Garage Door Insulation

Garage Door Insulation

Whether you’re coming or going in your car or just working around the house, your garage door can see a lot of action. It’s also the largest entrance to your home and it can be a major for home heating and cooling. In the winter, a home can lose heat through the garage door and in summer, the garage can swelter adding to you cooling bill. As a result, many homeowners consider garage door insulation to minimize heat loss and lower energy bills. In addition, insulated garage doors result in quieter operation while providing more strength and durability. Let’s take a closer look at options available for insulated garage doors.

Why Insulate Garage Doors?

Reduce Heat Loss

The biggest benefit of insulated garage doors is the reduction of heat transfer through the door. An insulated door tends to keep the inside temperature at a more comfortable level. In the winter, it keeps the cold air out and warm air in so you don’t spend as much on heating costs. In the summer, the insulated door resists heat transfer from the hot air outside so your garage area stays cooler.

Many homeowners use their garage space for more than parking cars. For example, many homes have laundry facilities in the garage. In addition, you may have a workshop, exercise equipment or even additional living space. So keeping the garage space at a comfortable temperature is huge benefit.

A garage door with no insulation will typically see a 20 degree difference between inside and outside air temperature. On the other hand, an insulated garage door can provide a difference of up to 40 or 50 degrees. So when it is baking outside (100F), you may find yourself at a very comfortable 65 or 70 degrees!

Quieter Operation

Data has shown that an insulated door can be 15 decibels quieter than a door with no insulation. As a result, the operation will be nearly 3 times quieter than a door with no insulation. The insulation itself acts as a noise damper but also reduces the metal vibration as the door operates. In short, you can expect a dramatic reduction in noise from your door.

Added Durability

Insulated garage doors with foam in the core between metal layers can be stronger and more durable. However, aftermarket insulation kits that have insulation foam sheets applied to a traditional metal door will not get the same benefit. That’s because a garage door panel with an insulated foam core provides some shock absorption and rigidity adding to the panel strength.

Comparing Insulated Garage Doors

Insulation is rated using an “R-Value” to indicate its ability to resist the transmission of heat. The higher the R-Value, the slower the heat transfer through the insulating material. So in winter, this keeps the warm air in the garage and in summer keeps the heat out.

R-Value chartR-Values for garage doors range from R-0 (no insulation) to R-20 or so. Homeowners should be aware that the R-Values are not linear. In other words, an R-16 door does not have twice the insulating capability as an R-8 door. Take a look at this chart to see the difference. Notice that an R-16 door provides a 5% improvement in insulation and R-20 only a 6% improvement. So no need to pay a crazy amount of money to get only a slight improvement in insulation.

Aftermarket insulation kits can be found offering R-Values between R-2 and R-8 where garage doors with insulation in the core range from R-6 to R-20.

Insulation Materials

Most garage doors use either polystyrene or polyurethane as the insulating material. Let’s look into the differences between these.

Polystyrene Insulation

Polystyrene comes in the form of rigid panels with a vinyl backing. The panels are inserted between metal layers of the garage door to form the garage door panels. In addition, most aftermarket insulation kits use these types of panels. You will typically get an R-8 insulation factor, depending on how well they are fitted. Any areas not covered by the panel will allow more heat transfer or heat loss.

Polyurethane Insulation

Polyurethane is available as a spray foam and is injected between the metal layers of the door panels. The advantage of foam is that it can fill in all the gaps between the door layers providing a tighter seal and a higher R-Value. Additionally, the foam sticks to the door frame providing added strength and durability.

Polyurethane is the superior choice for door insulation but is more expensive. However, if you are in an area that gets very cold and you want to keep the garage space more comfortable, this may be a good investment.

Garage Door Insulation Choices

Insulating a garage door is a trade-off between cost and comfort. If you live in hot areas like Lake County or the Central Valley in California, an insulated door can have a dramatic impact on cooling costs. If an insulated garage door is right for you, the choice is how to insulate. You can use an aftermarket kit as an affordable option and get something in the R-8 range. On the other hand, if you need more insulation or are getting a new garage door installed, you’ll want to explore insulated garage door options from vendors to find the right door for you. Of course, we’re always here to help, just get in touch!

Helpful Tips When Hiring a Garage Door Contractor

Helpful Tips When Hiring a Garage Door Contractor

Hiring a garage door contractor is like hiring any service provider. For example, you probably know to get multiple bids, references and so on. However, in emergencies, you may find yourself short on time for a lengthy search process. Here are some tips in order of priority so you can adjust your checks to the amount of time you have.

1) Check Google Reviews

In an emergency, do a search on Google and look at the reviews for a number of companies. Look at how many stars each company has and avoid anything less than 4 stars. You need to take reviews with a grain of salt. For example, many companies may get the odd bad review. Things happen and some people are hard to please. However, a series of bad reviews may indicate a pattern of bad service. In addition, you should look at the number of reviews. For example, a company with one 5 star review may not be as reliable as a one with a 4 star rating from 100 reviews. Read some 5 star reviews and read the bad reviews to get a sense of what’s going on.

