Converting an Up and Over Garage Door to Electric Operation

An increasing proportion of new garage door sales are for remote controlled and motorized operating systems, however it is not always necessary to buy a new garage door in order to gain these benefits.

Most up and over garage doors can be converted into an electrically operated door with a motor, a remote control unit and a simple conversion kit. Many kits can be fitted by the typical DIY enthusiast.

The first thing that needs to be established is the type of up and over door that is fitted.

These doors come in two forms known as retractable and canopy, and the type of motorization kit required will be dependent upon which of these two options is in place.

Knowing which kind of up and over door requires automating is important because the two options have different support frames and different tilting mechanisms.

  • A retractable up and over garage door has a full frame with vertical and horizontal guides and the door is supported at its four corners during the entire opening and closing motion. This leads to a very smooth and resistance free operation and this in turn means that these retractable doors only require a motor and a belt or chain mechanism to open and close them.

    The complete retractable motorized system can be fitted in a couple of hours with a reasonable tool kit, and manual adjustments are kept to a minimum by clever electronics that recognise the doors opening characteristic and accommodate to them. This means that fine tuning and adjustments are negligible with this kind of door.

  • A canopy garage door uses a much simpler (and cheaper) support frame than a retractable door and it does not have four constant points of transition contact like a retractable door. This results in canopy doors having a less sophisticated movement than retractable doors and this in turn means that they require a much more complex and expensive conversion kit.

    The conversion of a manual canopy door to motorized operation generally requires contract fitting by a tradesman. This is because the conversion kit not only converts the manual door into an automated one, but it also converts the transition and motion of the door into something that simulates that of a retractable door. This requires significant alterations to the support frame and running mechanism and it makes the project a much more complex and involved challenge. Indeed, it is usually worth making a price comparison between buying a new automated retractable garage door, versus converting an existing canopy door to an electric one.