How Much Headroom Is Needed for a Garage Door?

Say you want to buy a new garage door opener, but you’re hesitating because you have a smaller garage — you don’t want to whack your head on the opener or risk it hitting the top of your tall vehicle. Will you have enough room? Just what is the minimum headroom clearance for a garage door opener? The answer is that it varies, but in many cases, even owners with low garage ceilings can find an opener that will provide excellent function without taking up too much room. 

How Much Headroom Is Needed for a Garage Door Opener?

The headroom you need depends on what type of garage door setup you choose. Here are two of the most common options:

Torsion Springs

Those within the industry appreciate the safety of torsion springs. These devices attach to the opener and the garage door, creating tension that pulls the door up and down. You mount torsion springs on the bar that sits above the door. 

Torsion springs require a slightly higher clearance in your garage than the alternative. It takes about 12 inches of clearance to install torsion springs. By contrast, if you select a double-track system, you may need as little as 5 inches. 

Extension Springs

Extension springs are considered the secondary option for garage door openers. Torsion springs generally stay in place more effectively, but extension springs take up less room in the garage because they attach to the upper tracks and snake down the side. Most of them need only 9 to 12 inches of space. Before you purchase your new garage door opener, make sure you ask about the dimensions on the one you want to buy.

Again, a double-track system may work best for homes with low garage ceilings. You can find double-track extension springs that measure as little as 5 inches, though some require the full 12 inches. 

Will Your Opener Fit the Clearance in Your Garage? 

If you aren’t sure whether the garage door opener you like will meet the minimum clearance for your garage, you need to take some measurements. Grab a measuring tape and see how tall your garage is from floor to ceiling. Armed with this information, you can talk to one of the experts at Quality Overhead Door to get the guidance you need in choosing your new opener

When you measure, account for any obstructions that may be in the way of the ceiling. For instance, in a customized garage, you may have other things installed that could block the opener, such as: 

  • Lights 
  • Electrical outlets
  • Air ducts
  • Sound systems
  • Sprinklers

Some garages also have storage or shelving at the top. You will need to account for all of these when taking your measurement to ensure the new opener will fit. 

Do you want a new garage door for your home? Quality Overhead Door has assisted many people like you with replacing residential garage doors and finding the ideal opener set. Browse our selection and then schedule an estimate for installation. Contact us with any questions about the process if you need additional assistance. 


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