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What’s The Difference Between Vertical and High Lift Doors?

  • admin
  • 11 Jun 2018
  •   Comments Off on What’s The Difference Between Vertical and High Lift Doors?

Aside from aesthetics, there is one more thing you will need to decide when it comes to your garage door. There are different lifts that you are going to be able to choose from. We are going to talk about the vertical-lift and high-lift, which don’t work the same as a standard-lift garage door.

While both a vertical and a high-lift are going to provide you with excellent service, the way they work is extremely different. As a home or business owner, it is important to know the difference to help you choose which one will be better for you.

The Difference Between Vertical and High Lift Doors

There are two main differences when it comes to the cable drums and tracks. The top roller on a standard-lift, when closed, will rest at the bottom of the track where the curved portion is. A high-lift’s track has a longer straight portion between the curved portion and the top roller. Then we have vertical-lifts that don’t have a curved portion of the track at all. With the vertical-lifts the door will open straight up and then angle slightly backward, letting the door close as a wedge.

It is important to know that you will need different cable drums for your door, as the high-lift and vertical-lift doors open differently. Standard-lift cable drums are flat, whereas vertical-lift cable drums wind continually wind closer to the drum shaft while to door opens. High-lift cable drums are basically a mix of the standard and the vertical-lift cables. The reason for the engineering differences is to balance the garage door properly.


When closed, a vertical-lift will rest on the floor and the door weight has to exceed the provided lift of the torsion springs. These types of springs unwind while the door is opening, decreasing the distance from the cable to the center of the shaft. The distance is called the moment arm.

Let’s talk about leverage. Imagine you are closing a door to a house. If you were to push the center of the door, it isn’t quite as easy. This happens due to the distance between the moment arm being cut in half.


Vertical-lifts and high-lift cable drums work the same way when starting out, then the high-lift starts operating as a standard-lift. The cable drums need to decrease the moment arm while the springs unwind because at first, the door opens vertically. The loss in weight from the door gets balanced by the loss of spring tension when the weight of the door starts getting supported by the horizontal tracks. Because of the mechanics of this system, when the top section meets the horizontal tracks, the cable drums have to be flat.

Cables on standard-lifts typically have a small portion on the edge of the outside that is high-lift. This is because torsion springs have to be able to support the weight of the garage door in its entirety until the top rollers and the horizontal portion of the track meet.

Call Us For An All-new Door

Another good thing to know is that it is completely possible to convert from a standard-lift to a high-lift door if that is something that interests you. As well as converting from a residential door to a high-lift. You can contact Neighborhood Garage Door Service of Seattle, WA to learn more about converting or if you have questions about the differences in the lifts.

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They sent Doug Fussell out to my house on the day after Christmas! I had only called them three days before! Doug was a premier technician, very thorough and very efficient. I expected him to take two days, since he was replacing two doors and adding openers on each door. He only took the daylight hours of one day! I could not believe how fast he was! In addition, he thoroughly taught me how to use the remote openers. I highly recommend them to anyone!
~Donald B.

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We just bought a home and this company was so understanding as I had to change the appointment time a few times. Then the tech came out and was so kind and helpful. I could not have asked for a better experience and will suggest them to anyone who needs work done on their garage door!
~Tammy K.

positive reviews

My garage door broke on a Saturday night as I was getting ready to leave for a holiday party. Kelvin was here within 30 minutes. He reviewed everything with me that was happening with my door. He gave me the estimates of what was immediately needed to be done in order for my door to raise and then what I will need to have done very soon. I could see all the problems he pointed out to me and I decided to have everything done. He completed everything that night. I was very satisfied with Kelvin’s professionalism and the work he did. Thank you again.
~Joyce N

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