Garage Door Framing Guide: How to Frame a Garage Door Opening

garage door framing

Do you want to know how to frame a garage door opening? Then this article is for you. We’ll discuss all you need to know about garage door framing and its technicalities. This is a crucial step to perform if you have plans of purchasing a new garage door or even replacing an existing one. 

  1. Make the rough opening 3″ wider than the garage door
  2. Also, make the rough opening 1.5″ taller than the garage door
  3. Leave a headroom of 14″, or 12″ minimum
  4. Install the header, jambs and center pad of the frame using a 2″ x 6″ lumber for the header, jambs and center pad
  5. Leave at least 5″ of space on the sides of the door.

I’ll explain the process more extensively, as we proceed. I suggest you go through the entire article at least once before you start. You don’t want a situation where your newly bought garage door won’t fit in an opening or an opening which is wider than the door. This is also important because without framing your garage door, there is no possible way to mount your garage door properly.

Something to take note of

Perhaps you are replacing an existing door. If you already know the size of your existing garage door, excellent. Get a door with the same size as the one you are replacing. If you don’t, read this post on how to measure a garage door. Keep in mind; most conventional garage doors are 7ft. But if you own an SUV or planning to buy one, you should consider an 8ft garage door. This is important information because they will affect how the garage door is framed. 

Tools you’ll need

I like to get all of the equipment required in place before I start any project. So let’s start with that.

Obviously, for any woodwork, you need a tape measure. I’ve had the General Tools LTM1 tape measure (Amazon) from when it came out, and they are still as good as new. I take them with me for every project, and they get the job done.

You also need a hammer to drive the nails through the wood into the wall. I prefer using the Bostitch Framing Nailer (Amazon), which is a nail gun, and then finishing it off with a hammer when required. This saves me a lot of time and energy. If you are strong enough, a hammer should work just fine.

Take your step ladder along with you. There will be some climbing involved. Take your hand saw with you as well. You may have to do some sawing to get your woods in the right length.

Other miscellaneous tools you will need are framing nails (certainly), framing square, and a carpenter pencil.

Now let’s begin.

To make this guide more straightforward and much more comprehensive, I will use the image below to explain all you need to know.

garage door framing

Rough Opening of Garage Door

Let’s talk about the garage door rough opening first. For those who are not familiar with what this is. A rough opening refers to the space left inside a door or window frame (door in this case), where the actual door will be fitted. It’s essential to get this measurement right else your newly purchased garage door won’t fit the opening or might actually be smaller than the opening. Let’s look at how to get this measurement right.

Width of Rough Opening     

The width of the rough opening should be 3 inches greater than the width of the garage door you are purchasing. For instance, if the width of the garage door is 8ft, the rough opening should be 8ft, 3 inches wide. If it’s 9ft, the opening must be 9ft, 3 inches, and so on. You get the picture.

If you are yet to purchase your door, be sure to ask the manufacturer for the exact dimensions of the door. Most garage door companies have a page for every single product they have, and looking on their website for the door of your choice might give you all the necessary information you need. However, I recommend you call the local dealership for any assistance you require.

Height of Rough Opening

The height of the rough opening must be 1.5 inches taller than the garage door you intend to buy. To put it into perspective, if the garage door is, let’s say 8ft tall, make the height of your opening 8ft, 1.5 inches tall.


The headroom of your garage refers to the space between the opening and the ceiling. It’s an essential space because if your garage door of choice is an overhead garage door (most popular garage door type), it needs that headroom to fully open and close. Other types of doors that require a headroom are Tilt-Up garage doors, popularly known as up and over.

Other garage door types, such as the roll-up door, side-hinged door, or a sliding garage door does not require any headroom to function. This means there is no need for leaving a headroom. These garage door types don’t open upwards, so the headroom is unnecessary. That’s just something to keep in mind if these are the options you are going for

The standard headroom for garage doors is 12 inches. If you are only opening the door manually, that is enough headroom. However, if you intend operating with a garage door opener, 14 inches of headroom is recommended.

Header and Jamb

Let’s talk about the header of the door first. As shown in the image, you’ll need 2-inch lumber. The width of the lumber should be between 6” and 8”. Ideally, 2”x6” is the most used header size. 

Use 2-inch lumber for the jambs as well, and ensure they are appropriately nailed to the door opening with the help of a nail gun or hammer. Framing nails are highly recommended. These framing nails (Amazon) by Freeman is a good option for this job

It’s time to install the center pad. It is found on top of your header wood, vertically installed, and in the middle top middle portion of the door. Use a 2”x6” piece of lumber for this job. Ensure this piece is securely installed. This is because all the tension of the door will be in this wood. It holds the garage door torsion springs, which means any force exerted on the springs is directly transferred to this piece. If you use a garage door opener for your opener, it will be attached to this piece as well.

Sides of Garage Door Opening

Ideally, there should be a space of at least 5inches on each side of the door. This will make room for the tracks to be mounted appropriately. 

The next step is to measure the height from the floor to the ceiling, cut a 2”x6” lumber and install it on the wall, from the bottom, all the way to the roof of your door. This is an essential piece of your installation. It is where your door tracks are installed. Check image for clarification. 

What is the best wood for a garage door frame?

Getting the right wood for your door frame is as important as getting the right garage door. Selecting a good wood is a decision that can make or break your door. That’s because the right choice can last for decades, whereas a poor choice will only last for a few years.

Excellent wooden material for a door frame should be resistant to rot, comfortable to work with, but at the same time durable. You don’t want a wood that will last for a few years and then begin to deteriorate.

Pine is an excellent choice for a garage door frame. Woodworkers prefer it because they are lightweight, effortless to cut, stain, and hit a nail into. They are also rot-resistant, which means it will take decades to breakdown. The pale yellowish look of pine also gives it an extra edge and something to consider.

Few things to know

What I’ve seen several times in my experience is, the side opening woods do not go from the ceiling to the floor. There will be a brick installed, and then the wood sits on it. This may be helpful for the lifespan of the wood because it will take longer for them to rot than being installed on the floor.

You can go with this approach, but make sure the brick doesn’t get in the way of your newly installed. You don’t want a situation where your garage door fails to close all the way because there is a brick on the way.

Also, don’t go for woods that have been treated. They will cause your mounted tracks or any aluminum garage door parts which are attached to rust quickly.


Framing a garage door opening, in my opinion, can be done by anyone who loves to DIY. Remember to take all the safety precautions necessary to protect yourself from injury. And as always, have fun while you do this project. Share this post with friends if you found it useful.

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