Garage Door Mechanisms

Garage Door Operating Mechanisms Explained


1. One Piece Up and Over - Canopy Mechanism

This is still 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 used above the 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 usually too heavy for the canopy mechanism to safely be used and are operated using the 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 garage door type can be made remote control but requires extra equipment (i.e. canopy bow arm converter or Autoglide for Cardale Doors) and is therefore more expensive to convert.

2. One Piece Up and Over - Fully Retractable Mechanism

An increasingly popular garage door type now because they can be easily made remote control and are very reliable too. No cables are used in the 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 side lifting arms and springs can cope with heavy door panels unlike the canopy gear mechanism. Be aware the drive through width is reduced when the retractable door is open as the lifting arms are positioned inside the sub frame. If width is limited beware of this reduction in calculations, especially on 7 feet (2134mm) wide doors.

Retractable PLUS Option/Upgrade

This is the same as the retractable operating gear except the side lifting arms are positioned higher on the garage door panel and frame to give a full drive through width at wing mirror height on the majority of normal cars. This gear does not help if you have a 4 x 4 or MPV as the wing mirrors are usually higher than a normal car. It is only available on a few of the standard garage door sizes available and very useful for the smaller doors 7 feet (2134mm) and under. Worth noting this gear is standard on the Novoferm range of up and over garage doors

3. Sectional Garage Doors

Possibly the fastest growing garage door type in the U.K. now and about 80% of the U.S. and European market. It offers great security, insulated and sealed options, no swing out during operation, 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 sectional 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 sectional door 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 mechanism can also go higher than most other door types and is easily automated. A massive range of colours, window options and wood grain finishes are available and all the sectional doors can be manual or remote control electric operated with a wide variety of access controls

4. Roller Shutter Doors

A classic and easy to comprehend mechanism whereby individual horizontal slats constructed from either steel or aluminium roll up and down on a spring assisted barrel. The roller door 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, and there are lots of them, are in the construction of the individual slats used in the 'curtain'. Many different slats are produced although the main slat for use in garage doors is a double skinned aluminium, foam filled, insulated slat. This slat is versatile, strong and attractive in its finish making an ideal roller shutter for domestic use. The thickness and the depth of the slat will determine the overall size of the curtain roll when the door is open to give you the amount of headroom required in your garage (standard door usually about 300mm). Most roller doors are motorised due to the expense now of producing a safe, easy to use, CE compliant door in a manual version with locking. The price difference is usually negligible after all the safety elements are included. Many coloured finishes are available from a standard range as well a laminated foil overlays in wood grain effect finishes. It is the most compact of solution for garage doors generally and favoured for the simple fact there are no tracks coming into the garage space internally.

5. Round The Corner Sliding Doors

A true classic as this was one of the earliest methods of operating a garage door and usually they are constructed from timber sections or panels. The door slides horizontally one way then curves round to follow the internal wall back into the garage. Bi-parting, where 2 separate doors slide in opposite directions, is a method usually used on larger width door sizes. The modern round the corner systems now are available in all types of timber, aluminium and steel slats and can be manual or remote control at almost any size. Again they are a great solution where door panels swinging out are a problem or limited headroom applications. They also offer the partial opening for pedestrian access as a standard feature by design allowing easy access without opening the door fully.

6. Side Hinged

Again another original type garage door system used over many years and manufactured nowadays in timber, steel, Upvc and GRP (glass reinforced polyester). Simple and effective on all garage openings up to about 9 feet (2743mm) wide. The doors hinge outwards (or inwards) on a steel or timber sub frame with no part ever going into the garage, apart from some door stay mechanism types usually fitted to the top of the panels only. Ideal for garages used for anything except the car as pedestrian access to toys, freezers, tumble driers, etc. is made very easy by opening only one leaf of the pair. We can offer a 1/3rd and 2/3rd option on some designs to further enhance the pedestrian access element.

7. Silvelox

A totally 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 lifting the one piece 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 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. This door is particularly desirable where security is required at a high level.

The Garage Door Centre and Samson Industrial Doors also offer one piece sliding and various side folding doors types both of which are normally bespoke and use a combination of commercial parts and domestic type panels. It is not uncommon we find ourselves installing commercial type doors on domestic garages when the size of the garage has exceeded the maximum dimensions of available garage doors. New types of finishes and a wide variety of colours mean that a suitable solution that is in keeping with the property can normally be specified. These are quoted on individual requirements from our special projects division.

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