Garage Door Lifts: Breaking Down the Five Choices

This is a Prestige XL design garage door, here shown in single size, Chocolate Walnut color, with Pinhead windows.

If you love mixing and matching colors, textures, and elements… we are your people! You can also have fun playing with shutters, siding, and different shapes over windows and garage door to create your perfect look. The timeless appeal of the Traditional Style shown here is made possible by the Prestige XL Design door (here in a single size). This one is Chocolate Walnut paint with Pinhead windows.

You’ve been making moves and things are happening. Your dream home and garage are so close you can almost taste it! Heck, you might even get your partner on board for that man-cave or she-shed. Woohoo! You deserve it all.

Every home should have a garage alongside it. Every family deserves the space and potential that a garage brings! Where else do dreams grow and develop? These big stories all had small beginnings inside a garage… and look where they are now.

A picture of well-know companies that have started in their garage.

When the pandemic started, many people began looking at their garages through a new lens. So many people have transformed or changed their spaces into home offices, an older kiddo’s bedroom, an escape from those hard times, etc.

If you are ready to build a garage (whether attached or detached), we are here to tell you that it is NOT a waste of money, it’s an investment in your home and your family! Your sanity and the peace of your home dynamic will be your reward.

We know what you’re probably most excited about though: picking out that new garage door that will up your home’s curb appeal and resale value. Before you head to the store with your card though, read this important information about the five different types of door lifts and when you should choose each one.

High Lift Hardware: The Best Choice When You Also Want High Windows

A picture of a contemporary house with 2 single Vog garage doors in Black Color with Right-Side Harmony window layout

The contemporary elegance of this home and accompanying garage door can’t be beat! It’s possible with two single, black Vog garage doors with windows mounted above. Modern homes often have garages that match the entry door design. Who doesn’t love windows?

When you have a high lift garage door, it extends the tracks so that the door goes higher up the wall before it moves horizontally, essentially “hugging” the wall. This allows you to use the vertical space in your garage more efficiently, giving you about a foot (even up to 15”) more headroom by moving the tracks closer to the ceiling.

This California all-glass garage door installed in a hip cottage opens up the space between the home and the swimming pool.

This garage set up with high lift hardware gives off an industrial flair when combined with a mixture of noble textures. No matter if you’re creating a hip pool cottage or a granny nook, this California all-glass garage door will help you feel like you have so much more space. If you have mezzanine or high ceilings, without a doubt you’ll want high lift hardware.

Choose High Lift Hardware When:

  • Your garage will be an extension of your already glamorous home and you want it to have a similar feel/flow.
  • The structure of your garage has windows over the door.
  • You need to make the best use out of the overhead space so you can clear as much floor space as possible. Wall space equals overhead storage space.
  • You use your garage as an actual auto shop so you need space for a car lift.
  • You want to keep your options open to possibly turn your garage into something totally new one day, but you don’t want to have to re-do the garage door tracks as well.

A technical drawing of a High Garage Door Lift

This technical illustration shows how part of the high lift system is straight and part is angled away from the wall.

How Will High Lift Hardware Change the Look of My Garage?

Using high lift hardware alters the way your garage door moves along its tracks. Technically, this hardware moves your door farther up before it moves it back. This uses the components in a different way, putting stress and tension in a different place. This means that certain parts need to be altered as well.

  1. Garage Door Tracks – Each garage door installation is unique. If you have a garage with a 10-feet ceiling but you only have an 8-feet high door, you’ll need tracks to cover that extra two feet. Standard garage door tracks won’t compensate for
  2. Torsion Springs – People usually think that the piece of your system doing the work is the door itself. Sorry, folks, but it’s not. The torsion spring is responsible for all the heavy lifting. This means that not only is it under extreme pressure but that it needs to be properly balanced so that it can operate smoothly and safely.
  3. Garage Door Opener

    A house with a Flush design garage door in Black.

    It was one of your main priorities to NOT have tracks right over your head in your beautifully designed garage. Don’t ruin it now by putting the operating system right smack in the middle of the ceiling! If you want a modern, sleek garage door like this Flush Design, you can’t install the rail above the door anyway because of this beautiful window. Don’t worry, we’ve got another option for you.

