garage door headroom

How Much Headroom Is Required For Residential Garage Doors?

When choosing garage doors, it is easy to get caught up in the styles and models and forget that considering the headroom is important. Before installing your garage door, it is necessary to measure the space between the top of the door frame and the ceiling. Getting the headroom right will allow your garage door to move around the radius of the track without hitting the ceiling. There are some recommended minimum headroom requirements for overhead garage doors. Whatever you do, do not go below this as you will have a problem.

Residential overhead doors (21 inch sections, 12 inch radius track)

  • Standard track manual operation-12 inches headroom
  • Standard track with garage door-15 inches headroom
  • Low headroom track manual operation-9 inches headroom
  • Low headroom track using garage door opener-12 inches headroom

It is safe to say that for most residential garages, the headroom should range from 9 to 15 inches as a minimum, depending on the type of garage door you choose.

For commercial garage doors, the radius track tends to be larger than that of residential doors. As such, the headroom minimum requirements are also higher when compared to the residential ones.

Commercial overhead doors (21 inch panels, 15 inch radius)

  • Standard track manual operation-15 inches headroom
  • Standard track with garage door-18 inches headroom
  • Low headroom track manual operation-12 inches headroom
  • Low headroom track using garage door opener-15 inches headroom

As such, for commercial garage doors, the headroom minimum requirement ranges from 12 to 18 inches.


When measuring headroom, it is important to be aware of obstructions that may come into play. Common obstructions include pipes, ventilating ducts, support beams and even lighting fixtures. If you cannot move these obstructions, be sure to cater for them when measuring the headroom. Failure to do this will mean that your garage door’s operations will be interfered with.

Let’s say you have an existing garage door and wish to replace this with another model. The easiest way to determine headroom would be to take the existing headroom measurements, right? Well, that’s almost true. Unfortunately, a new door may not fit exactly as your current door does. As such, the best way to go about it is to measure the opening of the existing frame.


Besides getting the headroom right, there are a couple of things that you should keep in mind. One, it is a good idea to opt for torsion springs for your garage door. These will improve your door’s operations and increase safety. Two, the use of safety cables enhances the security of your garage door, and ultimately, the security of your house.

Your garage is a critical area of your home, and careful considerations should be taken when making certain decisions regarding this space. You want a garage that is practical, functional and endures for a long time to come. You want a space that can accommodate different types of vehicles, years down the line. It is therefore necessary to ensure some decisions such as how much headroom is required are made with all necessary measurements in place.

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