Do You Really Need An Insulated Garage Door?

Do You Really Need An Insulated Garage Door

Installing an insulated garage door can be a wise investment. The benefits of having one are functional for environmental protection and personal privacy. Allow me to show you what having an insulated garage door can do for you.

Garage door insulation will impact your garage door in 3 ways:

  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Increased durability, strength, and protection
  • Reduction of external noise

The type of insulation that you choose is the major determinant of functionality. There are several types to choose from, and can range in prices depending on the materials used. We’ll provide you with the answers that you seek, so you can be ready for your new garage door!

The Benefits Of An Insulated Garage Door

A great way to start is by giving you all of the reasons as to how insulating your garage door can be in your best interest. From warmth to protection, insulating your garage door can only help you. Let’s take a more in-depth look into the benefits of an insulated garage door!

  • Keeps Your Garage Warm And Toasty: An insulated garage door is packed with material that will keep the cold area out of your garage. This dense material acts as a blanket for the inside of your garage, which keeps the warm air in.

Not only that, but at some point in time, you may want to commence a Do-It-Yourself project. Most DIY projects are completed in a garage; so the extra warmth will become convenient. This is a great reason for installation if you live in a winter wonderland location where it snows abundantly.

  • Saves Energy: Having your garage door insulated saves massive amounts of energy due to less mechanical labor from your home. You could save between 60% and 70% of your indoor heat! This in turn will allow you to use less of your home’s heat, thus, significantly reducing your heating and cooling bill.
  • Durability And Strength: Insulated garage doors are built differently from single-layer garage doors, which is what makes them so much stronger! The strength comes from the garage being built with steel of aluminum frames. When used together, they are less likely to bend or dent.

Polyurethane-steel is the specific material that fills the frames, and creates insulation, compared to non-insulated garage doors. This is what makes them feel solid and durable. The durability of the steel will also increase the lifespan of your garage door.

  • Personal Item Protection: Your tools, your children’s bicycles, vintage momentos, and most importantly, your car are all hosted in your garage! But don’t worry! Remember the polyurethane steel? That’s what is going to protect you.

Some of your tools, and your car has water and other liquids in it! An insulated garage door will protect those personal items by keeping the air warm, and allowing the warm air to circulate throughout your garage, car, and personal tools.

  • Reduces Volume Of Noise: How does insulation reduce noise? Well, it slows down and softens the vibration of sound. Plainly speaking, once the sound hits your garage, it will stagger and weaken before passing completely through. This means that you will receive little-to-no sound while hanging out in your garage.

What Is The Difference Between An Insulated And Uninsulated Garage Door?

The major difference between insulated and uninsulated garage doors comes down to the material. Different materials create a different effect on the garage door. More specifically, the building material, and the amount of the building material is the difference.

Insulated Garage Door

When your garage door is insulated, the biggest difference you’ll experience is temperature. Insulated garage doors are built with two layers of steel, with the insulation material tightly packed in between them. This creates a balance between cold and warm air, with favor to the warm. overall, it stabilizes the temperature on the inside of the garage.

Also, because of the packed materials between the steel layers, insulated garage doors are stronger than uninsulated. This strength has the ability to withstand icy winds and temperatures, as well as loose debris being thrown around outside by people, or nature itself.

Another difference between insulated and uninsulated is the price. Because there are more materials used for insulated, it tends to be a bit more expensive; about double the price of an uninsulated.

Uninsulated Garage Door

Considering the materials, uninsulated garage doors are made with only one layer of steel. There is no insulation used with this type of garage door. Because of the one-layer, this type of garage tends to be noisier, and less effective against nature’s elements.

Speaking of nature’s elements, uni-layered garage doors tend to be weaker against cold air. Because there is no insulation, cold air can penetrate the garage door, causing frigid temperatures inside. This attribute makes uninsulated garage doors best for warmer climates.

Uninsulated garage doors are also not as strong as insulated, not as attractive, and are not as energy efficient. But there is good news! They tend to be less expensive than insulated, but that’s only because it uses less materials.

