Residential Roll-up Garage Doors [FAQ]

In this article, I’ll show you something totally different from the typical garage doors you’ll find from many garage door manufacturers: a residential roll-up garage door.

You’ve probably seen roll-up garage doors in commercial applications. But did you know they make roll-up doors for your home as well?

Read on to find out more.


Sectional vs. Roll-up Garage Doors: Which is Better?

I used to think that sectional garage doors were the only type of garage door you could buy for your home. Except for the retro-style, one-piece wooden doors on homes from the 1960s, it was all I saw in my neighborhood.

It wasn’t until much later that I discovered they made industrial, roll-up garage doors for residential homes. This is similar to a commercial overhead door but with a few tweaks designed specifically for residential homes.

In this section, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each type of door so you can decide which is better for your home.

Sectional Garage Doors

You’re probably already familiar with sectional garage doors. They’re made from large panels that join together to form a solid barrier when closed.

Vertical tracks run alongside your garage door, connected to long, horizontal tracks on the garage ceiling. When you open and close the door, sections of the garage door slide along the track to move it up and down.

The drawback to this design is that sectional garage doors take up a lot of space at the top of your garage when they’re open. 

That means you can’t use that area for overhead garage storage, and it also blocks any ceiling lights above it when it’s open.

Also, since it’s exposed to the elements, you must regularly lubricate and maintain a sectional garage door. 

If your sectional garage door is damaged, like if your kids hit it with their bicycles, you can replace the panel. That’s a lot cheaper than replacing the entire door.

You can buy sectional doors with glass or acrylic windows to let light into your garage. 

Finally, the biggest advantage to many people is that sectional garage doors come in a wide variety of colors and designs that can match the exterior of your home.

Image: zhtdoors.com

Roll-Up Garage Doors

Roll-up doors are also called rolling or roller doors, similar to a heavy-duty commercial door in industrial warehouses.

Lately, they’re becoming popular for residential homes.

They’re lightweight and easier to install than traditional garage doors. Roll-up doors are typically made from corrugated, galvanized, or stainless steel sheets but can sometimes be made from aluminum.

When you open a roll-up door, it winds into a compact roll at the garage door opening, which doesn’t block any garage lighting that you may have. 

Best of all, roll-up doors don’t need tracks across the ceiling, which opens up a lot more space in your garage than typical sectional garage doors.

They have a simple design that reduces the potential for mechanical or electrical problems. Even if a roll-up garage door costs the same as a conventional sectional door, it usually costs you less in the long run due to lower maintenance.

Some designs have even achieved wind load certification, making them viable products for hurricane-prone locations like Florida.

One of the disadvantages of roll-up doors is that they only come in a few different colors and styles. It’s harder to match them to your home’s exterior paint because there are fewer color options than sectional doors.

Finally, if part of the door gets dented or damaged, you’ll need a new pre-assembled industrial door. 

There’s no such thing as a partial replacement.


What Sizes do Roll-up Garage Doors Come in?

While sectional garage doors usually come in only a few standard sizes, roll-up garage doors can come in a wide array of sizes.

Sectional garage door sizes vary slightly depending on where you live. In general, a door for a single car measures 8′ or 9′ wide by 7 feet tall. If you’re looking at a double garage door, they measure 16′ wide by 7′ high.

If you want something larger, you could go with a custom build, but that will quickly increase the cost. Custom doors typically max out at 16′ wide and as tall as 10’-12′.

However, roll-up garage doors come in a more flexible array of sizes because of how they’re built.

They usually start at 7′ by 7′, which works for a small storage shed or a motorcycle garage. However, that can reach up to 20′ wide (or wider) by 18′ high, which is enough for industrial or commercial buildings that house heavy equipment or construction vehicles.

With such a wide size range, it’s easy to customize roll-up doors to fit any residential garage door opening.

image: tmaxrollups.com

Are Residential Roll-up Garage Doors Insulated?

Here in Florida, my garage was unbearable in the summer until I added a garage door insulation kit. Many of you have told me you have the same challenge, only in the winter.

If you use your garage for a workshop or home gym, you don’t feel like doing anything when it’s that uncomfortable.

Fortunately, you can get insulated roll-up garage doors. Double-skinned roll-up doors can have foam insulation insert that goes between the skins.

This can lower energy costs by keeping inside air from leaking out and outside air from coming in. As an added bonus, the insulation muffles sound, making them quieter overall.

To determine how effective a roll-up door is, look for a high R-Value.


How Much Clearance is Needed for a Roll-up Overhead Door?

You generally want to allow at least 15 1/2″ of headroom (room above your garage door). This allows for enough room when the door is fully rolled up and open. 

However, the significant benefit of a roll-up garage door is that you don’t need to extend this headroom into the center of the garage.

Sideroom, the open space on either side of the garage door, can be as little as 4″ for manually operated doors

However, when installing a jackshaft garage door opener, like the LiftMaster 8500, you’ll need a bit extra sideroom to accommodate it.

By contrast, sectional garage doors need at least 18″ of headroom for the track, springs, and other equipment. 

That headroom needs to extend to the center of your garage to accommodate the door when it’s open. High-lift garage doors can reduce the headroom to around 5″.

Sideroom is slightly wider, requiring around 5″ on either side of the door.

As always, check with the garage door manufacturer you’re looking at. Some may have clearances that differ by size and type of door.


Do You Need a Special Garage Door Opener for a Roll-up Door?

Unfortunately, residential roll-up garage doors won’t work with chain or belt-drive garage door openers. Most will use a custom motorized opener specific to the manufacturer. Some can use an off-the-shelf jackshaft garage door opener, like the LiftMaster 8500 series.

However, all of the ones I looked at also have a crank that lets you open the door manually.

Photo of author

Tim Wells

Tim Wells, the founder of Garage Transformed, has been featured in dozens of home renovation publications, including BobVila.com, Home Stratosphere, House Digest, Livingetc, and SFGate. Since 2018, he has helped over two million people transform their everyday garages into something they can be proud of. He lives in Central Florida with his wife and bulldog.