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Can a Garage Door Be Wider than the Opening?

A ton of planning goes into building a garage, and the measurements process can be tasking. For instance, you must ensure that your cars fit, the frame is the correct size, and the doors close properly.

However, one question I’d be addressing is if it’s allowed for a garage door to be wider than the opening?

A garage door should be the same size as the finished door opening. While it’s not unusual to use a wider door than the opening, it comes with problems. So the best move is for the rough and finished openings to be larger and similar to the door width.

This article delves into how wide a garage door opening should be and whether a garage door can be wider than the opening. I also discuss how to frame a garage door opening.

How Wide Should a Garage Door Be?

If you are adding a new garage or building a home, the size of the garage door is a crucial factor to consider. Standard door sizes are fading out with the ever-increasing world of custom homebuilding. People now design garages large enough for trucks, large SUVs, RVs, motorcycles, and boats.

Custom garages offer homeowners more options for the size of their garage doors. The width of the door comes first, then the height. Regular sizes according to the number of cars are:

  • A single-car garage door is eight feet (2.4 m) to nine feet (2.7 m) wide and seven feet (2.1 m) to eight feet (2.4 m) high.
  • A double-car garage door is typically 15 to 16 feet (4.6 m to 4.9 m) wide and seven to eight feet (2.1 m to 2.4 m) high.
  • A three-car garage door is usually 32 feet (9.8 m) wide and seven feet (2.1 m) or eight feet (2.4 m) high.

The custom builds have slightly larger doors. Single doors are nine feet by eight feet, and double doors are 16 feet by eight feet.

Your garage door size depends on the type of house you live in, as well as the area. Here are some measurements you need to take before buying a door:

The width of your garage door opening

Measure from the inside with a tape measure, horizontally from left to right. Do this from a few different locations along the side of the door to ensure your number is accurate. Measure again if your figures are far from the standard 15 feet or 16 feet.

The height of the door opening

Start from the highest point and go down to the floor. According to the standard, you should come up with a height of about seven feet.

Other measurements for installation purposes

This includes the headroom, ceiling, and the width between your garage door opening and the actual side of your garage.

The distance from the opening at the top of the garage door area to the garage’s rear is the ceiling. The headroom is the distance between the ceiling and the top of the door opening.

Since many garage door manufacturing or installation companies produce custom doors, you don’t have to feel confined to the standard measurements. Remember to keep the door in proportion to the opening’s height and width.

Can a Garage Door Be Wider than the Opening?

A primary goal when building a garage is to ensure that the door fits well with the garage opening. While a wider opening is manageable, it isn’t easy to use a wider door. However, the extra width of the door determines the level of difficulty.

Your garage door should be the same width as the opening or slightly smaller. If the door is wider, it shouldn’t be by much. For clarity, here is a description of the two openings to consider when buying a garage door:

Rough opening

The rough opening or framing is the shape and size of your garage opening before you install any door frame. It must be slightly larger than the garage door size to allow room for the frame.

Since this opening is not the final one the garage door will fit into, you shouldn’t buy a door according to its size. Doing so will leave you with a door that is too large.

Finished opening

The finished opening holds the garage door, and it is the negative space that remains after installing the framing. Your garage door and the finished opening should be the same size, or you make the opening slightly smaller.

For the best seal and fit, you should maintain the sizes as they should be. Some builders frame the rough opening and make the finished opening shorter than the door’s width. The advantages they cite for doing this include:

  • A significant reduction in rattling: If the finished opening is shorter than the door’s width, the end stiles of a metal door can rest against the door jamb. It helps to reduce the amount of rattling in extremely windy environments.

  • Creating a better seal: For areas with heavy snowfall, having the width of your garage door slightly wider than the opening creates an excellent seal from the elements.

A perimeter seal can provide these advantages, so it isn’t compulsory to have a shortened opening. Some disadvantages of having a door wider than the opening are:

  1. The garage door may malfunction.
  2. The wider door won’t open and close smoothly—it will look rushed and sloppy.
  3. There’s the risk of the door’s edges scraping the frame.

Likewise, the finished opening shouldn’t be larger than the door. If you make it slightly larger, the door may not seal completely. You would need a thicker molding on the outside to close the door.

Overall, stay close to the exact measurements to avoid issues. Variations are acceptable, and a slightly wider door is workable but too wide is clumsy.

How Do You Frame a Garage Door Opening?

You have won half the battle after selecting the right door size and a design you love. Before fitting your door, you have to frame the rough opening. Frames help the garage door fit snugly against the opening and allow you to add elements like the spring and track.

Don’t forget that the rough opening should be at least three inches wider than the garage door. A nine-foot wide door should have a rough opening of 9ft3 inches, and anything smaller will leave no space for the frame.

The height of your rough opening should also be 1.5 inches higher than the door. After framing the rough opening, the size of the door and the finished opening should be the same. If your door is 16-by-7 feet, the finished door opening should also be 16-by-7 feet.

Framing an opening requires two rows of side jambs and a header. You also need to install framing to attach the spring’s center bracket and the track. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Gather supplies—a pencil, tape measure, some 2-by-6 inch lumber, and a circular saw or bandsaw are all you need
  • Measure the rough opening
  • Install the head jamb
  • Measure the floor-to-ceiling height
  • Attach your goal post
  • Install the side jambs
  • Attach the center framing

You can do the framing yourself or have the garage door installer do it. While the measurements and shopping for the right door are tasking, they are essential for a good fit.