Garage Door-Friendly Ice and Snow Removal Tips


As a Michigan or Ohio local, you’re more than a little familiar with snow and ice. It’s common to take extra precautions to care for sidewalks, driveways, vehicles and lawns through the winter precipitation, but do you put the same effort into protecting our garage doors?

In addition to performing routine seasonal maintenance, immediately removing snow and ice from your garage door can help minimize potential damage. This article will give you actionable advice on preserving your garage during the colder months. We’ll go through all the essential ways to keep your investment snow-free.

Remove snow and ice from your garage door threshold before opening or closing it

The Importance of Garage Door Snow Removal

Letting snow and ice pile up in front of your garage door might lead to surprise expenses. Snow piles often contain leaves, branches and other debris that can damage your garage door’s threshold, reducing energy efficiency and causing the door to degrade.

Additionally, if you try to close your garage in the snow, the door may not reach the threshold. The reversing mechanism will then engage, making it impossible to close. Closing the door on a snow pile can also cause damage that will prevent you from raising the door. 

Ice is perhaps the most serious problem for garage doors. When it forms at your garage door’s threshold, the opener must work overtime to detach the door from the ice. This extra effort can pull your door out of alignment or even prematurely age your door opener. In extreme cases, ice can completely prevent your garage door from raising, which can cause the door opening mechanisms to overheat.

The solution is simple — remove ice from your garage door’s threshold before opening or lowering it. Doing so will prevent ice formations from damaging your garage door, saving you money in the long run.

How To Protect Your Garage Door From Snow

Many homeowners hire a snow removal service to do the hard work of clearing the snow for them. If you choose this route, carefully consider what areas you need to have plowed and which service you’ll work with.

Ask your plowing contractor to leave some space in front of your garage door. While plowing services do their best, reminding them to be careful can help prevent damage.

Once the team has left, you can shovel the remaining snow from around the garage door.

Talk to Your Snow Removal Service

Many homeowners hire a snow removal service to do the hard work of clearing the snow for them. If you choose to go this route, carefully consider what areas need to be plowed and which service you’ll work with.

Make sure your plowing service knows to leave some space in front of your garage door. While plowing services do their best to do a good job, reminding them to be careful around the garage door can help prevent damage.

Once the team has left, you can shovel the remaining snow from around the garage door.

Lubricate and Inspect Moving Parts

When the weather gets cold, moving garage door parts can get stuck and stall. Metal parts also contract in the cold, leading to door malfunctions and loud or unpleasant noises.

Make sure to grease and inspect the following parts before the snow hits:

  • Tracks
  • Hinges
  • Rollers
  • Bushing

Inspect the same parts after the storm to ensure everything is still in good condition. Keep your eyes peeled for any loose hardware, including brackets, nuts, bolts and screws — loose pieces can cause additional strain on your door and opener, causing further damage.

Remove Snow Melt

When snow gets in your garage and melts on your floor, you can run into issues caused by standing water. You can combat snow melt in several ways.

  • Garage mats: Prevent puddles from forming in your garage using absorbent mats. They come in various sizes and materials and temporarily replace floor drains when needed.
  • Sump pump: If water suddenly builds up in your garage, get rid of it using a sump pump connected to flexible plastic hoses.
  • Auxiliary heat sources: Accelerate melting and evaporation using space heaters and any other safe heat sources you may have. When combined with mats, a heater can quickly remove small quantities of water from your garage floor.

Shovel During the Snow

If you can, go out and shovel away the snow from your garage door once every hour or so to prevent buildup. When snow rests against your garage door, it adds weight and pressure, which can lead to damage. It can also affect your paint job and dent your door, requiring costly repairs.

Get as close to the ground as you can while shoveling — the sun’s warmth will prevent later snow from freezing in that area and save your garage door from potential damage.

Add Weatherstripping

Installing weatherstripping is a great way to keep snow and sludge from getting inside your garage. Weatherstripping also protects your garage door from scraping against the ground, extending its life.

Check to make sure your weatherstripping is in good condition before a snowstorm. While the garage door is open, examine your weatherstripping for cracks and other signs of damage. Then, close the door and check for drafts.

You can easily replace your weatherstripping yourself with minimal equipment. You might also want to add insulation to your garage door for extra protection. However, this may not be sufficient for older garage doors.

Check your garage door weather stripping for cracks or damage before a snowstorm

Proper Drainage

Large pile-ups of snow on your roof can damage the roof and cause issues when it starts to melt and has nowhere to go. A good rule of thumb is to clear your roof when the snow reaches six inches. Ensure your drainage is clear. Frozen puddles are challenging to remove. Ice also tends to warp and rust if left too long on mechanical components and other materials.

Here are some tips to get ahead of drainage.

  • Clean gutters and downspouts: Before the snow arrives, clean out all your gutters to ensure the fall leaves are gone.
  • Proper slope grading: The ground around your garage must slope away from the structure. You want to avoid any pooling near the door or walls.
  • Installing drainage solutions: If pooling is a constant problem, call a professional to install a solution like a French drain.

De-icing and Removal

Effective de-icing products are available for your winter safety. Look for a solution that fits your budget and is gentle on your garage and the environment.

  • Sodium chloride: Sodium chloride, also called rock salt, can be harsh on your plants, concrete and metal. It is also hazardous for pets if they ingest it. But it is economical and works well in temperatures that reach just below freezing. 
  • Calcium chloride: The calcium version is more expensive but more effective. It is also gentler on your plants, though pet parents must still be cautious when using it.
  • Magnesium chloride: Magnesium chloride is very similar to calcium chloride and is another step toward the “safe” zone. 

There are two different approaches to removing the snow from your garage. You can manually get rid of it with hand tools like shovels and scrapers, or use a snow blower. Manual labor can be draining and labor-intensive. It is also time-consuming, especially for larger areas.

Snow tools cost more initially but can clear large areas quickly. Often, a combination of both methods is the best option. Do the bulk of the work with your snow blower, then switch to manual tools for precise work by the garage door.

Get a Weather-Resistant Garage Door 


It’s always wise to have a garage door that suits your climate. In the Toledo area, we know we can expect heavy snow and other winter precipitation. Aging, uninsulated garage doors are significantly less effective at keeping the winter weather out than new weather-resistant ones.

To prepare for the cold weather, homeowners should consider upgrading to weather-resistant garage doors. While these garage doors may cost a little bit more upfront, you’ll get a better return on investment as the door performs better over the long term and helps you avoid expensive repairs that come with cheaper alternatives.

Find a garage door with a high R-value, which is a measure of its thermal resistance. Doors with high R-values are significantly more effective at keeping the cold out than doors with lower R-values.



We’re Your Source for Everything Garage Door

When you need help repairing or maintaining an existing garage door or choosing a new, high-quality one that can withstand the harsh Toledo winters, get in touch with us at Quality Overhead Door.

Since 1982, we’ve been serving Toledo-area homeowners with the best in garage door products and services. We know this area, and we expertly support our customers who are looking for products that suit this part of the country. When you need garage door productsservice and support in the greater Toledo area, count on the experienced and knowledgeable team at Quality Overhead Door.

Contact us today about garage door products and services for your Toledo-area home.

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Updated 12/22/23

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