As much as we might like to pretend summer can last forever, we know the reality is that winter in Alberta is just around the corner. When the leaves begin to change, it is important to ensure we are ready for the cold temperatures and harsh conditions that lie ahead. Preparing your garage for the change of seasons is essential to keeping your garage is good working order and ensuring that your belongings are protected all winter long.

Not sure where to start? Follow along for some practical tips to help winterize your garage so you can make the most of your space all year round.

Organize and Downsize

Fall is the perfect time to take inventory of your personal effects and ensure that everything is neatly organized. Take advantage of the weather while it is still nice to sort through what you need and what you don’t and organize everything, so it is easier to access. The less time you spend searching for your things when it is below freezing out, the better! It is also prudent to ensure your belongings are out of the way and up off the floor so that nothing gets damaged from the inevitable introduction of salt, snow, and mud. Having a neatly organized garage makes it easier to keep clean, especially during the winter months.

Check Windows & Doors

Windows and doors are the most common places that heat escapes and cold seeps in during winter months. Weather-stripping is usually placed around windows and doors to create an air-tight seal between the opening and the door or window itself. It also serves to keep insects and other pests out of your building. That is why it is so important to ensure all seals are in good condition, even if your garage is not heated.

Over time, weather-stripping may begin to deteriorate. Exposure to the elements can cause it to become brittle and crack. If left unattended, further damage may occur. Water may leak into the frames and lead to the growth of mold and mildew. In winter months, water freezes causing extra pressure within the door and window frames and possibly irreparably damaging them. These possible issues can be easily prevented by gently removing old, damaged weather-stripping and cleaning up the edges around windows and doors so new weather-stripping can be installed. Once you have the new weather-stripping in place, you can add caulking to ensure there are no leaks whatsoever.

It is also a good idea to check that your garage door and door opener are in good working condition. You do not want to be fighting a door that doesn’t work in the middle of our dreadfully cold winters. Inspect the door tracks for any debris that might hinder operation. It is also a good idea to check for rust build up around handles and hinges. You may be able to lubricate the mechanical parts of your garage with a high-quality lubricant to ensure smooth operation (though it is advised you check with your door manufacturer for maintenance tips and advice).

Inspect Floor/Foundation

Winter can be particularly hard on the floor of your garage. Constant driving in and out means that snow and salt are tracked in, while drastic changes in temperature are experienced every time the door is opened.

Small hairline cracks in the concrete of your garage floor are quite common. They often naturally develop during the curing process of the concrete. It is important, however, to monitor the status of any cracks or faults in your concrete foundation as even small cracks can grow over time if precautions are not taken.

One option to consider is adding a floor coating, such as epoxy, to protect the concrete against premature deterioration and maintain structural integrity. It is also good practice to frequently clean up any salt, water, and dirt that comes of your vehicle so that it does not have prolonged contact with the flooring in your garage.

Check Plumbing & Heating Systems

If your garage is heated and plumbed, you do not want to wait until we hit an inevitable stretch of -40-degree weather to realize that the furnace is not working, and your pipes have completely frozen. You should invest in regular furnace maintenance and have the system serviced by a professional once a year.

You should also check for any leaks in your plumbing system and have repairs made immediately. Exposed pipes should be wrapped to keep them adequately insulated against the cold. If you have outdoor faucets or water systems attached to your garage, they need to be disconnected before the freezing temps set in. Even something as simple as a garden hose remaining attached to the faucet can cause irreparable damage.

Conclusion

By taking a little bit of time now to complete these simple tasks, you will make the transition to winter a stress-free endeavour. Ensuring everything is in good working order is an easy but essential way to protect your investment and guarantee you get a lifetime of use from your garage.

If you are interested in upgrading or building a new detached garage, contact Alberta Garage Builders. We will provide you with a complimentary quote for building a winter-proof garage.