Don’t Insulate your Garage Door before Reading
If you walk through your garage dreaming of all the magnificent uses that it could be playing in your life: home-gym, work shop, temporary play area, then you have probably questioned whether you should insulate your garage door. Insulating your garage door may be very beneficial however, your ultimate happiness with the result will depend on many factors. The first question you must answer is: are you trying to keep hot air in or out? If you live in a hot climate and need to keep as much cool air in your garage as possible, while rarely worrying about keeping warm air in during frigid winter months, then your insulation process could look very different from someone located in a predominately cold climate. The second main factor that you must consider is what the rest of your garage looks like. Are all of your walls insulated and the garage door is the only non-insulated culprit? Or are none of your walls insulated? If none of your garage walls are insulated, insulating the door will only minutely help.
In addition to the method of insulation, you probably have additional questions, like, will adding insulation to my door weigh it down too much to open? What if the insulation falls off and damages my car? Will it stop my garage door from opening? Is this cost effective? In order to answer these questions, you need to first understand the role that insulation will play in your garage, and then proceed to the different methods available for insulating your garage door, which will affect the answers to the questions above.
Insulating the garage, either the walls or the door, will only slow the temperature change in the space, it cannot stop it. This is important to accept upfront, because if you are expecting a space that has a regulated temperature similar to your home, you will spend time and money only to be disappointed. Insulation slows the temperature change- it works to prevent cool air from escaping from the inside of your garage out into the hot outside air quite as quickly as it would like to. The air in your garage will ultimately become warmer, eventually maintaining only a degree or two of coolness over the outdoor air. Once accepting that insulating the door is a helpful move, but not a magic solution, you should look into types of insulation.
There are many ways that you could begin to insulate your garage door. A quick Google search will yield you a variety of ways to make a DIY solution as well as hundreds of listings for insulation kits available from your local hardware store. You could also research having a professional come install insulation panels or even a whole new garage door that comes with the best insulation. Choosing which method is the best for you comes back to what your main goal is. If you will be spending an ample amount of time in the garage, it will pay to look into the absolute best method of insulation for your climate. If you just want a buffer, then a standard insulation kit may do.
For those people residing in a hot climate, that wish to keep as much cold air in, and hot air out, of their garage as possible, a convex reflective foil-faced foam board is a worthwhile option. This is because it utilizes radiant heat, a method of reflection, rather than a flush foam insulator which absorbs heat via conduction. Reflective foil has about a 97% reflectivity, meaning that done correctly, the foil foam boards in your garage could reflect 97% of summer’s heat back out into the outdoors. It would still allow about 3% of the heat through, but that is significantly better than being blasted with 100% of summer’s heat.
If you live in a cold climate, and want to keep warm air in, you should stay away from metal doors, which rapidly steal the existing heat from the interior of the garage and deliver it back out the outdoors. Instead, a wood door with thermal insulation will be your best bet. You can also try to utilize foil sheets situated at the window panes to draw heat from the sun into the interior of the space. Take care to close all cracks, crevices, and slight holes along the edges of the door and base of the door with a weather-resistant seal.
Purchasing an insulation kit from your local hardware store may also be a great option. When choosing the kit, you should consider the amount of weight that the kit will add to the door. Many garage doors have a small margin of error on the amount of weight that can be added to the door before the springs begin to decay and eventually break. Insulating the door but breaking the springs is likely not your ideal finished product. In order to avoid this situation, you should determine the amount of weight that is acceptable to the springs and take care to purchase a kit that falls within those limits. Determining the margin of error acceptable to the springs is possible by measuring and weighing the garage door itself, tutorials of which are available online.
As long as the insulation is applied properly, the garage door should function perfectly and not be inhibited in any way. This means you will still be able to open and close the door with no issue. Before applying insulation to the entire door, you should do a practice test on one area of the door. Apply the adhesive to the door, add the insulation, and let everything cure for several days. If no adverse effects have been observed, you should continue to insulate the rest of the door.
However you decide to insulate your garage door, you should properly research your door, springs, and climate before beginning. Remembering that insulation can only slow, not stop the movement of air. You must compare the cost of materials, anticipated outcome, and time spent on the project with your desired outcome in order to choose which method of insulating will suit you best. Hopefully with this information you will soon be using your garage as a home-gym or office sooner than ever.