An Often Overlooked Thing: Garage Door Insulation
In the summer, you use sunscreen. In the winter, you wear a coat. Going without either leaves you vulnerable and uncomfortable. Garage door insulation works exactly the same way, giving your home the added protection from the elements you need for safety and comfort.
You wouldn’t have an uninsulated wall in your home, so why would you want an uninsulated door the size of a wall? Without insulation, you have two choices in cold weather: either raise your heating bill, or let your garage get cold. A cold garage is bad for your car and anything else you might have stored in there, and makes the space less pleasant to use as a workout room or a recreation room.
If you have airflow between your house and your garage (as is the case with most attached garages), you could be losing heat from your whole house through an uninsulated garage door. Higher heating bills and a larger carbon footprint result from the lack of garage door insulation.
(If you do have airflow between your house and your garage, make sure to never run your car’s engine inside, even for a minute or two, and even if the door is open—deadly carbon monoxide could enter your house from the garage!)
Good Weather or Bad Weather, Insulation Helps
Of course, here in the Charlotte area, we seldom have to deal with much freezing weather, but we do get the occasional cold snap. Perhaps more importantly, insulation is just as good at keeping heat out as keeping it in. Garage door insulation will keep your air conditioning bill lower, just as it will control your heating bill.
Insulation isn’t an all or nothing thing. Any door will provide some protection, but doors sold as insulated provide more. The feature to pay attention to is the R-value, a number that tells you how good a given thickness of a given material is at preventing heat flow. An inch of wood has an R-value of one. A three-inch-thick wooden board has an R-value of three. Specialized insulation materials can have per-inch R-values three to six times that of wood, so you get better insulation without a lot of extra thickness. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation. And because heat flows faster when there is a bigger temperature difference (just like water flows faster when there is a steeper slope), the bigger the temperature difference you want between the inside of your garage and the outside, the higher R-value you need your door to have.
You don’t have to maximize R-value, though; you don’t need a garage door that is stuffed with six feet of fiberglass batting, not unless you plan to build your garage somewhere near the South Pole. If you have any questions, you can talk to our expert professionals about how much insulation your garage door really needs, given your budget, your interests, and how you make use of your garage.