A well-maintained home exterior is essential for a good first impression. It adds value to the property, enhances security, builds charm, and more. It is also the first thing you see as you get home after a long day of work.
One significant yet overlooked home exterior is the garage door. A garage door installation is highly beneficial as it is convenient, accessible, and secure. Amidst all its benefits, maintaining it regularly and cleaning it can seem like a daunting task.
However, washing the dirt and grime away prevents rusting, making your garage door look pristine and operational for years to come. Further, regular maintenance will not only improve the door’s lifespan but also give your home a higher curb appeal.
Just like other home exteriors, garage doors are also exposed to harsh outdoor elements (like sun, wind, rain, storm) and are bound to get dirty and dusty over time. So, giving it a good clean and performing regular maintenance is necessary for the long-term functioning of the door. (Experts estimate 15-30 years average lifespan of a garage door if maintained well).
Things to consider before cleaning your garage door
Cleaning the garage door enhances its mechanical functionality, gives shine to the door, and keeps the oil & dirt away, making it look new. All you need is the right materials to get started. Here are a few things you want to consider for easy garage door cleaning.
1. Know the material of your garage door
Garage doors are made up of varied materials such as Wood, Steel, Aluminum, Fiberglass, and more. Knowing the material of your garage door is essential, as each material has different cleaning requirements and maintenance needs. Here are a few of them:
Wooden garage doors do not last long and require replacement after every few years. Also, they should be cleaned annually to prevent rotting and warping.
Steel garage doors need less maintenance and are durable than wooden doors. However, you can consider cleaning it twice a year to prevent rusting and straining.
The fiberglass doors are less likely to bend or rust, but these doors can crack and turn yellow easily. Fiberglass garage doors require once-a-year cleaning and are easier to maintain.
Here is a video on maintenance and durability for every kind of garage door material.
2. Warranty information
Along with the door material, you also want to check the door warranty information before cleaning it. This is important because some warranties require you to clean and maintain the door regularly or it may be considered void.
Some Warranties require you to clean and maintain the door regularly or it maybe considered void.
3. Gather the required tools
Before you start cleaning your garage door, it is important to have all materials you need at hand. This makes the process significantly easier. Here is the complete list:
- Cleaning Solution
- Soft Sponges / Cleaning Cloths
- Weather stripping tape
- A silicone-based lubricant
- Garden hose
Now that we have a better understanding of the garage door materials, the warranties, and the required tools for cleaning, let’s get started.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you clean your garage door with ease.
4. How to clean your garage door so it looks new
Step 1 – Remove the excess dirt
Let’s wave goodbye to the grime. It is the first step to clear all excess dirt away from the door with the help of a garden hose. You do not want to use a pressure washer, as it can damage the door.
Do not use a pressure washer, it can damage the door.
A power washer can create dents, bends, and cause your paint to chip off from materials like metal, wood, or composite wood.
Here is a garden hose that could get the job done in case you do not have one.
Step 2 – Apply detergent
The next step is using detergent to get off the remaining dirt and get a clean garage door.
To complete this process, you will need a soapy water solution and a sponge. To make the solution add 1 cup of detergent to a 2-gallon bucket of water. Now use this to wash the door with a non-abrasive cloth or a sponge.
- If you have stubborn stains, use a mild detergent instead. Just be sure that it does not contain more than 0.5% phosphate.
- If you live near the coastal area and get a lot of road salt, you may want to consider using spray wax. This will help in maintaining the door shine and preventing damage.
Step 3 – Lubricate your garage door
Lubricate your garage door as it will help you get rid of the squeaky noises from the door. For this step, use lithium or silicone-based grease for the smooth functioning of the garage door.
Don’t use WD-40 as they de-grease and don’t add long-lasting lubrication to the garage door. It also removes the existing lubricant and jams the door.
Here is a quick video providing detailed instructions on how to lubricate the garage doors:
Step 4 – Check your weather stripping
Well-kept weather stripping is essential to keep the moisture and rodents away from your garage. Check if the weather stripping is in good condition or replace it with a new one.
Also, the weather stripping needs more lubrication and maintenance than the garage door surface. This is because the lubricants prevent the weather stripping from drying and cracking out.
You can do this by cleaning the weather stripping with a sponge or cloth and later applying dielectric grease.
Here is a video on how to seal the garage door weather stripping:
Step 5 - Test the garage door
Garage doors can be dangerous if they are not maintained properly. Faulty doors can cause injury and trap people inside the garage. Hence, the best way to avoid such mishaps is to perform regular garage door repairs and inspections.
Inspect various garage door features such as:
- Check the auto-reverse safety feature
- Take a look at the garage cables to ensure they are not tangled.
- Be sure to check all the screws and nuts.
Once you are done with all the steps, you can re-check each feature of the garage door to avoid future problems.
Maintaining your garage doors and performing annual or semi-annual checkups is not only beneficial to the garage door lifespan but also prevents you from paying heavy maintenance charges later.