When considering buying a new garage door you need to ask yourself, Who you are actually buying from?
Firstly, beware of websites that do not have any details shown or have a private house address and are simply attempting to sell garage doors on the price alone with little or no experience, or customer service if there is a problem. Make sure you have the full details of what you require and that the garage door you are quoted for is the one you actually need and get!
As most Garage Doors are now available made to order as a matter of course with so many options, some necessary, some not, the real issue for you, the consumer, is to ensure you know exactly what you are ordering and paying for. When ordering online the onus is on you to have the right level of experience and knowledge to order the door which will not only fit the opening that you have had to measure but is also suitable for your needs. Most consumers will not have this experience and knowledge and will face great difficulty when trying to order a garage door online. There are many low-cost garage doors available online to order but it can be a minefield and a very costly mistake. By all means, use the internet to carry out your research prior to contacting a reputable and experienced garage door installation company who will be able to turn your research into reality.
As every manufacturer has a slightly different overall door panel and frame size for their particular garage door you can easily order a heavily discounted stock sized garage door only to find the overall dimensions with the fixing frame included will not fit your existing garage opening. This applies to guide sizes and headroom requirements on different Roller Garage Doors and sectional doors, hinge sizes on side hinged garage doors and reveal sizes on round the corner doors – they are all different from each manufacturer!
Garage Door Operating Mechanisms Explained
Canopy Up and Over
Traditionally the most popular type of standard Up & Over Garage Door – called canopy as approximately a third of the door protrudes out from the framework when open forming a ‘canopy’. A torsion spring is used above the garage door panel to lift the door via steel cables at the sides and conical drums attached to each end of the spring. Doors over 8 feet (2438mm) wide are usually too heavy for this mechanism to safely be used and are operated using the retractable gear.
They are quick and easy to install and also provide the full drive through width when open, unlike the retractable mechanism. This garage door type can be made remote control but requires extra equipment (i.e. canopy bow arm converter) and is, therefore, more expensive to convert to a remote control door.
Retractable Up and Over
This is a far more popular garage door type in the UK because they can be easily converted to a remote control electric operation and are very reliable too. No cables are used in the lifting operation, instead, side mounted lifting arms with tension springs attached lower down assist the opening of the garage door panel whilst the door panel opens into the garage on horizontal steel runners using rollers at each corner of the door panel to support it.
All one piece garage doors over 8 feet wide (2438mm) use retractable gear as larger arms and springs can cope with very heavy door panels, unlike the canopy gear.
The drive through width using this mechanism is reduced slightly when the door is open as the lifting arms are positioned inside the sub frame. If the width is a concern for you beware of this reduction in any calculations.
One of the fastest growing garage door types used in the U.K. now and about 70 – 80% of the U.S. and European market. It offers greater security, fantastic sealing, Insulated Options, no swing out, very large size ranges and excellent smooth opening properties.
The basic advantage it has over any up and over is that it does not swing out when opening or closing as the whole door is split horizontally into 4 or more panels which operate in vertical tracks that curve at the top into horizontal tracks to follow the garage roofline. The individual panels have two rollers per panel giving a very rigid and positive movement and enabling large widths to be used when the door panels are double skinned (up to 8000mm wide!), usually in 20 or 42 or 45mm thick options. This type of mechanism can also go far higher than most other door types and is easily Automated.
Sectional Garage Doors are rapidly growing as one of the most popular choices of garage door in the UK. Their strength, safety and security are just some of the many benefits that justify this popularity. They are known as ‘Sectional’ doors due to their construction, being made of separate sections which open vertically. This means that Sectional doors can be installed on almost every door shape (rounded, arched etc.).
Sectional garage doors open and close vertically, meaning space around the opening can be utilised. This is perfect for shorter garages or driveways, allowing vehicles to be parked up against the door without needing space to ‘swing out’ when opening the door. The door panels curve upwards over the opening and then back into the headroom of the garage. When fitted and specified accurately, a Sectional door can offer full drive-through height and width, which is unlike most other garage door types. This is a great solution for garages that require large vehicle access or have limited access dimensions.
A classic and easy to understand door mechanism whereby individual horizontal slats constructed from either steel or aluminium roll up and down on a barrel. The mechanism does not swing out during operation and is usually positioned behind the structural opening to maximise width and height when open. The main variations occur in the construction of the slats used in the door ‘curtain’. Many different slats are produced although the main slat type used for garage doors is a double skinned aluminium, foam filled, insulated slat. The thickness and the depth of the slat will determine the overall size of the roll when the door is open to give you the amount of headroom required in your garage (standard door usually about 300mm).
Mostt roller garage doors are motorised due to the relative price of the electric motor compared to springing, locking and other elements required in a manual door.
The price difference is usually negligible after all the safety elements are included.
You can get almost any colour finish now for the curtain and a massive range of foil laminate woodgrain effect finishes. It is the most compact of solutions for garage doors generally.
What is a Roller Shutter?
A Roller Shutter garage door is one the most practical garage door options available, with smooth vertical opening and no internal tracks.
What makes a Roller Shutter stand out as a garage door type is the minimal space requirements it demands. The vertical opening means owners can maximise their driveway and garage length, storing or parking right up to the door with no obstruction to operation. The opening mechanism also means you can safely park tall vehicles like 4×4’s close to the door without obstructing the opening and closing of the door.
The small curtain roll means a Roller Shutter can be installed even in locations with limited or obstructed headroom, a solution that other door types cannot offer. If you have an awkwardly placed meter, fuse box or internal door that may block other garage door mechanisms then a Roller Shutter may be the answer.
The average curtain roll size is around 300mm-350mm in diameter, although this may be larger depending on the installation position and the material chosen for the curtain.
Another benefit that the Roller Shutter offers is the ability to be fitted behind, in between or in front of the opening, which many garage doors cannot.
Most Roller Shutter doors are made to order and can, therefore, be ordered to your exact specifications, whatever the size. There is also a wide choice of pre-finished colours and woodgrain effects, meaning you really can get the perfect Roller Shutter door for your needs.