Overhead Door Company of Wilmington™  Serving:

Wilmington, NC Southport, NCHampstead, NCSunset Beach, NCLeland, NC

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If you even suspect you may not be able to make the repairs yourself, contact a professional. As the largest moving part of your home, garage doors can pose a serious safety hazard - especially when they are malfunctioning.

Sealing Your Garage Door: What You Can Do

Garage doors are a critical entry point in many homes, often overlooked in terms of energy efficiency and insulation. Proper sealing of your garage door is crucial not only for protecting your home from harsh weather conditions but also for enhancing its overall energy efficiency.

Studies indicate that an unsealed garage door can lead to significant energy waste. For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that homeowners can save an average of 15% on their heating and cooling costs by adding insulation and sealing leaks, including those around garage doors (EPA, 2021). Additionally, research conducted by the Department of Energy (DOE) highlights that gaps and leaks in a home’s envelope — which includes doors, windows, and the garage door — can lead to a substantial increase in energy consumption, sometimes by as much as 30% in extreme cases (DOE, 2020).

In this article, we delve into practical steps homeowners can take to effectively seal their garage doors, thereby improving their home’s insulation, reducing energy costs, and contributing to a more sustainable environment.

 

Understanding Garage Door Seals

Before we dive into the methods to make your garage door seal, it’s important to understand what garage door seals are and why they are important. Garage door seals are materials used to close the gaps between the garage door and the garage floor. They prevent cold air, rain, and dust from entering your garage. They also keep insects and small animals from sneaking in. A good seal will keep your garage dry, clean, and comfortable.

 

Signs of a Poorly Sealed Garage Door

Identifying if your garage door needs sealing is crucial. Here are some signs of a poorly sealed garage door:

1. Drafts

Drafts are a common and noticeable sign that your garage door may not be adequately sealed. When you feel a stream of cold air entering your garage, especially around the edges of the garage door, this indicates that the seal might be compromised. Drafts occur when there’s a gap or a weak point in the seal around your garage door, allowing outside air to infiltrate your garage space. This not only makes your garage uncomfortable but also affects the overall energy efficiency of your home.

The presence of drafts can lead to several issues:

  • Increased Energy Costs: Inefficient insulation due to drafts can cause your heating system to work harder to maintain warm temperatures in your home during the colder months. This results in higher energy consumption and, consequently, increased utility bills.

  • Uneven Temperatures: You might notice that certain areas of your home are colder than others, especially rooms adjacent to or above the garage. This inconsistency in temperature can be directly linked to the cold air entering through the gaps in your garage door.

  • Increased Wear on HVAC Systems: As drafts force your heating and cooling systems to work harder to compensate for the loss of warm or cool air, this can lead to more frequent maintenance issues and shorten the lifespan of your HVAC system.

  • Potential for Moisture Problems: Along with cold air, moisture can also enter through the gaps, contributing to an environment conducive to mold and mildew growth, which can damage your belongings stored in the garage and affect air quality.

2. Water leaks

Water leaks into your garage can be another clear indication of insufficient sealing around your garage door. When you observe water pooling or damp spots on your garage floor following rainfall or melting snow, it signifies that water is finding its way through gaps or cracks in or around your garage door. This problem can arise from several issues related to the seal and structural integrity of the garage door and its frame, including deteriorated weather stripping, a misaligned door, or a damaged bottom seal.

The consequences of water leaks extend beyond just a wet garage floor:

  • Damage to Property: Water intrusion can damage tools, vehicles, and any stored items in your garage. Moisture-sensitive materials, such as cardboard boxes, wood, and certain metals, are particularly at risk of water damage, leading to mold growth, rust, and decay.

  • Foundation Problems: Consistent water leakage can eventually affect the foundation of your home. Water pooling near the foundation can seep into cracks, freezing and expanding in colder weather, which exacerbates the cracks and can lead to serious structural issues over time.

  • Mold and Mildew Growth: Moist environments are breeding grounds for mold and mildew, which can spread from the garage into your home, posing health risks and compromising air quality. Mold remediation can be costly and complex once an infestation occurs.

  • Pest Attraction: Water accumulation can attract pests such as insects and rodents seeking water and a humid environment to nest in. Once pests have made their way into your garage, they can find paths into your home, leading to a larger infestation issue.

