Perhaps the hardest component to insulate of any garage is its door. Garage doors are always large, usually wall-sized and made from thin metal, wood, or polymers and housed on hinges or tracks that are not insulated in any way.
Garage doors are the coldest or hottest part of any garage.
You can insulate a garage door in many ways, and each way takes into consideration the materials and the structure of the door. In some cases, it is cheaper and easier to replace the door with one that is easy to insulate, than to start insulating complex electronic roll-up models.
The most comfortable doors to insulate are standard slab doors. These are plates of material that open through hinged or rail movement, and in many cases, an overhead pulley movement. A roll-up door has too many slats that insulating correctly and with good integrity is problematic.
Garage Door Insulation
There are only three viable materials for insulating garage doors, these are:
Foam board is a polystyrene based material that is both lightweight and easy to install and requires little or no experience in insulation. What you need is to take an accurate measurement of the door, buy enough foam board, a box cutter and some kind of adhesive.
You then cut away the shapes of the foam to match the door, and adhere it to the door. This is the most popular insulation material and works great on the door panel itself.
Batt insulation is a heavy and dense fiberglass roll mat that is mainly used in roof and wall insulation; it is also best when sealed between to walls, such as an outer wall or roof, and an inner drywall. However, open Batt insulation can be glued to the door, and used as a protectant in its open form, or covered after with a plastic cover, providing a soft inner door, but well insulated.
This is a messier product to work with than foam, but provides much better insulation for both hot and cold environments since it seals thermally and is usually flame retardant.
Insulating Foam Sealant
Foam seals are usually used for sealing specific locations but are also used as perfect wall insulation when poured (not sprayed) between an outer wall and an inner wall. As such, the smaller spray on applications will stick to a garage door, but over time might flake and break away.
This is best sprayed on and then covered by an outer shell.
Foam spray is also great for sealing along connecting sections such as hinges and frames but needs to be secured with a waterproof cloth to cover the foam after it solidifies.
This is not an insulator, it is a sealant and is used to seal cracks, and between materials. Consider that openings along connecting points, such as a trail fixed to a wall allow air to pass between the wall and the rail. Sure, it might only be half a millimeter wide, but in cold weather, that’s enough to reduce your insulations viability by 10%. As such, seal all connecting points between the indoors and the outdoors using silicone sealant, it’s a perfect barrier and is also waterproof, and acts as an insulator with this type of application.
Garage Door Insulation Kits
The inherent and your local hardware store provides you with a plethora of materials but also has pre-set garage door insulation kits.
Since garage doors are usually sold in standard sizes, a whole line of garage insulation kits designed for each and every format is available online. These kits are not expensive but do require that you fully comprehend the dimensions of your garage door, and are prepared to DIY without a bespoke fitment. Consider that a pre-made kit is made to fit a standard size, always check your garage door and check to see that the kit you buy fits it perfectly.
Ken from Mechanic Guides recommends always look at the costs of different insulation materials and tools, before you buy a kit, and check the value of the kit against performance and longevity.
After measuring every component, make a list of the materials you will use for each one. This material list will look something like this:
- Drill and bits
- Hammer and Nails
- Screwdriver and screws
- Box Cutter
- Adhesive or Duct Tape
- Wide waterproof fabric
- Paint and Brushes.
- Sealant (silicone)
Ceiling and walls require screwing in the cover plates over the insulation for double wall insulation, and this requires a drill with the various components for attaching the drywall over the insulation. To see some options for a small drill, read more here.
The garage door insulation kit usually comprises of a box cutter, insulation material, and adhesives to attach it. The box cutter is used to cut the insulation, as well as any drywall to account for power outlets and light fitments as well as windows.
You can apply a silicone sealant is used to close any gaps in some garage walls and door fitments, where the wall and the fitment are connected, but not sealed or not covered with foam insulation.
Insulating a garage door is not complicated, but it does require some hard work and proper planning. Make sure you leave the garage door to last and start with the roof, walls, and floor. Unless you only intend to insulate the door.
Take into account that DIY kits are designed for specific applications, there are universal kits designed for varying sized doors, but always check your door and its characteristics before plunging into a DIY prepared kit.
A final word on materials. Make sure all the materials you use are flame retardant, do not buy cheap unbranded materials since these can be extremely volatile.