October 26, 2018

A Guide to RVs, SUVs, and Garage Door Sizing

Garage with a RV inHow big is your garage door? Most of us have an accurate rough estimate of a single or double residential garage door. Most would guess them to be around 8 or 9 ft. wide by 7 or 8 ft. high, and double doors around 14 to 16 or even 18 ft. wide.

Where we run into trouble is when we start to guess at the size of the vehicles we intend to pass through those doors. Particularly sports utility vehicles (SUVs) or a recreational vehicles (RVs).

While an SUV might pass through the average door, an RV can run into some problems. In this article, we’ll start to look at the best door options based on the size of vehicle you own or intend to buy. You will want to keep all of this information in mind if you are building a new garage (attached or detached), or if you are planning on buying an SUV or RV that will be parked inside an existing space.

A Look at SUVs

SUVs are found in many sizes. It is best to begin by learning their standard range of heights, lengths, and widths:

  • Height can vary between 5.5 ft. (1.675 m) and 6.1 ft. (1.845 m)
  • A luggage carrier or roof rack can add at least 6 in. (15 cm) to the height
  • The plain SUV may fit in a 7-ft. (2.1 m) door, but it is best to err on the side of caution and select an 8-ft. (2.4 m) door

Then, you need to consider the length of a vehicle.

  • If you already have a garage, the length of the SUV shouldn’t be a problem, but measure it anyway to be sure.
  • Most SUVs are from 15.4 ft. (4.7 m) and 16.9 ft. (5.1 m) long.

Finally, there is the width. Try to keep the maximum width in mind, i.e. the width with the doors all of the way open. It is horrible to make choices in garage sizes only to find your doors are dented and dinged by too narrow a space when you open them while inside the garage. Rearranging the contents of your garage to have enough room may be necessary.

A Look at RVs?

There is a lot more flexibility to the sizes of RVs, with some measuring up to 9½ ft. (2.9 m) high, with more height added by roof‑mounted air conditioners, satellite dishes and even solar panels.

There are also issues with low bridges and other road-based limitations. For example, it is not unusual to see a height limit of roughly 13½ feet when driving older, country roads. However, you’ll see even lower limits on fast-food drive thru lands and even modern highways.

How does this figure into your calculations for garage doors? It is common to find 12-ft.-high (3.6 m) garage doors, which should accommodate most RVs. And as for width, the typical 10 to 12-ft. (3 to 3.6 m) door should do the trick. The good news is that many RV owners build a separate structure unattached from the home allowing for flexibility.

And what about “fifth wheel” trailers. These are usually very large and tall, pulled by bigger trucks, such as the F-150s. They can often fit into the typical garage doors, but if there are add-ons sitting on their roofs, these have to be factored into the equation. Lengths are more of an issue with fifth-wheels, and some can be as long as 22 ft. (12.2 m) to 40 ft. (12.2 m)!

Measuring Your Door

Garage Door MeasureIf you have an existing garage and are considering the purchase of an RV or SUV, take the time to measure the garage to ensure you can get that vehicle inside.

To get an accurate sizing, use a measuring tape to gauge the space from the interior of one door jamb to the other. For the height (also called the lintel), repeat the process. These measurements are precisely the size of the door.

Yet, you also have to measure inside the garage. Here, the most important measurement is the headroom over the head of the door. This can be shorter than the top of the garage door frame and is measured from the floor to the first obstruction. The obstruction might be a beam, a duct or anything else. You always need to know about such limitations.

Any questions?

If you are left with questions about this, just contact us before buying an SUV or RV or building a new garage. We understand garage doors fully and can advise you about the best choices based on your needs and budget. We will gladly provide you with a quotation by email, but also encourage you to stop by and meet us at our showroom. You might opt to head online and use our Design Centre to sample garage door styles on your structure or use the image gallery to find inspiration and ideas.

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