A garage is a vital structure in every home. Not only does it shield our vehicles from precipitation, but it also protects vehicles from theft and defacement.
Other people use it as a storage facility for farm equipment and much more.
However, just like your home, a garage is also faced with several challenges over time. Some include leaning, sinking, damaged garage doors, sticking doors & windows, damaged flooring, and malfunctioning garage door opener.
In this post, our focus is on leaning garage, its causes, and how to fix them. If you own a detached wooden garage, there is a chance that you’ve experienced leaning.
Garage leaning is more common with wooden garages than any other type.
1. Poorly Built / Old Garage
The leading cause of garage leaning is poor installation. Some contractors set up the garage without proper excavation. As a result, it leads to various challenges, and garage leaning is one of them.
Also, how the garage is built is crucial. For instance, it was normal to build a garage directly on the ground in the 20th century.
Therefore, if your garage was built without building codes, it may lack a foundation under the walls. Such garages tend to lean as they don’t have enough support.
How To Repair It
When building a garage, you should start by excavating the area. This allows you to compact soil properly.
And if the garage was built several decades ago and lacks building codes, you need to support it so that it does not fall off.
Unlike today’s garages, old garages have undersized wall studs and rafters, according to today’s standards. Also, there are no diagonal corner braces to support the structure adequately.
But with simple tools, you can strengthen your old garage instead of demolishing it and building a new one.
Some of the tools you will need are screw eyes, ratcheting cable hoists, steel/wood stakes, a hammer, an electric drill, a circular saw, and a carpenter’s level.
2. Termite Damage
Don’t be surprised if you find termites are causing your garage to lean to one side. This is more common in wooden garages.
Termites may be small but work together. These pesky creatures will destroy your property and leave you with huge losses and repairs.
If they chew one side of your wooden garage, it will lean. The problem is that they do not warn you at all.
Apart from attacking your garage’s support beams, you should also inspect ceiling joints, floor joists, and wall studs.
According to the National Pest Management Association, they estimate that termites cause more than $5 billion in damages in the U.S.A every year. Unfortunately, homeowner insurance policies don’t usually cover termite damage.
How To Repair It
As much as termites are destructive, you can deal with them before they destroy your garage completely.
Some of the signs of termites include a pile of sawdust, hollow wood, swam of termites, mud tubes, swollen floors, and discarded termite wings.
If these ants have destroyed a small portion, you can remove the damaged wood and replace it.
Alternatively, you can attach new wood to the damaged wood. Before replacing the wood, you should eliminate the termites using poisoned bait, liquid termite barrier, diatomaceous earth, direct chemical treatment, or even boric acid.
If you don’t have plumbing skills, contact a plumber to help you out.
3. Soil Replacement
A garage may also lean if it’s built on expansive soil. Unlike normal soil, expansive soil contains a high content of expansive minerals that can form deep cracks in drier seasons.
Hence, if your garage is built on expansive soil, it may lean when the soil beneath it swells or shrinks.
The level at which your garage leans will depend on how deep the underground foundation is built. Also, the amount of moisture or water taken in will play a part.
How To Repair It
Repairing a leaning garage because of soil replacement can be quite challenging for an ordinary person.
That’s why you need to get in touch with a professional contractor to assist you. Even though you can reinforce the weaker side of the garage, it may work for only some time.
For this reason, it is crucial to examine the presence of expansive soil and treat the surface before erecting the garage. But if you decide to reinforce the surface, use backfill materials with lime or other agents.
4. Shifting Soil
Unlike soil replacement, the soil may also shift, which may make the garage lean. Some of the things that make the soil shift are heavy rainfall and winter freeze-thaw.
After the soil shifts, it creates a gap in the garage’s foundation. This may end up causing the garage to lean on the side that is facing a lot.
How To Repair It
The best way to handle shifting soil is to develop an efficient drainage system. This will prevent water from becoming stagnant, so there will be no soil structure changes around the foundation.
5. Rotting Wood
Another thing that can cause your garage to lean is rotten wood. This normally happens when fungi attack the base of your wooden garage. However, it is rare in new garages but is more susceptible to old wooden garages.
Wood decays because a combination of moisture and fungi causes it to decay. The affected side of your garage may weaken and lean to one side. However, this can be corrected quickly.
How To Repair It
If the attacked part has damaged softwood, then you will have to replace the wood. But if the sections are very small and just discolored, you can treat the wood.
This will help to prevent the fungi from being spread.
But first, you will have to dry the wood and apply a preservative that features borate or copper.
Maintenance is crucial if you have a wooden garage. This will help to prevent things like termites and fungi from attacking your structure. Keep the wood dry, and you will have nothing to worry about.
Precautions To Take While Repairing Your Leaning Garage
Find out the rules and regulations in your area for garage repair and installation. You wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of the law.
Do you need a permit before making any repairs? Also, you’ve to find out if an inspection will be done after the repair or renovation of the garage?
Repairing your leaning garage is dangerous. If you don’t use the right tools and techniques to repair the garage, you may damage the structure.
That’s why you need to get in touch with an experienced contractor to help.
You don’t want to accidentally pull some wood and bring the entire structure down. If you lack the skills, get an expert to carry out the job.
Repairing the garage may be cumbersome and time-consuming. You should hire an expert instead of doing the work by yourself. You may spend the entire day doing a task that an expert can accomplish within a few hours.
How To Straighten A Leaning Garage
Before you start repairing the leaning garage, ensure that you’ve assembled all the required tools. You will require a pair of ratcheting cable hoists, steel or wood stakes, a hammer, screw eyes, a circular saw, an electric drill, and a carpenter’s level.
What’s more, several materials are needed, such as nails to be used as fasteners and a box of Philips-head screws.
Step 1: At both ends of the wall opposite the lean angle, make a hole and thread a screw eye via the siding and into the corner stud.
Step 2: Next, hook a strap or chain on the screw eye and another side of the strap into a pole on the ground.
Step 3: Tighten the strap and pull it slowly so that the leaned side can straighten up. Don’t rush and closely inspect to ensure that the garage wall doesn’t split.
Step 4: After you’ve straightened the leaning garage, confirm if it’s level by using the carpenter’s level. The garage should be straight from the bottom to the top.
Step 6: Enter the garage and install diagonal corner braces. Every single brace should cross more than four studs. Then
Step 7: Fasten the braces with screws driven into each stud or use two nails. And when you’re sure that the braces are secure, you can untie the straps or chains. Besides, you will have to remove screw eyes and the stakes. You can continue using your garage safely and without worry.
Never despair if you notice that your garage is leaning. You can still rectify the issue and reuse the garage. Besides, you don’t have to demolish the whole garage and set up a new one.
After looking at the various causes of garage leaning and how to fix them, you shouldn’t have problems knowing what the problem is.
Before you undertake any repair or hire a contractor, find out if you need a permit. Also, you should know if an inspection will be done.
You can now fix your leaning garage by following our guide or hiring a contractor.
James has been a car enthusiast since his childhood when he learned the differences between a ford and a chevy from his father. He loves to drive and restore old cars with a special drive for Italian marvels. Currently, he has a 1968 Alfa Romeo. He has studied aeronautics and civil aviation in his college and still gets smitten by Galant SS and Lancer GSR.
He is a New York-based product training director working with a giant automotive retailer. He loves to review and uncover the vehicles and their fascinating stories. He believes in keeping it legitimate with a keen passion for research on the latest technological upgrades in cars. While reading his articles or blogs, you can sense the extensive research and dedication backing the piece of text. He loves fried chicken, music, and spending quality time with his pet dog.