3. Dirt and debris

Finally, the accumulation of dirt and debris in your garage can be a telltale sign that your garage door isn’t sealing properly. When gaps or cracks are present around the garage door, they can act as entry points for outdoor elements. This not only includes air and moisture but also dust, leaves, pollen, and other debris. These particles can easily be blown into your garage by the wind, leading to a buildup that requires frequent cleaning.

Here are several implications and considerations related to dirt and debris entering your garage:

  • Cleaning Challenges: An increase in dust and debris means more time and effort spent on cleaning your garage. This can be particularly troublesome if you use your garage as a workshop or storage for items that need to remain clean, such as outdoor furniture during the off-season.

  • Air Quality Issues: Dust and pollen that accumulate can affect the air quality within your garage and potentially your home, especially if there’s a direct connection through a door or ventilation system. This can be a concern for individuals with allergies or respiratory issues.

  • Attracting Pests: Dirt and debris can attract pests, including insects and rodents. These pests are not only drawn to the debris itself but may also use the materials to build nests. Once pests have established a presence in your garage, they can become a nuisance and potentially cause damage to your property or find ways into your living spaces.

  • Wear on Mechanical Parts: Dust and debris can also settle on mechanical parts of the garage door system, such as the tracks and rollers, leading to wear and tear over time. This can result in the garage door operating less smoothly and may require more frequent maintenance or even repairs.

 

Enjoy the confidence in knowing your day won’t be derailed by unexpected issues and that your home is protected from intrusions due to unforeseen garage door breakdowns.

 

 

Here are some ways to seal your garage door more effectively

 

1. Replace the Weather Stripping

Replacing the weather stripping on your garage door is a fundamental and effective step towards ensuring a tight seal against external elements. Weather stripping, the flexible material that lines the edges of your garage door, plays a crucial role in closing off the gaps between your garage door and the floor, as well as along the sides and top of the door. It acts as a barrier against air, water, dirt, and pests. However, due to its constant exposure to the elements and the wear and tear of regular use, weather stripping can deteriorate over time, losing its effectiveness.

Here are detailed insights and steps involved in replacing weather stripping:

  • Identify the Type of Weather Stripping: Garage doors can use various types of weather stripping, including vinyl, rubber, or silicone-based materials, each with its own application method and benefits. It’s important to identify the correct type for your door and the specific part of the door that needs sealing (bottom, sides, top). For help with this, contact our Service Team for all your questions HERE.

  • Measure and Purchase the Correct Replacement: Once you’ve identified the type of weather stripping needed, measure the length required for your garage door. Purchase a suitable replacement from a home improvement store, ensuring it matches both the size and type necessary for your door.

  • Remove Old Weather Stripping: Carefully remove the existing weather stripping. This may require unscrewing or gently prying it away from the door or door frame. Be sure to clean the area thoroughly after removal to ensure the new weather stripping adheres properly.

  • Install New Weather Stripping: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the new weather stripping. This often involves cutting the material to size and then attaching it using nails, screws, or an adhesive, depending on the type. For the bottom seal, you might need to slide it into a track or secure it directly to the bottom of the door.

  • Check for Gaps and Adjustments: After installation, close the garage door and check for any gaps where light or air can pass through. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure a tight seal all around the door. This may include repositioning the weather stripping or adding additional sealant in any gaps.

  • Regular Inspection and Maintenance: To prolong the life of your new weather stripping and maintain an effective seal, regularly inspect it for signs of wear and tear. Cleaning it with a mild detergent and water can also help maintain its condition and effectiveness. For more information on our Carefree Coverage Plans and options for regular maintenance, click HERE.

2. Install Threshold Seals

Installing threshold seals is an excellent strategy for enhancing the seal of your garage door, especially at the bottom where gaps are most common. A threshold seal works in tandem with your door’s existing weather stripping to create a double barrier against external elements. This additional layer of protection is invaluable for keeping your garage dry, comfortable, and energy-efficient. Here’s a closer look at the benefits and installation process of threshold seals:

Benefits of Threshold Seals

  • Enhanced Protection Against Water: By creating a strong barrier at the garage door’s base, threshold seals prevent rainwater, melting snow, and floods from entering your garage, protecting your belongings from water damage.

