“When you combine the many benefits of an insulated
garage door with a well-organized garage, the possibilities are endless!”
Insulated doors are no longer considered “essential” in only colder climates. They offer so many benefits for any home in any climate. Here are just a few:
When I grew up, insulated garage doors were seldom seen. In fact, wooden garage doorswere the “norm” and steel garage doors were cheap, single layered alternatives for those who couldn’t afford wood. My how things have changed!
If you spend more time in the garage than what it takes to exit your car and enter your home, an insulated door should be on your shopping list. Today’s garage often serves as not only a parking place, but as a workshop, craft room, recreation room, a showplace for your cars, and so much more.
Depending on your climate and the time of year, you may want to consider heating or cooling your garage to create a more comfortable environment. After all, since your garage is likely one of the largest rooms in your home, why not maximize its use.
If you do heat or cool your garage, an insulated garage door is a must to minimize the heat transmission through the door and keep your heating and cooling costs at a minimum. When you combine the many benefits of an insulated garage door with a well-organized garage, the possibilities are endless!
Insulated doors offer significant benefits to those of us whose garages are attached to our homes. The insulation in your home’s walls reduces the transmission of heat into the garage, and the insulation in your garage door further limits the transmission of heat into the environment. If your garage door is not insulated, that’s just one less barrier to the heating or cooling efficiency of your home, and one less barrier to the escape of currency from your wallet!
Even if your garage door IS insulated, if you don’t have the proper garage door seals in place, you may be shooting yourself in the foot. The most common garage door seals are the bottom seal, threshold seal and weather stripping. These simple and inexpensive insulating devices can yield big returns to your comfort and your bottom line.
For those with an attached garage AND living space adjacent to or above the garage, insulated garage doors offer one more “noise” benefit. Just as insulation keeps the heat in and the cold out (or the opposite during the “cooling season”), insulation also keeps the noise out. Do you live on a busy street or in a noisy neighborhood? If so, you should strongly consider and insulated door.
Garage door strength depends on the strength and rigidity of the construction material as well as the method of construction. For example, a single layer steel door will not be nearly as strong as insulated doors with double or triple layer construction.
Double layered garage doors typically consist of a galvanized steel outer skin with polystyrene or polyurethane insulation adhered to the inside. Although this is called a “double layer” design, it actually has a third layer of vinyl or plastic on the inside for aesthetics and ease of cleaning.
Triple layered garage doors sandwich insulation between two layers of steel or wood. The outer layer can be designed to complement your home’s character, and the inside is typically smooth. With potentially higher R-value (depending on the thickness of insulation), and the highest soundproofing qualities, this is the strongest garage door option, and the ultimate in insulated garage doors.
When it comes to the door itself, that depends on your needs and your taste. If you want the benefits of design, economy, energy efficiency and low maintenance, you should strongly consider a steel garage door. Steel doors offer an almost endless number of design options and very good insulation R-values.
If you want the classic, traditional garage door option, wooden garage doors can be custom-designed to fit your home’s architectural style and increase your home’s value. Although wood by it very nature offers better insulation and sound deadening qualities than its steel counterpart, multi-layered wood door construction provides a decent R-Value by sandwiching polystyrene insulation between an inner and out layer of wood.
If you want a raised panel door or something other than a virtually smooth design, the insulation can still be maintained between layers of wood, with added wooden design elements affixed to the outer door skin.
There are basically two types of garage door insulation: polystyrene and polyurethane. Polystyrene is a rigid block of insulation that is placed between two layers of the garage door. It’s like the “meat” between two buns in a hamburger; it’s in there, but it’s really not attached to anything. Polyurethane is an injected foam insulation that actually bonds to the garage door. It’s like the “cheese” in a grilled cheese sandwich; it’s in there, too, but it is actually bonded to the two outer layers.
Polystyrene tends to be less expensive, but polyurethane provides about twice the insulating R-value. Polyurethane also contributes to a stronger door. When polyurethane foam is used with steel or wood insulated garage doors, it chemically bonds to the door sections and creates a stronger, more rigid structure.
The higher the R-value the higher resistance that material has to heat flow. R-values in insulated garage doors typically run from about 5 to 10, with some topping R-17. When most people think of R-value, they think in terms of keeping heat in or out of their home, depending on the season and where they live. When it comes to the R-value in your garage door, you need to consider your lifestyle, i.e., how you will be using the garage, and your local climate, i.e., where your home is located.
If your intent is to control the climate in your garage with a garage heater or air conditioner, insulated garage doors with higher R-values are quite important. This would likely be the case if you plan to use your garage as a workshop, craft or recreation area, etc. The higher the R-value in your garage door, the lower the cost to heat and cool the garage. Remember, the garage door is usually the largest opening in your home. Elementary, yes, but often overlooked!
If you live in a very hot or very cold climate and your garage is attached to your home, higher R-values contribute not only to the energy efficiency of your garage, but also to the energy efficiency of your attached home.
Higher R-values also contribute to a quieter garage and, more importantly, to a quieter home. This is especially important if your garage is attached to your home and if you have bedrooms above or adjacent to the garage.
Depending on where you live and how you plan to use your garage, you should strongly consider an insulated door. One final thing you should consider is how well your garage door is sealed.
If you have a brand new door with the highest R-value available, and you still have a gaping hole under your garage door, you are losing much of the benefit you gained with the insulation. Be sure your garage door weather stripping is in tact and be certain that the gaps between your garage panels seal completely when your door is closed.