Checklist: Prepare Your Garage For Winter Extremes

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The winter brings extreme conditions right to your doorstep. Don’t let snowfall come without preparing the most exposed part of your home: your garage.

Before you prepare your garage, you’ll have to put together a quick shopping list. We’ve detailed what you’ll need to pick up to insulate, organize, and take care of your garage this season.

Insulate your Garage Door and Windows

The garage door is often the weakest point of many homes. Without an insulated door, bitter cold temperatures can pass right inside. Instead, when you insulate your door, you’ll save a ton on your energy bill.

Materials you’ll need:

  • Foam boards
  • X-ACTO knife and heavy duty scissors
  • WD-40
  • PVC stop molding and V strips
  • A space heater
  • Carbon monoxide detector

The easiest way to insulate your garage door is to cut out panels of foam boards to fit within the existing steel panels. This lets your door lift into the ceiling with no problem, while adding a layer of insulation right behind the metal. For insulating around the garage door, consider PVC stop molding, starting with the overhead board. As you seal up the garage door, it’s a good time to lubricate all the moving parts with WD-40 too.

Weather stripping quickly wears away between each year. For insulating windows, be sure to check for cracks in the glass and then cracks around the windowpane edges. V strips are common in stores and simple to apply. Also check around your doorways for where to apply these weather strips.

Once your area is insulated, consider buying a space heater — specifically, a garage space heater. This can either run on gas, which requires you to also stock fuel, or it can run on electricity, which is more efficient. Small space heaters that can mount on walls or ceilings are often the best options.

It’s always a good idea to double check your ventilation and keep a carbon monoxide detector in your garage if you’re making these enhancements. Space heaters should be handled with care and have a few specific safety rules that you’ll have to follow. And as a bonus, you’ll also be able to use your garage all year round.

For a look at the most popular option for any garage, watch our demo on the G73 garage heater by NewAir:

Organize Your Items and Prevent Pests

Once you have your garage insulated, it becomes a paradise for little critters left out in the cold. If pests find their way inside, they’ll stay until spring. Thankfully, sealing up your garage door and windows will keep most outside.

Materials you’ll need:

  • Storage containers
  • Peg boards
  • Zip ties, saranwrap, and other choices for packing your items tightly
  • Flooring materials such as degreaser, acid, and epoxy
  • Flooring tools such as a garden hose, sprinkling can, scrub brush, paint brush, paint roller and a wet/dry vacuum

The best way to deter unwanted guests is to properly organize your things and keep the environment dry. You don’t want an inflatable pool or hose coil to house bugs all winter long, so as you put these items away make sure they are dry and packed tightly with zip ties and saranwrap to reduce space.

Consider investing in new storage containers to keep any summer toys or decorations sealed away. A new pegboard or similar wall organizer can help by hanging tools, bikes, and other essentials that shouldn’t be packed away for very long.

If your garage has a concrete floor, consider taking the time to coat it with epoxy. This way, any mud dragged in can be easily cleaned and pests won’t find debris to hide in. Be sure to check if your floor emits moisture first, which is common in basements, because epoxy will trap it inside. You’ll want to use an alternative sealer in that case.

Create an Emergency Kit

The final essential task to complete for your winterized garage is to assemble an emergency kit. Pack this kit into a storage container so that you can also bring it on the road with you.

Materials you’ll need:

  • Flashlights
  • A first-aid kit including bandages, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, sterile gauze pads, antibiotic ointment, pain relief medicine, a thermometer, and tweezers
  • A hand-crank radio
  • Extra blankets
  • 5 gallons of water per person
  • 9 cans of food per person
  • Rock salt
  • Snow shovels

If a snowstorm hits, you’ll need supplies for at least three days, according to the US Department of Homeland Security. The average person needs about half a gallon of water each day, and three square meals can easily be stored as canned food.

A hand-crank radio is a great back-up for communicating without cell phones, and shake-flashlights are ideal so that you won’t have to worry about stocking batteries.

And of course, every home in the snow needs a shovel and rock salt for clearing ice and snow off the driveway.

Once you’ve got all the materials you need, your garage will be fully winterized and prepared for this year’s snowstorms.

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