You need a garage door opener that can be mounted on your wall.

For this situation, we recommend the tried and true LiftMaster 8500W. Unlike a chain-drive system, this one runs quietly, has an automatic locking mechanism for safety, and though quiet, runs with enough horsepower to enable high-lift and vertical door systems. It is also equipped with the MyQ app, which means you can open and close your garage door with your phone or tablet from anywhere in the world.

Inclined Tracks: The Best Choice When You Have High Ceilings

A classic kid's drawing of a house

When kids draw houses like this, they’re on the right track for cathedral-ceiling garages! If your garage door is on the other side of your garage’s roof, this means you need inclined tracks.

This is an Eastman E-12 design garage door, here shown with Claystone color for the door and Ice White color real overlays.

This picture says it all! Sometimes the garage door has to follow the same angle of the roof, which means the only choice is inclined tracks. This beautiful eye-catching choice is the Eastman E-12 Design in Claystone paint on the door and Ice White for the real overlays.

A technical drawing of the Inclined Garage Door Tracks

Okay, but what are the real difference between inclined track hardware and high lift hardware?

  • Inclined tracks go along the incline level of the roof of your garage. The door stays flat against the ceiling. High lift hardware brings up the door to ceiling level before the pitch, which leaves a gap at the incline.
  • For inclined tracks, the torsion spring must be balanced properly and must be very strong, just as with high lift hardware, because all the components are under a great deal of stress.
  • A high, steep roof means that you need a wall-mounted opener such as the LiftMaster 8500.

These Carriage House single garage doors are in the Eastman E-11 design, with Moka Brown colored doors, and Desert Sand colored overlays, with 4 vertical-lite Panoramic windows and decorative hardware.

Can you get any more charming than a Carriage House garage door? These single-size doors from the Townships Collection (Eastman E-11 design) are finished with Moka Brown paint on the doors and Desert Sand paint on the overlays, with four vertical-lite Panoramic windows.

Choose Inclined Tracks When:

  • You have cathedral or vaulted ceilings.
  • Your door is on the same side as the slope of the garage’s roof.

Front or Rear Low Headroom Hardware: When Space is at a Premium

Choose Front or Rear Low Headroom Lifts When:

  • You have a lower-than-average ceiling.
  • You are replacing the original (or simply old) swinging doors on a detached garage or shed. These types of doors used to only require a couple of inches of headroom, believe it or not!
  • If you want more information on low headroom lifts and opening systems, check out this FAQ.

A picture of an elegant She-Shed with a California full-view garage door in 12x7 size, with Black aluminum frame and Clear glass

This ‘she-shed’had less than 10 inches of headroom, so standard lift hardware wasn’t an option. Good thing the necessary choice was beautiful, too, with the California full-view garage door! The homeowner also wanted the tracks to be all but invisible since this was her retreat away from the rest of the world. No one wants an eyesore in their magical space!

Specifications for When You Must Choose Front or Rear Low Headroom Hardware:

A technical drawing of a Low Front Headroom

  • When you only have 7-10” of room over your garage door, you must choose a FRONT low headroom lift.
  • When you only have 5-7” of room over your garage door, you must choose a REAR low headroom lift.
  • How are front and rear lifts different from standard lift hardware? Think about it this way: Your garage door doesn’t have as much space to go from vertical to horizontal, so double tracks and rollers move only the top section of the door. This allows the garage door opener to move the top section back far enough that the lower part will follow smoothly on the lower track.
  • It might not make sense at first, but if you don’t have a great deal of space over your garage door, you actually MUST install an opener system on your ceiling. A wall-mounted system wouldn’t be capable of fully opening your garage door in this case. If you still get a wall-mounted system, you’ll always have about eight inches at the top of your garage door opening hole. In this situation, we’d suggest the new LiftMaster 87504-267 opener. This is the next generation after the popular LiftMaster 8550.
  • These types of lifts probably aren’t your first choice, but they’re often your last resort when your space won’t fit anything else.

Standard Hardware: The Commonplace Comfort

If you enjoy the long-lasting chicness of Traditional Style, these single garage doors in the Classic MIX design will make your eyes smile.

