Guide To Buying Up And Over Garage Doors

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Guide to Buying Up and Over Garage Doors


hormann up and over garage door

The classic single-piece Up and Over garage door has stood the test of time, remaining a preferred choice for new construction projects. It's straight forward installation, versatile design options, and the emergence of new finishes and colors continue to contribute to its widespread popularity, making it the perfect choice not only for new builds but also for replacing existing doors.

The operational concept is simple, with two primary mechanisms: the 'canopy' operation and the 'fully retractable' mechanism. The canopy style is suitable for lighter, less complex door panels and is typically employed for door sizes up to approximately 8 feet (2438mm) in width. This variant earns its name because, when fully open, about one-third of the door panel extends beyond the mounting subframe, resembling a canopy.

In contrast, the retractable mechanism involves pivoting arms on either side of the door panel, accompanied by tension springs for smoother operation. As the door is raised, the panel retracts into the garage along horizontal tracks, facilitated by rollers positioned in the top corners.

Our Up and Over door are available in materials including steel, Aluminium and Timber. Furthermore, utilising the design your own chassis system opens the door to the use of various other materials. The door panel, available as a single piece, can also incorporate window options in diverse designs. The range of choices for colors and designs is virtually boundless, allowing for the integration of unique design elements on the front face of the panel.

For those seeking a personalised touch, an open chassis up and over door system is an option, enabling the creation of a custom panel. This approach ensures the added benefit of a tested, stable, and safe mechanism, springing, and subframe, while affording the creative freedom to craft a distinct garage door panel.

As always, we are here to address any inquiries or assist in finding the perfect garage door solution to suit your needs.

Canopy or Retractable?

Canopy Garage Doors

canopy door inside shot

The canopy type garage door had been the simplest and most popular type of garage door mechanism used for years in the UK, its name coming from the fully opened garage door panel protruding about a third forward of the sub frame to form a canopy. 

It provides maximum drive-through width when fully open and is the easiest door type to install. The door panel itself is balanced and assisted in operation by torsion springs fitted above the door panel on the head of the fixing sub frame.
Note: The canopy door mechanism is only available up to 8 feet (2438mm) wide. It is not the mechanism normally used if the door is to be electrically operated. It is a basic door mechanism for smaller width doors without electric operation.


Retractable Garage Door

retractable garage door inside shot

The retractable garage door has become the more popular type of garage door mechanism in the UK of late, its name derived from the garage door panel retracting fully into the garage when open. It is the door mechanism that will accommodate easily and safely an electric operator system with the least equipment.

The drive-through width on a retractable mechanism is always reduced as the lifting arms at either side sit in between the sub-frame when the door is opened. Be careful when the width of the opening is critical and that you do not restrict access too much and compromise your access with a particular vehicle.

The retractable mechanism can take much heavier loads with the adjustable tension springs at the sides, easily increased in size and strength.

Retractable PLUS

From some manufacturers comes the option of retractable operating gear with the pivot point for the side arms raised to be above the height of a standard wing mirror providing almost the full ordering width. The standard retractable mechanism reduces the width because of the side lifting arms and this can be critical on smaller width garage openings. Always be sure to check the dimensions on any new door to make sure you can utilise the garage to the full.
Note: Retractable operating gear is generally used for garage doors over 8 feet wide and heavier door panels such as hardwood. All double width garage doors have retractable operating gear only. 

What Sizes are Available?

Up and over garage doors are available in sizes up to about 5m wide and a maximum height of about 2.5m. Because of the one piece panel construction the mechanics and physics get too overloaded above these sizes and the safety is compromised.
Most up and over garage doors are sold in standard sizes in the UK, usually around 20 - 30 standard sizes starting at 1981mm (6’6”) wide. 
It is now perfectly possible to get so many different doors designs in purpose made sizes that is is definitely worth asking if your garage opening is not a usual size. Like so many other garage doors the compromises will usually be made in the height with infill sections or fascias used to accommodate a standard height door is an opening higher than required. This is again down to brick courses not working like they do with normal pedestrian type doors leaving an opening too high for the standard door and sub frame. If the drive through width or height is important then make sure you check and discuss this detail before committing to an order.

What Fixings Frames are Required?

Every single up and over garage door requires a fixing sub frame, whether it be a timber or steel box section type. The sub frame fixes to the structural opening and forms the opening for the door panel to operate within and this also provides the ordering sizes.
A steel sub frame is the most commonly used these days and is by far the best in terms of security and stability whilst also being a more economical option than a timber frame.


Safety First

Up and over garage doors of older mechanisms, designs and models are unfortunately inherently dangerous as the door panel is held up when open above your head and in some cases the mechanism and components are somewhat strained. All the modern up and over garage doors sold these days have standard safety features built in to ensure if a component fails there is a failsafe mechanism to kick in and avoid potential injury.
The canopy type garage door has the most potential to fail on older models as the cables are the only thing holding the panel up. Retractable type doors at least sit in a non stressful position when opened with the running wheels situated in steel tracks on ether side and the springs at either side have their tension released once the door is opened.


The up and over is probably the most diverse type of garage door when it comes to design because it is possible to produce your own design using the ‘open for infill’ model. Standard designs in the various materials are already plentiful from various manufacturers but because the up and over is one panel this gives the opportunity to produce almost anything (within weight restrictions).
In steel you have classic Georgian panelled designs and then vertical or horizontal ribbed designs in many different variations. In timber you have all the classic designs including replicas of side hinged doors and many designs with windows included, and then you have more modern designs with the option of modern timber finishes used on more contemporary properties. In GRP there are similar designs to timber doors but without any maintenance.
The 2011 open for infill is a chassis for an up and over door without any infill leaving a blank canvas for infilling in timber or other materials to match or compliment other parts of the property.
With some careful thought it is possible to integrate the door into the facade of the garage or house and make the door almost invisible when closed.

Electric Operation

It is possible to make any modern up and over garage door fully automatic using any number of boom type electric operator systems. The canopy doors are not so easy but certainly possible as long as the door is a modern Garador or Hormann model, many others simply wont be possible due to their geometry or panel strength.
The retractable mechanism is the perfect type for making automatic as it required the least equipment and is a simple pull and push principle with the boom and trolley of the electric operator.
With a retractable door you can include mechanisms to operate the manual locking of the door to provide a very effective 3 point locking system when closed, all mechanically operated once the operator is activated.

remote control open garage door

With Hormann doors you can use a Bi Secur app and control your garage door or gate operator using your smartphone as well as see details on your Hormann entrance door if also incorporated.
The amount of access controls for the electric operators is enormous including many different shapes and sizes of hand transmitter, external digital keypads, key switches, proximity card readers, finger readers and simple push buttons. For commercial applications we also offer a range of steel up and over doors for high usage such as underground car parks. The ET500.


Hormann - Steel, timber and GRP doors as well as specialist ‘open for infill’ doors and the ET500 commercial system also ideal for very large openings.

Garador - Steel, timber and GRP doors with purpose made sizes on almost every design available.

Garador - Steel, timber and GRP doors with purpose made sizes on almost every design available.

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