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What is a high lift system?

What is a high lift system?

Since working with the Garage Door Man,  I have discovered that the garage is a place of possibility.  I always thought it was just a place to park your car and the other stuff that there was no room for in the house.  I had no idea about the vast differences in doors, openers, and the garage structures themselves.  Let alone all of the modifications that can be applied to each of these systems to allow the customer to use their garage in a wide variety of ways.  The garage door modification that we are going to touch on today is called a high lift system.  It moves the tracking and thus the door as close to the garage’s ceiling as possible to utilizer the maximum amount of garage space while also creating an open, obstruction free aesthetic.

To understand how a high lift system works, lets first touch on a standard system.  Let’s say the garage door is 7′ tall and the ceiling is 10′ high.  The garage door tracks that the door travels on run vertically along the inside of the garage and then curve gently to a horizontal plane where they level out about 8′ above the garage floor.  This leaves 2′ of wasted space between the ceiling and the opener/tracking apparatus.  By changing the doors trajectory, a professional like the Garage Door Man, can make the same door travel more vertically then curve into the garage closer to the ceiling freeing up all of that room underneath. See video below


But what about the opener? Doesn’t it need to hang from the ceiling and thus obstruct what we are trying to do?  Not necessarily.  When considering a high lift greater than 6″ a jackshaft opener is recommended (and is mandatory on a lift of 1′ or higher).  A jackshaft opener is side mounted onto the wall and allows the door to operate as usual with only the bare minimum of tracking on the ceiling, and with no ugly box taking up space and getting in the way.

So how much room can you get with a high lift system? A basic equation to give you an idea of what is possible is to take your ceiling height, e.g. 10′, subtract the door height, e.g. 8′, then subtract 1′ for installation space (give or take a couple of inches depending on the professional) and that will give you your added clearance.  In this case 1 extra foot of garage space.

Sometimes customers opt for a high lift solely to reduce the visual eye sore of a garage door opener and tracking hanging from the ceiling like a gigantic erector set.  Other times they can actually achieve the the ability to install a mechanic’s lift and park two vehicles vertically where only one fit before.  In conclusion, when it comes to modifying a garage door to achieve more space, the sky (or the ceiling) is the limit!

Written by Garage Door Man

James Teague, aka the Garage Door Man, has been serving San Diego with Garage Door Installations and Garage Door Repairs since 1985. He has continued to provide service that can only be described as friendly, honest and fair and he continues with these values today. license#851175