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How to automate existing garage doors

Automated garage doors are very common on the continent and in the US, but in the UK they’ve taken longer to come into the mainstream. Now, however, with better technology and availability, it’s become very easy to convert your garage door to electronic opening for a reasonable cost. Even when buying a new garage door entirely, the addition of a motor does not add a huge amount to the full cost of the door, with some types coming with automatic opening as standard.

Why Choose An Automated Garage Door?

There are many reasons why homeowners opt for an electric motor for their garage door – it’s not just to do with modern convenience:

  • It’s easier for older or weaker users – Garage doors are designed to be easy to use, but for some they can be heavy and cumbersome; particularly when it comes to older doors. For children, those who are two short to reach the garage when it’s open and for the disabled or elderly, opening a garage door can represent a significant challenge. An automated garage door can be opened with the touch of a button, leaving the user to simply wait while it raises the door panel.

  • It means avoiding the unpredictable UK weather – Rather than having to get out of your car in the pouring rain, biting cold and driving wind (and that’s just the British summer!), an automatic door can be opened from the comfort of your car. Once it’s fully open, you simply drive in and press the button again to close it – what could be easier?

  • It opens the garage door correctly every time – Garage doors can suffer if they’re not used properly. Pulling a door open from anywhere but the very centre (where the handle is located) can shift it off-balance and damage the internal mechanism, making it difficult to use and expensive to repair or replace. An automatic opening arm will ensure the door is raised from the centre in an even, smooth motion, preserving the door and keeping it in full working order for as long as possible.

  • It’s secure – With an automated garage door, you do not use a lock and key like you would with a manual door. The electric motor itself will keep the door in the closed position until you unlock it by asking it to open. The strength of the motor prevents forced entry and is harder for thieves to overcome as they cannot get to the motor to tamper with it (as they may do with a lock).

How do I automate my existing garage door?

To automate your existing garage door, you’ll have to take a few things into account. Firstly, the condition of your door is a large deciding factor when considering whether it’s suitable for conversion. An old, dented or warped door is not going to work very well with an electric motor and should really be replaced for safety and security reasons.

Canopy garage doors (where the door itself protrudes from the entrance when the door is fully open) are difficult to convert to automated opening, and only newer, well-looked-after canopy doors tend to cope well with the conversion. You need some additional equipment called a bow arm kit, which can push up the cost.

Tracked garage doors (which open like a canopy door but slide back into the garage fully, rather than protruding from the entrance) are perfect for converting to electronic opening. Doors like this are commonly installed with motors and are often converted after being in use as a manual door very successfully.

Sectional garage doors also lend themselves well to automated opening, requiring a motor just like the ones used for tracked doors and the rare canopy door which is suitable for conversion. Roller garage doors are often motorised as standard, but if they aren’t, then a different type of motor is required and it may mean you have to replace the whole door.

Which new garage doors are automatic?

Every single garage door in our roller range comes with automatic opening as standard. The motor is located in the door roll itself, which is mounted above, within or just outside the opening. This means it does not take up a lot of room on the ceiling of your garage, like the motor for other types of garage doors.

Our sectional garage doors are available in either a motorised or manual version, although you can change your mind and convert your door one way or the other if you feel you have made the wrong choice.

Our tracked doors come as manual as standard, but it’s easy to upgrade to automatic opening by adding a door motor from our accessories section. Canopy doors, as mentioned above, are tricky to convert and we at Evander prefer to install them as manual only. This is because we like to ensure our customers are getting a great service and value for money – the inefficiencies of a converted canopy door may not help us to achieve this and therefore we always suggest a tracked garage door instead.