October 26, 2018

Select the Right Garage Door Size for Your SUV or RV

Garage door size

Even if you do not own a garage or have never paid much attention to the garage on your home, you can probably give a good estimate of the general size of the door or doors. Most of us know that when we speak of single doors, they are most often 8 or 9 ft. wide by 7 or 8 ft. high. And when we speak of a double garage door, it will vary between 14 to 16 or even 18 ft. wide.

The question we want to answer here, though, is whether these sizes are sufficient for a sports utility vehicle (SUV) or a recreational vehicle (RV)? After all the widths of SUVs are pretty standard, and it is really only a question of the height. For RVs, though, there may not be enough room with an 8’ high door.

In the paragraphs that follow, we’ll take some time to explain how you can determine the best choices in garage doors based on the size of your specific vehicle. You will need to keep the following information in mind, especially if you are new garage whether attached or detached, or you are planning on buying an SUV or RV that will reside in your current garage.

The Answers for SUVs

Although SUVs are found in an array of sizes, their heights fit into a sort of standard framework. Height-wise they can range from 5.5 ft. (1.675 m) to 6.1 ft. (1.845 m). And while that might lead you to think that a 7-ft. (2.1 m) door will work, you need to factor in other issues. For instance, will there be a luggage carrier on the roof of your car? If so you’ll need to add at least six more inches (15 cm) to the measurement. In other words, you would be better selecting an 8-ft. (2.4 m) door.

Then, there is the length. If you own a garage, the length of an SUV (or any other standard vehicle) should pose no problems. Typically, SUVs range from 15.4 ft. (4.7 m) to 16.9 ft. (5.1 m) long.

And if building a new garage, do yourself a favor and consider the maximum width of your vehicle with its doors open. Why? You don’t want every vehicle you own to have deep dings in the doors because they strike the interior walls of the garage every time someone gets in or out.

The Answers RVs?

RVs have much more variety in terms of heights and widths. Most will measure a maximum of 9½ ft. (2.9 m) high, but they have other items on their roofs, too. Most will have an A/C unit, perhaps a satellite dish and even solar panels. Depending on the roads you take, height restrictions may come into play

For most, we would suggest 13½ ft. That seems to be the most frequent lower limit, meaning definitely stay well below that. Yet, that applies only to highway height restrictions, not those of old covered bridges, fast food drive through lanes and other low clearance structures.

And what about your garage? Typically, garage doors start at around 12-ft.-high (3.6 m) for RVs, with widths of 10 to 12‑ft. (3 to 3.6 m) sufficient for most vehicles. The good news is that most garages used for RVs are detached from the house and can often be custom-built to accommodate any sort of vehicle.

Does that include the popular “Fifth Wheel” style? This is the free-standing trailer style that is pulled by a sturdy truck, like a Ford F‑150 or larger. Here too, height is not often an issue, even with add-ons sitting atop the roof. Length is where owners might hit some snags, with sizes ranging between 22 ft. (12.2 m) and even as much as 40 ft. (12.2 m)!

How to Measure

If you haven’t yet purchased an RV, and you intend to house it in a pre-existing garage, you MUST take detailed measurements to ensure everything is going to fit. This is not a complex task and requires just a measuring tape and some scrap paper. Measure the distance from the interior of one door jamb to the other. For the height (also called the lintel), it’s the same measurement. With just those two measurements, you know the precise dimensions of the opening in the garage wall!

If you are lucky enough to be able to build a brand-new garage, the most important measurement is the “clearance” or room over the “head of the door”. In other words, this is the space between the floor of the garage and the lowest “obstruction”. This might be an overhead duct a ceiling beam or something else. This is the actual maximum height you have even if the rest of the garage space is higher.

Garage door measured


If you are worried about any of this, just contact us before you build your garage or buy an SUV or RV. We are garage door experts and are able to advise you and explain the best choice to make based on your specific needs, and all while sticking to your budget. We’ll give a quotation by email, but most like to visit our showroom or website to use the Design Centre to sample garage door styles, or peruse the image gallery for inspiration.

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