If we’re going to have to suffer damage from water in your home, most of us would agree that it’s better to have it in the garage than in one of the rooms our kids and pets live in. Water damage isn’t necessarily a major inconvenience in the garage. After all, we often get oil stains and spill other liquids on that poor old concrete floor too. But while damage from water, flooding or whatever, may not appear that big a problem, finding and fixing the cause can start running into real money.
So the object here is to discuss ways and means to avoid having to face the concern in the first place. Here, I’ll try to explain what every homeowner should know about the causes of water damage, and how to beat it to the punch.
Possible Causes and What to Do
- Please keep the garage door closed. It’s common to see open garage doors as we drive down the street. Some just forget to close them on occasion, while others never seem to close theirs. When the kids get out bikes or other amusements, they’ll almost invariably leave that huge door open. Even if they’ve been taught to close it, their usual excuse is that they’re just going to be out for a minute.
- Being the largest opening your home has, this not only leaves your home open to major flooding in really bad weather, and even a short hard rain can allow a considerable amount of water to enter the garage damaging anything soluble that may happen to be lying about. Another ominous thought is that an open garage door may be a tempting invitation for thieves to come in and help themselves.
- Weather stripping. Weather stripping is there for a valid purpose, but it’s the kind of thing we never notice. Just as we often don’t notice worn windshield wipers until a good rain comes along, weather stripping slips by unnoticed until bad weather really brings it to our attention and by then a lot of damage may already have been created. Any sort of protection like weather stripping tends to dry out and eventually crumble and in the end, when you need it, it fails. And a wise homeowner doesn’t only install weather stripping at the bottom of the garage door but it should have stripping up the sides as well, just to make sure. When weather stripping is much worn or even missing in places, a lot of unexpected and unwanted water can get into the garage before you even realize what just happened.
- When a garage door panel is compromised, just one bad segment may leave vulnerable cracks—admit it, sometimes early in the morning we accidentally bump into the door a bit before we’re fully alert—and water has an opening to slip right into the garage. It’s a very good idea to check the garage door carefully for any damage and if you do find anything, you need a pro to come in and handle the problem properly. Playing with garage doors is not for sissies.
Of course, despite all these precautions, there are other ways water can manage to leak into your garage causing damage. Many homes have the water heater located in the garage, and they sometimes begin to leak. The reasons for this may be varied, but in the end, water leaking from a water heater is just as insidious as water entering the home from outside. As with garage doors, water heaters need regular inspection, and when anything awry is noticed, it’s really imperative to call in a professional to fix the leak and/or advise you on what to do about this before it escalates into something seriously disastrous.
- The roof of your garage may begin to leak. As with almost everything in and around your home, you should have the roof inspected on a yearly basis. A trained roofer will check your roof and advise you of its overall condition. HeW may simply recommend having the roof and gutters properly cleaned, or the problem may be repairs or even a new roof. In any case, working on the roof can be very dangerous and it’s not a job any homeowner should tackle. Time lying in a hospital bed with broken limbs is a pretty awesome price to pay for trying to save a buck by working on the roof on a sunny Saturday morning.
- Yes, as I mentioned above, clogged gutters can cause a real problem. Cleaning the gutters is a tiresome job and it’s frequently forgotten by even the most prudent homeowner. When water begins to back up in clogged gutters it begins to look for ways to seep into the garage or it can pool up around the base of your garage compromising the integrity of your concrete foundation as well as the garage flooring.
So a last word of advice to avoid water damage in your garage is to make sure you clean out those gutters on a regular basis.