Preventing Water Damage in the Garage

Any storage space, whether it’s an attic, a basement or a garage is vulnerable to water damage.  Most of the time, you won’t even be aware of any damage until it’s too late. Let’s face it, you rarely ever check on your storage space unless you need to put in more stuff or pull something out.

By then, you might discover that your garage walls or floors have been damaged underneath all the storage boxes.  Not only that, the very items you may be trying to keep safe might also have been destroyed.

In most Southern California homes, the garage offers the largest potential storage area. But in comparison to all the other areas in your home, it can be the most vulnerable.  It is also the most overlooked area in the home when it comes to water damage prevention.

When it comes to flooding, the garage is one of the first areas that can get inundated with water.  And you might find yourself facing thousands of dollars worth of water damage.

In this article, we give useful tips to protect your garage, and yourself from water damage whether from leaks or from major flooding.

Garage Water Damage - Being Proactive is Still Your Best Defense

red tiled roof with gutters to help prevent garage water damage

As in all things, prevention is still your best line of defense.  It’s better to invest in making your garage better able to stand up to leaks and flooding than deal with the headache and drain on the wallet of a water damage situation. Plus, you want to keep your items safe, too.

So what can you do before this happens?

1. Invest in weather stripping  

Garage doors are notoriously difficult to weather strip for two reasons. First, it’s probably the largest entry point in any area of your home. The bigger the area to weather strip, the more challenging.

Plus, garage weather stripping is fairly exposed to the elements and it needs to be replaced on a regular basis, something 99% of homeowners overlook.  However, going the extra step will help protect your garage from water intrusion.

Weather stripping can protect your garage against minor flooding and also helps maintain the temperature of the garage.  A deluge, however, is another matter and you need more  than weather stripping to protect against a major flood.

How do you know if your garage is sealed properly?  Just turn on the garage light. If you step out and can see the light through the bottom or sides of the door, then it is not sealed as well as you want it to be.

2. Check the gutters and downspouts 

One of the main culprits of weather related flooding in your home (garage included) is clogged gutters and downspouts.  Ensure that there are no obstructions that keep them from properly directing water down and away from the garage.

Ideally, water should drain away from the base of the garage to prevent water from puddling and flowing back in.

3. Check your roof for water damage, too!

Water damage may also come from leakage from the roof.  Water can leak down and soak through the ceiling of the garage.  Nevermind unsightly wall stains.

What’s more worrisome is the damage you can't see behind the wet drywall or sheetrock, or damage to the electrical systems that service your garage.

4. Improve drainage around your home

During times of heavy floods, street gutters and drains may not be enough. And this can make your home vulnerable to flooding.

One way you can protect your home from this situation is by installing French drains in front of your garage.  A french drain is a gravel-filled trench that directs water into a perforated pipe located at the bottom. This pipe then transports excess water and empties it a safe  distance from your home’s foundation.

5. Inspect the foundation  

Cracks in the cement can let water seep through, cause erosion and lead to more damage. This makes your home even more vulnerable to flooding.

It is important to carefully inspect your foundation, even for hairline cracks.  Minor ones can be addressed with application of waterproof paint or a vinyl concrete patch.  However, it is best to leave the larger cracks to the professionals.

6. Consider installing flood vents

As we have mentioned above, a properly weather sealed garage door can protect your home from minor floods.  However, it is no match to the force exerted by a major flood.

If you live in an area prone to flooding, you may consider installing flood vents which allow flood water from the outside to flow through the garage unobstructed. While this may flood your garage, this option is the lesser evil. Allowing this to happen will protect your home’s living space from water damage.

7. Always have sandbags ready

sangbags positioned at the end of a driveway to prevent garage water damage

Again, this is especially recommended for locations that are prone to heavy flooding.  Sandbags are not only a cost effective solution, they are extremely effective as protective barriers during heavy rainfall.

Once flood water comes in contact with the sandbags, they expand to create a dam that prevents water from coming into your garage and your home. With sandbags, this is a case of making hay while the sun shines, so to speak.  If your home is located in an area where heavy rains and flooding regularly occur, it is best to have  dozens of sandbags on hand.

Before a storm arrives, place them around the perimeters of the garage where water can get into your garage door.

8. Seal garage flooring

Sealing garage floors has a two-fold purpose - It protects your floors from the destructive effect of flood waters in the event that they do get into your garage. The other purpose is just for aesthetics.  It definitely makes your floors more attractive.

9. Keep things off the floor

If you’re utilizing your garage as storage, it makes a lot of sense to protect your things by keeping them off the floor in case water does get into the space.  

Not only do crates, storage bins and shelving systems keep everything nice and organized, they keep your stored items less vulnerable to flood waters. This solution will definitely be Marie Kondo approved!

10. Check for appliance leaks

Often times, water heaters are in the garage and are a very frequent source of water damage claims. Some people keep extra refrigerators or freezers in the garage, or use the garage as a laundry/utility room.  

Appliances are some of the major causes of water damage. If you do keep appliances in your garage, do regular checks to ensure that they are not leaking water onto floors or walls

Your home is your castle. It is also a major investment. Taking proactive steps to protect it from water damage is important. This includes making sure that your garage is properly secure against flooding and water damage.

What To Do If Your Garage Becomes Flooded

Being proactive is certainly good. However, when you’re dealing with forces of nature, even the best preparation may not be enough.

What do you do if you find yourself with a flooded garage?

The first thing to do is to remove as much of the excess water as soon as possible. The next step is to call on the professionals to mitigate damage.  Water damage restoration experts work quickly to remove water and dry your garage to prevent further damage. More importantly, they help prevent harmful molds and bacteria from developing due to the moist environment.

Call The Water Damage Restoration Experts: Five Star Restoration

When you have experienced flooding in your garage, or in any part of your home, FIVE STAR RESTORATION can help minimize the effects of water damage. Plus, we can offer our unparalleled repair and reconstruction services.

The Five Star Restoration Process

Diagnostics - at no cost. It’s important to determine what class and category of water damage you have experienced so we know what plan of action to take for your particular case. It may just involve extraction and drying, or it may require removal of some materials and sanitizing the area.

Quick Water Removal and Drying/Dehumidification. It is important to act quickly to remove water and dry the affected area to prevent growth of mold and bacteria which can begin soon after flooding.

FIVE STAR RESTORATION removes water quickly and dries the affected areas using powerful extractors,air movers, and dehumidifiers to do the job efficiently.

Sanitation and Cleaning. Though you may not spend too much time in your garage, depending on the source of the water it may be important to have the affected surfaces sanitized after a flooding to ensure safety.  

FIVE STAR RESTORATION utilizes safe, yet powerful cleaning products on surfaces and air scrubbers to clean the air of airborne particles that can cause allergies and other health problems.

Insurance Assistance. Repairs after a water damage situation can be a major drain on your wallet. As a part of our commitment to "Five Star Service Every Time" we give you invaluable assistance when filing a claim with your insurance. Communicating with insurance personnel can be time consuming, stressful, and sometimes confusing.

Let FIVE STAR RESTORATION handle your damage repair claim and be stress free. Your insurance adjuster will work directly with us to get your water damage claim filed and paid.

Call FIVE STAR RESTORATION for a quick response and high quality assistance with your flooding emergency.

Call us at 951-368-2227. We have technicians on standby 24/7 to help you.  

Tags: Garage Water Damage, prevent garage flooding, garage water damage tips, protect items in the garage from damage, water damage repair

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