Sealing Your Garage Door

Fix Your Garage Door Gap

Garage doors do more than just let you in or out of your garage; they serve as an insulator and seal for your home. To do that, your garage door needs to fit snugly to the garage floor and the sides and top of the garage entrance. Having a gap in any one of these areas can cause all sorts of damage, from critters and pests getting into the garage to letting the rain and water get into your garage. Plus, it gets hot in the summers here in Athens, AL, and cold in the winters. If you have a gap on any of the sides of your garage door, you are making it harder to heat and cool your garage. If you live anywhere here in the Athens/Huntsville AL area, then you know how crazy utility bills can get. For all these reasons, we are going to give you some tips on how to seal your garage door, that way the pests and the elements can stay out of your garage. 

Identifying and Fixing Weather Stripping Issues

Weatherstripping is the first defense against external elements. It can degrade over time, becoming brittle and less effective. Critters can also nibble away at the weather stripping, leaving noticeable gaps. If your weatherstipping has gaps you will need to replace the strip.  This is a task that most homeowners can undertake themselves.

How to Replace a Garage Door Weather Seal

The weather seal at the bottom of your garage door plays a crucial role in keeping out water, debris, and pests, while also helping to maintain the temperature inside your garage. Replacing a garage door weather seal is a straightforward task that most homeowners can accomplish with a few tools and a bit of patience. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

Tools and Materials Needed

  • New weather seal
  • Pry bar or flat-head screwdriver
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Tape measure
  • Cleaning supplies (optional)
  • Lubricant (silicone-based)

Step 1: Choose the Right Weather Seal

Weather seals come in various shapes and materials, designed to fit specific garage door types and floor conditions. Before purchasing a new seal, inspect your current one to determine the correct size and profile (e.g., T-style, bulb, or bead). Consider the climate and whether you need a seal that offers additional insulation against extreme temperatures.

Step 2: Remove the Old Weather Seal

  • For a metal retainer: If your garage door has a metal retainer that holds the weather seal, use a pry bar or a flat-head screwdriver to gently pull the old seal out of the retainer. Slide the seal sideways if necessary.
  • For a nailed or screwed-on seal: If the seal is attached directly to the bottom of the door with nails or screws, remove those fasteners to free the old seal.

Step 3: Clean and Prepare the Area

Once the old seal is removed, take the opportunity to clean the area. Remove any debris, dirt, or rust that may have accumulated on the bottom of the door or within the retainer. This is also an excellent time to inspect for any damage that might need addressing before installing the new seal. If you’re dealing with a metal retainer, consider applying a silicone-based lubricant to make sliding the new seal into place easier.

Step 4: Measure and Cut the New Seal

Measure the width of your garage door to determine the length of the new weather seal you’ll need. Cut the seal to size using scissors or a utility knife. It’s advisable to cut a few inches extra to ensure a snug fit; you can always trim the excess later.

Step 5: Install the New Weather Seal

  • For a metal retainer: Start at one end and push the T-shaped edges of the seal into the channels of the retainer, working your way across the door. A bit of force may be required, and using the flat side of a screwdriver can help press the seal into place. Once the seal is fully inserted, adjust as needed to ensure it’s evenly distributed across the door.
  • For a nailed or screwed-on seal: Align the new seal along the bottom of the door, making sure it’s centered. If your new seal has pre-drilled holes, line them up with the existing holes in the door. Otherwise, you may need to create new holes. Attach the seal by hammering in new nails or screwing in screws along the length of the seal, securing it firmly to the door.

Step 6: Trim Excess and Test

Trim any excess material from the ends of the seal to ensure it fits perfectly without obstructing the door tracks. Lower the garage door to check that the seal makes good contact with the garage floor. Adjustments may be needed if there are gaps or if the seal is too tight and prevents the door from closing properly.

Installing Vinyl trim

Installing vinyl trim around your garage door is a straightforward task that can significantly enhance the appearance and weatherproofing of your garage. This type of trim, also known as garage door stop molding, provides a clean look while sealing out wind, rain, and pests. Here’s a step-by-step guide to installing vinyl trim around your garage door, designed to be manageable for DIY enthusiasts of all skill levels.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Vinyl trim (garage door stop molding)

  • Tape measure

  • Fine-tooth saw or PVC cutters

  • Hammer

  • Galvanized or stainless steel finishing nails (1 ½ inch)

  • Nail set

  • Caulk (preferably weather-resistant and paintable)

  • Caulk gun

  • Level (optional)

  • Ladder

Step 1: Measure Your Garage Door

Begin by measuring the sides and top of your garage door to determine the total length of vinyl trim required. It’s advisable to purchase a little more than your measurements to account for any errors or adjustments.

Step 2: Cut the Vinyl Trim

Using your measurements, cut the vinyl trim to fit the sides and top of your garage door. For a standard installation, you’ll need two vertical pieces for the sides and one horizontal piece for the top. Ensure your cuts are straight and clean for a professional finish. Using a fine-tooth saw or PVC cutters can help achieve a smooth edge.

Step 3: Position the Side Trims

Start with one of the vertical pieces of trim. Align it against the side of the garage door, ensuring it’s straight. The vinyl trim should slightly press against the garage door when closed, creating a good seal. If available, use a level to check that the trim is perfectly vertical.

