As one of the most significant parts of your home’s exterior appearance and curb appeal, your garage doors should look good and function well at all times. This is a big financial investment that you have to protect at all costs so it stands the test of time. It can be frustrating to find that your garage door has rust spots in places, perhaps even despite being just a few years old. You may be wondering why the paint didn’t protect it and why it was vulnerable to rust in the first place.
First, consider the environment in which your door was installed to determine if there are any factors that made the occurrence of rust more likely. Once you know, you can take steps next time to prevent rust from happening. Washing your garage door is an important first step in providing it with the proper protection.
Check the Surroundings
What’s the immediate climate and weather where you live? If you live near the coast, rust happens more frequently because the salt in the air causes the garage door to succumb to premature wear and tear. If you live in a desert area, prolonged exposure to harsh sunlight can weaken the protection given by even the highest-quality paint.
If you live in a snowy climate, salt that is used to de-ice your driveway and the roadways could cause problems with your garage door.
Types of Garage Door Paint
If your garage door is starting to show signs of rust, it could signal a problem with the kind of paint you used. In most cases, garage door manufacturers apply a primer coat of paint, plus another coat that is baked on. Quality garage doors will also have rust protection built into the metal. Most companies use a steel and zinc mixture known to resist rust.
If your garage door was previously repainted, it could have been applied incorrectly by someone who was inexperienced with garage door paint and care. You’ll have to find out what steps were followed before the painting, as well as what type of paint that person used. Keep in mind, no amount of quality paint or galvanization will help the situation if the surface itself has been damaged. Scrapes can remove the paint’s protection. Any type of puncture may allow rust to start forming in other areas of your door.
Clean the Door
A clean garage door equals a protected garage door. Many people don’t really think about washing their doors, but it’s actually a vital part of basic maintenance. It doesn’t take long, and the benefits of washing your door will go a long way toward removing dust, dirt, pollen, and other buildup. Use a mild soap, such as liquid dish soap, and warm water, applied with a sponge or soft cloth. Never pressure wash your garage door, as this can damage paint and even cause dings. Instead, to rinse the soap, use a simple garden hose on a medium setting.
Rust Spots: What to Do
If you already have rust spots, there are some things you can do to get rid of them or minimize their appearance. They will appear as small dots that look like dirt, yet they won’t wash away. Rust usually forms on the bottom two panels of the garage door, which is the portion of the door located closer to the driveway, street and any abrasive elements.
You can remove surface stains with a mild mixture of water and vinegar, applied from a squirt bottle. For stubborn rust, use a mild abrasive cleaner, or make your own with baking soda and water. If none of this works, you have deeper rust which can’t be cleaned. You will have no choice but to replace the door.