Garage Repair Renovation & Remodeling

Garage Repair and Renovation

Garage Repairs & Renovation Series

Garage Repair & Renovation 

Understanding Why Garages Fail and How They Can Be Repaired 


By Forever Green Landscape Construction & Design – Bergen County NJ

Why garages sink, collapse and leak water

Many New Jersey detached garages were built prior to the standard use of cinder blocks. These garages have experienced significant degradation of their sill plates which have been been eaten away by termites. The contact of the wooden sill plate to the ground allowed for a buildup of water and saturation which was absorbed into the wooden sill plates. Termites fully capitalize on wet wood and wood sill plates are no exception. 

Rather than cinder blocks, early New Jersey garages were constructed by using treated wood as “sill plates” which served as the contact point between the poured concrete and the framing upon which the garage sits. As a result of the wooden sill plates close proximity to the ground they come into constant contact with water leaving them continuously saturated.

Saturated wood sill plates in close proximity to the ground make up the ideal scenario for termites which are sub-terrainian wood-boring insects that feed on the chemical makeup of wood cellulose for survival. This is one of the reasons why we refrain from the use of wood as an exterior building material and in most cases suggest patios versus decks. (Read our article on Decks -vs- Patios)

Signs of Termite Damage

  • The visualization of termites which are spec- like white or translucent (semi clear) insects which resemble oval dots
  • The sagging or sinking of wood frame support members
  • The evidence of tunneling or channeling inside wood
  • The papering or easy punch through or compromise of wood
  • Evidence of exterior mud tunnels which resemble mud veins extending from the ground to the wooden structure (not always visible).












Forever GReen Landscape Constrcution & Design - Demolition Photo

How to check for termite damage

  • Using a flat-head screw driver, stab at the suspected areas and or any main wood support structures  in close proximity to the ground or wood which is expected to harbor termites
  • Start with the wood sill plates and work up and around to contacting wood supports within 6-12” of the wood sill plates.
  • For areas not within reach, cut an arms length piece of 1/2” copper tubing sharpened to a point, using it in the same fashion as a flat- head screw driver
  • Call Us to evaluate your garage for termite damage. 

Forever Green Landscape Construction & Design – Before Photo 









In our experience, it is quite common for New Jersey garages to have experienced significant degradation of their wood sill plates caused by termite damage. 

The degradation of garage sill plates via termites results in devastating damage to the garage structure.

In advanced cases this will result in the garage roof leaking, sagging of the supporting walls and potential collapse of the garage itself. 

Sadly, many NJ detached garages are all but unusable to the homeowner as these garages are often infiltrated the same by rain, mildew and inescapable dampness via the compromise of their structural integrity. 

How To Eradicate Termites

  • The first step in eradicating termites is the removal of termite infested wood. In the case of a New Jersey garage this is typically the sill plates. However removing one set of wood sill plates for another is, in many cases, simply providing fresh wood for a termite colony to feed on. The proper solution is the repair and reconstruction of the garage to eliminate the use of sill plates in close proximity to the ground, in favor of the elevation of the wood frame to rest on top of cinder block.

  • The second part of termite eradication is contacting a licensed exterminator who has experience in the eradication of termite colonies.

  • Lastly, call a tree company to grind down any stumps which have not been fully grounded below grade.

Can My Garage Be Repaired?

In most cases these New Jersey garages can be repaired. While new sill plates can be swapped out for the old ones, this is not a viable repair as often times the termites have made it into the 2×4 wood framing and will re-colonize the new sill plates. Equally new wood sill plates in close proximity to the ground (despite being pressure treated)are subject to the same saturation and termite conditions as the old wood sill plates.

Our comprehensive garage repair consists of cutting out the damaged sill plates, cutting away the 2×4 walls, bracing the remaining structure of the garage, installing a double course level of cinder block, reframing the section of wall while re-attaching the frame to the new sill plates. In many cases we also recommend pouring a new concrete floor. The new concrete will help seal the blocks against further water infiltration.  The end result of this repair is a dry, usable and secure garage and well worth the cost.

New Jersey Garage Repair -Verona, NJ Essex County 07044_New Jersey Garage Repair and Renovation Contractor
New Jersey Garage Repair -Verona, NJ Essex County 07044_New Jersey Garage Repair and Renovation Contractor
New Jersey Garage Repair -Verona, NJ Essex County 07044_New Jersey Garage Repair and Renovation Contractor

Does the cost of garage repair outweigh the construction of a new one?

While the new construction of a garage is always an option, constructing a new garage in New Jersey requires drawings, building permits, zoning permits and in many cases may require new concrete footings to be poured. In repairing the existing garage customers can avoid the cost of drawings, permits and the installation of new concrete footings. Additionally the current sorting costs of lumber weigh heavily on justifying the salvage of an older garage.