Insulate a garage door to help maintain a warm zone and protect the contents of your garage. It could help to reduce heating bills, as well as buffer outside noise too.
Is insulating a garage door worth it? If your garage is attached to your property, then definitely. When it comes to keeping your house warm, a garage door could be causing draughts into living spaces. Not only will an uninsulated weak spot make your property feel colder (or hotter in the summer), but it will also allow precious heating to leak out. Something you want to avoid with energy costs increasing.
If you’re using the garage for storage or for hobbies, an uninsulated zone will be unpleasant to work in and might even allow damp to affect tools and materials. Is there a room above your garage? If so, that’s likely to get colder than the rest of the house if the space below it is constantly cold.
‘It is vital not to forget the garage,’ says David O’Mara, Marketing Manager at garage door specialist Hörmann UK. ‘More homeowners are using garages as a store or for additional living space, so an insulated garage door helps reduce heat loss and keeps the temperature at a comfortable level.’
Read this guide to discover the ways to insulate your garage door, whether it’s difficult to do it yourself and how much it’s likely to cost.
Before you start: what type of garage door do you have?
There are no rules or regulations stating that garage doors must be well insulated, so unless you’ve upgraded it yourself or bought a high spec door, it’s unlikely to be insulated.
The material, style and condition of your garage door will impact on how easy it is to upgrade with insulation. If it’s a bit on the ropey side, you might need to install a new one – but remember that insulation doesn’t come as standard on new garage doors.
How does it open? The points where the door hinges and folds could stop working properly if your new insulation gets in the way. Also be aware of the extra weight and thickness insulation adds, which some garage doors won’t take – meaning the door springs could break. If the style of door doesn’t suit the insulation you add, then all that hard work will be for nothing when the thermal barrier, or even the garage door itself, gets damaged.
‘You can always tell by the thickness of the panel,’ says Ian Chubb, Managing Director at garage door specialist Deuren. ‘Non-insulated doors are only a couple of millimetres thick, whereas insulated doors are usually 45mm in thickness.’
Ways to insulate a garage door
There are several material options for adding insulation to your garage door. Remember, draught proofing around the edges is another crucial part of the job.
1. Reflective foil insulation for garage doors
Rolls of reflective foil insulation are a good option for standard metal garage doors. They are readily available to buy in local DIY stores and easy to install yourself. Some are even specifically sold as garage door insulation rolls.
‘Reflective foil insulation allows for heat to remain in during colder months while blocking it out during warmer months,’ says Jo Behari, DIY expert and TV presenter. ‘Rolls or sheets of 5mm-thick insulation are the best. These can be cut easily with scissors, are lightweight and easy to fit using tape or glue.’ Some come with a self-adhesive backing for easy install.
Do look for garage door insulation kits that include everything you need to do the job.
Do seal any overlapping edges to maintain thermal efficiency.
Don’t forget to thoroughly clean and dust your garage door, waiting for it to dry before fitting the insulation.
2. Foam insulation for garage doors
If a reflective foil insulation kit isn’t for you, then you can measure and cut rigid foam to fit to the inside of your garage door. There are various types of rigid foam available in different sizes and thicknesses. This type of material offers good thermal performance, so you can get the job done with relatively thin sheets.
Do pay careful attention to the measurements when cutting the insulation for garage doors. Be exact to minimise cold spots and keep the door opening as it should.
Do use foam boards that are thinner than the channels on the inside of your garage door, to make fitting the insulation easier. Try using a foam-safe adhesive or heavy-duty double-sided tape to attach the boards.
Don’t leave your garage or home exposed to fire risk by using an unsuitable foam board. Make sure the product you use is not flammable and is appropriately fire rated.
3. Batt insulation for garage doors
These rolls of insulation are soft and usually made from fibreglass or wool. Standard versions might not be the best option for your garage door. Some products, such as the type that you would wrap around ventilation ducts, are thinner and foil-faced. These could work for garage doors. They’re generally cheap to buy, too.
Do look at how deep the batt is, as most are too thick to make them suitable for the average garage door.
Don’t put mineral wool straight onto a cold metal door and hope for the best. The wool could get damp and could cause condensation and mould.
Don’t use any old tape to secure the insulation – make sure it’s the right adhesive for the product. The manufacturer’s instructions should point you in the right direction.
4. Draught proof a garage door
It’s all very well having a well-insulated garage door, but if the edges of the door allow heat to escape and cold air to leak in, then you’re missing a trick.
