Garage door seals are one of the parts homeowners rarely notice on their doors. However, when they wear and tear, that’s when we realize how significant its contribution is. It helps keep the snow out of our garages, prevent bugs, pests, dust, and debris from entering our garage by sealing the bottom of the door. All garage door seals perform the same function, and if you have noticed, they look identical. However, are they all the same? Are garage door seals universal?
Short answer, no. Garage door seals are not universal. There are different types of garage door seals made to work with different garage doors. However, there are a few universal garage door seals in the market uniquely designed to work with all kinds of garage doors.
As I mentioned, there are a few universal garage door seals made to be compatible with all kinds of garage doors. We will take a look at some of them, and then we’ll also discuss the different garage door seals used on several garage doors. But for now, let me explain why garage door seals are not universal.
Why Garage Door Seals are not universal
Here’s a little backstory for you. In the early 1980s, garage door manufacturers started transitioning from using wood to using steel to make garage doors. This transition led to a lot of design changes, and that included garage door seals.
Major manufacturers designed their own method to seal the bottom of garage doors. Over the years, some garage door companies have gone out of business, and others have merged into one company.
Once again, these manufacturers have decided to redesign their weather seals to minimize their cost so that they can be more affordable to you, the customer. This led to some inconsistencies, however.
Newly produced garage door models from these manufacturers now had different garage door weather seals different from the original.
Universal Garage Door Seal Kit
As I mentioned earlier, over the years, some garage door manufacturers have gone out of business, and others have merged into one single company.
If you own an old garage door model from any of these manufacturers, there is a high probability that they don’t make spare parts for your door anymore, and that includes the door seal. This is why the universal garage door seal kit was made.
In essence, the universal garage door seal kit bridges the gap between older garage doors and newer models. It is compatible with all types of garage doors available.
Here are the two most popular options out there.
1. Bowsen Universal Garage Door Bottom Seal with Retainer Kit
The Bowsen Universal Garage Door Bottom Seal (on Amazon) is the choice of many homeowners for a few reasons. First, they are effortless to install. This could be your weekend project if you love to DIY, and it will take you less than 30 minutes to complete the entire process.
Secondly, they work with all types of garage doors, as long as it has a flat bottom – wooden doors, steel doors, vinyl garage doors, you name it.
This is a T-type bottom seal (which we will talk about later) with a U + O ring, which makes it very durable and long-lasting.
Although this is a T-type bottom seal, what makes it compatible with different garage door types is that it comes with an aluminum track retainer kit.
Now, what is a retainer kit? This is a strip of metal, usually aluminum, fixed under the bottom of a garage door, and allows for a bottom seal to be attached.
There is a 10ft version for single garage doors and a 20ft long bottom seal and retainer kit for double garage doors.
2. Papillon Universal Garage Door Threshold Seal
Although not so common, the threshold seal is one of the best seals for preventing water into your garage. We’ll talk about more it later.
The Papillon Universal Garage Door Threshold Seal (also on Amazon) is installed on the floor, under the garage door, and it is effective for different garage doors. It is always best to combine the Papillon threshold seal with a bottom seal for complete protection against water, dust, and debris. However, it will work perfectly fine on its own.
These are very easy to install as well, and also comes in a 10ft long seal for a single garage door and a 20ft long seal for a double garage door.
The Different Types of Garage Door Seals
We are all familiar with bottom seals. These are the most common type of seals. They are made of rubber and is very good at keeping dust, leaves, and debris out of your garage.
How does it work? Usually, when a garage door fully closes, there will be a small gap between the door and the floor. This gap is generally due to an uneven floor. The bottom seal fills every gap between the floor and the door, making it difficult for dust, grass, or even water to pass under the garage.
Even with bottom seals, there are different kinds. Bottom seals vary based on how they attach to the garage door, and it’s very simple to know the difference.
- J-Type bottom seal: Just as the name depicts, the J-type seal forms a J on each side, when the door is closed.
- T-Type bottom seal: This is identical to the J-type. The only difference is this is used on a double channel retainer while the J-type is used on a single channel retainer
- Bulb: Bulb-type garage seal is a rounded tube just like a water hose, with a T-shape attached on top to connect it to the door.
- Bead end: This looks similar to both the J-type and T-type. And they are used on double channel retainers.
This is a unique seal, and not a lot of people are familiar with this. But if you really want to prevent water or snow from creeping into your garage, getting a threshold seal in conjunction with the bottom seal is the combo you can possibly have.
Unlike the bottom seal, threshold seals are installed on the floor, right underneath the garage door. In my opinion, this is the best seal you can have.
You won’t find a brush seal on most residential doors. They are used on commercial garage doors most of the time.
They are made of thousands of tough bristles and are installed at the bottom of the garage door. It is very effective in keeping out debris and dirt out of the garage. But it does a lousy job of keeping water out.
Vinyl Door Stop
We are mostly familiar with garage door seals installed at the bottom of the door. But the vinyl door stops are installed on the sides of the door and prevents rainwater and air from entering your garage.
They are particularly helpful during harsh weather conditions. What do I mean by that? A strong gush of winds tends to push your garage door, leaving gaps on the sides for air to get into your garage. You don’t want this to happen, especially if you have a heating system installed in your garage.
Reverse Angle Mount Seal
You probably don’t need to know about this because this type of seal is not for residential. They are mainly used on commercial garage doors. But it’s worth the mention.
Reverse angle mount seal is like the vinyl door stop in the sense that it is installed on the sides of the door. Essentially, this seal acts as a garage door track that the door runs through. This means it covers the door’s sides once the door is fully closed, making it impossible for water or air to enter the garage. It is made of the same rubber used on bottom seals.
Which type of garage door seal is right for you?
Maybe your garage door seal is not in good condition anymore, and that is normal. This part deteriorates over time and eventually gets bad.
If your garage door manufacturer is still in business, the chances are that they still make spare parts and accessories for your garage door. It simply makes sense to go with a garage door seal made by your door manufacturer for the particular model you have.
However, if they are not in business anymore, simply check the bottom of your garage door to find which type of seal was installed on your door.
There are replacement parts made by third party companies for any type of garage door seal.
Pick the right kind of seal with the right length for your door, and you will do just fine. Here is a huge list of garage door seals on Amazon for your convenience. Simply go through the list to find the type used on your door.
If you are still unsure which door seal to go for, just go for the universal garage door seal mentioned earlier in this article. It works for all door types, and it will work with yours as well.