How Do I Protect My Garage Floor from the Snow
Winters with snow can take a toll on garage floors. The car wheels and people’s feet carry rock salt, snow, ice, road deicers from the road onto the garage floor, collect in pools on the floor, seep into the concrete, form salt stains, or become a safety hazard by creating slippery spots.
These chemicals also lead to the garage floor’s spalling if you do not adequately protect it from the elements. That’s why winterizing the garage floor is essential.
There are various ways to protect the garage flow, but the easiest is using winter snow mats or containment mats to prevent direct contact between the snowmelt, rock salt and deicers, and the garage floor.
We will help you with information on winterizing your garage floor, controlling snowmelt, and preventing further damage to your garage floor.
ProTip: Weatherproofing the garage door edges will also keep stray snow, salt, and meltwater off your garage.
How to winterize your garage floor
Winterizing your garage floor will reduce further damage or avoid any possible damage. Here are some tips for combining to prepare your garage floors for winter.
- Clean the concrete floor thoroughly to remove any rock salt stains, snow, deicers, sand, and silt. To remove the salt stain, mix warm water, soap, and white vinegar and scrub off the stains with a stiff-bristled brush.
- Remove the residue by rinsing the floor thoroughly to prevent the chemicals from continuing to seep into the concrete flooring.
- If the concrete floor is already spalling and breaking down, you should repair the holes using polymer-modified cement. Do not use regular cement for patching as it will not adhere properly and eventually breaks into wider holes.
- Once the patching dries, seal the garage floor with any of the various flooring options. These protective floorings include:
- Garage floor containment mats: Containment mats are waterproof mats (mostly rubber mats) that allow you to park your car on them and prevent snow, water, salt, deicing chemicals, automobile oils, and dirt from getting in contact with the garage floor. The material of the mats is usually durable vinyl or rubber, which allows them to hold a lot of water from melted ice and snow. These mats are convenient for winterizing the garage floor since they are relatively cheap, easy to apply, remove, and clean. The downside to these mats is more inexpensive mats can easily tear, especially when tires run too much or them. Clean the mats with a squeegee or wet vac.
- Garage floor sealer: A sealant creates a clear thick film that covers and adheres to the flooring surface and acts as a protective layer against water, stains, chemicals, seepage, and abrasions. They are inexpensive and also easy to apply with no particular expertise. Silicone sealers penetrate the concrete pores and create a protective barrier in the subsurface, while acrylic, epoxy, and polyurethane sealers are topical layers. Unfortunately, you cannot install epoxy when temperatures have already dropped since it needs to be warmer than 50 degrees for it to cure correctly. Instead, you can install polyurethane sealers when it’s already winter in temperatures as low as -40°F.
- Place garage floor mats for now outside your garage door to clean your feet when walking into the garage. Block salt and deicing chemicals can also stain your stone tiles, and having a runner mat will prevent you from tracking them onto the garage flooring. Even though you have a sealant on your garage flooring, cleaning your shoes on a runner mat will prevent you from tracking snow that may form slippery spots in the garage.
- You should also place flow mats under snow blowers and shovels to contain melting.
- Check the garage door seal and make sure it seals properly. If your garage door seal is not sealing correctly, it will allow in cold air and snow, and it will wet the garage floor and create slippery spots. If the seal is damaged, install new weather stripping on the garage door.
How do I keep my garage floor dry in the winter?
It is essential to keep your garage floor dry to reduce the risk of slipping and causing injury, growth of mold, and mildew that can cause health issues, and it may also affect the structural strength of your walls and floors. Before dealing with the wet floor, you should first find out what is making the flooring wet.
The most common reason for a wet floor is condensation, which happens when the air is warm (common if you use a garage heater) and moist but the garage floor is cold. Concrete flooring can also cause dampness, especially in the winter. Concrete is porous and can allow moisture from the ground to work its way up onto the surface. Here are the best ways to maintain dry garage floors in the winter.
