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  • Writer's pictureJohn Raz

How to Insulate a Garage Door

The decision whether to insulate a garage door against the cold (and heat) is one taken by many Americans each year. All told, once the pros and cons are weighed up, the decision becomes quite easy – it is a resounding yes!

The advantages of insulating your garage door

Firstly, today’s solutions are remarkably cost-effective. Materials are inexpensive and very easy to find. You can even choose the exact types of material you want, and cutting the panels to size is a piece of cake for even the hesitant DIY enthusiast.

Adding insulation can keep your garage 10-12 degrees warmer in the cooler seasons, and up to 20 degrees cooler when it gets hot! This typically results in reduced energy bills, as well as less risk to equipment and devices that might otherwise be sensitive to extreme temperature changes.

 There is also the benefit of sound insulation, which can be very beneficial to relations with your neighbors if you intend to do a lot of banging around in your workshop, or you enjoy giving your power tools a good run out.  

Know your R-Values and choose suitable garage door insulation materials

The efficiency of insulation is judged on its capacity to reduce the transfer of heat and cold. The measurement of this capacity is often referred to as the “R-value”. The R-value will increase as the insulation gets thicker. However, it should be noted that even the best insulation materials will be useless if there are spaces where cold air can easily flow into your space.

Nowadays, it is easy to find reasonably-priced garage door installation kits that contain most of the supplies you will need to get the job done properly. These supplies generally include the door insulation panels, a knife, adhesive, and tape.

Rigid foam or batt insulation?

Most DIY hobbyists choose foil-faced foam board insulation panels. These can be cut to size easily. Make sure that they are fire-rated!  The are three main types of foam board:  expanded polystyrene, extruded polystyrene, and polyisocyanurate.No matter which type you select, you must ensure that the foam boards are a little thinner than the door’s interior channel enclosures.    

Batt insulation is a term used to describe how the insulation material is formed and presented. It generally comes in flat pieces and is often made of mineral wool or fiberglass. Inexpensive, it comes either faced or unfaced, and, unlike rigid foam, it is soft and flexible.  As with rigid foam, batt insulation comes in three main types:  fiberglass batt insulation, rockwool batt insulation, and ceramic batt insulation. The last option is a little more expensive than the others, but it does provide excellent R-value.

Adding the finishing touches

Once you have chosen your insulation panels, cut them to size and stuck them to your door, there are still several important bases to cover to ensure a well-insulated space.

Firstly, what does the bottom of your garage door look like? It may be an idea to buy a new rubber sweep or get a garage door threshold that will keep out all sorts of unwanted nasties such as drafts, critters, water, and so forth.

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Next, for the sides of the garage door, it is often advisable to install weatherstripping, as strong winds can easily get through any cracks and change the temperature in your space in a heartbeat. 

Finally, check the rest of your garage, and especially the other walls and the roof. A small amount of insulation above and on side-facing walls can play a huge role in helping you achieve your desired level of comfort.

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