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How to Open a Garage Door That’s Frozen Shut

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How to Open a Garage Door That’s Frozen Shut

Throughout the winter months you may have noticed that your garage door has been working slower than usual or you may have found that it hasn’t been opening at all. Like many areas across the UK, it has probably been affected by the minus zero temperatures accompanying the ice and wind. This will often cause batteries to drain and cars to not start properly with nobody in a hurry to leave the comfort of their warm and toasty home on a cold day. When the cold rears its ugly head (which is quite often in the UK) we all move a little slower, and garage door systems are no different. They too get cold, sluggish and metal components will contract causing the motor to work even harder than usual to get the door operating. Unfortunately, we are not God and we can not change the weather according to our garage doors needs, but we can help prepare you for the next cold weather blast.

Please remember, if the garage door does not open the first time you push the button, FREEZE! Do not continue to push the button as you will damage the door and its motor.  

  1.  Make sure the door has not been locked and check the interior slide lock and then the lock button on the wall console. You will then need to ensure the entire system is inspected, searching for any obvious signs of obstruction or broken components.
  1. Disconnect the door from the operator by pulling down the manual release cord to run the door by hand a few times in order to free up any sections or weather seal that may have frozen up.
  2. If by this point you are still unable to move the door smoothly, check beneath the garage door and exterior for any ice build up at the bottom. Although this may seem time consuming, the safest and most effective way to unstick a frozen garage door is by simply using a hairdryer and to keep it on the lowest heat setting and try not to hold it in the same position for too long.

Other Options You Can Try:

–        Chipping away the ice by yourself, however you will run the risk of tearing into the bottom seal so please do be careful!

–        Boiling water can be used but please do make sure you have another person to help you open the door before the water begins to cool down.

–        Using salt water or rock salt can be used if the temperature is above 10 degrees Celsius. However, please keep in mind that this can corrode the bottom section of the seal if not cleaned off properly.

–        Another option you can try is to use a space heater to melt the ice, however, this is extremely time consuming as it heats the door up first and will need to be checked frequently throughout the day.

If you are unable to free your garage door please always contact us at Doormatic so we can help you as soon as possible.


  1. To prevent your garage door from becoming frozen shut you should always keep the area in front of your garage door clear of ice and snow. The bottom seal of your garage door can stick to the ice which can prevent the door from opening and closing properly. If you attempt to force the door open you can risk tearing the bottom seal right off the door, causing you to break the top section and burn out your operator due to strain and force.
  1. If you apply a silicone spray to the rubber bottom seal you can prevent it from sticking to the snow or ice.
  1. During bad weather the garage door should be opened and closed throughout the day even if you’re not intending to use it. Simply pull the manual release cord to operate the door by hand. This will prevent your door from sticking to the ice and it will free up any components of the door that may be stuck together from the frost.
  1. By ensuring your garage door system is thoroughly lubricated throughout the year, you will be able to aid the overall operation during the cold winter weather.
  1. Some homeowners even sprinkle a thin layer of cat litter/sand or sawdust along the width of the entire opening where the door meets the concrete.
  2. If your garage has the tendency of water pooling itself near the front of the garage, you may want to consider adding a threshold to the garage floor. This is available in rubber or aluminium and is raised to help prevent water from entering the garage under the door and causing damp.

Helping You Every Step Of The Way

At Doormatic, we’re dedicated to providing you with honest, clear and objective advice, so that you can make an informed and stress-free choice that fits your home and family’s needs today – and tomorrow.

Contact us today to learn more about our selection of steel garage doors and how you can carry out regular maintenance and preventative checks to prevent any further frozen garage door incidents. We’re always here to help.

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