Step 4: Nail the Side Trim in Place

Using the galvanized or stainless steel finishing nails, secure the vinyl trim to the door jamb. Start at the top and insert a nail every 12 to 16 inches down the length of the trim. Be sure not to nail the trim too tightly; the vinyl needs a little room to expand and contract with temperature changes. Repeat this process on the other side of the door.

Step 5: Install the Top Trim

Once both sides are secured, measure and cut the piece for the top of the door, if you haven’t already. Fit the top trim in place, ensuring it overlaps the side trims slightly at each corner for a neat finish. Nail it into place, maintaining the same spacing between nails as you did with the side pieces.

Step 6: Secure and Seal

After all pieces are nailed in place, use a nail set to countersink the nails slightly. This step prevents the heads from protruding and ensures a smooth finish. Next, apply caulk around the edges where the vinyl trim meets the garage facade and at the joints where the side and top trims overlap. This not only improves the appearance but also enhances the weatherproofing by sealing out moisture and drafts.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Inspect your work, making sure all pieces are securely attached and sealed. If your vinyl trim is paintable and you wish to match it to your garage door or house color, wait for the caulk to dry completely before applying exterior-grade paint.

Using a Threshold Seal for Foundation Settling and Driveway Slopes

 

When homes or the soil underneath shifts, it can cause a gap under the garage door. A  practical solution is installing a garage door threshold seal. By attaching a threshold to the driveway itself, they create a tight seal that can work when you have a uniquely sloped gap under the door This guide will walk you through the process of installing a garage door threshold seal, ensuring a snug and effective barrier.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Garage door threshold seal kit (usually includes the seal and adhesive)
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil or chalk
  • Cleaning supplies (broom, vacuum, and a cleaning solution)
  • Utility knife or scissors
  • Caulk gun (if adhesive is not in a tube)
  • Heavy objects or weights (to secure the seal while the adhesive cures)
  • Safety gloves (optional)

 

Step 1: Choose the Right Threshold Seal

Select a threshold seal that matches the width of your garage door and is made from durable material suitable for your climate. Threshold seals come in different profiles and materials, each designed for specific conditions and types of traffic.

 

Step 2: Prepare the Area

Close your garage door and clean the area where you’ll be installing the threshold seal. Use a broom or vacuum to remove any debris and dust. Then, clean the floor with a cleaning solution to ensure the adhesive will bond properly. Allow the area to dry completely.

Step 3: Measure and Cut the Seal

Lay the threshold seal on the ground against the garage door to determine the correct length. Mark the required length on the seal with a pencil or chalk. Use a utility knife or scissors to cut the seal. Ensure your cut is straight and clean for the best fit.

Step 4: Position the Threshold Seal

With the garage door closed, position the threshold seal on the floor where you plan to install it. The hump should be on the inside of the garage, with the seal butting up against the door. This positioning helps to divert water away from the garage. Adjust the seal as needed to ensure it fits the door’s width and contours.

Step 5: Mark the Position

Once you’re satisfied with the position of the threshold seal, mark its outline on the floor with a pencil or chalk. This will serve as your guide when applying the adhesive.

Step 6: Apply the Adhesive

Open the adhesive provided in the threshold seal kit. If the adhesive is not in a self-applying tube, you’ll need to use a caulk gun. Apply the adhesive within the outline you’ve marked on the floor, ensuring even coverage. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for adhesive application, as patterns and amounts can vary.

 

Step 7: Place the Threshold Seal

Carefully lay the threshold seal onto the adhesive, aligning it with your marks. Press the seal into the adhesive, starting from one end and working your way to the other to avoid air pockets. Use your hands or feet to apply even pressure along the length of the seal.

Step 8: Secure the Seal

Place heavy objects or weights along the threshold seal to help it bond securely with the adhesive. Ensure the entire length of the seal is weighted down.

Step 9: Allow the Adhesive to Cure

Leave the weights in place and allow the adhesive to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually takes at least 24 hours. Avoid using the garage door during this time to ensure the seal adheres properly.

Step 10: Test the Seal

After the adhesive has fully cured, remove the weights and test the effectiveness of your new garage door threshold seal. Close the garage door and check for gaps or light passing through. A properly installed threshold seal should provide a tight seal against the floor.

Other Tips for Keeping Your Garage Door Sealed

Maintaining Garage Door Tracks

 

Proper alignment of garage door tracks is crucial. Misaligned tracks can prevent the door from closing fully, jamming near the bottom and leaving a gap. If the tracks are causing an issue, you can loosen the mounting bolts and move them slightly, so the garage door rests down smoothly again.

Adjusting the Closing Limits

 

Sometimes, the issue can be resolved by adjusting the closing limits on your garage door opener. This tells the door how far to close. You will usually find that the limit adjustment is a part of the original setup procedure. It’s best to read the instructions for your door opener make and model, and follow the suggested steps to make the right adjustments.

When to Call the Professionals

 

There are instances when DIY solutions may not be enough. Persistent gaps despite all efforts to seal them indicate a more complex issue. If you are in the Athens/Huntsville, AL area, call  Stateline Garage Door LLC, we can provide you with a thorough inspection and tailored garage door repair solutions.

 

Conclusion

We know we threw a lot of information at you, however, that is because there are several different solutions to sealing up your garage door. We hope that one of these solutions will fit what you need, however as we just mentioned if the project seems daunting or does not work, give us a call. We will come out and inspect the situation and give you the best options to move forward because every garage deserves to be sealed.