Wall-Mounted Garage Door Openers & Minimum Garage Ceiling Heights: A Full Guide

This full-view garage door is in the California, 18' x 8', Black aluminum frame, Clear glass.

The California full-view garage door allows for a ton of light to come into your garage space. Imagine sitting in your garage and drinking coffee while being able to watch the sunrise in a space like this!

When you're renovating or building a new home and including a garage in those plans, it's normal to have questions come up about garage doors!

When it comes to garage doors, there are a lot of terms, technology, and specifications of garages that are important to understand. Fortunately, there are garage door professionals who can give you the information you need when it comes to choosing the right garage door and opener for your project.

Garage dimensions and garage door clearances are the most important factors to understand during the decision process. Knowing what headroom is and how much you need in your garage will allow you to pick the right size door for your space.

We've gathered the five most frequently asked questions about garage height, headroom, wall-mounted garage door openers, and garage door installation. We want you to understand everything there is to know about garage doors so you can make the right purchase for your home without having to worry about a thing!

We want you to everything about garage door headroom and openers so you can pick the right garage door opener for you, even if you have low headroom!

Q1: What is garage door headroom, and why does it matter when choosing a garage door?

A helpful illustration to see where are all of the locations to look at when measuring a garage door.

It's important to take every measurement you need when you're shopping for a garage door. Taking the measurements in this image before you choose a garage door is the best way to make sure you choose the right size.

Garage headroom clearance is the measurement of the space between the top of the garage door and the garage's ceiling. When measuring headroom, you need to account for the door's range of motion as well as the garage door's size. This will help you make sure there's plenty of room for your garage to open and close safely.

Q2: When do I need a low headroom garage door?

Low headroom garage doors and openers are more common to see in residential garages because of the size difference between residential and commercial garages. They need to be used when your garage doesn't have the clearance to allow space for a standard garage door and lift.

The area above the garage door that houses the extension springs needs to be no more than eight and a half inches. Plus, an area smaller than ten inches for the torsion spring over the garage door header.

These situations make you more likely to need a low clearance garage door:

  • Older homes – tend to have lower ceilings
  • New construction homes – make sure the plan allows enough space above your garage door before building begins
  • Ceilings that have built-in obstructions such as a central air system, sprinkler system, etc.
  • Concrete – basement garages are the most common types where this comes into play

Here's a technical drawing of a low headroom garage door.

Low headroom means there isn't much space between the ceiling and the garage door's tracks. A standard garage lift wouldn't be able to function properly with a garage door in this space, which is where low headroom garage door openers come in handy.

Front versus rear low headroom

Low headroom happens in both the front and the rear of garages, depending on the design. The difference between them comes down to where the spring and drums are located. The front low headroom uses front mount springs, while the rear low headroom means the rear springs are used.

Notice the difference between low headroom front vs rear garage door

See how front low headroom compares to rear? The drums where the cable wraps are in different locations. You can also see the low headroom hardware has been installed in both images, so you can understand the full layout of this design.

You can install a low headroom garage door in any garage if you have the right hardware.

You'll need low headroom hardware, known as a double- or dual-track system. This hardware is used specifically in garages with low headroom and uses two tracks stacked on one another.

The top section of your garage door uses the upper track of the opener, while the other three sections use the lower track. These tracks allow the garage door to open quicker due to weight distribution while also having the door opener take up less space in the garage itself.

Q3: What is the best way to install a low clearance garage door?

Low headroom garage doors are installed the same way standard overhead doors are. The only change you'll experience is that the garage door opener and springs are installed in a different location. Therefore you have to use different hardware components for the installation, including the horizontal tracks, bottom brackets, and top roller brackets.

These garage doors are in the Village Collection, A Design, Plank base, 9' x 7', Cherry, windows with Cascade Inserts.

If the garage is in the basement of your home, the concrete makeup of the area makes it more likely to have low headroom. However, it's still possible to have a functioning garage when you choose a low headroom door opener! See how the Village Collection A Design with a beautiful dark brown color works as a contrast to the lighter beige color of the home's vinyl, providing a cohesive color scheme. You can't even tell the garage has low headroom!

Q4: What is a wall-mounted opener, and when do you need one?

A wall-mounted opener is a garage door opener that is installed on the wall of the garage instead of on the ceiling. Typically, garage openers are mounted to the ceiling, so this is a different design. Wall-mounted openers are also called jackshafts, and these terms are interchangeable. These openers are most useful for high lift clearance as well as an angled ceiling.

Wall-mounted openers are perfect if you have a taller or sloped garage because the garage door opener is connected to the door's torsion bar for operation instead of using a rail track, making it more accessible.

