Pass Door in a Garage Door


Pass Door in a Garage Door

Ask any real estate agent how important a garage is in the sale of a home and they’ll tell you it ranks right up there with bedrooms, bathrooms and large country kitchens. Nearly all garages have at least two entrances -- an overhead garage door and a pass-through pedestrian door. Not all pass-through doors are conveniently located, unfortunately. Stored lawnmowers, grills and wheelbarrows often block backyard pass-through doors, and if you’re standing in the driveway, you don’t want to go through the house just to access an inconvenient pass-through door in the backyard.

If you want an accessible pedestrian access to the garage, you don’t have to hire a carpenter to tear out a garage wall and frame a new door opening. You can add a pass door right in your existing overhead garage door. While this option has been available for years in large commercial garage doors, it’s a relatively new addition on the residential garage scene. Before you call a garage door installation company near you, read on to learn whether a pass door is the right solution for your needs.

Pros and Cons of a Garage Door with a Door

A garage door with a pedestrian door can add to the architectural style and also be very convenient for entry. It’s no surprise people have become raving fans of making sure their garage has one. While you may be considering a garage door with a door, it’s important to know the pros and cons of having one.


  • If you have a garage door that is connected to the basement of your house, there is no way to have a conventional garage door installed. The best bet would be to go with a pedestrian door.
  • Urban settings can restrict the space available and make it difficult to get sufficient side space. This makes it crucial for having a garage door with a door.
  • Power outage? No problem! You’ll be able to get out through the alternative entrance.


  • The main drawback to having a garage door with a door is the cost and safety system that is required. The safety system is mandatory if you don’t want your garage door to suffer major damages.
  • If your garage door is built with an electric garage door open, you constantly make sure the pedestrian door is properly closed. The device could open the door and cause some serious damage.
  • These types of doors can’t be installed on garage doors with a width of 8 feet (2.4m).
  • The more openings you have on a garage door, the less energy efficient it becomes. So if insulation and weather-proofing is a concern, then a garage door with doors might not be the best choice.

Pass Door Benefits

A pass door in the garage door allows neighbors and friends to enter the garage directly if you’re waiting for them in your garage workshop. No more tearing their jeans trying to climb your fence or window, or accidentally leaving the gate latch open and letting the dog escape.

If you aren’t thrilled about exhibiting the contents of your garage every time you go in or out, a pass door will prevent passersby from seeing what you have stashed in your garage.

Pass doors help conserve energy in climate-controlled garages because you don’t have to open the entire overhead door to go in and out. The garage door opener will see less wear and tear, which could make it last longer as well. Some garage door openers must be disengaged before you can raise the door manually. In the case of a power failure, a pass door offers an easy walk-through exit.

Pass Door Basics

A pass door located in garage doors swings on a set of hinges and can be locked when not in use. One notable difference between a house door and a garage pass door is that the pass door opens outward, unlike standard residential doors, which swing inward. Because the pass door jamb and frame fit flush within the existing garage door, swinging inward isn’t possible. While this takes a little getting used to, it’s not a problem for most homeowners, a would-be intruder trying to kick in the pass door will meet with substantial resistance.

During installation, the panels of the original garage door are removed and then cut to fit the new jamb. However, the very bottom strip of the existing garage door must remain so as not to compromise the structural integrity. This creates a step-over threshold. Depending on the type of pass door you choose, the threshold could be a few inches high and could potentially create a tripping hazard. If you plan on rolling heavy items in or out of the garage with a dolly, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and open the overhead garage door.

Choosing a Pass Door

You have three options for obtaining a pass-through garage door:

1. Buy an entire custom garage door that comes from the manufacturer complete with a pre-installed pass door. That’s the most expensive option, but it’s also the best way to ensure that the door fits snugly operates smoothly, and it’s the garage door style you desire. Another plus is the ability to get a lower step-over threshold since the door is manufactured as a single unit. If you’re planning to replace your old garage door anyway, this might be the best solution. 

2. Alternately, you can purchase a pass door kit that allows you to alter your existing garage door. This is a reasonably priced choice if your garage door is nowhere near the end of its useful life.

3. For the cheapest but most challenging option, buy the individual pass door components separately. However, unless you are a DIY master and fully understand how a pass door installs, a kit is probably going to work better than buying the components separately.

How to Measure for Your New Garage Door

When replacing your old garage door, you want to ensure you’re choosing the correct garage door size and dimensions. Double-checking the dimensions will provide the confidence you’re buying the correct door and make the process smooth and enjoyable. The first step is to measure the width and height of your door in feet and inches. Second, you will need to measure the sideroom left and right. Third, measure the headroom, which is the distance between the top of  the door opening and ceiling. Lastly, you’ll need to measure the backroom- the distance mature from the garage door opening toward the back wall of the garage.

Who Should Install The Door?

Installation of a pass door is more complicated than just measuring and cutting the panels of your existing door and then installing the precut jambs and the stabilizing skins. You must remove the entire garage door from its tracks before you can proceed. The problem with this is that garage door springs are notoriously dangerous to remove and reattach. From personal experience I can tell you that an exploding garage door spring sounds pretty darned similar to a gunshot, and if it strikes you when it comes off, it might hurt nearly as badly. If you’ve never installed a garage door before, find an experienced garage door company to handle this project.

Glenda Taylor writes for

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