There are several critical dimensions involved when discussing overhead garage doors and clearances required allowing for proper installation. One of the more confusing and least understood dimensions is headroom. What is a garage door headroom and how does it matter to you when considering the purchase of new overhead garage doors? You might come across terms like standard headroom, low headroom, zero clearance, lift clearance and high lift clearance as you research garage doors.
At Overhead Door Co. of Central Jersey, we answer questions regarding headroom on a daily basis.
Headroom is defined as the available space over the door height.
Depending on the product selected required headroom for a standard installation is typically between 12 and 18 inches. So, if you are using a door that is seven feet high the typical minimum ceiling height would be eight feet, leaving twelve inches of headroom. There is a catch – this headroom must be consistent for the entire area the door will travel under. In other words, the headroom cannot be compromised by a ductwork chase, a support beam, lighting, or any other obstruction.
Side entry doors that open into the area of the garage door track must be taken into consideration also, as they can create a conflict with the garage door track. We often have someone report headroom measured solely at the area of the door, only to be surprised when we make a site inspection and inform them special tracking may be required or the desired garage door size will not work at all due to one or more of the obstructions mentioned above.
There are solutions available to work overhead garage doors into headrooms of less than 6 inches, referred to as low headroom hardware. There are also special track assemblies to elevate the door significantly where there is substantially more headroom in the garage. This is called lift clearance or high lift track and is used where the garage ceiling is quite high. This special tracking provides a very attractive appearance in these installations and also may allow for the use of a vehicle lift to store an additional car in the garage. In these special situations, careful attention must be paid to pair the door product with an appropriate automatic garage door opener system.
Headroom is a very important consideration when designing your project. For example, if you would like a door that is eight feet high so you can fit a special purpose vehicle into the garage or because the added height compliments the appearance of the project, you must also be sure the garage ceiling can be at a minimum of nine feet from the floor, without any obstructions, for a basic standard lift door.
As you can see, headroom is a relatively simple concept but there are many traps that need to be avoided when designing a project and ordering a door system that will fit and operate properly. The best advice we can offer is to involve your garage door professional early in the process. At Overhead Door Co. of Central Jersey, we are always available to provide design assistance to ensure an appropriate hardware selection for your project.