Whether it’s winter or summer, you may have stepped into the garage to realize it’s humid and hot or cold and damp when you have a project or some exercise to do. This can make it uncomfortable to go through with whatever you planned to do in the garage. The excess level of humidity can also lead to other issues such as mold and mildew or corrosion and rust. You might notice these problems when you are in a hot and humid climate or in a colder area that is near an abundant source of water. Regardless of the location of your garage, some solutions can help with the issue.
The many sources of excess humidity inside of a garage
You may not realize how many different things can lead to additional humidity in a garage, including the following:
- A garage that does not contain any insulation or does not have enough of it.
- A garage door that has not been insulated or which is not weathertight to keep out the elements.
- Firewood that is stored in the garage, since this kind of wood often contains a significant amount of moisture.
- A washer, dryer, or both are stored in the garage. Always make sure your dryer exhaust host and vent are working the way they should and aren’t obstructed by other items.
- The garage is used to store several types of liquids found in containers.
- The garage floor has been sealed by using epoxy paint.
- Many cardboard boxes are located in the garage and filled with items you never use. Cardboard boxes can create both moisture and odors, so using plastic storage bins is recommended.
- You park your vehicle inside in winter when snow and ice can build up on the wheel wells and underside of the car. This can also be a problem in the summer after heavy rain has fallen.
- Your garage floor has a drain that includes a catch basin, which can create humidity and odors because of standing water. Cleaning this of stones, sand, dirt, and debris regularly can help with this to some degree.
Knowing what creates excess humidity leads to the need to determine the amount of humidity in the garage. This can be done by adding a hygrometer to the garage for a day or longer. There is no magic number that you are looking for to create a comfortable garage, but it will likely never be as low as your home unless the garage will be used as a living area. Another tip to be aware of is that if the garage is cold, overheating the humid air isn't going to be useful. It can create an environment that is even less comfortable.
You don’t have to have a hygrometer to check the humidity assuming your garage is insulated and weathertight with a window installed into at least one of the walls. Assuming you are somewhere cold, looking at the bottom of the window will suffice. Check for any buildup of ice or accumulation of condensation, which will indicate the humidity is higher than you want.
Adapting your garage to help with rising humidity levels
Before you get started with changing the humidity of a garage, two basic elements need to be in place if you want to resolve your humidity problem adequately. First, you want to be sure that your garage should be insulated. If the space isn’t insulated, keeping a comfortable humidity is going to be hard or even impossible. Those in cold areas will find the best solution is heating the area for a low cost, such as using a wood stove.
The second element is your garage door, really your “fourth wall”. It should be insulated and weathertight, which means having a garage door with an R‑12 thermal resistance factor. This can be done using garage doors insulated with polyurethane foam, a substance that is injected between the walls of the door. You should also look at weather stripping, specifically having appropriate exterior perimeter weatherstripping. This should overlap the head and side of the door by 1 ½ inch or more and include bottom weatherstripping to keep the rain out. The threshold should slope, so rain runs away from the door. This step is looking for ways the humidity can enter the garage and make it uncomfortable.
Next, you need to think about what sources of humidity to eliminate and which you are okay living with to create a comfortable garage. We’ll talk below about how to deal with these issues, but these things will only work is the garage and door are already insulated. If they aren’t, most of these solutions won’t offer much help.
Often the basic options are the best place to start. If you don’t use the garage regularly, turning on the heating system about 45 minutes while you open your garage door an inch or two can let humidity escape. Windows and access doors can be opened to add additional help, or a pedestal stand can be placed near the entrance to get out humidity even more quickly
Another choice is to install a home dehumidifier. This should be on max power for at least a day. It will help lower the humidity in the space by five to eight degrees.
For those who need a long‑term option since they use the garage regularly, using commercial dehumidifiers can be a good choice that works in tandem with your heating system. Your choice depends on how much you want to spend to get comfort.
You can purchase a device, 9 X 6 ½ X 4 in. to vent humidity out of the garage via a duct in the wall.
It might seem like a garage door vent would help, but these are not as effective as other options. Instead, it’s best to use these accessories to remove odors you don’t want to hang around the garage.
What to do when it’s time to change your garage door
If you are located in the vicinity of Lewiston or Portland area, you can contact us toll‑free at 1‑800‑244‑9253. You can let us know what issues you are dealing with and how you want to use the garage. We’ll provide information on the best choices you can make, considering your budget.
We’re also happy to send out a quotation by email. You can visit our showroom to meet us or spend time choosing a door style using our design center. Another option is to explore our image gallery to see inspirational photos of other garages.