In this unique style of garage, the left-side door needs inclined tracks (see the slope of the roof?) and the right-side door can use a standard garage door lift. Designers and architects are bringing back garage doors with an arch on top … isn’t it beautiful? The Traditional Style brings lasting chic with these doors in the Classic MIX Design. You’ll love pulling up to these every day!

When to Choose a Standard Garage Door Lift:

  • If you have 10 or more inches of headroom over your door.
  • If you can choose between torsion springs or extension springs that are installed over the two horizontal tracks. Experts recommend torsion springs.
  • If you want to install an electric system that’s mounted on your ceiling, you can choose the new LiftMaster 87504-267. This is the newest model after the LiftMaster 8550 that you probably know and love.

Things to Think About Before You Build Your Garage and Choose Your Door

This garage door is a North Hatley SP design, here shown in Ice White to match the windows and entry door color, with Richmond Arch window Inserts and decorative hardware.

If you love the old-timey look of swinging garage doors, the North Hatley SP design is the one for you! It’s shown here in Ice White paint to match the door and windows of the house. The Richmond Arch windows and decorative hardware are the perfect finishing touches.

Insulated or Not Insulated?… The Answer is Probably Insulated

When a big project is looming over you, it might be tempting to cut corners where you can. A non-insulated garage door might, at first, seem like a good place to do that.

Read this before you go forward:

House Beautiful says that heating and air conditioning your home is one of the biggest things to think about in the area of energy consumption. It can even account for as much as half of your home’s energy bill! It makes sense, then, that one of the best things you can do to “green-ify” your home is to stop unnecessary losses of hot or cool air resulting from poorly insulated doors, windows, and seals.

Even though your garage might not be heated, you can still weatherize it. This will pay off when it’s less expensive to heat the parts of your home that you DO want to keep cozy and warm.

Green Builder Media, another resource, says that spray foam (polyurethane, for example) has one of the highest R-values per inch. It also has a great deal of insulating power for small spaces and places that might leak air. When you choose GARAGA Standard+, which has an R-value of 16, you’ll be making a smart decision since this high-quality insulation will have a positive impact on your energy bills for upwards of 25 years! You’ll also feel more comfortable year-round.

Curb Appeal is Your Best Friend

Most homes have a garage that can be viewed from their main street. As we said, a garage door of high quality will last about 25 years or more, meaning that this investment will have one of the highest resale values of all home improvement projects. When you choose a door, think about these things:

  • Windows — Natural light is never a bad thing!
  • Color and Design — You want eye-catching and beautiful!
  • Cost — The cost of a double door is the same as two singles! Read more about these options here. Then choose whatever looks best for your home!

This is a Shaker-Flat XL garage door design, with Stockton window inserts. The rich Chocolate Walnut color adds a deep layer much needed to enhance all the light colors of this garage.

This combination of brick and wood creates a chic, unique look. You almost don’t remember that it’s actually a detached garage! This choice is the Shaker-Flat XL garage door design with Stockton window inserts. Choosing a rich, deep hue for paint, like this Chocolate Walnut, enhances the lighter colors all around.

Build with Confidence When You Work with Professionals

No matter what your project is: turning your carport into a garage, building a detached garage next to your home, or attaching a garage onto the home itself, the team at Georgian Door & Gate is here to help guide you through the entire process. We pride ourselves on offering the best range of doors customizable to your space, as well as a great selection of hardware. We know that we can help you find the perfect solution!

Whether you have a problem such as a ventilation pipe that’s in the way of your door, or a small old shed that needs a great deal of modernization with a sectional door, we’ll help you figure it out.

Call us at 705-733-1211.

Usually, a homeowner won’t have to buy more than 1 or 2 garage doors over their entire life. This makes it quite an important decision that you shouldn’t have to do on your own!

Garage door opener systems and overhead doors are not only our specialty, but they’re also one of our favorite things to do. Nothing would make us happier than helping you along each step of your project while staying within your budget the whole way.

If you’ve already found your dream garage door, ask us for your free email quote.

Do you wish you could see what your top choice designs looked like on your house before you make a decision? Your wish can come true with our Design Centre.

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