What is causing rust on my garage door?

Rust can be frustrating, but it does happen. Even newer doors can show signs of rust, which might make you question why in the world you spent so much money on that extra coat of high-quality paint. Of course, regardless of age, there are a number of reasons that your garage door could be showing rust. You need to know how to prevent or alleviate this issue.

One of the biggest factors affecting your garage door is its environment. For example, someone who lives by the ocean will likely see more wind and saltwater damage, while someone who lives in the snow belt might see a lot of rust spots from road salt coming off of the car tires or the street.

What is causing rust on my garage door?

Environmental issues affecting your garage door

Beyond the examples mentioned above, there are other environmental elements that may be affecting the condition of your garage door. Those who live near industrial areas, in the mountains, or in humid or damp climates are going to have a much more difficult time with things like garage door rust. Garage door specialists are available to assist customers with all kinds of environmental issues, including doors that have begun to show signs of rust.

Watch out for pollen: In the spring and early summer months, pollen is all over the place. If you’ve ever seen that yellow coating on your white car in Mid-April, that’s what pollen looks like. However, white and yellow birch trees often give off a pollen that is darker orange and can sometimes appear to be rust on your door. Before you panic about rust, give your door a good washing.

Know your paint and the painting process

The Association of North American Garage Door Manufacturers has specific requirements for painting and coating garage doors to ensure quality protection for your garage door.

As you can see in the picture, a layering process is used to paint garage doors for the most effective coating results. The original steel is sandwiched between two layers of galvanization, with primer on both sides and two layers of baked-on paint on the exterior surface.

What is causing rust on my garage door?

Speaking of paint, do you know if your door has ever been repainted? If you have had the same door since you bought the home, you might not have this answer. However, it’s important to find out as much as you can, because what kind of paint was used and whether the work was done professionally will impact the longevity of the paint.

Another important warning: If something comes into contact with the door in an impactful way, it can cause a puncture or tear in the paint, galvanization, or the entire door itself. This damage leaves metal exposed and if you don’t repair it immediately, the metal is going to rust.

Keep it clean…

When is the last time that you washed your garage door? If the answer is never, your door is probably in rough shape. It’s helpful if you wash your garage door when you wash your car. That way, you won’t forget, and you’re probably close to the garage anyway. Regular cleaning can remove salt buildup, dirt and oil, and other grime.

If you notice grease spots, it might be that you over-lubricated your chain-drive connector for your garage door opener. You should only lubricate this as needed, and white grease needs to be used.

Do not use a pressure washer on your garage door. This will risk stripping or cracking the paint, and especially if the paint is already breaking down on its own or due to the elements. Just grab your regular garden hose, some auto or dish soap, and a sponge. Make sure that you leave your hose on the medium setting for a gentle wash.

Rust removal tips and suggestions

First of all, you have to identify whether the spots on your garage door are actually rust or just extra-tough dirt and grime. Look for dots that appear like remnants of a grinder stuck to the door, which you’ll usually find on the lower panels. If your garage is close to the street, you will probably have more of this because of the water, salt and snow, and other abrasives that passing cars may splash onto your garage door.

Surface stains should be removed with the mildest product possible. A water/vinegar mix should be your first weapon to fight rust. Mix equal parts in a spray bottle and spray down the door. You can allow it to sit for a few minutes for stubborn spots, but then you simply wipe it with a clean cloth. If vinegar doesn’t do the trick, make a paste of baking soda and water. That can be spread on the door, left for 30 minutes, and then wiped clean and rinsed.

For stubborn spots or extra scrubbing power, use your tile and shower cleaner that is made for the bathroom. You already have it on hand, and it can do wonders to get tiny rust spots off of your garage door.

Schedule regular washing to prevent rust

You should be washing your garage door at least twice a year. If you live in an area with pollution or other environmental hazards, you may want to wash it more often. You can even add extra protection by using liquid wax like you would on your car. Looking for more information about taking care of your garage door? Check out Garaga’s maintenance guide to find out everything you need to know.

Ready for a new garage door?

If you’re located in Central Maine or the surrounding area, we’ve got what you need. Retire that old door by contacting us at 1-800-244-9253.

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