  • Improved Insulation: Threshold seals block drafts and cold air, improving the overall insulation of your garage. This can lead to more stable temperatures within the garage and adjacent rooms, reducing the strain on your home’s heating and cooling system.

  • Dust and Pest Deterrent: Besides water and air, threshold seals also block dust, debris, and pests from entering your garage, helping to keep it clean and reducing the risk of pest infestations.

Installation Process

  1. Measure Your Garage Door: Before purchasing a threshold seal, measure the width of your garage door to ensure you buy a seal of the correct length.

  2. Choose the Right Material: Threshold seals come in different materials like rubber and vinyl. Rubber seals are durable and provide great flexibility, making them effective for uneven floors, while vinyl offers good resistance to chemicals and temperature changes.

  3. Clean and Prepare the Surface: For the seal to adhere properly, clean the garage floor thoroughly where the threshold seal will be placed. Ensure the area is dry and free of debris, oil, or grease.

  4. Position the Threshold Seal: Lay the threshold seal on the ground under the garage door. Close the garage door to check the positioning, ensuring that the seal fits snugly against the door without any gaps.

  5. Mark the Position: Once you’ve determined the correct position, mark the edges of the threshold seal on the garage floor with chalk or a marker.

  6. Apply Adhesive: Open the garage door and apply the adhesive provided with the threshold seal or recommended by the manufacturer along the marked area. Some threshold seals come with pre-applied adhesive, making installation even easier.

  7. Secure the Seal in Place: Carefully position the threshold seal back onto the adhesive, following your marks. Press down along the length of the seal to ensure it bonds well with the garage floor.

  8. Allow Time to Cure: Leave the adhesive to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions, usually for 24 hours, before driving over the seal.

  9. Test the Seal: After the adhesive has fully cured, close the garage door and check for any gaps. Adjust if necessary to ensure a tight fit.

For help with threshold seals, contact our Service Team today and schedule a service call HERE

3. Add Garage Door Stop Molding

Adding garage door stop molding is an efficient and effective method to enhance the seal around your garage door, particularly along the sides and top where gaps can often go unnoticed. This type of molding acts as a physical barrier, preventing air, water, and pests from entering while also improving the overall insulation of your garage. Here’s a deeper look into the benefits of garage door stop molding and a guide on how to install it:

Benefits of Garage Door Stop Molding

  • Weatherproofing: Stop molding forms a tight seal against weather conditions, blocking rain, snow, and wind from penetrating the garage, thereby protecting your belongings inside.

  • Energy Efficiency: By sealing off gaps around the door, stop molding minimizes air leaks, which can significantly improve the energy efficiency of your home by maintaining stable temperatures in the garage and reducing the load on your HVAC system.

  • Noise Reduction: The added barrier also helps dampen noise from the outside, making your garage a quieter environment.

  • Pest Deterrence: Stop molding closes off entry points for insects and small animals, keeping your garage cleaner and more hygienic.

Installation Process

  1. Measure the Door: Start by measuring the perimeter of the garage door (sides and top) to determine the amount of stop molding you’ll need. Remember to add a little extra for cutting and fitting.

  2. Select the Material: Choose a stop molding made from durable materials such as rubber or vinyl. These materials are resistant to weather changes and offer good flexibility for a snug fit.

  3. Remove Old Molding: If replacing old stop molding, carefully remove it using a pry bar or screwdriver, making sure not to damage the door frame.

  4. Clean the Surface: Clean the area where the new molding will be attached. Removing dirt, dust, and old adhesive ensures the new molding adheres properly.

  5. Cut to Length: Cut your stop molding to the measured lengths using a sharp knife or saw. Angled cuts may be necessary at the corners for a neat fit.

  6. Attach the Molding: Many types of stop molding come with pre-applied adhesive backing. If yours does, remove the backing and press the molding firmly against the frame where the door closes. For types that require nailing, evenly space nails along the length of the molding to secure it in place. Make sure the molding is flush against the door to create an effective seal.

  7. Seal Corners and Edges: Apply caulk or a weatherproof sealant at the corners and edges of the molding to ensure a complete seal. This step is crucial for preventing water from seeping through any small gaps.

