In addition to selecting the door itself, you need to be cognizant of the opening to your garage. This blog post will help you prepare for your next garage door installation.


The Garage Floor

Your first consideration must be the garage floor. We know it sounds counterintuitive since we are preparing the opening of the garage but hear us out.

The floor of a garage should slope outward. If you have the floor sloping in or if there is a slight dip in the middle of the flooring, water is unable to escape the garage. In the midwest, our cars will bring in a good deal of snow during the winter months. You must have your garage designed to allow the snowmelt to flow outward.


How to Measure a Garage

What is the amount of space you need in order to use your garage? You can determine that amount of space on the following:

    • Car Size (including roof rack)
    • Size of the Door
    • Door Frame

Car Size

If you have a larger car, you will therefore need a large opening. Just the addition of a roof rack could alter the opening size needed. A car fitting into a garage is almost so obvious that it’s easily overlooked.

Garage Door

When installing a new door, a great deal of focus is placed on how much space is required for the door itself to be installed. Garage doors are designed and built in a variety of ways. These are the garage measurements you need to determine if you should rebuild or remodel the opening:

  1. Door Opening (height and width)
  2. Headroom (top of garage door to the ceiling)
  3. Side Room (outside of door jamb to the wall)
  4. Backroom (along the ceiling, from garage opening to back wall)

Pro Tip: The door manufacturer will have guidelines available for the opening size needed for each door make and model.

If you find that the existing garage opening is not measuring up to the amount of space needed, you have the option to build a new opening or remodel the old one.

Garage Door Framing

After you have the correct opening cut out, installing the door frame is next. A quality door frame will fit snugly against the opening. The secure fit is important because it allows you to attach elements like the track and springs.

The garage door you select will fit perfectly into the remaining open space AFTER the door frame is installed. It’s important to know how much space the frame will take up and add that into your rough cut-out measurements.


Door Frame Diagram


The figure above demonstrates the overall frame design. Here are the terms you need to know:

    • Vertical Jambs – The two 2 x 6 pieces of wood on either side of the opening.
    • Horizontal Jamb – The horizontal 2 x 6 piece of wood at the top of the opening.
    • Center Pad – The square piece of wood you see centered above the Horizontal Jamb.

The vertical jambs should always go from the floor to the ceiling. You will see how the jambs in the diagram are taller than the top of the garage opening. Meanwhile, the horizontal jamb should span from vertical jamb to vertical jamb. These 2 x 6 pieces of wood should be flush with one another for the track and hardware to function properly. For the center pad, you must use a good piece of wood. This piece is where the spring and motor are attached from pad to door. Make sure the center pad is securely fastened!

Fun Fact: Doors will always be square and the opening needs to match. Anything with a curve is decoration.


To Build A New Opening – or To Remodel The Old

If you’ve upgraded to an SUV in preparation for this winter season, you may want to take a second look at increasing the opening of your garage. Contact Omaha Door & Window for advice and to see our wide range of garage doors and openers.