Effective Ways to Prevent Flooding in Your Home’s Garage

flooded homeA typical house sits atop a raised slab or foundation that positions it above the level of accumulating groundwater during inclement weather. The garage, however, is generally several inches lower and nearly even with ground level. In times of heavy rain or snowmelt, garages may experience flooding, from temporary puddles that are a nuisance to several inches of standing water.

Since many garages today are not just a vehicle parking place but also serve as storage space for belongings, valuable items may be at risk from water damage. Likewise, wooden garage structural components may deteriorate due to repeated water contact and toxic mold growth may also be an issue.

Here are some suggestions to keep the garage dry even when its wet outdoors:

  • Maintain the garage door. Make sure the rubber or vinyl weatherstripping along the bottom of the door is intact, pliable and forms an effective seal. If it’s worn or stiff with age, replace it. Also verify that that the garage closes properly and tightly seals against the floor surface. If a gap exists, have a garage door technician make adjustments or repairs as necessary.
  • Seal foundation cracks. Small cracks in the concrete garage foundation are common and may provide a route for water outside to seep into the garage. Sealing small cracks with commercial sealants or even just waterproofing paint may be sufficient to stop minor influx. If there are large cracks, talk to a contractor about more permanent remedies.
  • Install French drains. Also known as perimeter drains, these are basically perforated pipes buried in a narrow trench filled with gravel. The system collects groundwater and effectively conveys it away from the structure. Installing French drains reduces the amount of pooling on the ground adjacent to the garage and helps eliminate water intrusion.
  • Alter the landscape. If the contour of the ground in your yard directs pooling water toward the garage during rain, flooding may be a common event. Talk to a landscaper about re-grading portions to divert water toward another part of the yard and/or create berms or install retaining walls to block the flow.

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