If you have a garage that doesn't have a high ceiling, you can still use wall-mounted garage door openers. They can be used with all types of lifts, making them a very versatile option for many styles.

These openers are most commonly used in commercial settings, but they are becoming more popular in residential garages thanks to the versatility of their installation location. However, it's important to remember that the front low-headroom configuration is not a good style for a wall-mounted opener.

A picture of the LiftMaster 5500W wall-mounted door opener with all the accessories it's coming with

The LiftMaster 8500W model is a super popular wall-mounted garage opener option. This is thanks to its simplicity and space-saving design, which it offers without skimping on features. In fact, all LiftMaster garage door openers even have built-in myQ technology, allowing you to control and monitor your garage door from your phone!

Make the most of your garage storage space – even above!

Jackshafts can even help you use your overhead garage space for storage because you don't have any mechanisms taking up space above your head. This change leaves all that open space available for storage solutions instead.

With all the extra head space, consider using an overhead storage solution. Here are some unique storage options from Family Handyman:

  • Cargo nets for lightweight items like sports equipment or decorations
  • Garage ceiling storage lifts to store boxes or outdoor furniture
  • Coated garage hooks used to hang bikes or tools
  • Ceiling-mounted racks for totes of clothes

Wall-mounted garage door openers are a wonderful choice that allows you to transform your garage into a living space.

More and more, people are turning their garage into another room in their homes, such as an extra bedroom or a man cave. This is a great option if you want a new hangout space or need another bedroom in your home.

Transform your garage into the room of your dreams!

A beautiful garage conversion into a light-filled living space.

If you need a guestroom but don't have the extra space, consider turning your garage into a bedroom. This setup can provide your house guest with a warm and inviting environment that feels like the rest of the home. Check out other garage makeover ideas on HGTV’s website.

Budget Dumpster, a company that rents dumpsters to homeowners, contractors, and businesses across the United States, mentions a variety of garage conversion ideas, including:

  • Playroom
  • In-law Suite
  • Bedroom
  • Art studio
  • Office
  • Family room

Another option is to get creative with the space, such as the best bar in your neighborhood. This is perfect for having a snack or beer while watching sports with your friends. Your options are only limited by your ideas when you have a wall-mounted garage opener!

A wall-mounted garage door opener makes for a more aesthetically pleasing room by making the opener blend into its surroundings instead of hanging from the ceiling.

Q5: How much headroom is required for a wall-mounted garage door opener?

You can install a wall-mounted opener with any amount of headroom in your garage because of the alternative mounting kits available to add!

Typically, you need no less than two inches above the center of the garage door shaft to install a garage door opener. However, you can still use this style opener even if you don't have the typical clearance required.

A wall-mounted opener can be installed regardless of the headroom in your garage. The garage door opener can even be lowered and mounted below the torsion bar with an alternate mounting kit if that's the setup that you prefer!

Alternate mounting kit if your wall-mounted garage door opener cannot be installed to the torsion bar.

The alternate mounting kit has two gear systems. This allows the shaft to be on top and the opener on the bottom. This allows jackshaft openers that can't be directly installed on the torsion bar to be functional.

The only requirement is at least eight and a half inches of space on one side of the garage door. This will allow for enough room for the opener's shaft collar and casing.

Consider all the styles of garage doors

There is what seems like an endless supply of garage door options available! A garage door is an easy way to give your home a unique appearance while providing you with a space for storage.

At First Choice Overhead Doors, we carry three garage door styles: Traditional, Carriage House, and Contemporary. No matter what your preferred style is, we are sure to carry the perfect garage door to meet your vision.

Plus, we have a wide variety of colors, from neutrals to more modern splashes of color. You're sure to pick a shade to look great with the style of your home.

This garage door is in the Princeton P-11 design, 9' x 8', Ice White doors and overlays, 8 lite Panoramic windows.

If you prefer a modern yet classic look, consider the Princeton P-11 design. The sleek white garage doors with windows and accents work wonderfully with this grey home. You can design any garage door to meet your plans!

Design your garage door online with our visualizer tool!

We offer a Design Centre on our website where you can design your dream garage door virtually. You can even design various garage door designs and colors, adding windows and decorative hardware to achieve the garage door look you're going for!

Being able to design your garage door online before ordering it can help you make sure it achieves the vision you have in your mind!

Time to take the plunge

For an overhead door or garage door opener installation, contact us at 905-642-6606!

Our professional and experienced garage door technicians are ready to install your garage door or help you with any garage door services, including garage door repairs. You're sure to be in the best hands available, regardless of your garage door needs!

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