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Question DetailsAsked on 3/18/2018

How do I stop ice from forming on garage floor?

When snow melts around the garage, the water leaks inside and forms an ice rink on the floor. It's getting in all sides. It's a detached garage with stud walls and vinyl siding.

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4 Answers

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Here are a couple of previous similar questions with answers which should help - longest-lasting solution is usually putting in a drainage swale 3-6 feet away from the garage (further distances in free-draining soils) and sloping the ground around the building towards that soil - remember to keep free foundation exposure above ground level at the wall to avoid rot/insect intrusion. 3-4 inches minimum, most like 6-8 in heavy snowall/drifting areas, preferably more like a foot or so in significant insect areas. Especially with termites - 4-6 inches commonly works fairly well with carpenter ants and post beetles, plus spreading a whole-house protection powder like Ortho Home Defense all around the foundation usually takes care of them anyway - not so with termites.


Sometimes, with very sporadic occurrences, just sloping the earth away from the garage for a foot or so (maintaining your exposed foundation distnce above ground) will handle it.


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Answered 8 months ago by LCD

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3 feet on one side would be in my neighbor's driveway. We're talking about an urban neighborhood in Minneapolis where everyone is too close together. That side is actually the worst.

Answered 8 months ago by shelcrone

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OK - with narrow clearance like that, two alternatives on the tight side:


1) putting in a swale maybe a foot or so wide, starting say 8-12 inches from the neighbor's drive (assuming your property line goes that far), and sloping the ground from your foundation toward that swale - with the swale draining onto lower elevation ground in front or back yard. Swale normally needs to be about 8-12 inches deep minimum (final grade - after replacing sod) to accomodate some icing and snow blockage, and may need to be cleared of ice accumulation and snow a couple of times a winter - shoveling/chipping or using hot water from the hot water heater to thaw a channel if it starts icing solid


2) digging out by the garage, down to foundation level, putting bitumastic sealant on the foundation, then putting in a french drain in compacted gravel backfill leading to free surface drainage, leaving a lower surface level along the foundation than before. This assumes you have a foundation to below frost depth, not a slab-on-grade foundation. If slab on grade you do not want to leave the edge free-hanging alongside a lowered ground level. This solution would be totally acceptable if the garage was heated - but with an evidently unheated garage, it does risk freezing up the drain, plus you will probably have to periodically thaw it out with hot water to keep it free-flowing - especially at the surface outlet. Or put a thaw cable designed for full submersion in it to keep it thawed, being sure to turn it off when winter is over and on again in late fall. One with internal thermostat would help save energy too.


3) if the problem is mainly drifting snow piling up against the garage rather than vertical fall, perhaps a couple foot high snowfence along there would help too.


4) perhaps easiest, if physically able - just go out after each snowfall (before it ices hard) and shovel the area clear around the garage for a couple of feet


One thing I did not mention - assuming this water is overtopping the foundation/slab, it will be wetting the bottom of the walls, and will eventually cause rot - so you need to find a solution which permanently solves the problem.


Contractor for this sort of work if not into DIY'ing would be the Basement Waterproofing category in Search the List.

Answered 8 months ago by LCD

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Thanks. That gives me some ideas.

Answered 8 months ago by shelcrone

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One thing I forgot to address - what may be a major contributor to the situation is roof runoff, because melting snow commonly (not always) soaks into the ground about as fast as it melts, or runs off through the snowpack as long as the underlyign ground slopes away from the garage (at least 1/4"/foot slope, preferably more like about an inch per foot).


But add on roof runoff, from melting snow or rain or worst yet warm rain falling on snow, and you get buildup by the garage if you do not have gutters and downspouts leading the water well away from the foundation. Dark colored gutters pretty much mandatory for an unheted garage - so the sun thaws them out (at least on sunny side) so they do not ice up terribly, and vinyl ones are (in my opinion) much better than metal at not freezing solid.

Answered 8 months ago by LCD




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