Understanding Garage Door Track Options

//Understanding Garage Door Track Options

Are you trying to evaluate and see which garage door track option will work best for your new garage door? Whether you are building a new house or revamping an old garage, you must ensure that you install your newly purchased garage doors function properly.

The beauty of your new garage doors will be wasted if they do not work correctly. No matter what style, size, or design this is, you must figure out what track options fit best for your property. These hidden tracks are the primary workhorse that ensures your new garage doors operate smoothly for many years.

The garage door itself may be the star, but the tracks are essential to the entire system’s functionality. Thus, you need to ensure the tracks are properly fitted to your door’s weight and specific dimensions. Learn about your track options below to see which works best for your property:
garage door tracks

The Factors to Consider When Selecting the Track

Though you can have limitless garage door options from a fancy carriage style overhead to sectional horizontal sliding garage doors, you will have few choices when it comes to tracks. Keep in mind, your supplier can help you find the proper garage door track and operator that works best for your specific door model.

When choosing, consider several critical factors. You must balance these out to optimize your garage door system. It can be a challenge as it will influence what track and door you need.

For example, installing too large doors for the tracks exerts excessive pressure, leading to a breakdown. When the door is too small, there may not be adequate grip, causing the door to slide and injure someone or damage vehicles. To avoid these problems, either you, or your San Diego garage door repairman need to find the measurements of the following:


Choosing the right system entails finding the exact measurements of the sideroom. It is the available space or area to the side of the garage door. Some refer to this as the space between the side opening of the door vis-a-vis the wall immediately next to it.

You need exact measurement numbers of this area because it will affect the size of the tension springs and the amount of space you have left for the track brackets. Track brackets hold your garage door track in place.

Meanwhile, tension springs usually have a tube or shaft. Tension springs are a part of the whole garage door and track system. It helps maintain a smooth movement as the garage door goes up and down.

Take note, when you lower the door, there is a lot of tension, but when you raise the garage door, tension is released. This spring assists with lifting the door. For the best installation, be mindful of the following:

  • Note any barriers when measuring since this can affect installation.
  • A minimum of 3.5 inches is required to mount your safety sensor beam.
  • Around 5 inches is required for either side if you want a vertical track.
  • If you want side-mounted tracks, you must ask the supplier for the specific measurement requirements.
  • Should you put in a 2-door installation, your center post must be a minimum of 10 inches wide.


People refer to this as the depth of the garage. It is a measurement for the header leading up to the nearest obstruction. This matters for overhead doors as they will travel up and slowly fold onto the cavity of the garage.

This backroom measurement ascertains the door and tracks will have ample space for installation. Notably, this space will hold your entire door every time you open it. It also houses important track hardware pieces and electronic components.

Typically, you need to allot more backroom space to ensure a proper fit for the door height extension. This figure must be longer than the actual door height. For best results, take note of the following:

  • For a manual door, use the minimum depth of the garage door height and 18 inches.
  • If you use openers, add the door height plus at least 3 feet or longer for bigger door models.
  • The electronic motor is generally installed between 9.5 to 11.5 feet from the door; making sure an outlet is within easy access.
  • When you measure the garage depth, check for possible obstructions like ceiling access, beams, rafters, or even storage areas.


This is the measurement of the door up and down. Get the precise numbers of the highest point down to the lowest point. This determines how much space you have between the garage floor and the top of your finished door opening.

Check for any uneven elements or irregularities like flooring that is not smooth. Your supplier may need to adjust things during installation if you have uneven floors.


When it comes to your garage door and track system, headroom measurement is an important component. This is the distance from the centermost point of the garage to the nearest possible obstacles like piping, vents, steel rods, and the like.

That space above must fit the door, track, and other supporting components. To illustrate, overhead doors come in sections hinged to each other. As you open the door, these hinges will rise on a vertical track. Then it must pass through a curved section of the track and eventually ride along a horizontal track.

This space is where the garage door will remain until you close it. Hence, you must have ample headroom space that is sufficient to hold the following:

  • The curving portion of the track, which connects the horizontal track to the vertical track section.
  • Any extension or torsion springs that offer a counterbalance to hold the heavy door weight.
  • The garage door opener electric motor, as well as the other important connections of the whole system.

Though headroom may seem like a simple concept, pay attention to possible traps and obstructions when selecting your garage door and track system. To illustrate, if you are considering a door that is 8 feet high to fit an extra-large automobile in your garage or prefer this size because it suits your architectural design, you must ascertain that the ceiling will be a minimum of 9 feet from the floor.

Having offered garage door services in San Diego for years, we can tell you that this applies to basic standard lift doors, and it can be more if you buy a specialty door or have other specifications. Noting details will ensure everything fits well and works correctly. For best results, collaborate with a professional to provide design assistance and assure you have the appropriate track or other hardware details for your project.

