Having a gap between your garage door and either the floor, wall, or even the ceiling, can be highly frustrating for many. Thankfully, there are many solutions today that allow almost any homeowner to fix the gaps that may occur quickly.
Garage door gaps tend to occur when the floor settles, causing it to leave a gap behind. You can typically make adjustments to the door itself or add other accessories to seal the gap.
While the cause behind the gaps tends to be somewhat straightforward, there can be a wide variety of solutions depending on your exact needs. While it may be tempting to leave the gap, it isn’t a good idea to leave it for too long.
Fixing Gaps Along the Bottom of The Door
It is vital to make sure your garage door is flush along the ground for various reasons. While you may not fully understand why there is a gap being created, there are some simple ways to either identify the problem and fix it.
The limit switch is what controls the final positions. Your garage door ends once it is entirely down. These switches are typically located wherever your opener is, usually on the ceiling of your garage. Sometimes the switch isn’t set to lower the garage door down far enough, creating a gap that will allow pest or other things into your garage.
There is a wide variety of different kinds of garage door openers, so you may need to locate your owners’ manual to research your model. You can also use Google to look up this information if you no longer have the manual for your door.
The seal along the bottom of the door may be the reason it is no longer flush with the ground. This is usually due to wear and tear over time, and it is relatively simple to replace them yourself. Make sure to research what kind of seal your door uses as there tend to be two different kinds. You can usually find both styles either in-store or online.
Screw-in seals are exactly like they sound. You will screw them into the door in the areas they have designated. These types are the most versatile to fit on any door, and very easy to replace if needed.
The slide in the seal can only be used if your garage door has a track for it to follow along. These may require slightly more effort to replace but are still highly recommended due to the variety of options available.
This is typically the largest cause for gaps to occur over time. You may notice one side of your garage settling lower than the other, which will result in one end of your garage door not fully reaching the ground.
How to Fix it
This can be a little difficult for anyone who may not be used to using power tools, but it is the simplest solution. This is also only a solution that will work on wooden garage doors because you will be required to cut through them.
Use a compass to match the widest gap between your garage door and the floor. You can also substitute a pencil and woodblock for this step, but the compass does make it easier to get a precise line.
You will make a cut line along with the bottom door panel, which means you will have a slightly angled line that will allow the door to curve with the shape of the foundation. The most accessible tool to use for beginners is a jigsaw. These are handheld saws with a smaller blade that allows a lot more control than a circular saw.
If you only have access to a circular saw, then you can use it instead. This is usually recommended for homeowners who have more experience using them.
After you have finished cutting, you will sand and refinish the end that you cut, so there are no sharp edges that could cause splintering. After you finish this, you will need to add new weather stripping. Make sure to test the door before sanding it down, so you are sure that it will be flush, and you won’t need to make more cuts later.
If you have a metal door and can’t use the cutting method mentioned above, then replacing the weather stripping can solve your issue. There are two different types of options if your metal garage door isn’t reaching the ground, so you will need to check which one fits your door best.
This will look like a flimsy version of a garden hose with a t-shaped spine along the top. This seal is made to slide into a single channel that is under your door, which not all of them have, which is why it is essential to check your door before purchasing one or the other. Choose the bulb seal that has the largest diameter to ensure it will cover the gap under your door.
Bulb Seal Replacement Insert is made by ProSeal and is a quarter inch t-end. It tends to come in lengths of 20 feet but is easy to cut down if needed.
This is a durable, weather-resistant vinyl that can remain flexible even in shallow temperatures. It easily conforms to the shape of your garage floor and helps keep the room well-insulated, saving energy.
This is specifically designed for roll-up garage doors and will follow a pre-existing track. It is essential to check your door to make sure the seal fits in the channel or that it is the correct channel for this style.
This one will have a lip on both sides that will slide along two channels, rather than the one from above. The most important thing to note is to check that your weatherstripping is tall enough to cover the gap. Make sure to choose the most extended version available to make sure it will cover this gap.
DGSL created the Garage Door Strip Replacement (link to Amazon) to help prevent it from being smashed in every time the door is closed. It is a U-shaped seal that is reinforced with a half-inch radius inside the rubber seal.
The seal comes with instructions on how to install it, which should only need some soapy water or lubricant to help ease the process. The material is long-lasting and resistant to any extreme changes in temperature that may occur.
The insulation helps the cold and outside noises out of your garage. The extra tubing inside of the seal helps prevent the entire seal from being smashed over time and gives extra cushion.
If you have a concrete garage floor, then it isn’t uncommon for a portion to settle lower than when it was poured. The uneven concrete involves significant construction and is not an easy fix, so you will need to make slight adjustments. This method will avoid the two above, but you may still need to add the extra cushion of weather stripping in case it still isn’t entirely even.
