Frequently Asked Questions on Garage Doors

01926 463 888

Our full list of Questions and Answers is shown below, click on the more link to see the detailed answers to some of the questions.


Whether you specify a canopy or retractable operating mechanism on your up and over garage door is down to several factors.Up and over garage door with canopy operating gear

Firstly and maybe one of the historic main driving factors is that a canopy door is generally purchased as a basic and manually operated door for anyone simply wanting a simple garage door.

The mechanism is simple and easy to fit, especially when ordered with a factory fitted sub frame. A torsion spring above the door panel lifts the panel up and down by means of some cables
at either side. There are no internal tracks whatsoever and the door sticks out about a third of the door height when open and hence the name ‘canopy’ door.

The width for ordering is also pretty much the same as the drive through width when the door is open fully and you only lose a little height from the door panel hanging down under the head frame.

A second factor is the canopy door will only lift up to a certain weight efficiently so if you order a door panel which is heavier, generally above about 9 feet wide or a panel made from timber, then the operating mechanism has to be the retractable type.

The retractable operating mechanism uses lifting arms at either side of the door panel which are pivoting and assisted in their action by a set of tension springs either side. The door panel swings out and slides back into the garage on rails with wheels on the door panel sliding in those rails. The door is almost fully retracted into the garage when opened with roughly the same amount of headroom lost as the canopy mechanism, with the door hanging down under the headframe.

The drive through width is compromised with retractable gear as the lifting arms sit inbetween the legs of the frame either side and reduce the width by about 80-150mm in total, depending on the exact manufacturer and door size.


An easy way to maybe help make your choice is this:Up and over garage door with retractable operating gear
If the door ordering width is 7’6” wide or less then make sure you are happy with the final drive through dimensions. The canopy door will maximise your width for the door. If you only want a manual operated door then go down the canopy mechanism.

If your ordering width is 7’6” or wider then retractable mechanism becomes more of an option as you are now wider than the majority of vehicle widths, even with the loss of width when open from the side arms. If you want an electric garage door then ideally always go for the retractable option as it is the easiest and most reliable gear type when combined with an electric operator drive.

The canopy door can also be made electrically operated,  but with some caviats, one of them being a major loss in headroom when opened. Your door needs to be of a certain level of build quality to take the electric canopy door conversion and some doors are not up to this.


Other Reasons to Buy Canopy or Retractable.

Reasons to buy the Retractable Operating Gear:

  • You want an electric operated door with reliable operation.
  • You want a door which doesn’t stick out a third when fully opened. i.e. Your door is onto a public path or highway.
  • The door choice is a heavy panel and retractable might be the only option available.
  • You want to maximise the headroom and use an electric operator.
  • You want the best security and to utilise mechanical locking internally combined with the electric operator.
  • You don’t want a cable lifting mechanism and ongoing maintenance and balancing. The retractable is a simple mechanism.

Reason to buy the Canopy Operating Gear:

  • You only want a basic and simple manually operated up and over door.
  • You need to maximise your drive through width when the door is opened.
  • You have limited width and want to use the narrowest sub frame possible.
  • You want a remote control door but need to maximise the width when opened fully.
  • You don’t have the room inside the garage to take the horizontal tracking of the retractable gear.

Further Information:


Back to Faqs

We use cookies to provide you with a better website experience. Close this popup to carry on browsing, or click here to find out more about cookies