How Much Is An Insulated Garage?

For the typical 9-feet by 7-feet garage door, the cost of an insulated garage door ranges from an average of $821 on the low end, and $1,331 on the high end. Prices can increase based on other factors such as the type of materials used, labor cost, as well as the finish that you choose for the door itself.

Any bigger, like a 10-feet by 8-feet garage door, will have an average starting cost of about $1,575. If you are installing insulation on your own, you’ll save money on labor costs, and the extra money will go towards materials and supplies, adding about $120 to $130 to your total bill.

Labor costs are approximately $40 an hour, and takes about three and a half hours to finish the job. So if you are allowing a contractor to handle the dirty work, be ready to add another $140 to the bill.

So, if you are looking to replace your garage door, it will priced between $700 and 1,400 dollars. This price includes materials and labor cost. Good news is that it can be completed within a day. More good news is that if you decide to sell your house, you can recoup about 75% of garage door investment!

Types Of Insulation

The insulation itself is what keeps the garage door circulating and repelling air. There are several types of insulation, but only four that are of professional quality: injection foams like polyurethane and polystyrene, and other fillings such as cellulose, and fiberglass.

Polyurethane

Polyurethane is a foam that expands as its packed in between the cracks and nooks of your garage door. As the foam continues to expand, it will connect with the frames of the doors. This connection is what makes the door more durable, and less prone to bending or denting.

This is the best choice for most homeowners. It does an excellent job with isolating sound, creating a balanced internal garage temperature, saving energy, and providing protection.

Polystyrene

Polystyrene is the most industrialized form of insulation. It tends to be a bit cheaper than polyurethane, and are sold in several types of home kits. The fixed polystyrene panels are installed between the steel layers, giving it strength and protection.

It holds up well against the elements of nature, is energy efficient and quieter than other insulation materials; although not as good as polyurethane.

Cellulose

The classic filling of them all, cellulose has some versatility. It’s applied via being blown-in as a loose filling, densely packed into holes and spaces, or sprayed directly into the garage door itself.

Generally, it can service you with heat retention, and low-levels of noise. Packed cellulose insulation is a prime choice if you are going with this brand. It can provide some sound proofing, as well as an almost adequate amount of thermal insulation.

Fiberglass

Plastic reinforced by fibers of glass, or fiberglass, is the most common insulation in most old a new homes. It can come in a few styles such as loose-fill, ducts, rigid boards, and blankets of batts and rolls. It works by trapping air into its own pockets, and slowly dispersing it throughout the garage door. This is how it insulates the room to keep it as toasty as it possibly can.

Although common, fiberglass has its ups and downs. On the downside, it traps moisture and allergens, which can lead to mold build up, and it also still allows for air flow, which doesn’t reduce your energy bill. On a positive note, it’s considered inexpensive, and easy to complete as a Do-It-Yourself project.

How Thick Is An Insulated Garage Door?

The thickness of an insulated garage door is based on the material used, the amount of that material used, and the insulation itself. An insulated garage door’s thickness is approximately one to two inches. Garage doors can be one, two, or three layered, which is what creates the thickness.

Precision Door provides us with a functional and concise diagram describing the details of the three basic types of garage door construction:

  • The 1-layer door will have no insulation and is just a single layer of steel.
  • The 2-layer door will have a layer of steel with insulation behind it backed by a layer of vinyl to keep the insulation in place.
  • The 3 layer door will have 2 layers of steel with insulation sealed in between in a sandwich type of construction. This is the highest quality and will typically cost more money.

As you can see, 2-layered and 3-layered construction plans provide insulation, and have a tendency to be thicker than the 1-layer door. The thickness of an insulated garage door is as follows:

  • The doors with Styrofoam insulation come in thicknesses of 1⅜”, 1¾” or 2” (35 to 51 mm).
  • The doors with polyurethane insulation have a thickness between 1⅜” and 2” (35 and 51 mm). The vast majority of these doors are 1⅝” or 1¾” (41 or 45 mm) thick.

Are Wood Garage Doors Insulated?

