How Close Can Garage Door Track Be To Ceiling?

How Close Can Garage Door Track Be To Ceiling? How Do I Measure My Garage Door Headroom? What Are the Garage Door Track Options?

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The space between your garage door and the ceiling is called the “headroom.” It accommodates the door and its supporting components. The garage door track helps properly open and close your garage door, and the ceiling is called an obstruction.

However, depending on the door type, height and width, and material used, the minimum distance between your garage door track and the ceiling is about 12 or 36 inches. The standard headroom measurement for a garage door depends on the type of door and if the door uses torsion springs or extension springs. Some garage door headroom requires at least 10 inches of ceiling height; others require 12 inches, and some, known as the high lift, require up to 18 inches. The general garage door headroom measurement for a garage door with a torsion spring over the door opening is 9 1/2 inches. If the door uses an extension spring, the measurement is 4 1/2 inches.

This article has exclusive answers on garage door tracks and ceiling, from how to measure to types of garage door tracks and other important information regarding your garage headroom. 

How Do I Measure My Garage Door Headroom?

400;”>Installing a garage door requires accurately measuring the track and the ceiling. The headroom determines the opening and closing dimensions of your garage door. The headroom should also match the size of the door. The procedure for measuring garage door headroom is outlined below.

Step 1: Cleaning and Lubing of Door Parts

Dirt and every other obstacle should be removed and swept out of the garage and door paths. You should also lube several door parts, like the rollers, for a smooth door lift.

Step 2: Measure the Breadth and Width of Your Garage Door

The width measurement is taken from across the widest part of your garage door. A tape measure is required, and the measurement is taken in inches and feet. It is best to repeat the measuring process for an accurate result.

Step 3: Determine the height of your garage door from the ceiling to the floor

The measurement of your garage door ceiling to your garage floor is taken from the space above your garage door opening with an extension to your garage ceiling, the foot of the beams, or the beams at the top (if you have beams).

Step 4: Measure your Current garage Door

This process is important to know the exact space needed, which is determined by the type of garage door. The following are the guides needed to measure your garage door:

  • The Height of the Current Garage Door: The door measurement is from the highest point of the door to the lowest point on the floor (from the floor to the top of the opening).
  • Measure the Depth of the Current Garage Door: Before you decide on the door size, measuring the depth and thickness of your current garage door is best.

However, the following are the minimum required headroom spaces for garage doors:

  • The residential garage door with torsion spring is 12 inches for the manual mode and 15 inches for the automatic openers.
  • The required space for a commercial garage door with torsion springs is at least 15 inches for manual operation and 18 inches for an automatic garage door opener. 
  • If it is an industrial garage door, it requires a space of 24 inches to 36 inches. The space also depends on the diameter of the barrel for steel rolling and the radius of the horizontal door track. 

The standard garage door sizes are 8 to 10 or 12 inches for single doors, 16 to 18 inches wide for double doors, and 7 to 9 feet tall for overhead doors.

An accurate measurement process before framing your garage door opener will save you money and time. It is best to always measure the space between your garage door track and ceiling (or any other obstruction like the beams, piping, lights, storage racks, air conditioners, etc.) before framing, replacing, ordering, and installing your garage door opener.

Step 5: Visit a Garage Door Specialist

After you’ve got an accurate measurement, take the dimensions to a garage door specialist to get the right door with the same measurements.

Tips for Measuring Your Garage Door Headroom

The following are additional things to take note of and include in your measurement:

  • Check for an electrical outlet for the door opener.
  • Check for swing doors that may obstruct the door track when opening into the garage.
  • Take note of any lights or stairs in the path.
  • Ensure the header and other wood jambs are stable and in good condition.
  • Take note of items such as pipes, air ducts, sound systems, and others above the door. These items are likely to hinder the operation of the doors.
  • If your garage has a multiple garage door design, measure each door separately. Also, measure the back room for each as well.

What Are the Garage Door Track Options?

There are five garage door track options – the standard radius, the low headroom, the vertical lift, the Hi-lift, and the roof pitch garage door tracks. The standard radius and low headroom are the most common garage door track options.

1. The Low Headroom Garage Door Track

This door track is also known as “Dual-Track.” This type of garage door requires a space of about 12 inches on a radius track or less. It is installed above the horizontal rail that is joined to the curve from the vertical section of the door track.