  8. Test the Door: Close the garage door to check for any gaps or areas where light can be seen coming through. Adjust the molding as necessary to eliminate these gaps.

4. Use Garage Door Insulation

Utilizing garage door insulation is a strategic move towards achieving a more energy-efficient and comfortable home. Insulating your garage door helps in stabilizing the temperature within your garage, making it a more pleasant environment year-round. It also plays a significant role in reducing energy costs by minimizing the thermal exchange between the garage and the outside. Furthermore, insulation can dampen street noise and reduce vibration, making your garage a quieter space. Let’s delve into the types of insulation materials available and the steps involved in insulating your garage door:

Types of Garage Door Insulation

  • Fiberglass: This type of insulation comes in panels or batts that fit between the door’s frame sections. It’s effective in temperature control but requires careful handling due to its irritant fibers.

  • Foam Board: Rigid panels of polystyrene or polyurethane foam offer high insulating value with minimal thickness, making them ideal for garage doors. They are lightweight and easy to cut to size.

  • Reflective Foil: Consisting of layers of aluminum foil with a bubble wrap or foam center, reflective foil insulation is excellent at reflecting heat, making it especially useful in hot climates.

Steps for Insulating Your Garage Door

  1. Choose the Right Insulation for Your Climate: The effectiveness of different insulation types varies with climate. For example, reflective foil is more suited for hot climates, while fiberglass and foam board provide better thermal resistance in colder regions.

  2. Measure Your Garage Door: Accurately measure each panel of your garage door to determine the amount of insulation material you will need. Consider the door’s structure and any mechanisms that might affect the insulation placement.

  3. Cut the Insulation to Fit: Using a sharp utility knife or scissors, cut your chosen insulation material to fit each panel of the garage door. Ensure a snug fit to maximize the insulating effect.

  4. Secure the Insulation: Depending on the type of insulation, you may need to use adhesive, tape, or fasteners to secure the insulation to the door panels. Foam board and reflective foil often come with adhesive backings, while fiberglass may require a separate method of attachment, such as clips or tape.

  5. Seal the Edges: To prevent air leaks, seal the edges of the insulation with durable tape or use a spray foam along the edges for an airtight seal.

  6. Check Door Operation: After installation, ensure that the garage door opens and closes smoothly without obstruction. Adjust the insulation as necessary to avoid interference with the door’s mechanism.

  7. Consider Professional Help for Optimal Results: For those not comfortable undertaking this as a DIY project, or for optimal energy efficiency, consider hiring a professional. They can recommend the best insulation type for your specific needs and ensure a professional installation.

To find out if garage door insulation is right for you, contact our Service Team for all your questions HERE.

Conclusion

A well-sealed garage door is essential for protecting your home and providing a comfortable environment. Replacing the weather stripping, installing threshold seals, adding garage door stop molding, and using garage door insulation are effective ways to make your garage door seal properly. By following these methods, you can save energy and reduce your electricity bills.

FAQs

How do I know if my garage door needs sealing?

A poorly sealed garage door can have drafts, water leaks, and dirt and debris. If you notice any of these signs, your garage door may need sealing.

Can I seal my garage door myself?

Yes, you can seal your garage door yourself by replacing the weather stripping, installing threshold seals, and adding garage door stop molding. However, it’s best to consult a professional for more complicated issues.

How much does it cost to seal a garage door?

The cost of sealing a garage door depends on the method used and the size of your garage door. Weather stripping is the most cost-effective option, while installing threshold seals or garage door insulation can be more expensive.

How long does garage door sealant last?

The lifespan of garage door sealant depends on the type of sealant and the conditions it is exposed to. Weather stripping may need to be replaced every 1-2 years, while threshold seals and garage door insulation can last for several years.

Can a poorly sealed garage door affect my energy bills?

Yes, a poorly sealed garage door can lead to energy loss and higher electricity bills. By sealing your garage door properly, you can save energy and reduce your electricity bills.

 

Get the help you need today!

For answers to these and any other questions, contact our Service Team to speak with a professional HERE.

For more information on our Carefree Coverage Plans and options for regular maintenance, click HERE.

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