What is a High-Lift Garage Door?

Standard garage doors typically arch open into the garage space about 7 to 8 feet from the ground. This can leave a significant amount of unutilized ceiling space since many garages have high ceilings up to 15 feet from the garage floor. 

If you have such a standard garage door with approximately 12 to 15 feet of ceiling height, a high lift garage door conversion can help you utilize the ceiling space better.

But what is a high-lift garage door? Read along to learn about a high-lift garage door, its conversion, the hardware involved, and the situations that may necessitate one. 

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What is a high-lift garage door? 

As the name suggests, a high lift garage door is one that extends the tracks so that it hugs the garage wall over a greater height before bending at the horizontal curve that each garage door has. 

This design pushes the tracks and the garage door much higher up the ceiling, creating enough clearance for various uses. For instance, this clearance can be invaluable if you want to install a car lift in your garage.

The better use of your garage’s vertical space allows more room to accommodate additional overhead storage and elaborate installations such as a car lift.

What is a high lift garage door conversion?

A high lift garage door conversion refers to a set of modifications made to the operating components of a standard garage door to it a high lift version. 

The conversion involved adjusting the existing garage door components and installing additional pieces required to open the garage door at a higher level nearer to the ceiling space. 

A high-lift garage conversion helps increase the space inside a garage by pushing various overhead installations farther from the ground. 

Specifically, the conversion involves adding new garage door springs, tracks, drums, and additional cables—within the same existing garage space.

Notice that garage door conversion does not alter the door itself. Instead, it utilizes the same garage door you have on a standard system. It modifies the garage door system without changing the door itself.

What does a high-lift conversion include?

Converting a standard garage door into a high-lift door involves replacing some of the existing garage door components and modifying others to accommodate the change. 

The affected components include the springs, tracks, cables, and drums. Specifically, your new garage door setup will require heavier-duty torsion springs, so you must replace the original ones.

You will also have to extend the tracks to reach the new height. The setup will also require additional cable modifications to loop differently around the garage door drums to maintain the required tension.

Ultimately, you may reorganize the garage door opener or install a new one altogether to work with the new setup. 

In most cases, you will find that your overhead garage door opener does not fit the new system. Instead, high-lift garage doors work better with jackshaft openers mounted on the wall beside the garage door rather than the ceiling.

The jackshaft opener eliminates the need for an overhead rail and motor unit, freeing up that additional headroom for other uses.

High-lift garage door hardware modifications  

This section provides a detailed breakdown of the modifications to the hardware during a high-lift garage door conversion. 

  • The torsion spring

The tension spring stores the mechanical energy responsible for the heavy lifting. It is what carried the weight of the garage door, with the garage door opener only moving the door up and down without dealing with the weight.

With a high lift garage door modification, the torsion springs have more work, lifting the weight of the garage door and additional components over a longer distance. 

The high lift door travels vertically above the opener as high as possible, giving the torsion springs additional lifting work. This is unlike standard-lift doors, where the tracks transition from vertical to horizontal soon after clearing the garage door opening. 

This added strain requires a sturdier set of torsion springs. So you may have to replace the current springs with heavier-duty ones during the high-lift conversion.   

  • The garage door tracks

Tracks are the path along which the garage door travels up and down. The garage design and the door installation directly determine the characteristics of the tracks used.

You push the tracks further up the ceiling space when converting the door to a high-lift option. You must install longer tracks for this to happen because the garage door will travel longer distances.

This distance is covered in the garage door tracks. Ideally, the vertical tracks extend further up, keeping the door vertical long after clearing the opening. This way, the horizontal tracks run tight to the ceiling. 

  • Garage door opener

Most residential garages have an overhead opener. These openers have a motor unit with a rail attaching them to the top of the garage door opening.

Naturally, this installation takes up a significant amount of the ceiling space in your garage. 

When you convert a standard garage door into a high-lift type, the garage door arch opens into the garage space at a higher level near the ceiling. This leaves little space for the motor unit of an overhead garage door opener as the garage door tracks run tight to the ceiling. 

Therefore, a wall-mounted opener is typically the ideal option for a high-lift garage door. The mechanism transfers the motor unit from the ceiling to the wall next to the garage door. 

It is a space-saving way to operate the garage door and offers a ton of other benefits too.

For instance, most garage door professionals recommend the powerful LiftMaster 8500W for high-lift garage doors. 

The unit runs more quietly than most belt-drive or chain-drive openers and boasts numerous handy features. 

One standout feature is the automatic locking mechanism that makes this unit more secure. Its smartphone compatibility and the MyQ app allow you to operate it from anywhere with internet connectivity. 

These features are available in a compact design that frees up the ceiling space for other uses. 

When should you consider a high lift garage door? 

Much as a high lift garage door design may be appealing, it may only suit some situations. So, if you find the design appealing, ensure you have needs that make more space use, and your garage satisfies the basic requirements for a high-lift conversion.

Here is a detailed breakdown of the scenarios that will justify a high-lift garage door conversion.  

  • Your garage has a high ceiling

Most garages have a 10-foot ceiling, which is enough space for two small cars stacked vertically. However, this space can be as high as 12 to 15 feet. Homeowners with that extra space often find themselves with lots of unused ceiling space above their heads.

Some also include windows above the garage door opening to bring in more light. In most cases, these homeowners often have to install long extensions for mounting an overhead belt-drive or chain-drive opener, leaving a lot of ceiling space unutilized. 

A high-lift garage door conversion can transform that space, removing the opener assembly from the ceiling and allowing you to put that overhead space to better use.

  • You have tall built-in cabinets or other obstacles in the garage 

If you have tall built-in cabinets or other obstacles that you wish to retain in the garage as they are, installing standard garage door tracks and an overhead opener may be challenging.

In such a case, a high lift door system can effectively avoid obstacles as the high horizontal tracks get the garage door over the obstacles.

  • You want to store more cars in the garage  

A typical 10-foot garage can accommodate two small cars vertically, one on top of the other. However, this storage system requires a car lift. 

Installing a car lift system requires as much clearance as possible. And with a garage space 10 to 15 feet tall, you can install your car lift and use the space more effectively. However, this will require no obstacles on the ceiling space. 

This is where a high-lift design comes in. It gets the overhead garage door and tracks out of the way to create room for a car lift installation and better use of the garage space.  

  • You want to use the garage space as a workshop

If you plan to make the garage your workshop, you will need as much headroom as possible. The additional headroom you get from a high-lift conversion will go a long way in keeping you from hitting objects above your head or preventing accidents.

The more space you have in the workshop, the greater the range of things you can work on. 

  • You want the garage for entertainment

Whether you carry out physical workouts or musical entertainment in the garage, more space can be helpful. And a high-lift garage door design can help you get that much space. 

If your entertainment involves a lot of physical movement, the conversion will open up the overhead space to allow you to move or jump as high as you want without the risk of knocking your head on something.

The more space you have for entertainment, the fewer the chances of accidents you face. 

The video below shows how to install a high lift garage door


A high lift garage door can be an excellent way to de-clutter your garage and create more room for storage, entertainment, or car-lift installation. 

However, be sure to consider how tall your garage is before deciding on a high-lift garage door conversion.

We hope this article was informational. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.