Most of us obsess over insulating our homes in order to make them more energy efficient, and it’s a noble and practical pursuit, but neglecting an attached garage leaves a significant chink in our property’s energy armor.This is why some modern garage doors come pre-insulated up to R-18, capable of boosting internal temperature by 12 degrees in winter, and reducing it by roughly 25 degrees in summer.
Since one of these doors will set you back something to the tune of $1.5K, it won’t pay for itself via energy savings for a long, long time.But you don’t need to fork out for the latest and greatest in garage door technology to save some money on your energy bill, as you can insulate your current door yourself for under $200 and between 1 and 4 hours of your time.
Here’s how it’s done!
Insulating Your Garage Door: A Step-By-Step Guide
Step 1 — Choosing Your Insulation Kit
The easiest way to get most of the job done is to purchase a garage door insulation kit.For a quick installation (roughly an hour), I’d recommend picking up the infamous Matador SGDIK001 insulation kit, but if you want impeccable value for money, I’d go for something along the lines of this US Energy Nasa Tech kit.Select the appropriate size before purchase, and you’ll be sent enough insulation to cover your whole garage door.
You can also contact the companies directly to order a custom kit that will fit larger than average garage doors.You should also consider the R-value of any prospective insulation, as this is a measure of how effectively it blocks heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation is.
Step 2 — Installing Your Insulation
Installing The Matador SGDIK001 Insulation Kit
The Matador kit arrives with sheets of solid board.
All you have to do is measure the panels of your garage door with a tape measure, trim the boards down to size, then wedge them in place.
Installing The US Energy Nasa Tech Kit
The Nasa Tech kit arrives in 3-ply roles comprising foil, foam, and white vinyl.
First up, you’ll need to clean the inside of your garage door, then allow time for it to air dry completely.
Next, measure out your garage door panels, trim the insulation down to size, treat your panels with plenty of double-sided sticky tape, then leave it to cure for 24 hours.Once 24 hours have passed, get to work securing the foam on the panels of your garage door, white vinyl side facing out.
It can be quite tedious, but the included squeegee helps to speed things up and keep the installation nice and neat.This kit arrives with a knife for all the trimming, but it dulls pretty quickly, so I’d recommend using a quality utility knife from the get-go.
Installing Insulation Kit With Retainer Pins
Other popular insulation kits may arrive with multiple retainer pins instead of double-sided sticky tape.
To install this type of insulation, mark out the direct center of a garage panel, peel away the film on the adhesive back of a retainer pin, then stick it on the marked center of the panel.Measure your panels and cut the insulation down to size.
Once complete, press some insulation into one of your garage door panels, feel for the pin beneath, then cut a very small hole to let the pin pass through.Next up, secure the panel in place by pushing a second pin into the other until you hear the click of the internal mating mechanism locking into place. Repeat this process for all your panels.
Step 3 — Weatherstripping The Exterior
To really stabilize the internal temperature and isolate the noise in your garage, you should consider weatherstripping the exterior too.
To do so, you’ll need…
- A tape measure
- Ideally, a circular saw, but a utility knife will do in a pinch
- A garage door threshold seal
- Vinyl weatherstrip for garage doors
- A hammer
- Some glue, nails, screws, or staples (my guide is for nail installation)
Step 1 — Removing Old Weatherstrips
First up, you need to remove any of the old weatherstripping.
If it’s glued in place and you plan to secure your new strips with glue as well, you’ll need to remove all the residual adhesive.
To make your life easier, I’d recommend using something like this 3M solvent.If you’re having trouble removing the old strips, use the back of your hammer to try and gain some leverage, then pop them out.
You could use your hammer in conjunction with a chisel for some extra removal power.
Step 2 — Cleaning
Dirt and debris will inhibit the seal of your new weatherstrip, so be sure to give the area a good cleaning with warm soapy water.
Step 3 — Cutting The Top Weatherstrip
Measure your garage door frame to frame, then use either a circular saw or utility knife to trim a strip down to size.
Step 4 — Placing Nails (If Using Them)
Starting at least 2” in from the end of the trimmed strip, position 1 ½” box nails at 16” intervals. Hammer just enough that the nails hold their place.
Step 5 — Positioning Top Strip
Hold the top strip in place against the top of your garage door so the vinyl section flexes at roughly a 45-degree angle then tap the nails enough that the strip stays in place.
Step 6 — Rinse & Repeat
Repeat the process for the two side pieces.
Step 7 — Push Test
Press firmly against your garage door to simulate a gale force wind and check for any gaps between the vinyl and the metal.
If there are any, reposition the strip until the gaps are no more.
Step 8 — Drive The Nails Home
Now that you’re sure the weatherstrips are in the correct position, you can hammer those nails home.
Step 9 — Fit The Threshold Seal
Measure your threshold, trim your threshold seal down to size, secure it in place with some industrial strength adhesive, then crack yourself a celebratory cold one — Job done!
With this guide, you can have your garage door properly insulated in a matter of hours, all for a reasonable cost.
Not only will your energy bills go down, your garage will be far more livable during extreme weather, and the sound of your power tools will be isolated, so no matter the circumstances, you can continue your projects with confidence!