Some garages feature a great deal of unused ceiling space, and yours could be one of them. You may want to raise the garage door height to accommodate your machine or simply create more space for lounging in the garage after a busy day.
If you find yourself stuck outside the garage wondering how to raise garage door height to accommodate your new trailer or go-cart, it might be time to utilize this extra ceiling space.
Let’s find out how.
How to raise garage door height
Most garage doors are usually seven-feet high, which is convenient if you own a standard-sized car such as a sedan or SUV. However, this height might not serve the purpose if you own larger vehicles or commercial garage spaces. If your garage’s ceiling is higher than your standard garage door, it means you’re not fully utilizing the ceiling space.
Although costly, raising your garage door’s height has its perks. An automotive lift, for instance, can be a valuable investment for commercial garage owners but requires more ceiling space. Raising your garage door height will give you more clearance to accommodate larger vehicles, even in residential garages.
An ideal way to utilize vertical space in the garage is to raise the door’s height by converting it from a standard to a high lift system. This entails installing a high-lift garage door system and extending the tracks so that the door travels a longer distance vertically than horizontally.
That said, here is a list of some tools necessary for you to perform the installation:
- A high-lift conversion kit
- Tape measure
- A sturdy ladder
- Torsion springs
- Winding bar
- Safety gear
- Additional track
- Bearing plates
- Spring bars
Now that you have the necessary equipment let’s expound on installing the high-lift system step by step.
Step 1: Perform the necessary measurements
Accurately measuring your garage door’s dimensions goes a long way in making the installation a success. Therefore, with your measuring tape, ensure you measure the following:
- The garage door’s height and width
- The distance from the door’s jamb to the rear side of the vertical track’s upper part
- The distance from the meeting point of the vertical and horizontal track to the base of the latter
- The distance between the floor and the ceiling
- The distance between the floor and the upper part of the horizontal track
Step 2: Remove the existing opener and torsion spring
How you carry out this step depends on your specific garage door and the type of opener you have. Handling the torsion spring is critical because it bears the garage door’s weight.
Once you remove the opener, carefully unwind the tension spring with winding bars. Ensure you remove all the equipment that secures the torsion spring, including carriage bolts, end bearing plate, and the spring anchor bracket so that you can detach it from the door.
Step 3: Reposition the existing hardware
This step applies whether you’re reusing your standard garage door hardware or new tracks. First, detach the panel and move it upwards, depending on how high you plan to lift the door. Hold the panel in place, preferably using a clamp.
Using angle brackets, you can then transfer the horizontal track and bearing plate higher by installing it on the panel at its new position. Fix the horizontal track to the ceiling accordingly before proceeding to the next step.
Step 4: Install the high lift components
Start by assembling the torsion springs and drums appropriately. If you purchased a pre-assembled high lift conversion kit, you’re good to go. Once you do so, lift the components and install them per the garage door’s new height.
Step 5: Install the cables and wind the spring
For this step, ensure you cut the cables at appropriate lengths before installing them. Follow up by winding the springs adequately using winding bars, then fasten the screws.
Step 6: Install the bumper springs
Open and close the garage door manually to ensure it operates smoothly. If it operates without getting stuck, you may put the bumper springs in place while the garage door is fully open.
Finish off by opening and closing the garage door to check its balance. More importantly, note that performing a DIY high-lift garage conversion is risky. Therefore, ensure you take the necessary safety measures and get an assistant if possible. Opting for professional installation is the ultimate solution if you have any doubts.
How much does it cost to raise the height of a garage door
Raising your garage door through high lift conversion can be costly but worth it in the long run if you do it right. Going the DIY route will save you some money because you only pay for the equipment you need. These include the high lift conversion kit itself, which costs about 300 dollars, and additional tracks and a torsion spring.
You should, therefore, set aside at least 500 to 600 dollars to cover the high lift kit, torsion spring, tracks, and miscellaneous equipment for assembly. If you have a professional install the kit, you should equip yourself with an additional 300 dollars to cover labor costs. Since the door will be traveling a shorter distance horizontally, you can save yourself some coins by shortening the horizontal tracks and re-using them to lift the door vertically rather than purchasing more tracks.
Another additional cost you may or may not have to incur is purchasing a new garage opener. Standard garage doors travel more horizontally than vertically, which requires less horsepower. In this case, the high-lift garage door will travel a longer distance vertically, requiring a garage opener with more horsepower to lift the door. You will want to get a jackshaft garage opener with adequate horsepower to withstand the door’s weight.
More importantly, consider raising the height of your garage door an investment, especially if it’s a commercial space. Even in residential spaces, the convenience that comes with extra garage space is worth incurring the cost. Also, put in mind that safety is paramount when dealing with the garage door. Therefore, if you have doubts about installing a high lift garage door, it’s best to reach out to a professional for ultimate results.
How to raise garage door track height
The garage door tracks usually serve as a pathway along which the door travels while opening or closing. You may want to raise the height of the tracks to get more headspace or fully utilize your garage’s ceiling space.
Either way, there are various ways through which you can raise the garage door track height to satisfy your needs which include:
Convert your garage door to high lift
As the name implies, a high-lift garage door tends to travel higher than a standard garage door. Although costly, a high lift garage conversion is an ideal and effective way to raise the garage door track height. By converting your garage door from a standard to a high-lift system, you can make use of the extra ceiling space and get yourself more headroom.
