I have a tuck under single car garage in my bungalow that currently has carriage doors that have seen better days.

I would like to replace the carriage doors with an automatic (and insulated) door, however, everything I've seen seems to require a minimum of 7" of clearance between the top of the door opening and the ceiling of the garage. My garage only has 5" of clearance.

Does anyone have experience with garage door solutions that will work for this small amount of available clearance?

4 Answers 4


One of the custom door manufacturers should be able to make you something. Yes, it's not a typical application being that small, but there's no major issues in the design. Doors are assembled from panels, so they can select the right size and quantity. Track frequently has to be cut down to fit anyways. Custom springs are no big deal (a surprising percentage of what's out there is custom).

However, you're not going to be able to walk into a local big box hardware place and pickup off the shelf components to DIY.


most of the major door manufacturers have a low-clearance kit. When mine was installed, i found it to be mostly a set of special hinges for the top door panel; whose operation depressed the arc of the top door panel.


you might consider a roll-up garage door. check out http://www.buydoorsdirect.com/

  • Good suggestion, but these look like they require more than 5" above the door opening.
    – Tester101
    Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 16:26
  • Interesting idea for saving headroom further back in the garage, but those do look like they'd have trouble with the 5"clearance.
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 15:58
  • For minimum height door: specs say 15-1/2” clearance from opening to ceiling, and 17" into the room. This is not going to meet the OP goals.
    – Bryce
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 7:03

Jackshaft Direct-Drive openers may be helpful in a low garage, if the opener itself presents a clutter or clearance problem. This does not change the issues at the door opening.

If there's 5" from ceiling to door opening, you can block the opening down to 7". You get lower clearance on entry, but then a standard door works.

Or get an opener for your carriage doors: they're all the range in multi-million dollar homes.

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