10 Steps to Get Your Garage Ready for Winter

Winter is here. 

A garage best by winter.
Jonathon Klein

Disclaimer: The Drive has partnered with our friends at Bob Vila for a handful of car-related syndicated articles we think you all will enjoy. Although we know everything lying in the bowels of an internal combustion engine and more, Bob Vila’s brilliance extends to all things home and garage-related, a spot where our knowledge leans on the legend of Duct Tape more than anything else. Ready to learn from the O.G. DIYer?

Too often, chaos greets us whenever we open the garage door. Spend a little time this fall getting this hardworking space back in shape. If you take these 10 steps now to make your garage winter-proof and clutter-free, you'll be able to enjoy a season of energy savings and peace of mind.

Reduce and Reorder

Do your garage “spring cleaning” this fall. Start by donating anything you no longer need. Then get busy organizing. Install wall racks so your shovels, skis, and winter gear will be easily accessible. Mount additional shelving so you can move any remaining items off the floor. Finish up by sweeping the floor and checking for cracks, leaks, and evidence of pests. 

Weatherize

Replace old weatherstripping, which can get brittle and shrink over time, and recaulk doors and windows to ensure a tight seal. Check your garage door cables and rollers for wear and tear, then use a lubricating spray on all moving parts.

New insulation.
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New insulation. 

Insulate Big Areas

If your garage is unfinished, install fiberglass batt insulation to keep the cold out. Cover any exposed pipes with foil or fiberglass insulation. Seal windows with weatherproof plastic tarps. You can follow The Drive x Bob Vila's guide on How To Insulate a Garage!

Caulk those cracks.
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Caulk those cracks. 

Seal Small Openings

After you tackle weatherstripping and insulation, make sure smaller openings are sealed up too. This includes electrical outlets, which allow cold air to leak into your garage. Use fire-blocking caulk as an easy DIY way to seal outlets.

Conserve Energy

If you have an older water heater (or one that’s warm to the touch), you’ll want to cover it with a water heater blanket to conserve heat and reduce energy costs. The Department of Energy estimates that this simple step can save you 7 to 16 percent in water-heating costs.

Epoxy your floors and get a grip!
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Epoxy your floors and get a grip!

Get a (Better) Grip

Consider refinishing your garage floor with a coating made from liquid stone or epoxy. A no-slip floor provides extra traction and a better grip for your vehicle (and feet) when slush, ice, and mud make surfaces treacherous.

Protect Liquids and Chemicals

Place any liquids or cleaning chemicals in cabinets or temperature-controlled spaces so they won’t freeze. Wrap extra car batteries in insulation to prevent freezing and cracking. Protect metal tools and parts from moisture by safely storing in a toolbox or well-sealed drawer.

Dispose of Old Chemicals

Fluctuating temps and freezing weather can cause liquids to expand and contract and their containers to warp and shatter, leading to chemical spills. Take old paint, dead car batteries, and other potentially toxic items to a hazardous waste disposal site.

Clean up your tools!
Depositphotos

Clean up your tools!

Prepare Tools and Supplies

Clean and maintain your lawn mower and hedge cutter, and bring them indoors for the winter. Make sure your snowblower is in good working order. Stock up on supplies like sand, salt, and bottled water in case of a storm.

Invest in Comfort and Safety

Keep safety and security in mind as you prepare your home for winter. Pick up a few sturdy new mats to help soak up snow and ice when the messy weather arrives. If you don't already have them, install motion-sensing lights to brighten the exterior of your home in the dark winter evenings. And if you work in your garage during the winter, invest in an energy-efficient space heater. You'll appreciate the warmth come January!

Got a question? Got a pro tip? Send us a note: guidesandgear@thedrive.com