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Feature Details
Garage Door Types Explained

Garage Door Operating Mechanisms Explained

Canopy garage  door

Canopy Up and Over

The most popular type of up and over garage door gear for doors up to 8 feet (2438mm) wide, called canopy as about a third of the door (panel height) protrudes out from the framework when open forming a ‘canopy’. A torsion spring is situated above the garage door panel to lift the door via steel cables and conical drums attached to each end of the spring. Doors over 8 feet (2438mm) wide are too heavy for the canopy mechanism to safely be used and the wider, heavier garage doors are operated using retractable gear.

Canopy doors are quick and easy to install and also provide the full drive through width when open unlike the retractable mechanism. This door type can be made remote control but requires additional equipment as well as the motor itself (i.e. canopy bow arm converter) and is therefore more expensive to convert.

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retractable garage door

Retractable Up and Over

An increasingly popular garage door type nowadays because they can be easily  converted to remote control and are very reliable too. No cables are used in the door panel lifting operation, instead side mounted lifting arms with tension springs attached open the 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 standard as larger arms and springs can cope with very heavy door panels unlike the canopy gear. Smaller width doors can have retractable gear too.

A point to note is that the drive through width is reduced when the door is open as the lifting arms are positioned inside the sub frame. If width is limited beware of this reduction in calculations. Most manufacturers now offer retractable lifting gear with raised pivot points as an option to allow maximum drive through width on smaller width doors.

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retractable            plus garage door icon

Retractable PLUS Up and Over

This is the same as the retractable gear except the lifting arms are positioned higher on the door panel and frame to give full drive through width for wing mirrors on the majority of cars. This gear does not help if you have a 4 x 4 or van as the wing mirrors are usually positioned higher than a car.

It is only available on a few of the standard door sizes available and very useful for the smaller doors 7 feet (2134mm) and under.

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sectional garage door

Sectional Garage Door

One of the fastest growing door types in the U.K. now and about 80% of the U.S. market. It offers greater security, 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, usually in 20 or 42 or 45mm thick options. This type of garage door mechanism can also go higher than most other door types and is easily converted to remote control operation.

Inside View

Door Closing

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roller shutter garage door

Roller Shutter Door

A classic and easy to accomodate 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).

Some manufacturers produce a roller shutter constructed from a continuous galvanised steel 'curtain', this type of door is good value for money although has a slightly larger roll to accomodate. These types of doors can be manual or remote control operation.

Most roller doors are motorised due to the relative price of the 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.

Many coloured finished are available as well as laminated foil overlays in woodgrain colours. It is the most compact of solution for garage doors generally.

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round the corner garage door

Round The Corner

A true classic as this was one of the earliest methods of operating a garage door and usually constructed from timber panels. The door slides all one way then curves round to follow the wall back into the garage. Bi-parting, where 2 separate doors slide in opposite directions, is a method usually used on larger door sizes.

Modern systems now are available in all types of timber, aluminium and steel slats and can be manual or remote control operated at almost any size.

They are a great solution where garage door panels swinging out from the opening are a problem or in limited headroom applications.

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side hinged garage doors

Side Hinged 

Another original door system used over many years, recently revived due to popular demand and now manufactured in timber, steel, Upvc and GRP (glass reinforced polyester) and a new range of double skinned fully insulated steel panels for excellent security and insulation in one.

Simple and practical on all openings up to about 10 feet (2743mm) wide and 8 feet(2438mm) high.

The doors hinge outwards on a steel or timber sub frame with no part ever going into the garage. Options are available for inward opening with some manufacturers.

Ideal for garages used for anything except the car as pedestrian access to bikes, freezers, tumble driers, etc. is made very easy by opening only one leaf of the pair. This is further enhanced as some manufacturers produce door sets with a one third, two third arrangement specifically to give a pedestrian sized access door.

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retractable garage door


A unique garage door system based on an old tried and tested method of counterbalancing the weight of the door panel with weights situated either side of the door lifting the panel via rollers and steel cables. The door panels manufactured by Silvelox are particularly heavy as the main door ranges are produced in various hardwoods with an 80mm thick door leaf. The weight is totally balanced and when the door panel rises only a small part of the door protrudes from the front with the rest of the door suspended inside the garage without the need for tracks. (A non protruding system is optional for doors fitting behind archways, etc).

The clever engineering part of a Silvelox garage door is the optional built in pedestrian door designed into the main garage door panel.

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bi fold doors  folding doors


Options for special types of doors include folding, sliding and hinged mechanisms using steel or timber panels designed as required. These types of doors can very often give excellent solutions to your garage design in ways you had not thought of before.

For full details on any of the garage door gear types above please call free on (0800) 525442 or email:

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