Converting an existing garage door to an electric automatic system

Alex Morrison

One of the most common enquiries we receive here at Up & Over is whether or not it is possible to automate an existing manual garage door. The answer is a simple one: it depends!

As such, in as simple terms as possible, let me take you through the determining factors:

1. The condition of your garage door

The ultimate factor is the current condition of your door. If it moves freely and easily, doesn’t rub on its own frame or the floor then you are off to an excellent start and almost any door can be automated. If your door is wobbling all over the place, is very stiff or has a range of other issues then it may be more challenging.

Even if your door is in a sad state, it can always be rejuvenated. If you are very fond of your garage door style and wish to retain it, or it is a very large (and therefore expensive) door to replace, we can simply change the mechanism (springs, arms, tracks, etc) and add a motor for the most cost effective way of motorising otherwise poorly garage doors.

2. The type of garage door you have

Automating an UP & OVER garage door

There are different motors to suit different door types. If you have a traditional up and over door the main factor is whether the door has tracks that run horizontally back into the garage, a retractable door, or tracks that run vertically up and down the back of the frame, a canopy door. Canopy doors are not designed to be motorised, but if the door is modern and/or runs smoothly, it can be motorised with the addition of a bow-arm device, although this will increase the cost.

For comparison, if the door is in reasonable condition, even very old retractable doors can be automated.

Automating a sectional garage door

Virtually all sectional doors can be motorised unless, as per point 1, the door is in a sorry state. Even if it is, the simple nature of sectional doors means that the door should be easily repaired to a condition where it can be motorised. There are a number of different motor types to match your needs i.e. if you have low headroom for example.

Automating a roller garage door

As with sectional doors, virtually all roller doors can be motorised, whether they were originally manual or to replace motors that have failed. There are a number of different motor types and we can recommend the correct motor to suit your particular garage door.

3. Conditions within the garage

In some cases the physical conditions within the garage mean that a motor will not be suitable. We will always aim to squeeze them in where we can, but never at the detriment of reliability as the motor should make your life easier and give you years of dependable function.

The main issues are a lack of headroom, lintels passing through the garage that get in the way of the motor mechanism and ultimately, there must be power in the garage!

The virtues of motorising your door are numerous: no more back-strains, avoid getting out in the rain when you come home and in some cases for those with limited mobility, an absolute must that can be VAT free.

The simplest solution is to give us a ring and we will be glad to come out and give you a free assessment of the suitability of your garage door and leave you a written quotation. Motors are always in stock and can be installed within 3-5 working days. Contact us with any questions about your garage door conversion project.


For more information on any of our services, some friendly professional advice or to arrange a free site survey please give us a ring or fill in the contact form below and we will be in contact as soon as we can.

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