Having a gap between your garage door and the floor when the door is closed can cause a number of problems. A garage door that is not flush with the floor allows outside air, moisture, pests, and debris to enter your garage. It can also present a security risk by allowing an intruder to gain access. Addressing this issue as soon as possible is important to protect your garage and its contents.
When a garage door does not sit flush against the ground when closed, it leaves a visible gap along the bottom or sides of the door. This gap allows outside elements like cold air, rain, snow, leaves, dust and insects to enter the garage. It also presents a security concern, as the gap could allow an intruder to reach under and disengage the manual release lever.
A flush fitting garage door that seals properly against the floor is important for insulation, pest control, safety and security. There are a few common reasons a garage door may not close correctly, but thankfully the problem can usually be fixed with some simple solutions.
Causes of Garage Door Gap
There are three main causes for a garage door not closing flush against the floor:
Garage Door Misalignment
If the garage door itself is warped or misaligned in the frame, it will not sit flush when closed. The metal door panels may have shifted and be uneven, the door may be warped or bent, or the door may be knocking against the frame, preventing full closure. Misalignment problems are often caused by:
- Hitting the door with a vehicle
- Loose, damaged or worn hinges
- Settlement of the garage structure over time
- Improper initial installation
Uneven Garage Floor
An uneven garage floor is another common reason a garage door does not close properly flush to the ground. Concrete garage floors easily settle and crack over time. Hot and cold temperatures cause expansion and contraction of the slab, leading to an uneven surface.
If the floor is higher in some areas, it will prevent the door from closing tightly. The floor may slope down from the back to the front of the garage, or have high and low spots that interfere with a flush fit.
Worn or Damaged Weather stripping
Weather stripping runs along the bottom and sides of the garage door to seal the gaps when closed. Over time, this weather stripping can become brittle, get torn or detracted, or become compressed and flattened out.
Damaged or worn weather stripping leaves gaps for air, moisture and pests to get through. Lacking a tight seal, the door will not sit flush against the uneven garage floor.
Solutions for a Garage Door Gap
Once you have determined the cause of the gap under your garage door, you can take steps to properly fix the issue:
Adjust the Garage Door Opener
If the garage floor is uneven, adjusting the opener can help compensate and improve closure. Consult the owner’s manual to adjust the up limit and down limit settings on the motor opener unit. This will alter how far the door opens and closes.
You may also need to adjust the close force setting so the opener motor provides enough power to pull the door closed tightly. Lubricating all the moving parts of the opener system can also allow smoother operation.
Replace the Weather stripping
Over time weather stripping can flatten out, crack or become loose. Replace old, worn weather stripping along the bottom of the door and/or sides with new stripping. Use a pry bar to pop the old stripping out of the door frame channels and simply press the new stripping into place.
Choose high quality vinyl, rubber or felt weather stripping for a tight seal and improved energy efficiency. Properly installed weather stripping will help fill gaps between the door and the floor.
Seek Professional Garage Door Repair
For significant garage floor unevenness, garage door misalignment or other issues, you may need to call a professional garage door technician. A qualified garage door repair pro has the expertise to identify and properly fix alignment and sealing issues.
They can adjust or replace broken, loose or worn hinges, rollers, cables and other hardware. A professional can also re-align shifted or warped door panels and ensure the door operates smoothly and seals tightly.
Preventing Future Garage Door Gaps
To prevent future garage door sealing problems, there are some maintenance tips to keep your door in good working order:
- Lubricate the moving parts of the door and opener annually
- Inspect weather stripping for damage twice per year and replace as needed
- Check for level and plumb of the door every 6 months
- Test the door balance and opener settings annually
- Fill cracks and level concrete floor imperfections as needed
- Consider upgrading old openers to newer models with safety features
By following a routine maintenance schedule for your garage door system, you can prevent weather stripping deterioration, opener problems and door alignment issues that lead to gaps under the door. Take action at the first sign of a flush fitting problem to avoid damage from the elements and pests.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get rid of the gap in my garage door?
There are a few potential causes for a gap between your garage door and the floor. The most common reasons are misalignment of the door itself, wear on the weather stripping, or an uneven garage floor. Here are some tips to get rid of that pesky gap:
- Inspect the weather stripping along the bottom of the door and replace any sections that are worn out or damaged. Make sure the weather stripping sits flush against the floor.
- Check that the door is properly aligned on its track. The rollers may need adjustment or replacement to ensure a smooth operation.
- Adjust the opener’s limit settings and down force to compensate for any unevenness in the garage floor. This can improve the door’s closure.
- For significant gaps or misalignment issues, call a professional garage door technician to realign and adjust the door and opener properly.
Regular inspection and maintenance are key to preventing the door from developing gaps over time. Lubricate the moving parts and check the balance of the door annually.
Why does my garage door have a gap at the top?
Gaps along the top of the garage door are also quite common. As the door moves and ages over time, it can become misaligned in the opening or the weather stripping along the top can become loose or damaged. Here are some ways to fix the top gap issue:
- Inspect the top weather stripping and pound any loose sections back into place using a rubber mallet. Replace if severely damaged.
- Check for any binding or dragging as the door opens and closes. Adjust the rollers and lubricate all moving parts.
- Examine the door panels when closed. If they are misaligned, you may need to call a professional to re-align and adjust the door for proper closure.
- For metal doors, check for loose or damaged hinges that may need to be tightened or replaced to realign the door properly in the opening.
- The opener’s up-limit switch may need adjustment so the door closes a few inches higher to seal the top edge.
Why is my garage door not stopping when I close it?
There are a couple potential reasons why your garage door keeps closing without stopping:
- The auto-reverse safety sensor may be misaligned or obstructed. The two sensors face each other across the bottom of the door opening. Check for dirt, cobwebs or other obstructions and realign them properly.
- The door balance may be off causing it to close too forcefully. Test the balance by disconnecting the opener. The door should hold in place when partially open, not swinging up or down. If needed, adjust spring tension or cable length to improve balance.
- The opener’s force or limit settings may be off. Refer to the owner’s manual to adjust the close force and down limit settings as needed. Too much force or closing too low can override the sensor safety stop.
- There may be an issue with the logic board in the opener failing to detect the stop signal. A professional can determine if replacement is needed.
It can be frustrating to close your garage door only to find gaps along the bottom or sides that let in unwanted air, moisture and debris. With proper inspection and maintenance, garage door gaps can be prevented. If you already have a flush fitting issue, correcting misalignment problems, replacing weather stripping and adjusting openers are straightforward solutions.
Take the time to troubleshoot the source of the gap, and repair it as soon as possible to restore full closure. A garage door that seals tightly against the uneven floor ensures your valuables are protected from the outside environment. With some simple annual maintenance, your overhead door system will continue closing flush for many years to come.