A DIY Guide to Get Your Garage Winter Ready

The cold weather is just around the corner, but don’t let it get you down. Before it gets too chilly, tackle the garage. A neat and warm garage will make it easier to find what you need when you need it without freezing as you dig through the clutter. Broken down into simple tasks, garage organizing and winterizing are manageable. Get your garage winterized by following this simple guide to insulate your garage and keep it warm in the upcoming months. Here are a few projects for organization, keeping moisture out of the air, and keeping your garage warm for winter.

Keep Your Garage Clean

The first step in any project is to make a plan! At least a week before you start your garage project, take a look around the garage and think about solutions for organization. Need to build shelves, buy storage containers, a toolbox, or a pegboard? Have plenty of large heavy-duty trash bags and permanent markers for labeling containers. Make a list and shop before cleaning day.

  • Clear the space. Make sure to move your vehicles to create plenty of space to work.

  • Create your “workshop.” Take precautions to protect items from dirt and oil on the garage floor.

  • Sort it. Move through the garage, sort items into the four categories: trash, items to be kept, items that need fixing, and items to donate. This article will walk you through more in-depth steps for organizing your garage for winter.

  • Give your items a home. Organize items for storage. Put all the tools together, garden equipment together, car wash supplies together, etc. Make sure to store them properly and up off the ground.

  • Clean up the rest. Sweep the garage, get rid of any remaining trash. Use an oven cleaner on oil spots to scour with an all-purpose scrub brush and rinse with a hose.

Keep Your Garage Moisture Free

Ideally, keeping your garage dry is best for protecting all of the items stored in it. If you have a problem with moisture buildup, there are ways to control it.

  • Use an exhaust fan. Like a bathroom, this type of fan can help in your garage, too. Install an exhaust fan and mount a heater on the wall across from the doorway. This will help remove any humidity that enters through your door when you enter or exit. The combination of these will help keep your garage free from moisture.

  • If your garage isn’t suffering from excess moisture build-up, a dehumidifier, similar to what you would use in your basement, would work as well.

No matter which option you choose, make sure to perform regular maintenance on these appliances to keep them running efficiently and in tip-top shape.

Keep Your Garage Warm

This is critical for keeping your car and other tools protected and warm in the winter. And it also keeps it dry. Garages can get cold. They are not insulated like living spaces and that makes them more susceptible to freezing temperatures outside. To keep things simple, most garages include a garage door which is not insulated.

This means there are large holes in the structure that allow cold air to come into your space and warm air to escape out of it. This makes keeping things at a comfortable temperature difficult, even if you have the heater on!

  • Use a kit for your garage door. The easiest way to keep your garage warm is to start with a garage door insulation kit. You can easily find these on Amazon or your local hardware store. Many of these kits are made to help block airflow between the cracks and keep warm air in, and cold air out.

  • Look for gaps and cracks. You may have gaps in the walls, in the door, ceiling, or elsewhere. Tackling these vulnerabilities is the best and easiest way to start. Depending on where the gap or crack is, there are a couple of ways to fill them. 
    • To fill gaps in the outside walls of your unfinished garage, expanding foam is a great option. Fill it about 50% and let the foam expand the rest of the way. 
    • For cracks in wood, use wood putty or a wood filler of your choice. Each is simple and can be applied directly to the cracks and voids.
    • Holes in drywall should be filled by replacing those pieces of drywall and sealing with drywall mud.
    • And for cracks in the cement, you can use concrete crack filler or a type of flex seal filler with rubber.

  • Don’t forget about the windows. Not all garages have windows, but if they do, pay attention. If it gets too cold, there may be ice inside your window panes that keeps you from opening the window. A great hack is to take a hairdryer and heat up both sides of your garage door until it warms enough to be pliable. Then you can use that same type of flexible rubber sealant used on cracks in concrete doors, but this time apply some around the edges of your windows where they meet the wall. For the window panes, you can add a sealed layer of plastic. There are kits for this as well that you can find online.

  • Don’t forget about ventilation! If you want your garage kept at a comfortable temperature, then close off any vents that may lead into other parts of your home or open windows if needed.

  • Keep the entryways and exits clear. Keeping these areas free of snow is a must for comfort as well as safety purposes. You don’t want ice or snow making it hard for you to get in and out of your garage!

  • Add fiberglass roll insulation. If your garage has not already been finished, odds are it hasn’t been properly insulated. This type of insulation is the easiest and most cost-effective to install. Simply unroll between the studs with the vapor barrier facing inward. You can use a staple gun to secure the insulation to the walls. If you use this method, be sure to protect your skin with long sleeves and gloves. If you want to take the project even further, employ someone with stellar drywall skills to finish it off.

Like your home, it’s important to keep your garage clean, warm, and dry. Not only does this decrease the amount of potential damage that can be caused by weather, but it’ll also keep your vehicles, tools, and other belongings better protected. At The Maids, we offer unique cleaning services and affordable options. To get you started, let us help with the organization and garage cleaning. It’ll get your project off to a great start!

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