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What’s the word in Toolmonger land regarding the pros and cons of insulating garage doors? The picture above shows the beginning of an installation using a reflective foil kit, one of the apparently three main DIY approaches (the other two being foam panels and fiberglass rolls). Texas Garages is one site that discusses and compares the various approaches. Costs to do a single garage door range from $69 to $129.

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I tried white fiberglass rolls in the garage door of our previous house and they did seem to help, although it was quite subjective as I didn’t make any before-and-after temperature measurements. I suspect that it just generally felt better out there because the white rolls helped brighten up the dingy old dark door.

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What do you think? Have you done this? Would you do it? If the garage’s ceiling and walls are already insulated, doesn’t it make sense to insulate the door, too? Does it make more sense if you live in a cold climate than if you live in a warmer — or, like in central Texas, a damn hot at times — climate?

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Garage Door Insulation Kit Via Amazon [What’s This?]
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25 Responses to Hot Or Not: Garage Door Insulation

  1. ShopMonger says:

    Coming from California to NJ was huge in changing my opinion about these options. I would have never had an insulated garage. however now since it snows here and i need to work year round, these option are phenomenal. Now as for what is the best, my suggestion is of course buy one that is insulated. If that is not an option, i would get rigid foam board and cut my own so it will be as tight as possible. I would get the board with a vapor barrier layer already on it. and i would also make sure your weather stripping on your door is tight. If you need more sound proofing than that.. put a layer of Bichathane (ice and water shield) on the door first, this also works for keeping noise from going to the house, a layer before you wall board can do wonders.

    ShopMonger

  2. CarlB says:

    Our Garage Door would get the FL sun glaring on it all afternoon. As one can imagine it makes it pretty unbearable in there for anyone doing laundry. I bought a roll of the stuff that looks like bubble wrap with reflective mylar or whatever on both sides of it and glued it to the back of my door. Last summer it dropped the temp in there by a good 15degrees.

    This winter I took a roll of the same stuff and ran it along the rafters in the attic above the garage. Waiting to see what that does to the temps up there. Previously it was like any Attic in FL, a poor mans sauna….

    CarlB

    PS the roll was like $30 plus a $6 tub of vinyl flooring glue (had that laying around and used it after the 3m spray adhesive failed)

  3. Justin says:

    My doors and house are little more than a year old and don’t lend themselves to doing this upgrade very well. The supports have been increased substantially I suppose to increase the windload. There are more vertical and horizontal beams on the doors. I think the horizonal ones could be easily and safely removed to install the insulation. But the vertical ones are all glued on and would leave you cutting squares not much larger than 18″

  4. pencilneck says:

    Hot, I had old garage doors replaced years ago and sprung for the extra $$ to have insulated doors. The old doors had a good fit and were not drafty, but with the new doors I could tell a big difference, cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter.

    Styrofoam panels cut to size will work great.

  5. Pat says:

    Hot, or maybe that should be cool.

    I installed polystyrene sheets (about 1 inch thick with a plastic coating on one side) in our door. I am in Minnesota.

    Again, I didn’t take proper before & after temps, but there was a noticeable difference.
    In winter, where we were usually hanging right around freezing point, meaning the boogers would fall off the car & melt a little before refreezing, now they fall off & melt (then run to the door, where it freezes).
    In summer, where the garage would be noticeably hot because of the sun hitting the door, now not so much.

    I think the 2 packs of foam and a can of expanding foam spray were probably about $70. I am not sure if it had an impact on the heating cooling bill for the house (attached), but $70 to make the garage more comfortable is pretty cheap. And it was an easy couple of hour job.

    Pat

  6. SharkBreath says:

    Hot.

    I did this to my double garage door last summer. I also insulated the attic above the garage. The difference is amazing. My garage door faces west and in the hot Florida summers is was unbearable.

  7. ShopMonger says:

    Justin, i still think that you would benifit, just use some silicone to put them in and close the gaps.. it really is amazing the difference a hour or two of work can do for you…..

    ShopMonger

  8. Toolhearty says:

    Just out of curiousity, wouldn’t a building inspector have a problem with that foil clad bubble wrap? Pretty sure the bubble wrap is flammable.

    I still haven’t insulated the roof of my detached garage because I refuse to put drywall on the inside roof (for that cathedral ceiling effect) and I haven’t found any other fire resistant insulation or reasonable way to cover the flammable stuff.

  9. Lamar says:

    I insulated my Garage door in Ga because it gets afternoon sun and is right below the master bed room. It did make a difference. I didn’t use that stuff though. A local company http://gravesoverheaddoors.com/ and they have much nicer looking panels that you cut and they fit in with clips. The inside of the door looks much more finished with the white plastic laminate. I think the 16 ft door was $110 for the full kit.

  10. Shalin says:

    I like these kits, etc. in general, but it seems like you gotta keep the space air conditioned to deal with the humidity – insulation alone isn’t going to cut it. I was considering this but decided against it.

    Best,
    Shalin

  11. emis says:

    As others from New England have said… these are necessary in colder climates if you’re working in the garage and esp. if you’re heating it.

    I have a friend w/ a newly constructed home and over-sized 2-car under-house garage which is insulated & heated, and I like working at his place a hell of a lot more then my old unheated, uninsulated, under-house garage!

    My new house has only a tiny 12×20 one-car garage, it’s attached to the house but there is no access between the two, in fact, there’s only the garage door as access (no man door). As a result I don’t think I’d be willing to work in the garage w/ the big door closed… if something went wrong I’m not sure I’d be able to wedge my fat ass out the tiny window on the side wall! 🙂

  12. Dwainedibbly says:

    When we built our house I had the garage fully insulated & an insulated door installed. We’re in FL and the garage door faces west. This garage is MUCH cooler than the garage at our old house. How much of that is due to the door itself? Can’t say, but it wouldn’t make much sense to insulate the walls & ceiling and not do the door, too.

