Operation – 15 inches headroom minimum

  • Standard Track With Garage Door Opener – 18 inches headroom minimum

  • Low Headroom Track Manual Operation – 12 inches headroom

  • Low Headroom Track Using Garage Door Opener – 15 inches headroom

 

Roll-up Barrel Style Door Headroom (Janus & DBCI)

  • Dependent on door height since barrel diameter increases based on door height.
  • Residential Rollup Doors 18″ Recommended
  • Commercial Rollup Doors 24″ +

 

If the opening you are looking at has 5 inches or less headroom you must frame down the opening as a sectional overhead door will not fit. Always plan your opening for the proper amount of headroom as it will save you time and money. Leaving 18″ of headroom is always best when planning for overhead doors. This leaves enough space for commercial sized garage door panels and most types of automatic door openers. This also leaves the option for adding an opener to a manual lift door later on. Lastly, if gives you the option of installing a rollup barrel style door as well.

If all other possibilities above are exhausted and you need a door to fit in the opening there is still one option – cutting the bottom of each vertical track as a last resort. However, you must realize that you can only cut 2-3″ off and doing so will drop the bottom of the bottom section into the opening equally with the door in the raised position. Why does this matter? If you are trying to fit a vehicle or tractor into an opening the bottom section of the door will hang down into the opening equally to the amount of track you cut off. You may not have enough space to fit what you need in the garage. Garage door springs and track angle are also negatively affected by using this method as springs and track are calibrated for specific door heights. Never cut more than 2-3″ off the bottom of your vertical tracks.

 

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