By Madeline Klein on December 28, 2016.
We're officially in it. Winter is here, and if you're cursing its name because of the havoc it's wreaking on your utility bill and home, we'd like to direct your attention to your garage for a moment. Sure, it's a wonderful refuge for keeping your vehicle safe from the snow and ice. But it's also an easy access point for cold, salt, sand and slush to enter your home. We've got three ways to winterize your garage and reduce winter's effect on your home.
Protect your floor:
When you think of all of the salt used to melt the snow and ice on the roads, it's easy to see how some of it can end up on your garage floor. Problem with that isn't just the large white stains it can leave, it’s the cracks the salty liquid can cause with what the experts call "spalling". You have a few options for protecting your floor, but here are two of the easier ones we found:
- Containment Mat: Probably the quickest, easiest way to start protecting your floor from the elements. Install the mat, park your car on top of it and you're set! AllGarageFloors.com recommends the TruContain mat because of its thicker fabric, seams on the underside and free squeegee attachment.
- Seal Your Floor: If the temps in your area have already dropped below 50 degrees, and you don't see them going up in the near future, you may be out of luck with this option until next winter. But if you live in a place that can stay above 50 long enough for the sealer to dry, the next question to ask yourself is what kind of sealer you want. According to AllGarageFloors, a siliconate penetrating sealer actually penetrates your concrete and creates a chemical reaction to strengthen the concrete and form a protective barrier. The only thing it doesn't do is create a glossy finish like that of an acrylic sealer. Rather than penetrate the concrete, the acrylic sealer develops a film on top of the floor to stop liquid from sinking in.
Check your door:
Winter can be full of cruel tricks, including stopping your garage door from functioning properly. A few things to check:
- Lubrication: Cold temps can cause lubricants to lose their viscosity, and therefore their effectiveness. Be sure to clear any gunk build up you see on the tracks and rollers, and apply a fresh coat of lubricant to all moving parts. Since the heavy oil and grease lubricants can harden in winter, try using a spray lubricant.
- Weather stripping: Snow and freezing water might peel or crack the weather stripping seal at the base of your door, which is just a big invitation for cold air to enter your home. Make sure to keep the base of your garage clear of snow and ice and replace any worn weather stripping.
- Battery: If your garage isn't insulated, the cold weather can drain the batteries in your garage door opener. Be sure to keep extras in your glovebox just in case you get stuck pushing a nonresponsive remote button in your driveway.
Insulate your garage:
If your garage isn't insulated already, it's definitely worth considering. Not only to keep the cold and utility costs to a minimum, but also to keep any fumes from seeping into your home while you warm up your vehicle. HomeAdvisor.com wrote a great piece on the different types of insulation options you have in terms of expense and insulation ease. See which one best fits your handyman skills and schedule, and get to it!