Since the door will travel a longer distance along the wall, you will require additional tracks during installation. You will need a high-lift conversion kit, torsion springs, drums, and tracks to perform the installation.
Once you have the necessary materials, you can perform the installation through the steps mentioned earlier to raise the door’s height. You should then be able to raise the garage door track height by installing additional tracks so that the door opens higher than usual.
2. Adjusting the travel limits
You may have recently gotten yourself a new massive vehicle, only for it to keep hitting the door whenever you drive it into the garage. In such a case, raising the garage door track height could be an ideal way to enable the garage door to accommodate your new machine by opening high enough.
However, before you resort to more costly alternatives such as high-lift conversion, in this case, consider adjusting the garage travel limits by increasing upward travel. Be sure to consult the user manual because the procedure for adjusting the limit settings varies from one model to another.
Some garage opener models feature UP and DOWN travel adjustment screws for this purpose. Once you identify these screws on the opener unit, you can increase upward travel by turning the UP travel adjustment screw in a clockwise direction. Repeat the process while testing the garage door until it travels high enough along the tracks.
Other models feature up and down adjustment buttons in the shape of an arrow. Simply press the arrow facing upwards to increase the door’s upward travel. Adjusting the travel limits could go a long way in preventing the garage door from damaging your vehicles by providing sufficient clearance.
3. Adjust the railing
If the garage door’s carriage reaches its extreme end whenever you open it, you can’t adjust the UP travel any further. The solution would be to adjust the railing, so the door travels further along the horizontal track.
An easier way to adjust the railing if you need to raise the track’s height by a few inches is to alter the garage door’s carriage. You can shorten the carriage so that it can pull the garage door further along the tracks.
The procedure for adjusting the rails differs for various garage opener models, but the principle behind it is the same. Below is a detailed explanation of how to adjust the garage door railing if you wish to extend the track’s height.
A video showing how to adjust the height on garage door
How do you extend a garage door rail?
Consider extending the garage door rails as an affordable way to raise the track’s height. It’s a simple DIY process that you can accomplish within a short time through these steps:
Detach the carriage
The carriage is the L-shaped arm that pulls the garage door, enabling it to open or close along the horizontal track. It usually comprises two parts, each with several holes through which a screw passes to join the parts together. Once you identify it, detach the two portions that make up the carriage by removing the screws that hold them together.
- Pull the garage door further along the horizontal track
For this step, you will want to pull the garage door as far as you want it to open. In this way, you will extend the rail covered by the garage door whenever it opens, meaning the garage door will open further, giving you more clearance.
- Reinstate the carriage
You can do so by re-aligning the holes on the two sections of the carriage. By this time, the holes that should be on the same level are those at the extreme end of each portion of the carriage. Once they are in line, reinstate the screws you removed earlier by hand-tightening them and then reinforcing them with a ratchet.
If you’re looking to extend the rail by a significant number of inches, you could opt for a rail extension kit. For instance, this would be ideal if you’d like your belt or chain drive tube to accommodate a higher garage door.
The extension kit installation process varies depending on the type of opener in question. Be sure to purchase one that suits your garage opener. It’s advisable to get yourself an extension kit from your garage door opener’s manufacturer to ensure compatibility.
More importantly, remember to adjust the travel limit after extending the rail. Since you’ve just increased the distance through which the garage door travels, you have to increase the UP and DOWN travel as well so that the door opens and closes sufficiently.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Can you add a panel to a garage door to make it taller?
Yes, if anything, adding a panel to your garage door is a pocket-friendly way to raise its height. All you have to do is consult a professional to determine whether installing a new panel would suit your garage’s dimensions. Also, an extra panel means a heavier door, and you may need a new opener with more horsepower to withstand the door’s weight.
Q2. How high should a garage door open?
If you own a residential garage and smaller-sized vehicles like an SUV or Sedan, a standard garage door that is nine feet wide and seven feet high should do the job. Garages that house slightly larger vehicles should have doors that open at least eight or nine feet high to avoid damaging vehicles.
On the other hand, if you’re a commercial garage owner, you will need all the space you can get. In this case, garage doors that go as high as ten to twelve feet are ideal. With these doors, you can easily get yourself a two or four-post automotive lift and perform vehicle repairs effortlessly. It all narrows down to how you would like to use the garage.
Q3. Can you lift a garage door from the outside?
Yes, you can. Thanks to technological advancements, garage openers today come with an emergency release cord to disengage the door in case of emergencies. Therefore, opening your garage door from outside during a power outage should be a breeze.
All you need to do is identify the emergency release kit at the top center of the garage door. Unlock the kit using its key to access the emergency release cord. Once you do so, give the cord a sufficient tug to disengage the door from the opener. You should then be able to lift and open the door manually.
Q4. What lifts a garage door?
You’ll be surprised to learn that the garage opener itself doesn’t lift the door. The torsion spring does the heavy lifting. All the opener does is activate the torsion spring through the motor unit. The torsion spring exhibits a lot of tension, enough to bear the garage door’s weight and lift it off the ground whenever the motor unit activates it. This explains why the garage door won’t open when the motor runs, but the torsion spring is ineffective.
You can raise your garage door’s height in several ways. You can simply adjust travel limit settings, adjust the rails or add new tracks and convert from a standard to a high lift system. The difference lies in the level of complexity and cost-effectiveness of each method.
Your method of choice should depend on how high you want the garage door to go and how you intend to use your garage. Whichever method you choose, we hope that the guidelines in this article enable you to achieve your desired garage door height.