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

Insulated Slab – Entrance and Edge Details

David Colin | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I am working on my first Insulated and heated slab for a garage addition. We are focused on getting the details right. To start we are in Northern NJ (Climate zone 5/4 Marine) We installed 2″ XPS down the inside of the stem walls to the footer. Under the slab we have 2″ XPS sitting under the Vapor Barrier and wire mesh and above the crushed stone capillary break. We are running into an quandary with the edge details:

The mason is insisting that we need to

1. Stop the under-slab and edge insulation at the block at the front and back entrances so there can be a solid connection at this key stress point.
2. On the edge of the 5″ slab he is insisting the foam be only 3″ high and the final 2″ be a black expansion joint material.

I see these as 2 KEY spots for heat loss that could cause long term issues with the system. My concern is that we are, in effect, connecting the heated slab to the unheated stem walls (and outdoors) at the openings which will be a major cause of conductive heat loss. I am looking for a solution to maintain a thermal break for energy efficiency but also maintain durability.

I think it would be better to run insulation the full 5″ and simple bevel the top and eliminate the expansion joint completely. I also think we should do the same across the entrance on the inside of the block essentially creating a thermal break and separation between the outside 8″ that sits on the stem wall and the inside slab.

Please share your thoughts and advice because I need to make decisions ASAP.

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.


  1. Brad VanVickle | | #1

    Take a look at this link.

    I used this (or something like it) below the garage doors in my workshop. I too wanted to have a thermal break between my (heated) garage floor and the parking pad outside. My old shop did not have this and the snow was melted out about 6 inches all winter.

    They shipped them freight and when they got here they were somewhat warped, but my concrete mason braced them when he poured and they seem to be working well. Don't know about longevity because I'm just getting done with the build, but I think they will be fine.

    Good Luck!

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    A GBA reader named John Klingel spent a lot of time thinking about insulation details at his garage door threshold. You might want to read two Q&A threads that he started:

    Slab at garage door. How to insulate?

    Retaining heat at a garage door; part 2

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |