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Choosing the right Garage Door

Choosing the right Garage Door thumbnail image

Norman Black, Group Special Products Manager, has over 40 years experience of selling building products with Haldane Fisher! His knowledge of garage doors is extensive having moved into this sector of the business in 2000. He conducts site surveys throughout the province and guides customers in purchasing the most suitable door for their purposes and needs. He can be contacted on 07799 711529 or emailed at

Here, Norman gives advice on how to select the right garage door for you.


Selecting a garage door

When it comes to self-build projects, garage doors tend to be way down the list of items to be considered. However a garage is a valuable addition to any home, providing storage for any number of items, such as bicycles, garden furniture, tools and sometimes even cars. It is important that they are secure and look good since the garage door can represent a significant portion of a home's frontage.

Choosing the right option

There is a lot to consider, so it is worthwhile taking a few minutes to examine the options you have. How you intend to use your garage should have the greatest bearing on the type of door you choose. For instance, if you have direct, internal access to the garage from the house, a sectional door offers the best insulation and security options. If the garage is remote from the house and has no power, a manual up-and-over door may be your best option. However, solar powered, battery driven, automatic systems such as Hörmann’s Akku mean that any garage door can be automated.

When it comes to styling there are even more choices to make. Doors can be finished in steel, glass reinforced polyester (GRP), timber, or with some bespoke options, the material of your choice.

 Steel door  Timber  Matching garage and front doors


To add to the styling choices, matching entrance and garage door sets are also available giving you the opportunity to create a co-ordinated look across the whole facade, as per the third image above.

Once you have decided what you want your doors to do - security, thermal insulation and ease of use should be the main considerations - then you can narrow down the options that will fit within your budget.

As the first step is to decide on the type of door you want here is a brief summary of the main types

Up-and-Over Doors

Up and Over garage doorThese doors come in two types, the canopy and the retractable. The canopy door is so called since approximately one third of the door sticks out from the garage once opened, creating a canopy. The retractable costs slightly more but slides completely into the garage on tracks suspended from the ceiling. The later option is more reliable in the long run but you need to consider how the tracks will restrict access to internal doors and power supplies etc.. Both of these doors need space in front to allow the door to swing out to open.

Roller Doors

Rollmatic garage door This style of door effectively winds around a central drum as it opens, hence the name. The Hörmann RollMatic is recognised as the safest and best door of this type as it comes complete with barrel casing and automatic cut out through its patented spring compensation. This unique feature also makes this door remarkably easy to operate manually, without the need for an awkward crank handle, if required.

The ingenious design of this door also makes it the easiest door of its type to fit. Other doors have cylinder motors in the spindle and the whole door and motor assembly has to be lifted into place as a unit. The RollMatic is delivered to site in specially designed packaging that holds the door leaf in the correct position. Once the door spindle is in place and the external operator motor fitted, the operator is used to lift the door leaf from the packaging onto the spindle. This design reduces the need for heavy lifting, minimises the risk of damage to the door leaf and means that the motor is accessible for routine maintenance, helping to extend its its lifespan even further.

One major benefit of roller doors is that they are space saving. As well as only requiring a minimum amount of interior space the design allows the door to be opened even if a car is parked right up to it.

Sectional Doors

Sectional garage doorSectional garage doors, which also open vertically, do need some interior space, at celling level, to accommodate the tracks the door slides along. This style of door is the only truly insulated option and is therefore the ideal choice for homes with an integral garage. Fixed into a frame this style of door can provide a weather seal to any opening (arched for example).

As with the roller door this type of door is usually automated but both can be supplied for manual operation.

Other Options

Side sliding garage door Side sliding doors, such as the brand new Hörmann HST or traditional side hinged doors, which obviously need a large space to open into, are other options to consider. The side sliding sectional door requires minimal headroom therefore is a better option when there is limited overhead space. This new door also features the worlds first handle actuated, automatic wicket door function. A simple press of the handle or handset will open the door to a predetermined point, set to any width to suit you.



There is an extensive choice of styles, types finishes and colours to choose from but for a truly unique door Hörmann offers three additional options. Two open for infill door frames are availalbe, sectional or up-and-over, as well as the opportunity to have a timber sectional door made to your own design.

With such options available it makes sense to take a little bit of time over your choice. Taking expert advice can give you a much better, more effective option than you thought possible. For instance, sectional garage doors can be supplied with an integrated wicket door so a side door may not be needed.

My advice is to write down what you need your garage door to do and talk to a specialist for the options they can offer. If possible go and have a look at some doors in our showrooms, where we have working models for customers to look at. You could be surprised at what's available and how much of a difference it can make to your selfbuild project.

Comments (1)

  • At 04.23 on 16 April 2013 - Julian wrote

    Most new steel residential doors nmloarly come in 6 increments although this varies. 8 usually is enough but get height of truck from dealer to make sure. Make certain to allow for carriers on truck and snow in winter because that can add height to your truck at the door opening. If your ceiling in the garage is low lots of hardware is available to allow installation. If it is really tight allow for your door operator. On a torsion spring door the opener can be mounted off to one side to clear the top of the truck.

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