I have a 'tilt up' garage door with an past-end-of-life track. I'm told by several local garage door companies that tilt up hardware is not made any more.

Yet even the low clearance roll-up overhead doors can't match the headroom of the old tilt up. The garage ceiling is just 82", and the present door gives a 75 1/2" clearance above. Modern low overhead tracks give us an entry low spot of 72" or less: "duck when entering".

What might be a suitable replacement? Note we want automatic opening, so we can slide right in with bikes (we do all shopping and much travel by bike).

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Note: There's a hole in the floor that implies the original 1938 door swung out, but now the driveway slope appears to preclude swing out, at least without grinding away some material. There's a small triangular space above the ceiling, but only a few inches at the front. The current door appears 1950's.

See also What are Automatic Garage Door Options for a Garage with a Low Ceiling Clearance?

Update: the ceiling is lathe and plaster directly on the joists, which run parallel to the door opening. You could hide a spiral spring up there, but not much else.

  • tilt up hardware is still made and used in the UK.
    – Walker
    Dec 19, 2013 at 23:34
  • Seems to be a pain to weatherstrip.
    – Bryce
    May 10, 2015 at 6:12

5 Answers 5



These are made in Italy. And they maybe the only tilt in left.


If the problem is only the track/hardware (and it looks like your door is in pretty good shape from the photos) and you could stand to wait for a little while, I have an alternate suggestion. Get friendly with a local door company, not a chain company, and see if they could come up with some used track or hardware (whatever is causing you problems) from a door they take out. Chances are they could come up with it within a month (I took a 7' one piece out today. I'd offer you parts, but I'm in Arkansas and I don't see you making the trip for it). It's a bit of a trick to put an opener on a tilt-up door but it can be done in most cases.

Torsion to the rear should be able to work if you do replace you current door. Tell them to bring the cables over the top of the drums so they are up higher.


As you're using your garage for storage, and not a vehicle, you could replace the door with shed-style doors ... but it will decrease the resale value of the house, and they don't seal against the weather quite as well. Depending on the neighborhood, it may also violate your covenant.

update: oops, missed the part below the picture, where you said it looks like it used to swing out. There are some hinges that will lift as the door opens (so they're self closing via gravity). That might give you sufficient clearance. I've also considered mounting a caster on the outer edge of my garage doors so that they don't sag / drag as much.

  • +1 for the cam lift hinge suggestion, that might also help air seal the door. The only covenant is the city won't (officially) let the garage be converted to living space. But the can't make people park in it...
    – Bryce
    Dec 19, 2013 at 7:37

As long as your door is structurally sound (no rotting or broken framing pieces) and moves up and down smoothly, you CAN put an opener on this kind of door. I see them all the time in the Seattle area. Grab the door from the top center while it's closed and pull in. The door should swing out and rise without issue. If so, you can put an opener on it.

Honestly, for your situation, your type of door is the best type to have, as it requires little to no extra headroom. Now, that said, this hardware is definitely hard to come by. I do still remove them from time to time, but in the last year, I've only removed 4 of this type of door.

If you want to refit the door, honestly, your best bet is to talk to a company in western Europe, like the UK, Germany, or Italy, to see about buying the hardware you need. There are some companies that sell this hardware online, but you'll need to contact them first to arrange the international shipping.

For an opener, you may need to actually mount it back farther in the garage to get the operating clearance you'll need to make everything run smoothly. If you have to mount it back so far that the two parts of the door arm can't connect, you can make an extension with some thick wall metal electrical conduit. Good luck, and if you have further questions, feel free to look me up.

  • Welcome to the site, and thanks for the informative answer! Unlike other forums, you don't need to leave a signature tag line on DIY.SE, since it's automatically included in your answer.
    – Doresoom
    May 26, 2015 at 13:56

What's the opening UNDER the fully open door right now? You might be able to simply lower the opening, without really "losing" anything (or much) over what you have now, counting the door hanging there.

Your measurements and your pictures don't appear to agree, or imply that you are taking an "opening" measurement to something that's not actually open - there appears to be ~2 inches above your door, on the inside shot. Add a few inches at the front in the space above, and you might get there if you opened the ceiling up.

As far as I recall, the best I could find 10 years ago was 7 inches above door opening for the "special low-rise door track" - fortunately, I was shopping at building design time, so I just raised the wall height to get something that worked.

Edit: Responding to comment: is there some additional aspect going on here, like the garage door company trying to sell you an opener (how they love to sell openers) as well, which is adding 3" to the low rise? I remain befuddled at openers, since my properly adjusted 10x10 foot commercial-type insulated door (heavy) is easy to open by hand...

There's 3" gone missing someplace there. Are they not fully retracting the door around the corner at the top? That should be an easy adjustment if the garage is deep enough to run the door further back on the horizontal track. The actual lip of the opening should be the low point, and 7" above that should clear the mechanism, so 75 inches should be achievable.

I also found this on a poke around the web - "low head-room rear mount springs" which is not something I found 10 years ago, and claims 4" clearance to operate (unless, of course, you require an opener.)

Note: Standard Lift doors require a minimum of 12" of over door height. Not enough headroom? Don't worry. Raynor's Low Headroom Front Mount Springs package reduces the height requirement to 8-1/4" of over door height, while Low Headroom Rear Mount Springs require as little as 4" (plus 2" w/motor operator).

And another one with torsion spring to the rear claiming 5" (4-1/2 with extension springs) rear torsion spring

  • The present door gives 75 1/2" of clearance in the 82" garage. And even that make you feel like you want to duck. The best low rise tracks were about 7", but they lowered the entry height to less than 72".
    – Bryce
    Dec 18, 2013 at 19:37
  • The present door frame is 81.5" inches (just shy of the 82" garage height). There's a 3 inch falsework below that to seal the top of the tilt up door. --- Rear springs were proposed by two garage contractors: but both thought them a bad idea in this case.
    – Bryce
    Dec 21, 2013 at 4:59
  • Ah, the other problem was the panels. They only come in certain sizes, so they wanted the finished door height at exactly 6 feet, meaning 72" of headroom at the entry point. Fine, as long as nobody tall ever enters.
    – Bryce
    Dec 21, 2013 at 5:16
  • We DO want an opener, so we can cycle straight into the garage.
    – Bryce
    Aug 10, 2014 at 16:08

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