Unless you live in an especially temperate climate, you likely spend a decent amount on heating and cooling. And, if your garage is attached to your home, money could be slipping right through your hands and exiting through the gaps in your garage door seal. No one likes losing money, especially in higher utility costs, making it imperative you replace the seal whenever it shows signs of significant wear and gaps begin to form.
Luckily, replacing a garage door seal isn’t complicated, and most homeowners can accomplish the tasks with just a few supplies and a little bit of time. Here’s how to handle the process.
Measure, Measure, Measure!
When you replace the seal, you want to make sure the new one will seal properly and won’t have any gaps. This means you need to carefully measure the width, height, and thickness of your garage door. These are the measurements you’ll need when you head to the home improvement store to buy a replacement seal for the door.
When you purchase a new seal, you’ll notice that it has T-shaped edges but is otherwise mostly flat. Don’t be alarmed by its shape! The seal is highly pliable and can’t be positioned to create the U-shape you need to seal the door successfully. Also, the seal might not come in the exact length you need. Again, don’t worry! Purchase a piece that is longer than you need! Then, you can cut the edge using a razor knife to get the right length.
Remove the Old Seal
You can’t replace the seal until the old one is out of the way. Start by lifting the garage door and securing it at a height of about five or six feet (depending on your height) and making sure the track is out of the way of the opening that holds the seal. This will give you room to move around and makes it easier to apply the pressure needed to pull the seal out. In some cases, you may need to disconnect the garage door from the opener if you don’t have the option to stop the door at an ideal location. Once the door is up, look at the ends of the seal and see if there are any screws holding the seal in place. If so, these will need to be removed to facilitate the removal process.
Sometimes, when screws aren’t used to secure the seal, the track for the material will be bent in to keep the seal from moving. If that is the case, you’ll need to straighten the track back out. The easiest way to do that is with a flathead screwdriver. Just place the end in the track and bend the section away from the seal, making the space larger. After that, you can grab the seal and begin sliding it out of the track. Use firm, continuous pressure, pulling straight to the side. This allows the T-shaped edges of the seal to move through the track and out.
Install the New Garage Door Seal
Now that the old seal is out of the way, you can move to the installation process. Start by cleaning the edge of the garage door to remove dirt and debris. Why do you need to clean it? Because rough materials can dig into the seal, causing it to tear or break down faster. By keeping the surface clean, you can extend the life of your seal. Next, take the new seal and fit the T-shaped edges into the tracks in the door.
Now, you’ll need to pull the seal through the track to the other end. Understand, this can be a lengthy process and may require a lot of pushing and pulling. Sometimes, it can go faster if you can enlist the help of someone else, but don’t expect it to quickly slide through the entire length without some effort. You’ll likely need to work the seal from both ends, pushing on the seal near the opening and pulling the other end through. Don’t hesitate to switch back and forth between the two techniques if you’re working alone, as it can help keep things moving along more quickly. Avoid using certain tools when pulling, as the rough edges of pliers or similar tools can rip or otherwise damage the seal. Patience is key.
In some cases, you can make the sliding process easier by spraying the track with a mixture of dish soap and water. This can make the track a bit more slippery, decreasing the amount of resistance as you move the rubber seal along. Once the new garage door seal is in place, you can secure it to the door. If you’re door featured screws on the ends, simply replace them, using the heads to pin the seal down. If your seal was only pinned into place by bending the track slightly, then use a screwdriver to pin the seal down
After the new seal is installed, you want to test to make sure it is sealing properly. Start by closing your garage door. If it doesn't close, then the seal may be slightly thicker than the previous one, and you will need to adjust your limit to accommodate the difference. Similarly, if your garage door shuts but you can see daylight coming through, then you need to adjust the limit to allow the door to lower further. This happens if the seal is somewhat thinner than your previous one.
Now, your garage door should have a proper seal, helping to prevent heated or cooled air from escaping and allowing you to keep your utility costs in check. Just keep an eye on the seal over time, and make sure to replace it as soon as it shows signs of wear that affect the seal's effectiveness.