Q&A OF THE WEEK: How Can I Stop My Garage Door From Sticking Shut In Winter?

Q: How can I stop my garage door from freezing to the concrete floor when it gets really cold? I live in northern Manitoba and I have this problem when it gets colder than -50ºC some mornings. Sometimes the door is frozen so solidly that the automatic door opener stalls out.

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A: You’re wise to address this issue because in addition to the inconvenience, it’s very hard on the door seal if it get stuck to the floor. I’ve heard of situations like yours before and the cause is often the same. If the floor is not sloped back inwards, typically towards a central floor drain and away from the door, melt water from your car can accumulate against the closed door seal, gluing the door it shut. The slope of the garage floor was a subtlety that was determined when the floor was poured, and this is why you can have a garage door freezing problem in one house, yet the next one over in the subdivision is fine.

Changing the slope of a concrete floor isn’t practical, but I have seen Vaseline help. Smear a coat on the rubber door sweep and the ice can’t grab the sweep with nearly as good a grip. It works well for some, so it’s worth a try.

Another option is to keep the door open for longer periods of time, if possible. Anything you can do to allow this water to dry will help reduce (or even eliminate) the problem. Sprinkling salt or sand on the floor right where the door comes down is another tactic that can work. As a last resort, you might consider removing the door seal altogether. If your garage isn’t heated (and most are not), then there’s no energy loss in removing the rubber seal.

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