With today’s industrial methods, yes, wood garage doors can be insulated. Quality Overhead Door says that “…at a molecular level, since wood is an organic material made up of a good amount of hollow space and air pockets, it serves as a natural form of insulation by itself.”

Wood garage doors are also known to be fairly durable. The thickness of the wood is it’s primary form of insulation, followed by insulating material. These layers provide internal growth to the wood garage door, making it not only insulated, but strong as well.

Fun fact! If you want the aesthetics of a wood garage door, but not the mess of it, consider an insulated faux wood garage door!

It’s made from composite and steel cores for inner strength, and faux wood on the outside for a natural finish. It’s the best of both worlds: the natural look of wood without the risk of cold air seeping through.

Are Glass Garage Doors Insulated?

Glass garage doors are typically singly-layered, and mixed with metals such as aluminum. But because of modern manufacturing, glass garage door can be insulated. It’s able to keep the inside of the garage warm because the door is constructed with insulated glass.

A glass garage door has a sleek and contemporary look. You have many choices for different opacities, which allows for natural light to shine through at your will.

But looking past the aesthetics, it tends to have strength and insulation, but not much of it. Although insulated, the glass will still take on some characteristics of the temperature outside. Because of this reason, the glass door will allow heat to sneak out, and cool air to come in.

What Temperature Should I Keep My Garage In The Winter?

When deciding on the temperature of your garage during the winter, it’s best to take into consideration your tools, car, and the liquids within them. If there isn’t enough heat, some of these liquids could freeze, causing significant damage to your apparatuses, and an inconvenience for you.

With that being said, the best temperature for a garage in the winter is approximately 80 degrees fahrenheit, or about 27 degrees celsius. During the winter, this temperature will act as your garage’s blanket, regulating the temperature so that it protects you and your personal items.

Humidity is also an important factor when discussing temperature. Excess humidity can damage boxes and other soft materials, leading to mold and mildew; while high moisture rates can ruin the finish of your garage door. If you want to keep your garage cool and comfortable, be sure to keep it around 80 degrees fahrenheit, and choose a climate-regulating insulator as a reinforcer.

How Can I Make My Garage Warmer In The Winter?

By insulating it, of course! In addition to insulating the garage door, there are many other devices and techniques that will keep your garage nice and toasty during the winter. Let’s check out the different ways to keep your garage warm.

Replace The Weather Stripping

Because it can be cracked over time, it’s a smart idea to start simple and check your weather stripping. Its purpose is to seal up small cracks and holes that are within walls and windows. However, their adhesive will dwindle in the long run, which lets in cool air.

Note: always measure your weather strip accurately so that you can get to tightly fit on your garage door. In order to be successful, close the garage door first; then apply the strip with the rubber flap is pressed smoothly across the door.

Insulate The Garage Door (And Walls)

Not much of a surprise, but insulating your garage door and walls is one of the best ways to keep your garage warm! The insulation provides a protective barrier that will surround the entire garage.

This can be a Do-It-Yourself project; there are many kits that you can buy which include options such as foam boards, fibreglass, and reflective barriers; or you may call your local contractor to hook it up for you.

In-Floor Heating System

In-floor heat is a technique that is used to keep the floor of your garage warm. The warmth is capable of passing through the floor, and rising within the room.

The shortcoming of this is that it creates an imbalance of heat between the bottom and top of your garage. Also, too much heat has the potential to disturb the integrity of your car tires, so take serious caution with this system.

Install A Unit Heater

Such a simple solution to a big problem. A unit heater will only keep the inside of the garage warm, and that’s what we want. There are 3 main types of unit heaters: gas, electric, and mini-split heat pump.

A gas heater gets the job done by providing warmth; the problem is that is usually only heats one area of the room, which is the direction that it’s pointing in. There’s also the electric option, which is a little more expensive, but will do a better job at keeping the entire garage equally warm.

If you want the best bang for your buck, purchase a mini-split heat pump! The “split” comes from it having an inside and outside unit attached to it. It will transform the cool air from one area into warm air for your garage.

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Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare

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