What Are Tilt Garage Doors?

Tilt doors may be as old as time, but they remain one of the most common garage doors in New Zealand. This is because they don't require too much headroom compared to other standard door types.

What Are Tilt Garage Doors? The Complete Guide To Buying A Tilt Garage Door

Tilt doors may be as old as time, but they remain one of the most common garage doors in New Zealand. This is because they don't require too much headroom compared to other standard door types. In this guide, you'll learn: 

  • How tilt garage door works,
  • The pros and cons of tilt garage doors,
  • The costs of tilt doors
  • How to maintain tilt garage doors
  • What you need to know before buying a tilt garage door.

Sounds like fun? Let's get started! 

What Is A Tilt Garage Door? 

A tilt garage door (or up and over door) is made of a large single metal or wooden panel. Compared to sectional doors, this garage door moves by two large hinge springs on both sides. 

Tilt doors come in two forms: Canopy (manual) and retractable (automatic) tilt garage doors. 

How Does It Work?  

The canopy doors have a pivoting hinge mechanism that tilts the door into the garage. When fully opened, about one-third of the panel protrudes out of the garage. The remaining part sits parallel to the garage ceiling. This type of door is ideal for garages with limited floor area since most of the door is usually outside. 

As earlier mentioned, the canopy tilt door operates manually. The torsion spring, coupled with additional cables on both sides of the door, makes it easy to use without strain. 

Furthermore, canopy doors have a two-point locking mechanism that prevents intruders from accessing your garage. Some manufacturers include an anti-drop device that prevents the door from tumbling down in case of spring or cable failure.

Although, the canopy tilt door has its downsides. Unlike sectional or roll-up doors, you can't park your car up close to the door. This is because it protrudes out of the garage when in motion. Aside from this, they are affordable, easy to install and require less maintenance.

Retractable doors are more common since they are automated. Instead of protruding from the door frame, the panel retracts and sits on a supporting rail that runs back into the garage. So this is perfect if you have a larger floor area in your garage.  

The retractable door opens with the help of retractable gear and springs installed on both sides of the door. This lifts the door slowly into the track rail installed below the garage ceiling. 

Some products have a secure locking mechanism at the base of the door that prevents unauthorised entry. Also, if the door gets jammed and you cannot open it, it has a manual release mechanism. 

Why Choose A Tilt Door? 

Tilt garage doors are suitable for garages with limited headroom, such as basement, ideal and skyline garages. Moreso, it fits perfectly where other garage doors don’t. 

Advantages Of Tilt Garage Doors

They Are Usually Inexpensive. 

Tilt garage doors cost less than other standard door types. If you have a reasonable budget, you can consider buying a tilt door for your home.

Retractable tilt doors, however, may have additional costs such as garage door opener, installation kits, etc. But, you won’t be breaking the bank to purchase any. 

Easy To Use 

Another fantastic benefit of tilt doors is convenience. These doors are made of light but robust materials such as wood or aluminium.

Also, since it's a single panel, lifting the door isn't strenuous and can be done manually. So you don’t have to spend time and energy operating the door.

Can Be Automated 

Just like sectional doors, the tilt garage door has automation options. It's compatible with most garage door openers. However, canopy tilt doors are not automated. So if you want this feature, the retractable tilt door is the way to go. 

Has Diverse Customisable Options 

Both canopy and retractable tilt garage doors have a variety of designs. Either wood or steel, you surely will find the best match for your home style. 

Drawbacks Of Tilt Garage Doors

Security Can Become Concerning 

Most products aren’t solid, which can be a problem. Also, there isn’t a bottom seal like sectional doors, so anyone with a crowbar can force a way in. 

Another thing is the extension springs. Usually, the doors are hung at high tension, and the springs can become loose or rust in later years. And when this happens, they may fly out, causing a fatal accident. Proper maintenance and scheduled visits from an expert can easily prevent this from happening. 

They Are Not Weather Resistant

Tilt doors fail in terms of durability. Although they are made to withstand weather conditions, the whole panel may topple in cases of extremity. And when this happens, the door may be beyond repair. 

Besides, wooden designs rot faster. So, a tilt garage door isn't an option if you live in areas prone to heavy rainfall or snowfall. 

May Not Befit Some Architectural Designs

Although tilt garage doors have beautiful designs, they might not complement some modern buildings. This limits how you can use the garage door in your home. Since the garage door adds value to your home, this might be a disadvantage when you plan to resell. 

The Single Panel Can Become A Disadvantage

Tilt panel doors have a single panel, which can be a disadvantage. For instance, if the door gets damaged, you may need to replace the entire door, unlike sectional doors, which may require the repair of one or two sections. 

Are Tilt Garage Doors Safe?

Unfortunately, tilt garage doors are less secure than sectional and roller doors. The gaps at the door edges can be an access point to burglars. 

