Garage doors are exposed to sun, rain, and everything in between, and though they're designed to be sturdy, bad weather can damage your doors if they aren't properly maintained. Here are three steps you can take to avoid any surprise repairs and keep your garage doors working smoothly no matter the weather outside.
Check and Replace Weatherstripping
Your garage's weatherstripping is typically installed on all four sides of your doors to provide a weather-tight seal against wind and water, keeping it safely out of your garage. If you normally have moderate weather, your weatherstripping should last you a few seasons, but in harsher weather, you may need to replace it more often. Before a season of more serious weather conditions hits, take a close look at the weatherstripping on all sides of your doors. Look for any signs that it's cracking, worn, or pulling away from the garage door when it's completely closed. Another test is to stand inside your garage when it's light outside and see if you can see any sunlight where the weatherstripping is installed. If light can get through, so can wind and water and dust, and the seal will need to be replaced.
Weatherstripping is commonly installed on the underside of a garage door itself, but another option is to use a threshold seal where the weatherstripping is installed on the ground using an adhesive instead. You can combine both methods, which can be more effective if you get a lot of water near your garage; threshold seals offer durable protection in their own right and are easy to replace when necessary. Keeping a strong seal not only keeps water out of your garage but can reduce condensation, which can damage metal components of your doors during freezing weather.
Keep the Inside Warm
Cold weather can harm different parts of your garage door system. Keeping your garage warm doesn't need to involve adding any extra vents or using more energy; along with making sure your garage is weatherproof, adding insulation can help keep things warm enough that the cold won't cause damage. This can happen if the inside of your garage gets too humid because the condensation can cause parts to freeze together. This, in turn, can damage your doors or your garage door opener when you try to open them.
While insulating your garage itself is a good option, it's more beneficial to either insulate your garage doors or replace them with ones that come with insulation from the manufacturer. How you add insulation depends on what style of doors you have. For example, if you have a segmented door with several hinges, you may only need to attach panels of insulation to each segment. If you do have a segmented door, however, the gaps between segments will also need to be sealed to prevent moisture from seeping in through them, which can damage your insulation.
If you aren't sure what you need or how to install it, ask a garage door technician for suggestions.
Inspect Wood Doors
Wood doors are heavy, sturdy, and add great aesthetic value to a home, but they can face extra risks in bad weather. Unlike other door materials, such as aluminum or fiberglass, wood can begin to bow and warp if it doesn't retain its waterproof seal. Wood doors will come manufactured with a seal, but at least once a year they will need to be inspected to make sure that seal is still tight and undamaged. Beyond starting to bend, it can also start to rot if moisture is allowed to stay inside the wood. Because wood doors are often not segmented, it makes repairs and replacements more expensive, which makes preventing damage in the first place a priority.
When examining your doors, look for any signs of chipping, cracking, or peeling. Even small hairline cracks could let in moisture or have the potential to get worse in the near future. Old finishes can also start to turn yellow as they age. Depending on your specific issue, you may not need to strip the old finish before applying a new one. If you simply have an aesthetic issue, this likely won't put your door in any danger from inclement weather and can be fixed however you see fit.
If your garage door has a problem, contact a local repair company to return them to working condition.