    Shalin: humidity? There’s no need for A/C. I have a small dehumidifier that I use in the garage to keep tools/project car/etc from rusting. No problem!

  13. Rick says:

    VERY HOT. I’m doing this to my garage this spring. I’m tired of freezing in the winter and sweating in the summer. I’m looking into installing a window AC too..

  14. Kurt says:

    Although I live in California, it is in the Sierra foothills were the temps range from the low 20’s in the Winter to well over 100 in the summer. The shop has two metal doors, one double and one single. I put foil faced rigid insulation in them – bought a couple of panels at the hardware store, along with some foil tape, and cut them to size on my table saw. Installation took a couple of evenings.

    I did have to have a garage door guy come out and re-tension the door, as added weight made the already heavy door hard to open. I didn’t know how to do this myself, and with that tension, didn’t want to learn the hard way, with my chin acting as a rudimentary ratcheting device.

    As far as the results, I don’t notice a lot in the summer, because I usually have the door cracked for a swamp cooler. It has made a dramatic difference in the winter, with my little kerosene heater warming the shop up to over 60 in about an hour, where before I was lucky to hit the low 50’s. Well worth the money and time.

    By the way, I learned the hard way to mount swamp coolers outside when the inlet valve got stuck open by a bit of debris. Luckily no major damage, but one of my summer projects last year was to put a pad outside the door for it.

  15. Rich says:

    My wife and I used insulated foil one 2 wooden garage doors last summer. It took about 2 days to install, but that was an easy process, just slow. We also applied mylar film to the window panels. In the summer, the garage was cooler and in the winter we had a 10-15 degree improvement. Well worth the effort.

  16. James Crum says:

    I insulated my garage door here in Southern California and it truly makes a difference.
    I used foam boards, cutting them just a hair too big. They fit nice and snug, and have not moved in 7 years.
    HUGE difference during the summer. The doors were like radiators pushing heat into the house via the garage. Now, not so much.

    A very worthy project.

  17. Aaron says:

    I live in Ohio and did my door with ceiling tiles. There was a sub divison going in behind our house, at the end of the build the construction company gutted the site trailer. I pulled all of the tile and stuck it in the door. I had to trim them a little but it was fast and easy and I did not have to use any thing to stick the tiles to the door.

  18. Shalin says:

    @Dwainedibbly – yeah, understood, that’d probably do the trick. I suppose I would do that…but after I get some cabinets and a workbench in there first 🙂

  19. Scott says:

    Hot for the idea, not as hot for the kits. If you want easy then the kit is a good idea. I went for better insulation on my double door and it took me about 60-90 minutes for what I did. I went to my blue box hardware store and bought 3 (i think) rolls of r-13 paper backed insulation.

    I measured and cut all the rolls and smashed them into the door panels then put in thin (1/4 in x 3 in) plywood pieces to hold the insulation in place. If anyone knows a better way to hold it in place I would love to hear it but it made a world of difference in my Garage over the winter and I think it only cost me $45 instead of 120 for the website solutions that have less r value.

  20. Mark Lewis says:

    As previously noted, ANY addition to the door will probably require adjusting the spring tension. My door is wood and probably weighs a bunch, but adding rigid insulation to it necessitated working on the springs, in my case replacing them with stronger ones, as they were 15 years old and I wasn’t comfortable retightening a spring that old (lest it go “snappa-boing” on me.) You might not think that a piece of insulted board that you can balance on one hand would effect the balance, but yep, it did.

  21. RocketSled says:

    Hot. I bought foil backed polystyrene at Home Despot and made my own. FWIW, a stack of 4×8 foil backed polystyrene approximates the theoretical description of a CAPACITOR.

    Which had me rolling the kart down the aisle going ZZZT- OW!…..ZZZT! OW! as it collected charge then discharged.

  22. Tony says:

    Stupid question…

    I have insulated my door to my garage. And after installing roof vents in the house I had a GENIUS (STOOPID) idea. I figured if I took the attic access door that was in the garage out, and also kept the garage door open about 4 inches at the bottom it would help the heat from the attic dissapate>?

    My theory was that the cold air coming in from the lowest point available would cause whatever air in the garage to rise up and help vent the attic faster? Its SOOOO damn hot down here in Fl, I’m looking to do anything that would help!

    ANY opinions would be appreciated!

  23. Chris says:

    I know this is an older thread, but I have a fairly simple question that I can’t seem to find an answer too. I bought some Insulfoam, 4′ x 8′ R-Tech 1.5″ Foil Lined panels for our garage door. I live in So Cal where the idea is to keep the heat OUT of the garage, the air from the AC spewing in from the kitchen door in. The question is, do I mount the foil towards the door, or towards the garage. Does it matter? Thanks all!

  24. Tony says:

    Chris,foil surfaces are to reflect radiant energy so the foil side would go toward the outside in a warm area like yours. The problem you may have is they require air space to work.If the foil is in contact with the door panel (not just the frame) it won’t reflect making it less effective. For the record people who live where the temps drop lower in the winter should not seal panels to tightly if they have any steel in them Condensation will rust them. And fiberglass doesn’t work when compressed.

  25. Dennis says:

    I have a question that I haven’t seen yet regarding this topic. I insulated my garage doors with the R-Tech Foam insulation that has the reflective barrier on one side and the plastic film on the other side. Since I live in California, I put the reflective barrier towards the door and the film on the inside. The plastic film has this ugly blue writing all over it. Can I paint over this plastic film to cover it or should I peel off the plastic coating? I think the plastic is important to keep on, since it creates some kind of moisture barrier. Thanks for any help with this.

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