In the 70s and 80s, standard size up & over garage doors were the norm here in the UK; most doors were 7 feet wide for a single door and 14 feet wide for a double door, with heights of only 6'6 and 7'10". This meant there was a limited choice of size and design, along with the inconvenience of drive-through height, and the door panel hanging into the opening.
Plus, cars of decades past were much smaller than those we drive today. The width when you measure a modern-day car across the wing mirrors proves to be significantly different to older vehicles. With the ownership of 4x4s and SUVs also increasing, the height and width become issues for standard garage doors.
So, during the 1990s, roller and sectional garage doors began to appear in small numbers among houses in the UK. Both of which maximise the garage door opening, and offer convenient vertical operation so cars can be parked on either side of the door. They were also able to offer insulation options, unlike up & over doors.
But, habits are hard to change and architects were not always understanding the issues in core garage design. Many new homes were being built where the garages were only measuring at 7 feet and 7'6" wide. This often left homeowners struggling to drive their cars into their own garage, an issue we would often hear during customer calls.
The Garage Door Centre took a proactive approach during this time, driving the message home that your car width must be checked before deciding on your garage design and door choice.
We estimate that the minimum single width garage opening needs to be around 8 feet (2438mm) wide. Ideally, you also need to have a door of at least 7 foot high to enable most 4x4 vehicles to enter the garage. However, the real focus has to be on the final drive through sizes (daylight opening), and not just the ordering sizes for the door.
Today, many homeowners don't use their garage for car storage at all, and they are often transformed into the likes of a gym, workshop or playroom. Some are even specifying garages at 4-5 metres width allocated to each car internally, simply to avoid doors banging on the wall or adjacent cars.
Cars with longer and wider builds such as Bentleys, Rolls Royce's and Lamborghinis are obviously going to require a larger space, however even standard cars of the modern day can struggle with the use of a 7 foot wide up and over door.
However, there is now a vast array of options in terms of the different mechanisms, various panel arrangements and new fixing frame methods, all actively solving previous issues to make the garage useable.
If you have an existing garage that you find challenging, the old school solution is to switch out your old door with one that is fitted behind the brickwork opening, rather than between (there must be space to do this).
A pretty standard single garage opening in the UK is around 2290mm wide (7 6 roughly), and if your current up and over door is fitted between the opening then it will have a steel or timber sub frame around the door, and you will most likely have a 7 foot wide door. Replace this door and frame with a new door to the inside face of this opening, and you can easily fit a 7 5 or 7 6 wide up and over door and gain extra crucial inches: in many cases, this can be the difference in being able to use the garage or not!
Alternatively, good quality roller and sectional garage doors are constructed made to measure, allowing you to order the door as the brickwork opening to allow full maximisation of the aperture. Whilst there can be a minor charge for sectionals of a non-standard size, the benefits and are huge.
Whilst both roller and sectional doors offer the same convenient vertical opening, be sure to research their significant differences. For example, the insulation and security of a sectional far outweighs that of a roller door.
There has been a recent resurgence of side hinged door types in the UK due to their convenience in converted garages, largely because of their convenience of entering as a pedestrian. The extensive range available offers effective insulation options, high-spec doors and made to measure services, perfect for a garage office or gym.
Manufacturers such as Carteck, Teckentrup and Ryterna offer excellent side hinged door designs, with various bespoke aesthetics available too.
In the UK there are now endless options that will allow you to find an ideal garage door in terms of sizing and performance. The manufacturing, construction, and modern technology that is available makes for the availability of hugely advanced doors and solutions.
We would advise to always check the size of the garage before buying your home. If the brickwork opening is not wide or high enough in the first place, there is no magic garage door to solve this.Go Back