Automated tilt doors are becoming more popular since they are integrated with enhanced locking systems. The panels are also fitted with anti-lift sensors that prevent intruders from breaking into your garage when you're gone. 

However, steel or aluminium doors can provide extra security. They have innate strength that can resist a good beating. Using add-on accessories such as motorised garage doors, motion sensors, detector lights, etc., can also enhance the security of your garage.

Can You Automate Tilt Garage Doors?

Usually, retractable tilt garage doors are automated. They work with almost all electric garage door openers. But canopy tilt garage doors are manual. But, some garage door openers enable manual garage doors to be transformed into automatic control.

A perfect example is Tiltmaster, from Merlin. It works for old and newer versions of tilt doors. The garage opener also offers high-level security features and a wholesome solution to automating your tilt garage door. 

Where Can You Buy Tilt Garage Doors?

You can buy tilt garage doors from Glideaway Garage Door Solutions. The doors are available in various bespoke sizes and designs tailored to your needs. With over 35 years in the New Zealand door industry, you can be confident of getting high-quality and long-lasting products for your building, whether residential, commercial or industrial door systems. 

How Much Does A Tilt Garage Door Cost? 

The cliche you get what you pay for garage doors cannot be more correct. Typically, a tilt garage door is affordable. But it depends on the manufacturer, the size of your garage and your preferences. 

What type of finish would you prefer? What is the size of your garage space? How much clearance do you have in your garage? All these are potential questions that your provider may ask before giving you a quote. Garage door accessories like auto locks or external keypads may also increase the costs. 

But from our research, the starting price of a tilt garage door is $1700. Installing your garage door professionally also attracts extra fees. However, this price depends on the manufacturer and your preferences. Contact Glideaway Doors for a free quote. 

What Sizes Do Roller Doors Come In?

The standard space requirements for tilt doors are: 

  • Height: 2.0m - 2.4m
  • Width: 2.4m - 4.80m
  • Backspace: 500mm+
  • Sideroom: 90mm for manual doors
  • Headroom: 800mm for manual doors and 120mm for automatic doors

The standard sizes for tilt doors are listed above, but you can customise them for your garage opening. 

Do Tilt Garage Doors Require Much Maintenance? 

No, tilt garage doors do not require much maintenance since they have fewer components than sectional doors.

How Do You Maintain A Tilt Garage Door? 

Alt text: How do you maintain a tilt garage door? 

  • Use a dish-washing liquid, warm water and a damp cloth to clean the panel. Avoid getting water into the garage door opener to avoid electrocution or damage. 
  • Instead, clean them with methylated spirits. Don't use lubricants on your guide tracks! 
  • Call in a professional once every year to check for any damage. This will prevent the possibility of unfortunate accidents. 
  • Lubricate the steel hinges with machine oil. Use a Chain Lube on the opener chain and springs. 

Tip: Repeat this once in three months. 

  • Don't use a pressure washer to remove dirt or soap left over after cleaning. Instead, use water, soap and a soft sponge to remove the remnants. This may be time-consuming but prevents unnecessary damage to your garage door. 

What Do You Need To Know Before Purchasing A Tilt Garage Door?

Alt text: What do you need to know before purchasing a tilt garage door?


The clearance is the space the garage door takes when it is opened or closed. For tilt doors, this depends on the size and weight of the door. If you consider a larger door, like a double-skinned one, you could lose up to 150mm of daylight opening. So you need to consider this before buying a tilt door.


Tilt doors can be clad in steel, aluminium, cedar, plywood, or even Zincalume. Steel doors are the strongest but are not suitable for areas close to the sea. This is because salt water can erode the surface, making it lose colour and style. But they are best for wind-prone areas as they are wind resistant. 

Powder Coated aluminium resists corrosion and is best suited to corrosion-prone areas. Fibreglass is perfect for extreme climates with high and low temperatures. It has excellent insulating properties and helps to keep your garage at an even temperature. 

Colour Matching 

If your garage is the focal point of your home, then you must carefully select the colours. Most people prefer to match the door with the window or entire design. 

But there are a variety of colours for you to choose from. Wood tends to be a more personalised option, as it can fit any modern or traditional design.


Tilt doors can be automated, but they are not compatible with all garage door openers. If you choose to automate your current door, you can opt for Tiltmaster by Merlin MyQ. It has add-on accessories like a wireless wall button to enhance security and convenience. This is specifically made for tilt doors. But if you're in the market for a new door, you can buy retractable tilt doors. 


The quality of your tilt garage door largely depends on the manufacturer. We advise that you buy from authentic sources with positive customer reviews. Check out the previous works and years of experience in manufacturing or supplying garage doors. 


Tilt-up doors may be old-fashioned, but they have unique features. Do you want to buy a tilt garage door in New Zealand? You're in the right place! 

The Glideaway garage door provides solutions to all your door needs. Contact our door specialists today to know the tilt door that suits your needs.