For this method, you will only be adding another layer of concrete to your floor to make it as even as possible. The best concrete for this is going to be quick dry, but it will still take time, so make sure to plan for the wet concrete. This means you may want to start the project in the morning so you can keep your door open while it dries during the day.
While you are adding the concrete, it would be most helpful to have a level to check if your floor is even. A level is a highly useful tool for any DIY project and is recommended to make sure you have the most level floor afterward.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, then there are usually contractors that can come out and assist with leveling the floor for you. I will talk more about this option below.
Garage Door Threshold
Most home centers or other sellers will be able to sell you a garage door threshold kit. This will usually have a rubber strip called a threshold strip, and glue. Some even include caulking, but you are also able to locate this item yourself if they don’t.
How to Fix it
This method is very simple for anyone and is a quick solution to this problem. These threshold kits will typically come with instructions that you will be able to follow.
The steps are usually as simple as gluing the threshold permanently to the garage floor. The garage door should rest on the rubber strip when it is closed, creating a seal that will keep anything out.
When installing the threshold seal, make sure to have a measuring tape, marker, and a quality sealant adhesive. Your threshold seal should come with instructions for it specifically, so you will need to follow along.
Choosing a quality sealant adhesive is highly essential, especially if your threshold seal doesn’t come with its own. Finding a proper sealant will help the seal stay in place longer; otherwise, it could slip and ruin the seal is created.
The best method to apply the sealant is by putting two parallel lines of adhesive at the width of the seal. After this, you will fill in between the lines with a zig-zag pattern that will give even more area of the sealant to adhere the seal to the floor.
There are many videos that can show you how this is done correctly, but your threshold seal may also come with instructions. Make sure to review all of your research before placing the seal, as it can be difficult to remove after the sealant has adhered it to the ground. It would be best if you had some time before it fully dries to double-check.
There are some areas that you can avoid higher-grade purchases, but this may be one that you want to consider investing in. A good quality threshold seal can hold for years, so investing in rubber seals over the cheaper vinyl ones may be well worth it.
Pros and Cons
The biggest thing to note is that this option does have some disadvantages that cause homeowners to try other methods first. Whether or not this is a disadvantage for you will mostly depend on you and how much it will affect your lifestyle.
The biggest pro is the simplicity of the solution. While others may involve more work and room for error, this one is most likely a surefire solution. It will eliminate any gap that is being created, which will keep any pests or animals out of your garage. It is also useful if your garage tends to have water come down a slope into it, which this lip will help prevent.
The biggest con is that it is a slight barrier that will cause it to be more difficult if you are attempting to sweep or hose anything out of the garage. It can also be a small tripping hazard, so you must make sure you and other household members remember that it is there.
Best Garage Door Threshold Seals
Garage door thresholds will have to hold up to a lot of different variables, including extreme changes in temperatures or just simple wear and tear over time. Finding a seal that will hold up well is essential; otherwise, it won’t succeed in doing the job correctly.
Universal Garage Door Threshold Seal
West Bay came out with a Universal Garage Door Threshold Seal (link to Amazon), which is highly recommended by many. It has a maximum thickness of 1.5 cm, which is more than the average of other threshold seals. The length tends to be twenty feet, which is standard but can fall short for some doors.
The material that is used in this seal is EPDM rubber, which means it is temperature resistant. You will also find that it is excellent for reducing noise inside the garage, and helps bring energy expenses down thanks to how well it seals the space.
It is easy to install, but unfortunately, it does not come with its sealant. This means you will need to purchase your own, which not all owners enjoy. However, once it is in place, it won’t slip or even break if you use a quality sealant.
This is an excellent option if you will be driving over it with heavier loads, mainly thanks to the extra thickness it provides. Many people enjoy it primarily due to the non-slip material that is made with.
This option is sold on Amazon for $37.99, but it also has cheaper used options available. This price is considered reasonable by many due to the great features, but you must also remember that it does not include the sealant.
Universal Garage Door Bottom Threshold Seal Strip
Papillon created the Universal Garage Door Bottom Threshold Seal Strip (link to Amazon), which comes in two different lengths. It is waterproof and is great for keeping any water out of your garage. It won’t deteriorate over time and is resistant to extreme temperatures.
Like the previous seal, this one is made of EPDM rubber, which means it is highly durable and can withstand harsh conditions. It is also very flexible and easy to adjust for different garage door lengths. This seal is shorter than the previous one at a 0.5-inch seal, but it still does an excellent job of sealing the garage completely.
This product is highly recommended due to its ability to keep large amounts of water from entering the garage, plus it also has an easy installation process. However, it doesn’t come with any adhesive, so it can be challenging to find the correct kind.
