Tim, 10 is min but I would strongly encourage a 12-15 minimum with 20 being ideal. A very key item often overlooked is to make Your garage door 12 ft high that enable You to park Your enclosed trailer or other items with highe roofline indoors.
Check the manufacturers specs. If the lift fits, you can set the car lower, but you may not be able to stand up straight underneath, so it depends on how tall you are.
Also, the comment on the garage doors is important. You probably cannot have an overhead door on a typical residential garage. I have side hinged "carriage doors" on my garage so that I can put a lift in.
F1 Resident Adult Rennlist Member Small Business Sponsor
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Headed somewhere fun!
Tim, 12' 6" is the minimum that you need for 90% of the lifts out there. Most lifts will only go up 70 - 74" so any additional height is unnecessary. Some Rotarys will go higher. My garage is 9' 6" with a 12' section for the lift. My lift crossbar is at 11' 6" and I can just lift my Yukon XL Denali to full height and walk under it. The cars are no problem at all. I just went through the whole process if you have any more questions.
2006 Cayenne S
2010 Allegro RED 38QBA
National PCA Instructor Past Flames:
1994 RS America Club Racer
2004 GT3 Track Car
1984 911 Carrera Club Racer
1974 914/4 2.0 Track Car
CLICK HERE to see some of my ancient racing videos.
I have a $2300 Bend-pack lift that has the balancing cables and the hydro line that run under a floor plate. It has a pad hight that goes from 4 inch from to floor to 6 foot 6 inch. (This is a better range than the Rotary I was looking at to buy and the Rotarys at the dealership I work at) I have a 10 foot 6 inch ceiling hight and with an early coupe on the lift I can run the lift to lock ( 6'6") without the car hitting the ceiling. I am 6'1" and at lock the car is too high for most work. No bending over at all for my Porsche, pickup truck tow vehicle or the Dodge krap-o-van. The key is there are no overhead crossover obstructions that effectively lower the usable ceiling hight. The only downside is there is a bump in the floor. If I had it to do over I would have made a recess for the cross over plate when I poured the floor. That way I would have had the best of both types of 2 post.
The 9000# rated lift needs 9' ceiling min to fit 220Volt and the concrete requirements are 4" of 3000 PSI standard reinforcement. $2300 delevered. It took about 6 hours to self install.
There was another recent lift thread. I have 14' height clearance (you'll see in the pics below it is more than enough) and also made sure the doors track to the ceiling so that I could open/close the doors while a car was on the lift at max height.
Also make your garage wide if you can. I was restricted by my town and as such I couldn't space the lift enough to accommodate a big truck like a F250.
Pay attention to the floor-pour characteristics required for your lift as noted. Further, if you're pouring a new slab install radiant heat tubing. Even if you don't hook them up right away they'll be there for when you want them (radiant heat in one's garage is so key!).
Kurt's garage is a work of practical art and I can attest that his ceiling is high enough.
As for doors, I have the same door on each side of my garage. You can have a typical residential garage door; but the lift and the track likely need to be different. One one side the track for the door runs close to the ceiling becasue the door is pulled up by the sides with the motor on the sides. Only industrial strength motor was available for the type of lift and it has enough power to buckle the door. Door must be carefully adjusted.
83 SC (trackster)
90 C2 (Sally's Carrera)
04 Audi A4
04 Avalanche Blingmobile
08 135I (Back-up trackster)
-- Ones that got away --
57 Speedster 1500GS
02 Boxster S (aka Partster S - recent deletion/upgrade)
Rennlist Member 990415-1249