The first thing you learn about garage doors that they are heavy! The garage door horizontal track supports the door as it rolls back when opened: Most garage use two or three of these tracks, combine with heavy-duty rollers, to keep the door safe when it is raised.
However, customized sliding garage doors work somewhat differently. These doors typically use a single garage door horizontal track that the door slides back on. Whether the door is a single unit or splits into two parts, it uses this track to open and conceal itself, then slide back as needed. This single track design has its own requirements and advantages when using the garage door: Here are a few of the most important points about these horizontal installations and why they work!
Ease of Use
When a traditional garage door is pulled up, a motor installed on the ceiling does most of the work, pulling the garage door up along multiple tracks. This can increase wear and tear on the garage door, and isn’t very efficient.
A garage door horizontal track installation for a sliding door works differently. The track is carefully installed and the full weight of the garage door is balanced on this track, supported by rubber-encased ball bearings created for maximum durability. Here, both the precise balance and power of gravity work in the garage door’s favor: Opening the door takes very little energy, and it can easily be done by hand (even by the elderly) if necessary.
This design also helps reduce tension and wear that traditional garage doors can suffer from, making the door safer to use and less prone to failure or other issues.
Finding Solid Support for a Garage Door Horizontal Brace
Because so much of the sliding garage door’s weight relies on the horizontal track, it’s very important to find support for bracing the track during installation. Typically this requires careful placement along studs and joists. The right support options can vary based on the garage space, which is why customizing the garage door is so important – not only in appearance, but also in design and installation.
Headroom Differs Considerably
Headroom refers to how low the horizontal tracks sit from your garage ceiling – typically decided by how sharp the first track section curves. Lower headroom—with higher tracks—gives you more room for your car (and anything that may be attached to it), and is often a good choice for smaller garages. Higher headroom naturally uses lower tracks.
The standard track setup has around 15 inches of headroom. However, horizontal sliding garage doors do not use the same setup, and do not take up headroom. The track is installed immediately above the garage door, and keeps your garage ceiling free for storage or other design options. However, when doors slide horizontally, then you may need more clear space on either side of the door. For the custom doors that slide upward, there’s usually only several inches of headroom.
All Custom Garage Doors are Different
How a garage door slides and how much room it needs depends on the specific garage door, design plans, and how homeowners want their garage door to look. A corner garage door may have very different requirements from a flat door, and so on. Professionals need to study the layout of the building before making recommendations on how to install the best garage door.