This threshold strip costs $44.97 on Amazon, which does make it more expensive than the previous one. Many people do appreciate that it comes in two different sizes, but you can cut down either one to fit a door that doesn’t fit either size perfectly.
Call A Pro
If you are uncomfortable with doing any of the above steps, then you can call a professional near you. This is also a good idea if the fix isn’t simple, and you need further assistance outside of the tips above. Hiring a professional may not be the cheapest option typically, but it is the best one to assure that your garage door is completely fixed.
Fixing Gaps Along the Side And Top Of The Door
Fixing gaps along the edge or top of the door doesn’t typically have as many options as gaps under the door does. However, it is also a less common occurrence that you can usually narrow down reasonably quickly.
Garage door stops are the strips of trim that you will find around the sides and tops of your door. These will usually be there to cover any gaps along the edges and are helpful as a weather seal. They are usually a flexible flap or flange that will overlap with the door once it is fully closed, which should prevent any gaps.
How to Fix it
If there is a gap, then you should check these stops to make sure they are doing their job. The issue will usually be that you will either need to move them or that they need to be replaced. Replacing them is relatively simple, as you can usually buy replacements in a store or online. However, you can also hire someone to replace them for you.
Check the Tracks
If the issue isn’t the stops, then you should check if the door itself is crooked. The track should keep the door a certain distance from the stops, so you should be able to see if it is in the correct location if you are looking at the door from the inside while it’s closed.
How to Fix
Roller tracks will be mounted on brackets, which will have slotted holes for the mounting bolts. To adjust the track, you will need to loosen the bolt and move tracks, so they are closer to the stops. You don’t want the tracks to be too far apart.
They need to have some wiggle room. You may also need to adjust the other side if it is too far over, and you need it further over.
If you are unsure how to do this, or are worried it may be too tight, then you can always call a professional. Calling a professional is always a good option if you are worried you may cause damage to a garage door.
Why Fix Garage Door Gaps?
It can be tempting for many to leave the gaps in your garage doors, and while you can do this, it can cause specific adverse outcomes. Depending on your garage, you may want to keep certain things out. One such being pests or animals, which may be attracted to any food inside the garage or even just temperature.
While you may not necessarily mind if there are animals in your garage, it could cause issues down the road, depending on the animal. It is never acceptable to allow things like mice into the garage, as they will eat through and destroy items in the room.
Another issue with having a gap is the weather. This can mean anything from rain or snow getting through the gaps, or just the temperature itself. While a garage isn’t typically the best-sealed room, it should have some form of protection inside to prevent any extreme temperature changes compared to the outdoors.
What if the Gaps are a Result of a Major Issue?
Sometimes the issue that is causing a gap in the garage door is best solved by purchasing a new one. Making sure you buy the right door for your garage will help prevent many different things, like gaps, from occurring. However, if the house is settling, then it can’t always be helped if a gap appears over time.
Some Materials Can’t be Fixed
Be aware that garage doors do come in multiple types of materials, and this will often determine if your door will deteriorate over time. Many people prefer wood doors due to the visual appeal; however, these are most likely the least recommended. This is mainly due to wood needing the most care and being the most likely to opt to degrade over time.
Steel is the most popular and least expensive of all the options. Along with steel, vinyl has recently risen in popularity due to the low maintenance and durability.
Aluminum is excellent for areas that may have higher humidity. Aluminum works best because the material is highly resistant to corrosion and rust. Fiberglass is another option that is popular due to its high durability, but it likely to crack if you live in an area that can reach freezing temperatures.
Depending on the door, you may also want to purchase a garage door opener. Which door opener you end up getting will highly depend on the door itself. If the garage door you picked is on the heavier side, then you will want to look into one with more horsepower. However, if your door is light, then a motor with a lot of horsepower could be too much.
Garage doors come in not only a wide variety of materials, but also looks. If you are investing in a new door, then you will want to make sure its one that you believe goes well with your house. This could be the color, design, or even if you want it to have windows or not.
This is on most homeowner’s list of priorities when choosing a new garage door. While you may want to consider spending more on a decent material, you may need to sacrifice other items that you would like.
Also, consider where you are purchasing the garage door as well. If you are going to a large company, then there is a high chance that you will be spending more than you would in other stores. Compare prices and materials, along with benefits like the warranty on the door. These will be all factor into whether the door cost is worth it or not.
Fixing a garage door gap doesn’t have to be complicated, and can usually be done by almost any homeowner. Whether or not you choose to fix it on your own or call a professional mostly depends on the issue and your comfort levels with fixing the gap yourself. Most solutions to a garage door gap are made to be simple.
There are many ways to attempt to fix a gap yourself, but if you do feel uncomfortable doing so, then you can always call a professional. Some issues may be outside of your skill range, or you may not be able to identify what precisely the issue is. These are the best times to bring in a professional to look it over for you.