Photo: TinoFotografie (Shutterstock)
If you’ve noticed a lot of moisture—or worse, a puddle—in your garage, you might understandably be worried. But some causes can be fixed easily, and without major renovations…the trick is finding the source of the water getting in, which will tell you how serious the problem is and whether or not you should try to fix it yourself.
Check your garage’s weather stripping
A common cause for water getting inside your garage is worn down or broken weather stripping around your garage door. There are four sides that should have flexible weather stripping attached to the frame and threshold of a roll-top door. If you notice any of these areas are missing its seal, or if there are cracks or tears in the material, that’s your most obvious culprit.
To fix it, you can get replacement weather stripping for the sides, top, and threshold of your garage door. There are kits for the top and sides, or you can get a threshold strip to address any water coming in from under the door. These kits will come with adhesive or hardware to attach them, you’ll just need to know your garage door’s dimensions to get the right size.
Check your garage’s downspouts
Check to make sure that your downspouts are pointed away from your garage’s foundation. If there’s a blockage causing water to stay in close to the foundation of your garage, water can seep in. Keeping the end of your downspouts clear and using an extension or splash block to aim the stream of water coming out of the downspout away from your garage can help fix your issue. Make sure when you’re installing extensions that the area you’re diverting the water to is sloped away from any other buildings to avoid causing the same problem in a different place.
Re-grade if necessary
If the ground around your garage isn’t properly graded, this can be a source of water leaking in. A slope in the wrong direction can be a source for leakage, so take a walk around to look for areas where water can collect against the outside of the building. To improve it, you need to add soil near the structure and slope it away from the foundation. For a small grading job, you can do it yourself with just a wheelbarrow and some dirt, but a bigger job might need the help of a professional.
Fix your garage foundation
If there are cracks in your foundation, water can seep in through the floor when the ground is wet. If you notice any cracks, you should patch them as soon as you can to keep the moisture out. If the floor is damp, you should open the doors and use a dehumidifier or fans to dry it out before you do the repair. The repair will seal more effectively if the surface is dry, and there will be less chance of future damage from moisture being trapped in the slab.
For smaller cracks, you can use a repair kit and a small putty knife. For slightly larger cracks, you can use an injection kit and a caulk gun. If the crack is large enough to cause the floor to slope or the structure to shift, you’ll need a contractor to help with this repair.
Repair your garage’s roof
If your roof is the source of the leak, it’s a more complicated problem and likely to require a pro. Climbing on the roof and properly installing roofing material is best done by someone with experience. Garage roof repair could range from a simple job for around $500 to a total replacement that can run into the thousands depending on the size of your garage and the type of roof you install. If you need to get your roof replaced, it’s a good idea to get three bids from contractors to get an idea of the price range you’re dealing with.