All You Need to Know about Garage Door Insulation: Types and Advantages

At Green and Growing, we’re all about helping you reduce your energy bills – as well as leaving a smaller carbon footprint on the environment. There are many things you can do to decrease the impact on the climate, including choosing energy efficient products and sustainable materials. But what about garage door insulation?

We often overlook the garage door and its impact on our heating bills during the winter months. We think of it in terms of pressing a button to make it go up and down. Simple enough, right? However, given that the garage door is often the largest opening to a house, we must be aware of how vulnerable it is to weather extremes.

Garage Door Insulation: Why Is It Important?

If you insulate your garage door, you can help reduce the constant transfer of heat or cold air into and out of your garage. This can have a great influence on other areas of your home, as well, which makes it all the more important for you to give it proper attention. If installed correctly, garage door insulation can significantly improve your home’s overall energy efficiency.

Before we move onto the types of garage door insulation, know that your garage door – much like laundry appliances and heating and cooling systems – needs to be regularly maintained and adjusted to function correctly.

Some of the safety and maintenance tasks are simple enough so you can perform yourself, but spring repair/replacement, roller repair/replacement and door installation – these are jobs best left to service professionals.

R-value: What Does It Mean?

So you started doing research on different types of garage doors. You probably came across an “R-Value” measurement that is often mentioned in reference to garage door insulation. What does that number mean? What do you need to know before purchasing your next garage door or insulating your current one?

Not all materials have the same levels of thermal conductivity. Heat passes easier through some rather than others. R-value measures thermal resistance – or how much a material can resist temperature transfers. This measurement is calculated based on the thickness and the chemical properties of insulation.

In other words, the higher the R-value, the greater the resistance is to heat flow. A higher R-value will also come with better insulation properties. However, investing in R-16 value insulation does not mean the properties are twice as good as an R-8 value.

You do not get twice as much thermal resistance and certainly not twice the energy savings. A value of R-16 provides a 5 percent reduction in heat flow and a 5 percent improvement in energy efficiency more than a value of R-8.

Garage Door Insulation: What Is It Made Of?

Homeowners traditionally use two kinds of insulation for garage doors: polystyrene and polyurethane. Polyurethane provides better thermal resistance than polystyrene (it has a higher R-value) and it easy to stick it to the garage door. Polyurethane is also very bendable, which makes it useful for products like automobile bumpers and home entry doors.

Polystyrene, on the other hand, is used to make items like disposable coffee cups and protective packing materials. When it comes to garage doors, polystyrene is usually inserted between the steel walls of each panel. It can also be applied on the back of a single layer door.

Types of Garage Door Insulation

We’re finally here: How do you choose the proper garage door insulation for your home? Knowing that it can help you keep your home energy efficient, now is the time to see what some of your options are.

If you ignore the need of garage door insulation means, a lot of energy escapes, making you lose money. This is particularly true if your garage is attached to the side of the house itself. So, let’s see what you can do to prevent that.

installing insulation panels


DIY vs Insulation Kits

Buy a brand new garage door made out of wood is probably the best solution in terms of natural insulators. However, if you’re looking for a less expensive solution, insulating your existing garage door may be more suitable for you.

It is more cost-effective to simply purchase the insulating materials separately. You will, however, have to cut them yourself, which means the results might not be as tidy as you would like. Less tidy, at the same time, can mean less energy-efficient, so there’s another way you can go.

Many garage door insulation kits come with all the components you need. While they’re not as cheap as going the DIY way, they can help you insulate a single garage door with more energy efficiency and more money saved on utilities in the longer term.

You might need a tape measure and a utility knife in addition to what a kit provides, although some more expensive insulation kits include these as well. Kits usually come with either reflective foil or insulating panels, and the cost of insulating a 9-foot-wide garage door is somewhere between $50 and $70.


There are two types of insulation materials available when it comes to insulating panels: Fiberglass panels and foam panels. Fiberglass panels are the less superior of the two, as they provide less insulation while also resisting to water and mold.

You can also buy insulating panel kits; they include 8 pre-cut panels that you can easily fit inside the channels of the door frame. Foam panels, on the other hand, are made of polystyrene and provide slightly higher insulation than fiberglass. They are a perfect match for insulating metal doors.

It shouldn’t take you more than an hour to install either of these panels. Both types have a good R-value and your garage door will look better than it would with reflective foil.

Reflective Insulation

This type of insulation is installed on the inside of the garage door, and it comes either in single foils or double foils. Reflective foil is usually the best kind of insulation you can invest in, even better than panels. The only downside is that this method is not as neat looking.

Wrapping It Up

You now have the basic knowledge of what it means to invest in garage door insulation. Keep in mind that some types of insulation might affect the actual operation of your garage door due to their weight. In some cases, you might have to call in a professional to re-balance the springs on your garage door due to the extra stress of the insulation materials.

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William E. Eubanks

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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