Home: Overhead Garage Door: Garage Door Insulation

Garage Door Insulation
Types, Benefits and Costs

"Insulation is even more important if you use your garage for
anything other than to store your cars."

For most people, the garage door is often considered only in terms of its practical application and its outward appearance. Another important factor, however, is the impact of garage door insulation.

Garage Door Insulation
Reflectix BP24050 24-Inch-by-50-Foot Bubble Pack Insulation

While many people may have their home insulated without a second thought, they often do not even consider the garage. Climate control in the garage as well as noise reduction and savings on energy bills are three very significant benefits.

Garage Door Insulation and Climate Control

Houses without insulated garage doors could be losing a significant amount of heat from their home, increasing the cost of energy bills considerably. There is also a great benefit if you live in a warmer climate. Non-insulated garage doors allow heat to enter your home from outside and increase home air conditioning costs.

Insulation is even more important if you use your garage for anything other than to store your cars. For example, if you use your garage as a home office, an area for your crafts or woodworking projects or you have a home gym or fitness area in your garage, a lack of insulation could make for a very uncomfortable environment.

If you plan to heat or cool your garage, the benefits of insulation multiply. Picture a cold winter day when you decide to finish a woodworking project. A few minutes before starting, you turn on your garage heater to warm your work space. With insulated garage doors, the heater uses less energy to do the job and you save money in the process. Comfort and savings. Nice.

NOTE: If you have a messy or disorganized garage, you probably won't be doing anything but stewing about the piles of C.R.A.P. lying around on the floor. Why not start your garage organization project today and revel in the many new possibilities you will have in your life.

Types of Garage Door Insulation

Garage door insulation comes in various styles, from Reflective Foil insulation to Fiberglass Panels, Polystyrene Foam and Spray Foam insulation.

Reflective Foil insulation is sometimes known as aluminum foil insulation, radiant barrier insulation and air cell insulation. Depending on the manufacturer, this type of insulation uses multiple layers of foil, polyethylene (plastic) and bubble wrap to form a barrier against heat flow.

One reflective foil recipe for this "insulation sandwich" includes two outer layers of aluminum foil bonded to a strong layer of polyethylene (plastic), two inner layers of air-filled bubble wrap, and another layer of polyethylene in the center to add strength. The heavy duty foil in this type of insulation acts as a reflector of heat and a barrier to unwanted moisture.

Reflective foil insulation comes in various styles including sheets and rolls. Whether purchased in rolls or sheets, this type of garage door insulation is relatively easy to handle and install.

Fiberglass Panels use similar material as utilized in some forms of attic insulation. The insulation panels, covered in vinyl to give a glossy look, fit into the garage door with hooks and are a very efficient form of garage insulation.

Polystyrene Foam panels (like the stuff used to make styrofoam coffe cups and packing material) fit easily into the door frame rails. The thicker kind of polystyrene often does not even require fastening materials to keep it in place. Some, but not all, polystyrene foam garage door insulation kits are covered with vinyl for a glossy finish.

Spray Foam is one of the more complicated methods of garage door insulation. This method requires solid panels to be installed in between each of the channels of every section of the garage door followed by the injection of spray foam into the panels. The foam then bonds to the exterior as well as the interior of the garage door. Because of its complexity and cost, spray foam is a less popular insulating method, but it is a very effective way of creating insulated garage doors.

Cost of Garage Door Insulation

The cost of insulating your garage door will vary depending on the insulating method used and whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor. If you do the job yourself using polystyrene foam panels, for example, you can often get by for around $100 for a 1 car garage door. Double that price for a 2 car garage.

Hiring a contractor will obviously increase the cost, but you need to weigh the initial cost against the long-term benefits when making your decision. The amount of money you will be saving on future energy bills is only one thing to consider. If you use your garage for anything other than for parking your cars, the added comfort alone may be worth your investment.

Insulated Garage Doors Offer One More Important Benefit

If your garage is attached to your home, garage door insulation cuts down on the noise transmitted into your home. Although insulation does help keep the heat in and the cold out (it it's hot outside, the opposite is true), it also helps keep the outdoor noises outdoors!

Living on a busy street or near a noisy intersection can get old fast. Even if you live in the "perfect" climate, insulated garage doors can really help with the noise.

Garage Door Insulation
This garage door was insulated by the homeowner
using polystyrene foam panels.

Remember the Garage Door Seals

Once your garage door has been insulated, there is another very important piece of the insulating pie to consider. Without proper garage door seals in place, hot and cold air can still whip in an out of your garage as if the door was standing partially open.

The three most common garage door seals to inspect, replace or install for the first time are the threshhold seal, the bottom seal and garage door weather stripping. All three are relatively inexpensive, reasonably easy to install and can pay big dividends. Learn more about garage doors seals to see if yours need a second look.

Final Thoughts

If you are replacing an old garage door, building a house or a new garage, give careful consideration to the type of garage door you use. The upgrade cost of an insulated garage door is almost always worth the money. A new, factory insulated garage door will also raise the value of your home and the perceived value to a future buyer. Ask your garage door dealer for details.


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