Insulation is one of the easiest and most effective ways at saving energy. Not only does it cut the cost of heating and cooling, it also reduces noise pollution. Many home owners wonder if garage door insulation fits into the scheme of things. Is it completely necessary?
Attached garages are typically not airtight. They are usually unfinished structures built for the purpose of extra storage, and they can be pretty leaky in some spots. The thermal boundary, which is the fine line between the conditioned indoor air and the outdoor air, is really the wall where the house and garage attach. So, to keep the home insulated, the walls and sometimes the ceiling of the garage must be insulated, not the garage door.
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However, if the garage is used as a living space, workshop or recreational area, then garage door insulation becomes more legitimate. Garage door insulation kits are designed to fit snug with frames, carpet-like rolls or boards. From a Do-It-Yourself standpoint, it’s financially easier to learn how to insulate a garage door with garage door insulation kits.
First things first. Before even considering how to insulate a garage door, make sure that the weatherstripping is still intact. This is the seal between the door frame and the opening. It tends to get old and brittle, and it will let drafts and water into the building. Caulking can also be used alongside weatherstripping.
Types of Insulation
Batt – fast and efficient, this is flexible fiberglass that fits almost anywhere. Just take it out of its bag and stuff it where it needs to go. In a kit, they are often sandwiched in aluminum or paper, and the length of these usually match typical framing dimensions.
Foam board – these are thin panels that carry a higher insulation value. They are made from polystyrene and covered with vinyl or aluminum facing. Double paneling these together can be done for good for extra insulation.
Reflective insulation – as highly reflective boards for hot climates, they are usually polyethylene bubbles or cardboard covered with aluminum foil. These are usually about 5/16 of an inch, and they also have a dependable insulation value.
Now, it’s important to efficiently match the type and size of insulation with the garage door. A normal single wide garage door is usually 9 feet wide and 7 feet tall. Double doors average about 16 feet by 7 feet. Keep in mind that insulation adds weight, which isn’t normally a problem, but it could strain the automatic opening mechanism for bigger doors.
Types of Garage Doors
Steel or metal – at a 24 to 27 gauge metal thickness, these doors not only have insulation value on their own, they usually have recessed panels around the frames that can fit any kind of insulation. Top of the line insulating doors already have two sheets of metal with a polyurethane filling.
Wood – these doors don’t have much insulation value on their own. They need rigid panel or board insulation cut and installed around the frame.
Garage door insulation needs to be cut and framed exactly the right size and secured with adhesive to work properly. Common mistakes include cutting the insulation too long or too short, or packing it too tight or too loose. If the whole thing still isn’t working, it might be best to purchase a garage door that’s already insulated.
These insulation methods make a big difference in temperature. Nevertheless, first make sure that the existing walls and ceiling, especially where they are adjoined to the house, are completely insulated themselves. The only better thing that could be done is building a complete wall in front of the door.