Sectional Overhead Garage Doors Aren’t Your Only Option

When choosing a new garage door, all the options can be overwhelming. If you want to keep things simple, you can go for the most popular option for residential homes, which would be a sectional overhead door, but there are other garage door constructions to consider before moving onto the next step, which would be choosing your garage door material (steel, wood, wood composite, aluminum, fiberglass or vinyl).

Sectional Garage Doors

The “sections” being referred to are the horizontal panels that compose a typical residential garage door. The panels are connected by hinges, and fitted with rollers. These can be lifted manually, but are typically operated by a motorized garage door opener. The door rides on two parallel tracks, opening vertically, and gathering the panels within the ceiling. How much headroom your garage offers is something to consider when choosing whether you want an overhead door. Using a side-mounted opener can free up space, but you can also avoid an overhead door completely and choose one that slides to the side, or opens with a side hinge.

Side-Hinged Garage Doors

You might be surprised to know that all garage doors used to swing out. Side-hinged garage doors open like normal doors. Old-fashioned, carriage-style doors all used to open this way, but contemporary carriage doors have been adapted to open overhead. Swinging out via hinge is still an option though, and can be ideal if you want to free up headroom.


Slide-to-side is another earlier method of operating garage doors. They work as the name suggests, by sliding or bending to one side of the garage and sitting parallel to the wall. They can be flexible to follow a curve, or straight. You might assume this style is manual, but slide-to-side garage doors can be automatic with a built-in motor.

Other Overhead Styles

Other operating styles that are considered “overhead” include roll-up doors and tilt-up garage doors. Roll-up aluminum grill doors are what you typically see used for retail shops and storage units. Tilt-up doors are not sectional, but are composed of one solid piece. When open, the door sits parallel with the garage ceiling and floor.

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Not All Garage Doors Open Overhead

Sectional overhead garage doors might be the most popular, but it’s not the only option. If you’re looking to preserve head room, you have other options. Instead of the panels of your sectional garage door gathering overhead, you could choose a construction style that slides side-to-side. It can even slide along a curve. If your door is a solid piece, there are options for it to swing out, or tilt up.