Situations that can cause rust on a garage door

Nobody wants to head out to their garage door, which may have only been installed a few years before, to find a spot of rust. This can be even more frustrating when you think about the fact that the garage was protected with a coat of high-quality paint.

The first thing you want to consider when it comes to your garage door and rust is what the environment is. Some environments are more likely to cause rust than others. After you have an idea of how this might affect your door, we’ll talk about why it’s so important to wash the garage door on a regular basis.

What is causing rust on my garage door?

Take a glance around at your environment

The first thing you have to consider is what environment your garage door is located in. For instance, those in areas on the coast may have garage doors that often experience contact with salty air. Some people are located right near a street where salt is used for deicing purposes. While this might seem like the most intense situation, that doesn’t mean that these situations aren’t in existence. Every day, garage door specialists are in contact with customers much like yourself who call and complain about rust on a garage door that hasn’t been in place all that long.

One of the things that can lead to a look very similar to rust is pollen. This is completely normal and can often be seen during the spring and summer months. It is most often caused by yellow and white birch trees. The pollen from the trees can land on your garage door and leave a streak of orange that looks almost the same as rust.

Know what kind of paint is on your garage door

Besides the environment, you should also think about the paint used on the door. Most of the North American garage door manufacturers use a primer coat that is covered by a baked-on coat of paint. The doors are traditionally made of steel with a certain amount of zinc to prevent rust. The garage door manufacturers association of North America (DASMA) has put out guidelines that relate to how thick the zinc coatings should be to protect against rust and galvanize steel.

Consider whether the garage door has been repainted, as well. This might have been done by you, someone who used to own the home, or a company who specializes in garage door painting.

What is causing rust on my garage door?

The final thing to take into consideration with paint is whether there have been any punctures in the door. This will make the protective coating stop doing the job it is put there for. Just like you would need to repair your vehicle after a car accident that left the raw metal, a garage door also needs to be repaired. Not doing so can lead to rust that takes hold deep into the metal.

Step one is to wash the garage door well

When is the last time you decided to wash your garage door? If it has been a while or you aren’t sure when the last time was, you might want to implement a system where you do it when you wash your vehicle. Washing the door removes all of the dust and dirt that might be built up. It also lets you see if there are any stains from grease or oil underneath. If you see these stains, you may have over lubricated the drive chain on your electric garage door opener. White grease should only be used when needed and in limited amounts.

Curious about the proper way to wash a garage door? You can use the same exact soap that you use when washing your car. Those who don’t have automobile soap can use a liquid dishwashing detergent instead. The best of these are going to offer a degreaser which can mean less scrubbing. One thing to avoid - the use of a pressure washer. If anything is making the paint fragile as it is, this will only make the situation worse and could take off a layer of paint. Instead, set a garden hose to a medium setting and use that instead.

The best way to handle garage door rust spots

For those of you who have rust spots, determine if these look similar to what would happen if you used a grinder to cut metal and the particles from the cutting were lodged into the surface of the door. You are most likely to see this on the bottom two sections of the garage door. Are you somewhere near the street? This problem may be the result of a mix of street salt, wet snow, and abrasive substances which can be thrown onto the door during the winter.

Assuming the rust stains are only on the surface, you can remove them by using a mild product. Dilute vinegar with water in equal amounts and then use a spray bottle to apply it to the door. After you have done so, use a clean cloth to wipe it off. If this isn’t enough to handle the problem, mix together water and baking soda to make a paste. This can be applied to the surface and left to sit for around 20 to 30 minutes. Next, take a clean cloth and wipe it off before a final rinse. You can also use the cleanser that is used on your bathroom tile. Spray it on, give it time to work, wipe it off, and then rinse the garage door off well.

Schedule twice-annual garage door washing

Those who are in areas with a large amount of air pollution should be sure to wash down their garage door two times a year at minimum. Make a note on your to-do list or calendar, so it doesn’t get overlooked. We recommend doing so once in the spring and once in the fall. Wash your vehicle at the same time for the ultimate in convenience. And just like a car, you can add liquid wax as an additional layer of protection.

To keep your garage door in the best shape, read and follow the instructions in Garaga’s maintenance guide. This might mean a bit of extra work and time, but you will get results you can count on.

Is it time to replace your garage door?

Have you noticed your garage door could use a replacement? If you live in North Shore and want assistance with a new garage door, contact us now at 1-800-425-0662.

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