GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

Do I need insulated garage doors?

Hammer 🔨 | Posted in General Questions on

So working on insulating a 2 car detached garage.  I have 2 old single garage doors that need to be replaced.  Insulated garage doors are more expensive obviously, but is it worth the extra cost?  Guy selling doors told me you are better off spending your money insulating else where because doors insulated or not are large opening and will loose heat anyway.  Any truth to this?  I also see that garage insulations kits are about $50 a door which would be cheaper than buying door already insulated but do they work well or are they worth it?  

Thanks for any help,
Joe

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.

Replies

  1. Roger Berry | | #1

    Joe,

    Depends heavily on what climate zone you are in. Mine is CZ 6 which for my version ranges from 95 in the summer to -15 in the winter. The doors I chose happen to be Clopay Intellicore of roughly R12 injected foam. The two skins of each panel are locked together. I find them to be very quiet in the wind, well sealed against rain. The doors have full southern exposure so the insulation makes the garage cooler in the summer and noticeably warmer in the winter.

    I don't work in the garage, so mostly the advantage is not freezing my behind when I get in the car on a January morning. I generally hold about 40-45 much of the winter. It will freeze if the temps go below -10 for a few days which is very rare now. I do have insulated walls and roof.

    The fit between panels is nice and tight, with little dripping from trapped water when raised. The edge pattern is a kind of z which drains much better than the flatter edge profiles. The finish is holding up to the intense sun we have at altitude, though one of the plastic window trims has deformed from the sun load.

    I have had the eps foam insert type in my past, which are largely useless. The kits for "insulating" doors leave much of the door panel un-insulated, so much like stud losses, those parts overwhelm any value the foam inserts might have. The foam is also exposed and subject to dings and tears over time from kids and dogs. I would not recommend the kits.

    Fitting any new doors to the openings with good seal strips will go a long way to improve how cold the garage will feel. Not having wind blowing in helps a lot. Plan on checking the opening for existing rot while you make sure it is square and the surrounding framing is solid for the track lags. If the concrete is sagging, it could be worth the time to patch it true and level with the vinyl cement products that can be put on thinly. A big tube shaped bottom door seal can make up for a certain amount of sag, the double lipped variety much less so. Check what options there are for the bottom seals.

    Last thing, if you do have a shop corner in the garage, I think you will find well sealed doors make it easier for a small electric heater to keep things tolerable. If you have absolutely no insulation, then getting a top quality un-insulated door might be a good choice. Good air sealing is the key, insulation is extra gravy.

  2. LearnNaturalBuilding | | #2

    If you are going to heat the garage you definitely want the doors insulated AND elsewhere insulated. The sales guy is right about the door being big, but that's more reason to insulate it, not a reason not to. As to whether the insulation kits are as good as doors that come insulated I'm not sure.

  3. CarsonB | | #3

    I have the same questions. Because I am storing finishing supplies and other stuff in the garage, I will be adding ventilation for the garage anyway. Because of this, and only needing to keep the garage from freezing, this is likely the least effective use of insulation and air sealing efforts in the house. I have yet to read anything quantifying this however.

  4. Hammer 🔨 | | #4

    I’m thinking I will spend extra on insulated garage doors. I’m using the garage only for a gym and occasional work in the winter. I live by nyc which is zone 5 I believe. I’m only going to heat it for short periods of time but might as well make it even slightly more comfortable

  5. Expert Member
    Akos | | #5

    Insulated garage doors generally come with better seals.

    This alone is worth the extra money.

    I'm in colder climate, it is next to impossible to keep a workshop with standard un-insulated garage doors heated as the wind just blows through the place.

    Since you are working in there, the extra money for better doors is definitely worth it.

    P.S. Make sure the installer adjust the door seals properly as well. You should not see daylight through any part of the garage door.

  6. CRC1 | | #6

    "Depends heavily on what climate zone you are in. Mine is CZ 6 which for my version ranges from 95 in the summer to -15 in the winter. The doors I chose happen to be Clopay Intellicore of roughly R12 injected foam. The two skins of each panel are locked together. I find them to be very quiet in the wind, well sealed against rain. The doors have full southern exposure so the insulation makes the garage cooler in the summer and noticeably warmer in the winter.
    The fit between panels is nice and tight, with little dripping from trapped water when raised. The edge pattern is a kind of z which drains much better than the flatter edge profiles. The finish is holding up to the intense sun we have at altitude, though one of the plastic window trims has deformed from the sun load."

    This is a helpful post. Who else has experience with air and weather sealed garage doors? It appears that insulating garage doors is secondary to air sealing so this is the direction I am interested in going.

  7. Hammer 🔨 | | #7

    Thanks for bringing this up. I have not replaced my old garage doors as of yet because I haven’t had time to insulate everything else in there. Most of the answers I got from other experts on the forum was to get insulated doors which to me makes sense but this article confused me https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/article/should-i-insulate-my-garage-door

    This advises insulating your garage doors is basically pointless compared to taking care of walls and ceiling. Yes garage doors would be secondary but how important is it? I also read another article by Martin about how posted r values of insulated garage doors are often wrong. I also hear it depends on climate zone. So how far north would you start insulating your garage doors. NY goes from cold to humid summers so there are huge fluctuations.

    Another point which I have to do research on is how much of a jump in price is insulated compared to uninsulated garage doors. Basically is cost to benefit ratio best applied elsewhere. I’m sure garage doors are up in price these days

    1. Arnold K | | #8

      Hi Hammer,

      I just purchased two garage doors for my new built and I got the lowest R-value insulated door. The detached garage we are building will not be heated so insulated garage door was not a priority but what I found is you are limited in the garage door style for the uninsulated door. This is the reason why we ended up with an insulated door because of the style we wanted.

      Arnold

  8. Kyle Bentley | | #9

    If you're willing to cut and cobble for now, a standard garage door can be insulated on the cheap with 1-1.5" foil faced EPS, practically for free. Most standard garage doors can be done this way with 3-4 8' x 4' sheets. It wont stop the air leakage, or eliminate many of the thermal bridging, but for the money it's probably the largest gain you can have in terms of uninsulated to insulated area. Between that and ensuring a good air seal with the doors you have, it might buy you another season or two to gauge the performance.

    1. Charlie Sullivan | | #10

      The fire safety and code compliance of exposed EPS on the interior is, however, questionable. Thermax polyiso, that is intended to offer level of fire protection when left exposed, would be a good idea. Whether that meets code in any particular jurisidiction, I don't know. At some point it becomes worthwhile to buy a door that is pre-insulated.

Log in or create an account to post an answer.

Community

Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |