You might already have a garage door and are simply looking to replace the one you currently have. Then again, even if you don’t have one and are just considering a new installation, there are several good reasons to install a garage door. These include added security for your garage and home. If you’re worried, though, about the cost of a new garage door, you’ll likely be able to make it up through better energy efficiency. Measuring for a garage door is slightly more difficult than measuring for other doors in your home, but it’s still not insurmountable. You don’t need obscure tools or an expert grasp of construction. Rather, all you need is a tape measure and an ability to use it.
If you’re ready to get started on finding a garage door, whether you’re replacing an old one or installing one for the first time, here is where you start. These instructions will apply whether you’re looking to install a manual garage door or one that opens and closes automatically.
Measure The Width
You’ll start measuring for your new garage door by taking the most basic measurements, the width and height. Of course, you can take these measurements in any order you prefer, but for this example, let’s start with width. Measure the door opening at the widest point. Again, you’re measuring the door opening, not the frame if it exists. While you’re there, make sure that the inside of the door opening is framed with 2” by 6” wood jambs. Check the jambs to make sure they’re square and there is nothing out of the ordinary there, like jambs that are not square or anything else that’s going to prevent a good fit.
Measure The Height
As with the width, where you were measuring at the widest point, when you measure the height, you will want to measure at the highest point of the whole opening. This is going to be between the floor and the top of the door opening, not the frame. This is where a ladder and a helper can come in handy, because if you try to measure the top from a lower angle somewhere below, you’re likely not going to get the most accurate measurement. Make sure you and the top see eye to eye. Check here as well for anything out of the ordinary, making sure, for example, that the floor is level.
Measure The Sides, Also Known As The Sideroom
The sideroom is the space on either side of the door opening. This is where the vertical tracks for your garage door will fit. The exact space needed can vary by garage door manufacturer, but in general, you will need at least 3-3/4” on each side.
Measure The Headroom
Now you’ll measure what’s known as the headroom, or the area from the top of the door opening to the ceiling. Again, what you’ll need here will vary by who is supplying your garage door, but there should be at least 10” of space for the garage door itself and additional space for an automatic opener. If you don’t have enough space here for the garage door and/or an automatic garage door opener, you don’t have to give up there. You will need special hardware, which should be widely available, no matter whom your manufacturer is.
While you’re measuring the headroom, though, make sure there are no obstructions that will get in the way of your installation. Common obstructions that you might expect to find include, for example, ductwork, light fixtures, and pipes.
Measure The Backroom
You won’t only need enough room for your new garage door to sit in the frame. If you want to open it and you surely will, you’ll need space in the backroom for it to fit. The backroom is simply the area between the opening and the back of the garage or the nearest rear obstruction, like a light fixture. As a good rule of thumb, you’re going to need enough space here for the height of the garage door plus 18” and then additional space beyond that to fit an automatic garage door opener.
Now you’re ready to choose your garage door! You might have thought that this would be the easy part of your garage door installation, but once you get a look at the many choices you have, you might miss the simple days where you were just writing down measurements. Whatever choice you make, which will be dictated by your personal taste and by what your house looks like, you’ll be better equipped with the proper measurements.