‘You can get insulation tape that will allow you to cover over the edges of the garage door so draughts don’t come in there,’ says Jo Behari. ‘If you have a large gap under the door you might want to invest in door brush strips that you can nail to the bottom.’
Weatherstrip seals may also be suitable for your garage door. Just be sure to choose versions that are suitable for the door type. For instance, brush excluders or wraparound strip seals would work where a roller door meets the floor.
Do draught proof along the sides, top and the bottom of the garage door to cut out air leakage.
Don’t buy the wrong product; check it’s appropriate for your garage door type, as otherwise you could affect the door’s operation.
5. Replace a garage door
The best way to ensure your garage door has great thermal performance is to buy a new insulated unit that comes with a guarantee. There are no specific thermal standards that new garage doors need to meet, so look for products with impressive U-values (a measure of heat loss where lower numbers mean better efficiency).
‘Hörmann’s insulated sectional garage door is manufactured from a galvanised sheet steel double skin with a PU foam inset,’ says David O’Mara. ‘The LPU67 design can achieve a U-value of 1.0 W/m²K and a sectional door also provides sealing on all four sides.’
Do check that the garage door you are thinking of buying offers the level of thermal performance you want.
Do understand what is included in the price. For instance, does the quote include the fitting cost?
Don’t be tempted to buy a cheap new door and insulate it yourself – for best results, invest in a new unit that offers good performance out of the box.
Is it difficult to DIY install garage door insulation?
Installing garage door insulation and draught proofing yourself isn’t difficult and most confident DIYers will be up to the task. However, the type of insulation you use and the style of door could add complexity. You also need to make sure you don’t disrupt the opening mechanisms and damage the door.
To simplify things, you could buy a DIY garage door insulation kit. This will include instructions on how to do the job.
Do make sure you have all the necessary materials suitable for the type of insulation – tapes, fixings etc.
Do check out our step-by-step guide to installing garage door insulation.
Don’t apply the insulation unevenly across the garage door. This could unbalance the door, meaning it won’t open well, and create cold spots.
Should a professional fit my garage door insulation?
If you’re concerned about whether your DIY skills are up to the task, then you could employ a tradesperson to fit your garage door insulation. If you’re buying a new garage door then you’re going to want a professional to fit it. Check whether the company can offer a supply and install contract.
Do ask if the trades will supply the materials – but look to see if it’s cheaper to get them yourself.
Do speak to more than one trade when looking for quotes.
Don’t expect busy builders to want to take a small job on – they might be more likely to quote a sensible price if insulating your door is part of a wider garage renovation project.
How much does garage door insulation cost?
If you’re going down the DIY route for installing garage door insulation, then the materials are affordable and readily available from DIY shops and online. ‘Depending on the size of the door, you can probably insulate a standard garage door for between £50-£100,’ says Jo Behari. ‘Insulating draught proof tape is normally around £10 for a 20m roll and brush strips cost around £10 for a pack.’
The price of new garage doors will vary hugely depending on style, material, size and details. ‘Insulated doors can range from £1,500-£9,000 (excluding VAT),’ says Ian Chubb from Deuren. It’s not cheap to buy a new insulated door, but it could be worth it as part of a wider renovation project, or if you want to get maximum efficiency from your garage door.
A key benefit of insulating a garage door in an attached garage is that you’re taking away a weak spot in your home’s thermal efficiency. So, factor in the savings this job could make on your heating bills.
Should I insulate my garage walls, floors and roof?
If you’re investing in upgrading your garage door then consider also insulating other parts of your garage. The level of comfort you want to achieve in your garage will come down to how you use the space.
Most homeowners use their garage for storage – and not necessarily for a car. Exposing the contents of your garage to extreme temperatures could damage them. More people are seeing the benefits of utilising the extra room a garage can offer – whether transforming into a home gym, workshop or other use.
An attached garage’s walls, floors and roof – as well as the through-door between home and garage – are unlikely to be insulated to the same level as those inside your house. So, these elements will also be impacting on your home’s thermal efficiency. Consider external wall insulation as an option.
If you’re thinking about turning your integral garage into a living space, then the thermal efficiency of the whole structure will certainly need looking at. Garage conversions don’t usually require planning permission, but always check with your local authority. Sometimes the local planners will stipulate that a garage door needs to stay in place even if you’re converting the space into a living area. In these cases, garage door insulation is a must.
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