Repair 1: Weather seal your garage door
If you want to keep the heat in your
garage this winter or retain the cooled air
next summer, you’ll have to do more
than just install an insulated door. Most
of the conditioned air escapes around
and through all the cracks. Here are four
simple ways to seal your garage door as much
as possible. You can do the whole job in
an afternoon for as little as $100, depending
on the size of the door.
Measure the garage door for the seal
Start by measuring the width, height and
thickness of your garage door. You’ll need
those measurements to buy garage door stop
with a built-in sealing lip and a new
bottom seal. While you’re at the home
center, buy V-strip weather stripping, a
tube of exterior caulk and a small can of
wood sealer (if you have a wooden door).
And for extra sealing power, buy a rubber
threshold (one choice is the Storm Shield
Garage Door Threshold; about $53 for 10 ft. 6 in.
Some garage doors come with a metal
track that holds a replaceable rubber
seal. Over time, the seal flattens and
cracks. If that’s what you have, replace it
with a “cold weather” silicone-type seal,
which remains flexible in cold weather
and lasts longer. If your home center
doesn’t stock them, you can find one
online; see one source above. Lubricate
the silicone seal with dishwashing detergent
and slide it into the track slots.
Remove the old garage door seal
Lift the door just enough that the garage
door track doesn’t get in the way of the
weather seal, then slide out the old rubber
bulb (Photo 1). You may need to pry the
track ends open with a flat screwdriver if
they’ve been crimped. If it’s especially stubborn,
cut it and remove it in pieces.
Clean the door bottom (Photo 2), then
cut the new rubber seal to length with a
razor knife. Thread the T-shaped edges into
the weather seal track, then slide the seal
across the door. Be patient—it takes a lot of
pushing and pulling even with a helper.
If you have a wooden garage door, rip off
the nailed rubber seal. Then seal the
wood with wood sealer. While the sealer
dries, prepare the new aluminum track
by cutting it to length and notching the
ends so it fits around the bottom roller.
Next, lay down a thick bead of caulk
along the leading edge of the door and
attach the track setup (Photo 4).
Prepare the areas between the door
sections by cleaning them with a rag and
household cleaner (be careful not to
pinch any fingers). Then install the pressure-
sensitive V-strip weather stripping
(Photo 5). Repeat for each section.
Install the threshold
Now move on to the threshold. Start by
cleaning the concrete with degreaser and
water. Rinse and let dry. Then roll the
threshold into place with the hump on
the inside of the garage door and cut to
the width of the opening. Gently close
the door onto the threshold and square
up the hump to meet the door seal. Mark
the edge of the threshold on the floor at
each end and snap a chalk line along
your marks. Next, glue the threshold into
place. Close the door firmly against the
threshold and leave it closed until the
adhesive dries (Photo 6).
Install the stop
Pry off the old door stop and install new door stop that has a sealing lip (Photo 7).
Repair 2: Replace rotting trim
Wood garage doorjambs and trim often
rot near the bottom or get crunched by
A good, long-lasting solution is to
replace the wood jamb, brick mold trim
and doorstop with paintable solid vinyl
pieces that won’t crack or decay. Available
at home centers and lumberyards, the
three pieces cost a total of about $4 per
ft.—comparable to clear wood. The vinyl
can be cut, nailed and painted just like
wood. It’s available in white, but you can
order brown, bronze and tan. Fill nail
holes with white caulk or exterior wood
filler, then if desired prime and paint with
acrylic latex. Use a light paint color over
white vinyl to keep it from overheating.
Remove the old jamb and trim (Photo
1), then nail the vinyl jamb to the frame,
beginning with the top piece (Photo 2).
Fasten every 12 to 16 in. with 8d galvanized
nails or stainless steel trim screws.
Precut the miters on the top piece of brick
mold trim and nail it to the framing every
12 in. with 10d galvanized casing nails. Use
6d casing nails for the stop molding, nailing
it at the premarked points on the trim.
If the temperature is below 40 degrees
F during installation, predrill nail holes
and leave a 1/8-in. gap at the ends of the
jamb for expansion.
Glue the brick mold corners with PVC
cement (Photo 3), then nail them into
place after the glue sets. To avoid breaking
the joint, wait at least an hour for the glue
to fully cure before nailing within a foot of
the corner. Splice long runs with glued
The edge of the vinyl stop molding
should be 2-1/2 in. back from the garage
door so the rubber seal fits loosely against
the door (Photo 4).
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Repair 3: Clean up a rusty door track
Garage door tracks often rest directly
on damp concrete floors, where they
eventually rust. However, there's no
reason they can't be slightly above the
floor and stay dry: The garage rafters
carry the weight of the track and the
angle brackets hold the track in place.
Clean up the tracks and prevent
rusting by simply cutting off the bottom
1/2 in. First make sure all the
angle bracket bolts are tight, then cut
the track bottoms off (Photo 1). Use a
rag dipped in thinner to remove any
lubricant on the first 6 in. of track,
then scrape and brush off as much
rust as you can. Finally, paint the bottom
with a metal spray paint that's
formulated to bond to rusted areas
(Photo 2). Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer
is one choice.