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