A garage door with poorly sealed sides can allow wind, rain, and dirt to enter your garage. Rodents and reptiles can also make their way into the garage through the open sides. Proper sealing will not only protect the things you have inside, but it can also help you lower your energy bills.
To seal the sides of a garage door, you need the right supplies. A weatherstripping seal is the most important item, but you’ll need other tools to get it onto the door jamb. These include a hammer, pneumatic drill, and some nails. You can also use glue to hold the seal.
The rest of the article will take a closer look at the steps you need to take to properly seal the door. You can complete the process as a DIY project in less than half an hour with the process outlined in this article.
Why Seal Your Garage Door?
If you use your garage as more than just a space for your car, you’d want it to be warm, comfortable, and secure against the elements. A properly sealed garage door will ensure you can maintain the space’s temperature and, as we mentioned, keep rodents and other animals from coming in.
If you use your garage as an office space or a store, rodents can chew their way into cabinets and cause a lot of damage. Depending on your property’s design, the impacts of the infestation may extend well beyond your garage into your living areas.
Does rain flood your garage floor? It could be a sign that it needs to be sealed better. Water can seep in through spaces in the sides, top, and floor of the door. Fortunately, sealing the garage door is a task anyone can complete with the right set of tools, some of which you may already have.
While you are focused on the garage door sides, you should also check for openings at the top and bottom. Can you see sun rays from any part when the door is closed? If so, that part needs to be sealed. How do you get started with sealing your garage door sides?
Buy Your Supplies
To get started with sealing the garage door’s sides, you need to get all the necessary supplies. As we’ve mentioned, the most important item on the list is the weatherstripping seal. They are typically sold in rolls but can be cut to length using a utility knife. The seal looks like painted wood, allowing it to blend into your door’s design.
To install the seal, you’ll need some nails or screws, a pneumatic drill or stapler, and a hammer. Some sellers of weatherstripping kits, such as Auto Care, will include nails or screws in the package. However, you can also install the weatherstripping seal with a sealant or glue.
You should also consider getting caulking, even if you intend to use nails as it can help hold the seal better.
If you’d like to use glue instead of nails and screws in the process, you’ll need to get cleaning supplies. The garage door jamb has to be very clean if you want the glue to hold the weatherstripping seal to it properly.
Get the Measurement
To know how much weatherstripping seal you need, measure the garage door’s width, and make a note of it. Measure the height of the door and multiply the result by two. Sum up the two results to know how many feet of seal you need to buy.
Remove the Old Seal
If you’ve never installed a weatherstripping seal on your garage door before, skip this step. If you or the previous owners installed a seal on the door in the past, you must remove it before you fix the new one. You’ll need a crowbar like the Vaughan B215 or a strong utility knife to remove the seal.
Just place the crowbar or the knife under the seal and probe for the nails holding it in place. Lift and remove them. Once done, take a look at the door jamb to ensure you haven’t damaged parts of it.
Use sandpaper like the 3M Garnet and wood finish like Minwax Polyshades to work on the jamb and restore its smoothness. If the nails’ removal left too many holes, you could cover them up using wood fillers like Elmer’s E855 or any other wood putty.
Install the New Seal
Once you’ve sorted the jamb surface, it is time to fix the seal.
Retake the measurement of the sides of the door and then cut the seal to match it. Remember, you can cut through the seal easily using a knife. Don’t cut to the exact measurement. Leave some wiggle room to account for some miscalculation.
After you’ve cut the seal, it is time to proceed with the installation. If you are sealing both the sides and the top of the garage door, you should do it first. This is the recommended way to ensure proper meshing between the sides and the top seal.
The actual installation process for the seal is straightforward:
- Press the seal against the jamb and drive the nails or screws through its thicker parts.
- If you didn’t get nails in the package, you should buy nails about one inch and half long.
- Don’t push the nails completely at first. You need to check the placement of the seal first to rule out any gaps. You’re sealing the garage door sides to prevent such gaps in the first place, so you need to be sure.
- Push the garage door to lap the seal, and then watch for any gaps in between.
- If you find any gaps, remove the nail nearest to the area and adjust the seal.
- When there are no more gaps, you can drive the nails all the way through.
Use Caulk for a Tighter Seal
Even after your best efforts, there’d still be tiny gaps around the area where the nail meets the jamb. Ignoring these holes can cause the seal to fail faster. It’s also not something you should ignore if you need to keep heat in with the seal. Using caulk or any other kind of silicone sealant is the best way to cover these holes.
Put the sealant between the door jamb and the seal. You’ll need to wear a protective covering on your fingers for proper application. If you used some glue to attach the seals, you could skip this process.
Seal the Bottom of Your Garage Door
Sealing the top and the sides of your garage door may not be enough to provide the air-tight cover you are looking for if the bottom side is open. To seal the bottom sides of the garage door, you should use a bottom or threshold seal.
Installing the bottom seal is also as simple as doing the sides. Brands like Bowsen have bottom seal kits that include the kit and screws for holding them in place, such as the Bowsen Garage Door Retainer Kit. Once you’ve purchased the seal, it is time to get to work.
The actual installation process is very similar to what we’ve outlined above for the top and sides.
- Get rid of the old bottom seal. You can slide this out easily for metal garage doors, but you’ll need to pull up the nails holding it down first with your crowbar for wooden doors.
- Clean the surface properly. As you’ve seen above, this will make the installation a lot smoother and make it easier for the seal to take to the surface.
- Measure the surface. Again, this will help you to know how much of the seal to cut. If you already measured the bottom area before buying your seal, you can cut it.
- Put the new seal in its position on the door floor. Metal garage doors will have a designated space for the seal to go into, but with wooden doors, you have to install the seal on the ground. Before you hold the seal in place with screws and glue, close the garage door and check for bumps and spaces.
- Hold the seal in place. Once you’ve confirmed that the seal is positioned correctly on the floor, screw it into the floor or use glue to hold it down. Once done, you can gently close the garage door. If you used glue, you should give the adhesive a day to dry at least. It could dry quicker, but just to be safe.
A properly-sealed garage door is an excellent way to keep out water, snow, insects, rodents, and reptiles. If you spend a lot of time in the garage, sealing it is also a good way to ensure it will be comfortable during the summer or winter.
With the methods we’ve outlined above, you can complete the process on your own. If you don’t have the tools or don’t want to go the DIY route, you can also call in an expert to do the job after buying the seal. It is a simple task that can be completed in less than an hour.