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How to Choose the Right Garage Door Opening Mechanism for Your Home

The sheer choice of garage doors can be overwhelming, so knowing where to start is important. Whilst it’s tempting to think about the colour and design of your new garage door before anything else, the most sensible first step is to work out which particular type of garage door is best suited to your needs. This often begins with the opening mechanism — the way the door is opened.

There are four main ways that a garage door can be opened and the best one for you depends on a number of factors, including the size of your garage, how often it is used and what it is usaed for.

We’ve added some pointers to each of our opening mechanism summaries below to give you an idea of which may be best for you, and which ones to rule out altogether.

Up and Over Garage Doors

You’re likely to be familiar with the up-and-over opening mechanism, as it’s the most popular type of garage door in the UK, although more modern opening styles are gaining popularity. Up-and-over doors are lifted outwards and upwards, so that the door sits flush to the ceiling of the garage when open. This type of opening mechanism is separated into two different versions: canopy and retractable. If you think an up-and-over garage door is what you’re likely to opt for, it’s worth checking the features of both versions to see which would suit you best.

Canopy Garage Doors

Canopy garage doors lift up and out, and stick out of the garage entranceway by about a third when fully open, hence the name. This type of opening mechanism is the most commonly seen throughout the UK, but just because you’ve had this type of door before, doesn’t mean you have to continue with the same if it doesn’t quite match your needs.

Why a canopy garage door may be best for you:

  • Provides the maximum drive-through width possible
  • Offers a wide choice of designs and finishes
  • Simple to operate and install
  • Available in steel or timber
  • Manual opening


 Why a canopy garage door may NOT be best for you:

  • Cannot be easily converted to electronic opening
  • Can be blown off balance by rushing traffic or high winds (when open)
  • Takes up room in the ceiling space when fully open
  • Kicks out of the entrance when opening


If you’ve decided a canopy door is right for you, here's a few examples of what we have available in the range:

Steel: Garador CarltonGarador SuttonHörmann ChevronHörmann Horizontal

Solid Timber: Garador SeymourHörmann Gatcombe, Garador BarringtonGarador Horizontal Cedar 

Decorative: Garador HintonGarador Beaumont with WindowsHörmann RutlandHörmann Marquess Decograin

Retractable Garage Doors

This second variety of up-and-over garage door runs on tracks, hence the name. Retractable garage doors open in much the same way as canopy doors, except that, when fully open, the whole door panel fits entirely within your garage space rather than protruding out of the entranceway.  

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Why a retractable garage door may be best for you:

  • Can easily be upgraded to motorised opening either when new or later on.
  • Offers a wide choice of colours and finishes
  • Simple to operate
  • Available in steel or timber


 Why a retractable garage door may NOT be best for you:

  • The lifting arms reduce the drive-through width
  • Takes up more room in the ceiling space than a canopy door
  • Kicks out of the entrance when opening


If a retractable door is something you’re interested in, check out some examples in our range below: 

Steel: Hörmann VerticalHörmann CaxtonGarador ChevronGarador Horizon

Solid Timber: Garador Vertical CedarGarador BarringtonHörmann Mallory VerticalGarador Wentwood 

Decorative: Hörmann Garage LightHörmann MarquessGarador HintonHörmann Ilkley


What About Security?

Most of our up-and-over garage doors are available in both canopy and retractable opening mechanisms. When purchasing a brand-new garage door from us, you can expect a high level of security, but if you feel you need a little something extra for your up-and-over garage door, choosing from our Garador Guardian range is a good idea. All three designs in this range are approved by Secured by Design, which is a police-led initiative dedicated to ‘designing out’ property crime.


Sectional Garage Doors

Sectional doors have the large panelled look of canopy or retractable doors, yet open very differently. Sectional garage doors open by moving vertically upwards, and each section separates slightly from the others as it rotates to a horizontal position when it reaches the top. Once fully open, all sections are attached once again and sit flush to the ceiling of the garage in a solid piece. Sectional doors are an increasingly popular choice and they work well with both manual and automated opening mechanisms. You can browse our entire range here.

Why a sectional garage door may be best for you:

  • Allows for maximum drive-through width
  • Does not kick out of the entrance at all
  • Constructed from insulated steel
  • Works well with both manual and electric opening


Why a sectional garage door may NOT be best for you:

  • Takes longer to install than other types
  • Can look more modern than other garage door types
  • Takes up room in the ceiling space when fully open


Please see examples of popular sectional doors below:

Wood Effect: Hörmann LPU L Ribbed DecograinHörmann LPU M Ribbed Decograin 

Modern: Hörmann LPU L Ribbed Titan MetallicHörmann LPU M Ribbed Silkgrain 

Panelled: Hörmann LPU S Panelled WoodgrainHörmann LPU S Panelled Decograin

Roller Garage Doors

If you’re looking for a door which doesn’t take up too much room inside your garage when it’s open, then one rollerlogoof our roller doors may be right for you. Opening by moving vertically upwards and rolling around itself to create a neat cylinder, these doors have exclusively been used by businesses and industrial premises in the past. Now, you can enjoy the convenience of a roller door without the ‘business premises’ look — they’re now designed to fit in perfectly with residential properties.

If you’re looking for a door which doesn’t take up too much room inside your garage when it’s open, then one of our roller doors may be right for you. Opening by moving vertically upwards and rolling around itself to create a neat cylinder, these doors have exclusively been used by businesses and industrial premises in the past. Now, you can enjoy the convenience of a roller door without the ‘business premises’ look — they’re now designed to fit in perfectly with residential properties.  


Why a roller garage door may be best for you:

  • Provides the maximum drive-through width possible
  • Comes with motorised opening as standard
  • No internal tracks or cables
  • Takes up very little room inside the garage
  • Constructed from insulated aluminium


Why a roller garage door may NOT be best for you:

  • Thin horizontal slats essential – no scope for other designs
  • Takes longer to install than other types
  • Requires a power supply


Check out the examples below to see the options available:

Colourful: Birkdale Classic Midi 55/14 Painted

Compact: Birkdale Classic Mini 50/12 Painted

Wood Effect: Birkdale Classic Maxi 78/20 Laminated 

Still not sure what Garage Door Opening is right for you? Get in touch and let us help

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