2) Ask Friends And Neighbors

If time permits, ask friends and neighbors who they recommend or don’t. People you know will be honest so ask what services they had done and how it went. Just make sure friends or neighbors aren’t those same people that are hard to please!

3) Check Out The Company Online

Garage Door ContractorIn addition to asking friends and neighbors for reviews, do some online research when hiring a garage door contractor. Here are some things to check:

  • Website: A poorly designed site may not mean that the service is bad and a great site doesn’t mean they’re good. But a well designed website may indicate attention to detail. In addition, it may indicate they have money to invest in their marketing. A poorly designed site could indicate a struggling business or lack of concern for customer service. If there is no website, you should probably move on.
  • Address: Take a look at the contact info. If there is no address, that may be cause for concern. Many companies use fake addresses to show up locally on Google but may in fact be from out of the area. You can use Google Street View to see the physical location. Keep in mind that some companies run out of their home.

4) Get Multiple Bids

When time permits, we suggest getting at least three bids. This is true when hiring any service and it’s the same when hiring a garage door contractor. Look at the the price in addition to the details of the proposal. For example, does the proposal include standard or heavy duty parts?

5) Things to Avoid

There are some red flags that you should avoid at all costs. For instance:

  • No Physical Address: Any good garage door repair company will have a physical address, even if it’s a home office. However, if you can’t find an address for the business, it may be cause for concern.
  • No Written Proposal: A new garage door install or repair can be complex. There are many parts in any garage door system so a detailed written proposal is a must.
  • Evasive Answers: Use your instincts when discussing the project with the a contractor. Ask questions and if the answers seem fuzzy, there is room for concern. A garage door system is complex, but a good contractor should be comfortable answering any and all questions.
Why Your Garage Door Springs Break

Why Your Garage Door Springs Break

Garage door springs are probably the most important component of a garage door system. For example, the springs provide extra force to help open and close the heavy garage doors. In addition, they reduce the amount of energy your garage door opener needs to lift and lower the door. As a result, it’s not surprising that springs are the most common component to break. Here are the top 3 reasons garage door springs break:

1) Old Age

Garage Door SpringStandard torsion springs last for around 10000 cycles with a cycle being one open and close of the door. For instance, when you open and close the door to get your car out, that’s one cycle. Likewise, if you open the door to get your lawnmower out, that’s another cycle. One car going in an out of the garage daily adds up to 730 cycle per year so cycles can add up fast. In short, with average usage, homeowners can expect around 7 years of service from their garage door springs.

How Garage Door Springs Work

Standard garage door springs are made of heavy gauge steel wire coiled up as a spring. When the spring is installed, your garage door pro manually winds the spring so there is some stored force in the spring when the door is closed. In other words, the garage door spring wants to unwind by lifting the door. As a result, the weight of the door and the force in the spring counter each other. This is how you are able to lift a door that weight over 100 pounds without too much effort – the spring is providing extra muscle. As you lift the door, the spring unwinds reducing the amount of force applied which is alright since the weight of the door is being transferred to the horizontal tracks. Check out this video for a good explanation.

The key here is that the spring spends its life winding and unwinding. If you’ve ever twisted a wire coat hanger, you know that eventually the metal wire breaks. That’s because the metal gets fatigued and loses strength over time so it’s natural for the springs to wear out and break.

Garage door springs are classified by cycle ratings and reflect the construction of the spring. Heavy duty springs are made of stronger materials so they last longer. No matter what type of spring you install, eventually, garage door springs break.

2) Rust and Corrosion

Garage door springs are prone to rust like with most metals and this can impact the life of the spring. Rust or corrosion cause additional friction when the spring winds and unwinds. As a result, the spring metal will fatigue sooner. In addition, rust reduces the integrity of the metal causing premature wear. The impact of rust will vary depending on your location. For instance, areas that enjoy a winter with salted roads can expect more rust because of the salt in the air. You can reduce the impact of rust by spraying your springs with lithium grease or silicone spray 2 or 3 times a year.

3) Lack of Maintenance

You should make it a habit to lubricate your spring as described above. In addition to lubrication, garage doors should be checked for balance on a regular basis. We mentioned that the garage door spring acts as a counterbalance above. If your door is not balanced, it could be a sign of pending failure and may be time to call for service. We routinely check garage door balance as part of any maintenance call.

To check your garage door balance, simply pull the release cord to put the door in manual mode. Then, lift the door about halfway and let go. The doors should remain at that level however, if it falls down or sags, then your springs may be failing. We would advise calling for service so you can get it replaced at a convenient time.

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