Can A Garage Door Be Wider Than The Opening?

There's a lot of planning that goes into building a garage. Not least of which is ensuring the garage door will fit well with the garage opening. It can be upsetting if you go through all the planning stages and find the garage door is wider than the opening. Does this ever work out? We've done some research and have the best advice for you.

A garage door should not be much wider than the opening. The garage door should be the same width as the opening or very slightly smaller, with the rough opening being a few inches wider to accommodate the door's frame. This ensures the best fit and seal.

Now that you know the garage door should be the same width as the opening, let's discuss the importance of having a well-fitted garage door. We'll answer some other questions you might have as well. Keep reading!

A gorgeous two storey house with cream colored wooden sidings, brown painted garage doors, and a white driveway, Can A Garage Door Be Wider Than The Opening?

Rough Opening Versus Finished Opening

The term rough opening or rough framing refers to the size and shape of the opening for your garage before any type of door frame is installed. This rough opening must be a bit larger, generally by a few inches, than the garage door's size to leave room for the frame. Knowing the difference in size between your rough opening and garage door will let you know how much space you have for the actual door frame.

Once the finished opening is completed, the total width should be the same width as the garage door or potentially slightly smaller. Since garage doors work differently than a regular door found in a room or the front of a building, they close upward against the opening instead of fitting inside the finished frame. For this reason, a slightly wider garage door is workable, but too wide is cumbersome.

Door Width Same As the Finished Opening

If the garage door's width is substantially larger than the size of the opening, you run the risk of the edges scraping the frame or failing to open and close smoothly. Although a too wide garage door is less serious than a too-wide frame, it can cause the garage door to malfunction or appear sloppy and rushed while opening or closing.

A white two garage door with sliding up doors

Door/Opening Width Exceptions

A few contractors make the rough opening and finished opening a few inches shorter than the width of the door purposefully. Although this isn't necessary, some builders feel there are some advantages to those types of installations. It allows a metal door's end stiles to rest against the door jambs. Because of this, the amount of rattling in extremely windy environments can be significantly reduced.

Additionally, if you live in an area with a lot of heavy snowfall, it could create a better seal. All these issues can generally be remedied by a perimeter seal, however, so it isn't strictly necessary to have those few inches of difference.

How Wide Should A Garage Door Opening Be?

The standard width of a garage door opening will vary based upon the type of house in which you live, as well as the area in which you reside. However, most single garage doors are about 7 to 8 feet wide. Double car garages are usually about 16 feet wide. Many garage door installation or manufacturing companies create custom garage doors, so don't feel stuck to these measurements. 

Should the garage door match the front door? Check out this guide to find out: Should The Garage Door Match The Front Door?

Can You Widen A Garage Door?

You can absolutely widen a garage door opening if your garage itself doesn't need widening. It's not as impossible as it seems. If you have a lot of door framing, potentially, you can add a few inches on each side by reframing using narrower framing materials. If you need a substantial amount more to your opening, you'll need some heavier equipment. 

Using a few carpentry skills, you can follow these steps to widen a garage door opening:

  1. First, you'll need to remove the door frame using a power drill to take out the screws to widen a garage door. Remove the door tracks as well. Once the frame is removed, the 2x4s supporting the doors should be exposed.
  2. Next, measure and mark the new width on the interior wall. Then, remove the lining of the garage doorway with a drill. Remove all the screws holding the side 2x4 that will be removed. Try your best not to damage the 2x4 as you'll need to reuse these.
  3. Using a jigsaw, cut a clean line through the drywall or boards where you've marked. Put the removed 2x4 vertically along the frame. Make sure it is level and re-attach it to the wall.
  4. Measure the new width exactly, measuring between the existing overhead 2x4 and the new side you've created.
  5. Cut a 2x4 to the measured length using a hand saw. Install the 2x4 into place along the top, securing with two screws every 14 inches. On each side, angle two screws diagonally to hold the weight. 
  6. Finally, you can attach the new doorway.

View this jigsaw on Amazon.

View this drill on Amazon.

Don't hesitate to call for a professional if this DIY method is beyond your comfort zone. 

How Much Does It Cost To Widen A Garage?

If the goal is to widen your entire garage, expect to pay a hefty sum. Expanding from a one to a two-car garage can have you expecting to pay anywhere from $12,000 to $22,000 or more to get it done. If your garage is freestanding, the cost might not be as exorbitant. However, for a garage attached to your home, it will cost more. This is due to any contractor having to calculate the factors on the home and the garage's structural integrity. 

A white two car garage doors with blue painted sidings

Why Is There A Gap At The Bottom Of The Garage Door?

The garage door naturally sits a small amount above the floor due to the aluminum retainer and seal. Installing a door any taller could cause issues with headroom clearance requirements. If the gap seems overly large, you can always install weather stripping, or one of the many products made for garage door bottoms, to keep your garage from being exposed to the elements. 

View this weather stripping on Amazon.

Can a bedroom open into a garage? Check out this guide to find out: Can A Bedroom Open Into A Garage?

In Closing

A garage door should be about the same size as the opening for the best installation. Though a small amount of variance is acceptable, keeping close to the same measurement can prevent any issues down the line. With many custom options available for garage doors, you're sure to find the perfect door for your needs. 

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