The beauty and condition of your garage door is a big reflection not only of your home’s appeal but it’s actual worth. Curb appeal has a huge impact on home appraisal, and the garage door plays a big role. Moreover, your garage door is a huge financial investment, even more so because of its impact on home value. If you own a steel garage door, rust is public enemy #1. It can be especially frustrating to see your door succumb to rust, especially if it is only a few years old.
Here’s how to protect your garage door against rust and ensure the value of your home.
How Weather & Climate Affects Rust
The amount of rust your door is exposed to ultimately comes down to the weather and climate of where you live. Coastal areas are high rust zones since the salty air can be hard on garage doors. Hot areas like deserts and Sacramento, California are high sun exposure zones, which can be hard on paint. Snowy climates also have challenges because of the ice typically used for de-icing.
Clean Your Door: Basic Garage Door Repair
Most people don’t realize that some of the most important preventative maintenance you can do requires only a garden hose. Regularly washing your garage door dust, dirt, pollen, and other buildup. A mild soap works best — a little dishwashing detergent with some water does wonders. Apply with a sponge or damp cloth.
A word of warning: Never pressure wash a door. This can damage the paint and even dent the door. To rinse the door, use a garden hose on a low to medium setting.
Garage Door Paint & Rust
The type of paint you use on your garage door can also affect the amount of rust a door gets. Most professionals will paint a garage door with a primer coat of paint, plus one or more layers of paint that is baked onto the door. A high quality garage door will have anti-rust materials ingrained in the door. A mixture of steel and zinc is the best protection against rust.
If your door was previously painted, there’s always the risk it was painted incorrectly by someone who didn’t know what they were doing. That’s why if you are repainting your garage door it is crucial to do it correctly. Find out what steps are required to prepare the door such as a primer. Using the right paint is important too.
Also keep in mind that if your door is already damaged, no amount of paint will fix it. You are just covering up the problem, which will come back to haunt you in the long run. Scrapes remove the protection of the paint. Any puncture opens up the surrounding door to rust. It’s important to keep your door in good condition and repair if necessary.
What to Do About Existing Rust Spots
If you already have rust spots, this is a fairly simple garage door repair to either remove the rust entirely or minimize their appearance. You might notice small spots that look dirty only they won’t wash away. The most common area for rust is the bottom 2 panels of the garage door, since this is closest to the ground and your driveway where water splashes and accumulates.
You can remove surface stains with a mild mixture of water and vinegar from a household squirt bottle. DIY home recipes work best. For stubborn rust, try mixing in some baking soda. Mild abrasive cleaners might also help. Try using a wire brush for difficult patches.
If this doesn’t work, you may have to replace the whole door.
Is It a Lost Cause?
Sad to say, but some rusty doors are beyond repair. Older doors often get so much rust there’s no removing all of it. A paint job may look better on the surface, but the results are only temporary. Eventually, you’ll need to break down and invest in a new garage door. The good news is a new door is great for property values, so consider it an investment in your overall home equity.