Building and Specifying a Garage

Factors Architects and Developers should consider when specifying garage doors

Most garage door manufacturers have a large range of garage door systems, each of which have very different structural opening requirements. So often the garage door is overlooked at the early stages of a building project which then can result in serious design and size compromises later in the project. Considering how large a garage door is in relation to the overall elevation of a building it pays to consider the design of a garage door from the very early stages of design. We far too often have to produce and supply a garage door undersized for a project that did not have proper consideration to the useage and size of the vehicle using the garage.

The Size of the Garage Door

This can is often a serious conflict between the architect and client and is really the first thing that should be decided before most other factors of door choice. Somebody should always check what kind of vehicle is generally driven or preferred by the client and that there is enough drive through width height and depth allowed for that type or manufacturer of car. We have found that not only are the obvious manufacturers like Bentley, Lamborghini or Ferrari wider than average but so are many hatchbacks by Renault or Ford and obviously a lot of 4 x 4 vehicles have large dimensions in width and height. Many times have we been asked to survey a garage for installing doors to then have to give the very bad news that although we can provide a garage door in the style and material requested but the car will not get in or out!

Use of the Garage

Something that might seem fairly irrelevant but many people have no intention of using their garage for a vehicle in which case many factors can come into play such as regular pedestrian access as the garage is used for storage or some other use requiring daily access on foot. With this in mind there are many garage doors offering built in pedestrian access doors to avoid having to open the whole door each time you enter or leave the garage. Another very popular requirement we find is for a highly insulated garage door to maintain a constant temperature inside the garage and this can be achieved using either an insulated sectional or roller shutter door.

Remote Control Electric Operation

Very popular nowadays especially on larger garage doors electric operation can require tracking systems that need extra space inside the garage sometimes not considered so be sure to think carefully about where the tracking, power supply and controls will be situated for the garage door. Many methods of control are now available much more practical than just a hand held radio transmitter, items such as key switches, digital keypads, mini card readers and even fingerprint scanners. Allthese can offer very practical solutions to access control dependant again on the use of the garage.

Local Planning Restrictions

Many local planning restrictions, Conservation area restrictions and listed building status regulations can affect the design, colour and material of the garage door. We have had over 23 years of experience with these types of challenges and many manufacturers offer garage doors that cater for the requirements and quite often can give a satisfactory result that was never even considered in the early stages and is perfectly acceptable by all parties involved. Timber garage doors are mostly specified in conservation areas or any period type project and timber is very versatile as a material in terms of design and colour finishes.

Is the Floor Level Finished?

Ordering a garage door too early can cause problems unless you are sure the garage door opening will be constructed to the agreed drawing sizes. Round the corner garage doors in particular need to have a decision made early on whether a u channel or surface mounted inverted T bar is more desirable. U channels are more involved, and usually require two stages for installation and concreting. Also, consider whether the u channel has a drainage facility incorporated into it.

Garage Floor Levels

Depending on how uneven a floor is across an opening the garage door may not be able to seal the gap between the floors and door properly. A level floor with a tolerance of 2 to 3 mm is really ideal, particularly where side sliding doors are specified. Also consider whether an additional finish is going onto the floor. Tiling a garage floor after a door has been installed can be problematic as the geometry of the door may be affected and not close properly anymore. For sectional garage doors and roller garage doors the floor being level is very important to get the best performance from the bottom weather seal. Sectional and roller garage doors have a very effective rubber weather seal built into the bottom section but this seal will only work effectively if the floor is level. They will very rarely make up for unlevel floors as compression of the door panels causes problems with the safety features when the door is electrically operated.

Structural Roof Beams and Services

Will there be any beams or other services inside the garage that can be in the way of the garage door mechanism or electric automation? All too often service pipes, cable trays, electric and gas meters foul the operation of garage doors resulting in additional costs for the client. Garage doors often have to meet specific design requirements that come about as a result of the location or period of an existing building. Usually conservation areas or listed properties demand particular garage door designs restricting the type of door that can be used. Some modern garage doors have been designed to remain true to a building such as a coach house or a mews property. Some schemes express the desire to reconcile old with new, such as mews houses that are contemporary in their conception and treatment, while recreating original mews planning where vertical timber sliding or side hinged garage doors are required and preferred by local planners.

The Garage Door Centre has dealt with virtually every type of property since 1986 where requirements for sympathetic designs and operation have been required as well as advising on the best sizing and mechanisms to achieve effective solutions to operational requirements for clients with every kind of individual challenges.

Call us for advice now on (0800) 525442 or email us directly

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