It is used only for moving the top section of the door, allowing the lower sections to move smoothly on the lower track. It is best used for tall doors or doors with oversized top sections. 

2. The Standard Radius Garage Door Track

This is a 15-inch-radius door track that can accommodate the curve of the door track and other track components. It is ideal for installing a garage door with a track radius of fewer than 15 inches to use less headroom.

However, using the 12-inch-radius track requires extra work from the motor to move the door sections through the small curve. Other standard radius track options include 20- and 30-inch radii. However, using a larger radius requires more headroom to accommodate the curve.

3. The Hi-Lift Garage Door Track 

This type of garage door is slightly different from the standard radius track. It is considered the conversion of the standard radius. It is mostly used when the garage’s ceiling exceeds the home’s.

It uses a standard radius curve with a large vertical track and a reduced horizontal track for moving the door out of the opening. When the door is opened, more stays in the vertical position, and less rest in the horizontal position.

4. The Roof Pitch Garage Door

This is a structured roof-like track. The roof pitch is a standard radius curve cut such that the angled horizontal track follows the roof structure.

5. The Vertical Lift Garage Door Track

This is a bit different from the Hi-Lift track. It is mostly found in commercial and industrial garages. It requires a vertical track only (no horizontal track), and the door moves up and bumps out of the garage wall only.

It is enough to accommodate the garage door opener and requires extra headroom of the same size as the door. For instance, if the door is 6 feet tall, the vertical size of the headroom required is about 6 inches.

Is it Possible to Adjust My Garage Door Track?

Yes, the garage door track that helps to raise and lower your garage door needs to be adjusted. The adjustment process helps to fix alignment issues. However, before the adjustment process, the following are necessary things to keep in mind:

  • The tracks and door are attached to locked brackets. Before the adjustment process, the brackets must be unscrewed with your hand or a screwdriver.
  • After that, gently tap the track’s location or angle with a rubber mallet to adjust it.
  • Next, screw the brackets tightly back into their positions. 

Guide on Adjusting Vertical Door Tracks

To adjust your vertical door tracks, the following are the procedures:

  • Unscrew the lower track brackets with your screwdriver. Ensure to loosen the track brackets on both sides.
  • Shift the tracks until there is a 1-inch gap between the lower part of the door and the top of the stop molding. If you find it difficult to move the tracks, attach a piece of wood against the track with a mallet or hammer to produce enough force to cause the track to move.
  • Use a vertical level to align your track properly. The tracks need to be at the right level for the proper function of your garage door. Otherwise, your garage door won’t move up or down properly, and there will also be unnecessary gaps, causing the door to bind and the panel to buckle.
  • Tighten the screws and bolts to secure the brackets. You can do that with your hand and use your wrench or screwdriver to add more turns for proper tightening. Afterward, test the door to be sure it can still open and close properly. 

Guide on Adjusting Overhead Door Tracks

To move your garage door overhead tracks, the following are easy and simple methods to use:

  • Unscrew the fasteners holding the tracks with a screwdriver or wrench.
  • Shift the loosened tracks to the desired position and ensure the distance between the door and the tracks is at least 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) to prevent the door from getting stuck in the tracks. Move the tracks to the left or right for alignment until they become perpendicular to the vertical track section. To slow down the opening speed of your garage door, raise the tracks. 
  • Tighten the track nuts or screws with your hand and tighten them with a wrench or screwdriver to add more turns. This helps to prevent the tracks from stripping.
  • Open and close the door a few times to be sure it works properly.

Note: When opening and closing your manual garage door, be careful if something goes wrong while you are adjusting, and if it is an automatic operation door, stand far away.  Do not stand underneath the door. Also, ensure that the horizontal tracks can support the door when it is in the overhead position and the vertical tracks when it is in the vertical position. 


How close your garage door can be to your ceiling depends on the type of door, the type of track, and the type of spring. Generally, the headroom space is a minimum of about 10 inches.

However, Before you decide what your headroom distance is, ensure an accurate measurement of your garage door and the distance of your garage door track to the ceiling. Also, take note of items that might obstruct the movement of your garage door when taking your measurements. Finally, when adjusting your garage door tracks, ensure you stay safe and prevent accidental injuries. 

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Written by Timothy Amin

Timothy is a seasoned expert when it comes to garage doors. With over 15 years of experience in the industry, John has installed, repaired, and maintained countless garage doors of various types and styles.