If you’ve even been told you can’t have a garage door opener, you’ll absolutely want a second opinion. Speaking from professional experience in the garage door industry, there are alternative solutions to obtain a motorized garage door.  While utilizing an alternative solution, you may encounter certain issues at the beginning of your garage door opener search.

3 Problems Homeowners May Face When Installing a Garage Door Opener

Garages are designed and built in a variety of ways.  We will identify the problems which make motorizing your garage door more of a process and the options you have for getting around these tricky spots.

Problem: Low or No Headroom

Headroom refers to the space between the top of the garage door and the ceiling.  A standard residential opener typically requires 2-inches of extra headroom above the door. When you don’t have the necessary space, you can try one of three possible solutions:

Solution 1: Use a quick closer.

Brackets are fixed on top of the door where the rollers are located. The high arch on the door is reduced leaving enough room above for a motor to fit.

Solution 2: Use a low headroom track.

Door tracks have been designed specifically to solve this problem. Instead of a single track, you can convert your garage door system to run on two tracks. The door can turn sharper and requires less headroom for operation.

*Solution 3: Use a side mount motor or “jackshaft”.

A jack shift motor is mounted on the wall next to the garage door. The motor then turns the torsion bar, inconspicuously located above the door, to open and close the door.

* Restrictions of Solution 3:

  • Torsion springs are REQUIRED. Smaller doors don’t always have these, but converting the mechanical system is possible.
  • Does not work on a low headroom track. 3-inches of space above the door shaft and 8-inches of side room are needed.

Problem: Not Enough Backroom

Backroom refers to the distance between a garage door’s entry point to the back wall of the garage. The lack of space in this situation is a common issue among homeowners.

Solution 1: Shorten the motor.

The motor can be shortened by cutting the rail length to fit your space. Be cautious! If too much is cut off, the door will not open high enough to get a car inside.

*Solution 2: Use a rear-mount or back draw garage door opener.

The motor is mounted on the other side of the obstruction. A long, angle iron arm is then used to operate the door. Normally, a 2-foot arm connects a door to the track, however, a 10-foot arm is used here.

* Restrictions to Solution 2:

  • Garage Door must be on a low headroom track
  • Only a Genie Screw Drive motor can be used.

Problem: No Secondary Entrance

Mainly a problem found with detached garages, the absence of a second entry point is a logistical concern. How will you get inside the garage if the motor stops working or the door stops functioning while the door is in the closed position?

Solution: Install an emergency door release.

A hole is drilled in the top section of the door and a keyed cable is connected to the emergency release on the motor. If the motor breaks or you experience a power outage, you simply pull the cable to turn your door back into manual operation.

Battery backups alone are not a good enough failsafe for garages with no other entry point.  Motors with battery backups alone will be of no use if the door opener’s motor itself is not working for any reason or the garage door has a broken spring or cable.

These difficult installations all present their own set own problems. With the help of a garage door professional, your garage will be properly assessed, you will know all the alternatives available to you, and the installation will be executed reliably.

Finding alternative installation solutions is not an unusual occurrence for us. ODW has helped homeowners throughout Omaha install garage door openers for years despite any challenges we come across. Submit a Free Estimate so we can help you next!