The Most Popular Garage Door Track Options

Overhead type door tack options are described by the radius of the curved track component or by how much headroom space the door must fit in. You will find five basic overhead garage door track options.

1. Standard Radius Track

The most common radius track measure 15 inches, which means you also need 15 inches of headroom to accommodate the mechanism. Other options may include 20 or 32 inches, but this will also require more headroom to make space for the curve. The key is choosing the right combination so the motor can efficiently lift your door.

2. Hi-Lift Track

A variation of the Standard, you install this track if your ceiling is higher. It uses a standard radius curve but incorporates more vertical track length. It also has a lesser horizontal track, which means the door rests less in the horizontal position. Hence, more of the garage door is positioned vertically when it is open.

3. Vertical Lift Track

This is a variant of the Hi-Lift but works mainly for commercial garages. With this system, you only need a vertical track. Hence the bumps out of the wall as it moves up to accommodate the motor opener. You will not find a horizontal track.

4. Low Headroom Track

As its name suggests, this uses less than 12 inches radius track. Some call this dual track as it has a second horizontal track, which you may find installed above the main horizontal one. Its purpose is to move the top section of the garage door, assuring it moves far enough for the lower level to follow on smoothly. Notably, this choice works with oversized top sections and taller doors.

5. Roof Pitch Track

Like its name, this follows the pitch of your roofing structure. The standard radius curve paves the way for a more angled horizontal track. This assures your system follows the roof.

Side Note: Sliding Track

This is not an overhead track because the door moves to the side. It does not have a vertical system but uses two horizontal tracks to support and move the door sideways.

The Typical Garage Door Track Material

Today, modern garage door tracks are manufactured utilizing stainless steel. This sturdy compound assures super strength and superior longevity. You do not need to worry about corrosion issues.

However, if you end up scratching the tracks, the protective galvanized coating layers will reveal the raw steel underneath. When this becomes exposed to the elements, rust can form. To avoid unnecessary scratches, keep your garage tracks well lubricated.

The moment you hear any squeaking noises, you should be alarmed because you are exerting undue stress on your track system. With the amount of use that your garage doors receive daily, you must be diligent about maintenance care. Doing so before problems come up will prevent damage and extend the life of your garage door system.

If you don’t want your doors to drag, stick, or lag while you raise and lower them, you must also consider annual door inspections from a garage specialist. Failure to care for your investment means your door issues will progressively become worse, leading to stuck doors or complete mechanical failure.

Here are some helpful tips to ensure your tracks remain functional. When they are free from debris, you can expect optimal performance. Lubricating them with the proper products will also mitigate problems.

1. Check Track Alignment

Keep a watchful eye on the alignment of your vertical and horizontal tracks. You can set a leveler on top of the tracks to check. The tracks must be a bit slanted from the door opening toward the back wall.

Moreover, these tracks must also be hung with the same measurements from the ceiling. You can move the tracks yourself to get them back into the proper position. If something looks extremely off, call for a professional inspection.

2. Clean the Tracks Thoroughly

Since your tracks are exposed, expect an accumulation of dirt, dust, gunk, and grime. Hence you must be ready to do some cleaning. Take the small brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner to dislodge all the debris. You can also use an old toothbrush and manually clean the inside parts to ensure a thorough job.

Remember, do not ever use a grease lubricant for your tracks or they can stick to the protective coating and affect the door movement. Instead, use an automobile brake cleaner. Apply this to the tracks and wipe them down to remove excess fluids. This is effective as the stubborn track gunk will also adhere to the rag.

3. Attend to Track Bracket Nuts and Bolts

Examine the nuts and bolts that hold the track mounting brackets into place. You must tighten any hardware that appears loose. Resist the urge to over tighten as this will overwork your mechanism.

If you notice any nuts and bolts that seem worn out or corroded, you can replace them. You can apply a protective silicone lubricant on these pieces to extend their life. Ascertain that you only place them on the mounting brackets and not the track itself.

Finding the Best Garage Door Specialist

Never install a new garage door without fitting in a new replacement track. They always go hand-in-hand. Each door has a particular lift system that works with a specific track. Professionals designated it in terms of measurements, grip, and fit.

Garage Door Services in San Diego

If you are building a new house and need garage doors or are replacing outdated doors, call our Coastal Garage Doors team. We do free consultations and assessments to help you find the best system that is safe for everyone, even your vehicles. With our expert input, you can find the perfect garage door track option that is right for you.

By | 2023-08-04T22:46:23+00:00 May 20th, 2021|Garage|0 Comments