Your Guide to True Swing Garage Doors

Date: May 25, 2021

If you’re looking for a unique door that will make a statement, a true swing garage door could be the perfect option. Unlike traditional overhead garage doors, these products swing open and shut on hinges mounted to each side of your garage door opening. This blog will provide an overview of swing-out garage doors to help you decide if they’re right for your home.

What is a Swing-Style Garage Door?

As the name suggests, true swing garage doors swing open and closed on heavy-duty hinges that are mounted to the jambs of your garage opening. They’re typically composed of two opposing door slabs (or leaves) that open outwards, although in-swing options are also available. The “active” slab has a handle and opens first, and the other slab is stationary until the pins holding it shut are released.

Swing-out garage doors are a beautiful, authentic option that harken back to nineteenth-century carriage houses. They’re ideal for garages with limited overhead space or for homeowners who want to avoid overhead track systems in converted areas. Swing-open garage doors are available in nearly any size and are manufactured as single units.

Keep in mind that swinging garage doors require more space than traditional overhead doors since they open horizontally. You’ll also want to make sure your door is at least one foot taller than it is wide to avoid sagging. And if you opt for an automatic opening system, you’ll need to choose one that’s specifically designed for swing doors. There are two main options:

  1. A double unit system that mounts directly above each door and extends or retracts a jointed arm to open and close the slabs.
  2. A single overhead track with a small gliding box attached to rods that push the slabs open or pull them shut.

2 door Medallion swing

What Are Bifold Swing-Out Garage Doors?

Like closet doors in your bedroom or kitchen, bifold garage doors collapse to half their size as the door opens. This reduces the width (and swing) to the dimensions of each door slab. Bifolds aren’t as heavy as traditional swinging garage doors, and they don’t open as far into your driveway.

Components of Swinging Garage Doors

It’s important to understand the parts of a true swing garage door (and how it attaches to your garage) since it’s quite different than a traditional door. We’ll review the major components of swing-open garage doors below.


This is a thin strip of material (typically wood) that’s attached to the active slab of your swinging door. It’s designed to seal and cover the seam between the two leaves when the door is closed.


This is the finish-quality material surrounding and framing the garage door opening. It covers the edge of the jamb, the gap for shims, and the raw edges of the wall. Casing often has a molded profile for visual appeal, such as a beaded edge.


Finish framing hides the gaps around the opening of your garage and is made up of casing and jamb. It also ensures the door swings open and shut properly and without causing damage.


This finish-quality wood trim is applied to your garage door opening to cover exposed studs and headers. It also hides the wall materials on both sides of the opening. Your jamb should be flush to both sides of the wall, and one side is usually routed to accept swing door hinges.

Shim Space

This planned space is included between rough framing and the final jamb to allow installers to make adjustments. These changes are typically made to level out-of-plumb framing and ensure the door operates correctly.


The sill of your true-swing garage door is the horizontal material that serves as its threshold. Exterior sills are typically raised and made of aluminum to protect against water infiltration.


This prevents the door slabs from swinging beyond the closed position and causing damage to the contents of your garage. Stops are milled into the jamb to create the most weathertight seal possible. The position of your stop indicates whether the door is in- or out-swing.


Typically made from aluminum, the sweep covers the 1/8″ gap between the bottom edge of the door slab and the sill. Sweeps are required on all exterior doors and designed to prevent water and air infiltration.

Double Symphony swing doors

How to Measure for Swing-Open Garage Doors

There are three openings that must be considered when measuring for your new true swing garage door: rough, masonry, and finished. Let’s take a closer look at each of these openings and why they’re important.

1. Rough Opening

The rough opening is defined by the location of the wood framing involved in new construction (studs, headers, etc.). The bottom of the rough opening is typically sub-floor, but it can also be concrete. The rough opening must include additional space to ensure the door operates properly once installed. If you’re replacing an existing door that already has a finished opening, you can skip this measurement.

2. Masonry Opening

The masonry opening refers to the hard, finished material surrounding the garage opening that the door jamb is attached to. Both new construction and existing door replacements require a masonry opening measurement.

3. Finished Opening

The finished opening is created when the trim is installed around the rough opening, which must be plumb and level. The finished opening should have casings, and the jamb must be ready to accept hinges. There should be 1/8″ clearance on all four sides of the slabs to ensure the door opens and closes properly.

Design Your Perfect True Swing Garage Door with Artisan

If you’re interested in a swinging garage door for your new house or want to replace your existing door, we’re here to help. We can create a fully customized door that will complement your home and enhance the overall curb appeal of your property. You’ll find more information about all of your true swing garage door options below.

Construction Specifications

Every Artisan swing-out carriage garage door starts with our proprietary core frame that won’t warp, twist, or bow. This includes urethane foam core insulation and internal blocking to support any hardware. The door’s exterior frame overlay features milled edges, along with simulated or true divided lite windows.

You can choose from exterior facing in a variety of materials, and the door edges are banded to match the overlay face. Each door also contains a bottom rail designed to shed water away from the door frame and panels. All of our true swing garage doors come with a one-year warranty starting from the date of factory shipping.

Material Options

Panel Options

  • Flat
  • Herringbone
  • Matching interior door face (typically smooth mahogany plywood)
  • Raised
    • Extira® paint-grade
    • Solid wood (12” or less)
    • Solid wood flush tongue & groove (12” or more)
  • Recessed
  • Solid wood
  • Tongue & groove
    • Alternating width
    • Beaded
    • Flush
    • Tricoya® paint-grade V-groove
    • V-groove
  • Tricoya® paint-grade

Symphony swing door

Trim Options

  • Chamfered edge
  • Cross buck (X-buck)
  • Cross rail
  • Sprung diagonal boards
  • V-buck
  • Z-buck (A-buck)

Finish Options

  • Aluminum
    • Baked-on white
    • Clear anodized
    • Medium bronze anodized
  • Vinyl
    • Custom EasyCare® paint color
    • EasyCare® Designer White paint
  • Wood
    • Custom paint color
    • EnduraFinish stain
    • Factory prime
    • Faux stain paint
    • Unfinished
  • Wood composite
    • Custom EasyCare® paint color
    • EasyCare Designer® White paint
    • Faux stain paint
    • Field finished (voids warranty)

Arch Options

  • Arch top with simulated divided lites (standard or custom radius)
  • Arch top with true divided lites (standard or custom radius)
  • Ellipse top
  • Simulated arch tops
  • Solid arch top (standard or custom radius)
  • Square top
  • True arch top with arched wall opening

Available Accessories

Wondering where to buy swing-open carriage garage doors for your home? Look no further than Artisan’s Door Design Gallery. Start creating your dream true swing garage door today!

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