Getting the perfect garage door bottom seal is not as hard as you think. The important thing is to remember that this is a two step process: the seal and the threshold. If either one of these is not chosen well than it may mean cold or hot air, dust, insects, rodents and other unwanted things may find their way into your clean garage.
The common time of the year for a homeowner to think about a garage door bottom seal replacement is during the summer. During the warmer months it is easy to forget the rainy, slushy and freezing season to come – but don’t! Consider the maximum and minimum outdoor temperatures that your garage door will face. There are special garage replacement seals that are warranted for almost any temperature.
Next, the garage door and threshold should be measured carefully and any uneven surfaces noted. Wooden doors and concrete floors can have imperfections that may make a tight fit virtually impossible with the wrong seal / threshold combination.
Also, consider what will be driving over the threshold and how often. Will it be vehicle traffic only or will it also include lawn gear? How about bicycles or wheelbarrows? Is the garage flooring often hosed down inside or swept free of debris? How much water penetrates to the interior during a storm? The goal here is to determine how high a threshold will work and what material will work best.
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Considering the temperature range should be the first thing. Subzero climates can leave many vinyls and rubbers stiff and unable to conform properly to a threshold for a good seal. Worse, many may become brittle and crack or break, which may leave the garage open to drafts and debris. There are many brands that offer up to 1″ compression while performing in temperatures down to –65 degrees Fahrenheit! For less extreme climates there are also top brands of rubber seals that perform well in the summer heat without losing shape.
Once the right seal is chosen based on condition, it is, obviously, crucial to make sure it is available in a continuous form. Tight seals are very hard to achieve if two or more pieces have to be mated along a length of door. Fortunately, top brands come in lengths up to and beyond 20′, which means most doors can be outfitted.
The threshold is important and should be considered carefully. If water is a concern, there are many great rubber garage thresholds like the Tsunami Seal, which offers great water barrier protection and can be installed on concrete with just the use of an adhesive. Sometimes, heavy machinery or sharp objects can damage these seals and if water isn’t a factor than aluminum or other metal thresholds make great choices. A metal threshold can survive all sorts of weather and works well with most any non-wood door. For wooden doors, a heavy rubber threshold is best because the wide width usually offers multiple contact points, which means a tight seal even if the garage door has imperfections.
It is important to find the right materials for the right temperature. Buy thresholds and seals in one continuous piece. Garage door bottom seals are tightest when fiberglass and metal doors are paired with rubber or metal thresholds. Wooden doors are usually best with a rubber threshold. Keep in mind the water barrier capability and what kind of use and abuse the threshold will receive to decide between rubber and metal. A tight seal means cheaper heating and cooling bills. Don’t forget garage door insulation if your door does not have it built in. Also, when replacing a garage door seal this is a great time to add weather stripping to the sides and top of the garage door to further block drafts, moisture, and dirt.