- Apply a waterproof floor coating or sealer. There are a variety of coatings to choose from, such as acrylic, silicone, epoxy, and polyurethane sealers that will significantly reduce condensation levels. These coatings will act as an impermeable seal on the concrete surface, protecting it from wear and water damage.
- Increase the garage temperature. Install a heater during the winter months to maintain the room’s temperature and reduce condensation. The heat will reach the air and floor and prevent the water vapor in the air from condensing on the garage floors.
- Make sure you consult a professional before buying any heater for the garage. For example, avoid propane heaters as they produce too much water vapor.
- Dry your car before parking it inside the vehicle. Take a few minutes to dry the car with a towel to reduce the amount of moisture in the garage.
- You can also allow snow to melt on the flow and then dry the flow with a mop, squeegee, or wet vac.
- Ensure there is proper garage ventilation on the roof or walls. Good ventilation allows for adequate air circulation between the outside and inside. Good circulation reduces the accumulation of moisture and odor in the garage.
- Check the garage’s floor and rooftop drainage. Inspect the drainage regularly and ensure the drain covers are not blocked and that the eavestroughs and downspouts are free from dirt that can cause leaking into the garage.
- If your driveway slopes downwards towards the garage, your garage floor will get wet from the snowmelt collecting at the base of the garage door. You should install a garage floor water diverter to direct snowmelt away from your garage door before it reaches the base of the garage door.
- Remove the clutter in the garage to allow for proper circulation of air. Reduce the clutter from the garage floor and utilize adequate storage and organization. A cluttered garage reduces the airflow in the garage, which encourages condensation and makes the garage colder.
- Install a dehumidifier in the garage to reduce the moisture levels in the air and prevent condensation or mold growth.
Pro tip: You should combine multiple tips as explained above to maintain dry garage floors effectively.
How to protect your garage floor from salt in winter
Besides dealing with wet garage floors, rock salt from the roads and highways cause a lot more damage to the concrete. Here are some valuable tips on how to winterize your garage floors from salt damage.
How does salt damage your garage floor?
When snow and ice build-up and block the road, the road crews pour rock salt to melt the ice and prevent it from freezing again. Rock salt comes in various forms, but the most commonly used is calcium chloride and liquid magnesium.
The rock salt sticks to boot soles and tire tracks that end up on the garage floor. When left on the concrete floor, the rock salt melts into a brine solution which penetrates the concrete pores.
When temperatures drop, the brine solution refreezes inside the concrete, expands, and causes the concrete to break down; a process known as spalling.
Whatever moisture remains on the surface evaporates and leaves pure salt behind, which leaves white stains on the surface difficult to remove. You should take a few measures before winter to prevent the floor from salt damage, and it is best to take multiple precautions.
- Clean your garage floor thoroughly before winter. Though cleaning does not directly prevent salt damage, it reduces the amount of damage that will show during spring. Mix a gallon of warm water, white vinegar, and dishwashing soap and scrub off the stains before they settle in. You can also use Salt-Away that removes salt from brick, concrete, and masonry. Patch the holes with polymer-modified cement to prevent further spalling.
- Prevent salt and snow from contacting your concrete floors by parking your vehicle on a containment mat. Containment mats collect most of the loose snow, ice, salt deposits, and deicing solutions, which you can easily clean up before spreading it to the floor.
- Apply a garage floor sealant to prevent the melting snow and salt from penetrating the concrete floor. The epoxy coating covers the concrete surface, ensuring it easy to clean any salt that gets onto the flooring.
- Place a garage doormat to wipe off salt stuck on your shoes and prevents the salt from entering your home.
With this knowledge on how to winterize your garage floors, you’ll be more than ready to manage and prevent mold, snow and salt damage. The best and easiest way to avoid your garage floors from damage is by sealing or coating them with epoxy, acrylic, silicone, and polyurethane sealers. But we recommend combining other preventive measures to maintain dry floors that can be hazardous.