Best Garage Door Insulation Kits: Seal Out the Elements
A garage door insulation kit can save you a fortune in heating and A/C costs.
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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON April 26, 2021
As a haven your vehicles, if your garage doesn’t protect from the elements, what is it there for? Most garage door materials and designs are standardized, but the climate isn’t. Temperature regulation for desert weather is way different than up in the Arctic, which is why garage door insulation kits are so important. It might sound like a winter-proofing strategy, but there is so much more to it.
The best garage door insulation kits work for your environment. They shore up your seals and keep everything from a wicked snowdrift to a light wind outside (where it should be). It saves your car from getting caked in a layer of dust; and, if you use your garage as a workshop, insulation keeps it warmer for you. You can get kits to reflect heat, prevent a chill, and keep water out. The key is finding the best garage door insulation kits for your environment, and that takes some looking. We’ve curated a list of the highest-quality kits, along with some tips on making the most of them.
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Benefits of Garage Door Insulation Kits
- Eco-friendly advantages. By limiting the amount of heat lost to the outdoors, the amount of fossil fuels you burn to heat your garage lessens. It might seem small, but it can drastically reduce your carbon footprint.
- Improves strength of the door. Having insulation adds to the structural integrity of your door. By filling air gaps with an impact-resistant structure, you are adding to its overall toughness. This is especially true of polyethylene material since the closed-cell design resists bending and breaking under pressure.
- Protects from moisture. All insulation needs to be at least water-resistant to remain functional. But it acts as more than a barrier against rain, sleet, and snow—it helps prevent warping in the door itself by avoiding issues with condensation. This is especially helpful if you live in a humid environment.
- Saves on your energy bill. It might seem small, but if you’re heating or cooling the garage, the difference insulation can make adds up. On average, it costs $1,050 to heat a two-car garage every year. Insulation can save you on your heat costs every year if you do it right.
- Stops drafts in their tracks. Insulation is a literal barrier against air pushing through. Drafts not only cause discomfort but also give an entry point for debris, dust, and moisture. A drafty garage has unevenly distributed heat which can lead to some cold patches. Plus, during the summer, it stops your cold air from escaping.
- Keeps your garage at optimal temperature. Whether you’re contending with icy cold temperatures or battling a serious heatwave, your garage should be a sweet escape. Usually dimly lit, they don’t have as much window exposure, so insulating your door makes a huge difference (whether or not your garage is detached).
- Better soundproofing. Whether you’ve got a serious diesel truck or often use power tools at strange hours, insulation will muffle the noise.
Types of Garage Door Insulation Kits
Featuring a lightweight yet highly reflective metal, often aluminum, radiant barriers are a very popular type of insulation. The term radiant refers to its ability to control the convection of thermal energy by reflecting it outwards. Unlike other approaches to insulation, this method repels the thermal waves. As a result, this approach is ideal for environments prone to both heat and cold. You can find this insulation as a dual-layer sheet with an air gap between them consisting of plastic bubbles or polyethylene.
As the most old-school approach, insulating foam remains prevalent for its easy installation. Often coming as a spray, you apply it to the garage door on a good-weather day and wait until it’s dry. Alternatively, you can choose solid foam, which looks just like a sheet of Styrofoam you might find protecting electronics or furniture that gets shipped in a big box. It’s easy to cut to size, super lightweight, and relatively effective in thermal control.
More prevalent in residential insulation, fiberglass is an effective approach for garages. Featuring an impressive R-value (meaning it controls heat flow well), it is ideal if you live somewhere prone to drastic cold snaps. Be sure to wear protective gear when installing the insulation and seal it off properly.
Relatively new to the market, this insulation is made out of the cell walls of plants. Free of the potential irritation of fiberglass and a high R-value, this naturally sourced material is one of the most eco-friendly options. It comes with a higher price tag due to the extensive manufacturing process and limited supply chain. However, it is an excellent way to double up on reducing your carbon footprint.
The name says it all with this company based out of Opa-locka, Fla. With a wide range of insulation products that focus on reflective technology, it encompasses brands like SmartGarage. By gearing its offerings towards energy efficiency, this company takes traditional insulation approaches and puts a modern spin on them. Among its offerings is the SmartGarage Reflective Garage Door Insulation Kit.
A proudly American brand that focuses on eco-friendliness Reach Barrier offers energy-saving insulation for all situations. Through technological innovations, it’s been able to manufacture its products almost exclusively out of recycled materials. Its insulation has proven effective everywhere, from office buildings to warehouses. One of its best-favored products for garages is the Reach Barrier 3009.
Garage Door Insulation Kit Pricing
- Under $50: Garage door insulation kits start at under $50. These insulations typically look like a metallic roll of wrapping paper or like tin foil. The material is specially designed to deflect radiating heat and keep the inside of your garage hospitable.
- $50 to $75: Once you start getting into the higher price range for garage door insulation, one of the biggest differences with these products is the materials used. This price range mostly consists of foam core and Styrofoam garage door insulation panels.
- $75 and up: At the highest price point, you'll find some of the best garage door insulation kits. These can use a combination of garage door insulation types, but the extra cost typically comes with the benefit of easy installation or more substantial coverage.
To provide the desired effects, the outward-facing part of your insulation needs to be up to par. When you look at the insulation's R-factor, it refers to the material, not necessarily the design. The frontline of the fight against the weather is the outer layer. That means you need something waterproof and (ideally) reflective. Inside the design should be an air gap to improve structural integrity and provide improved thermal controls. The structure also speaks to how it connected with the edges of your garage door. To be truly effective, it requires a good seal and firm build.
As the glue that holds it all together, the quality of the adhesive plays a huge factor in determining how effective the insulation is. Choosing to do your own insulation project can result in considerable savings, but only if it works. Many kits include adhesive strips with a peel-off design. For some insulation, you can place the panels to make a tight seal. In other cases, you might have to use clips and adhesive tape to get a hold. If you take your time doing it and choose a clear adhesive, you can get that perfect seal without dealing with an eyesore.
Quantity and Size
A two-door detached garage is going to need a lot more insulation than a single-car setup. Accordingly, one of the essential features to investigate is the actual quantity of insulation. The majority of kits are meant for you to cut them down to size with a utility knife. Thick polyethylene tends to chip and fray at the ends, while radiant barriers are more malleable. Consider the practical side of the insulation and measure the door beforehand—it’s always better to have a bit extra insulation than too little.
- R-value. This refers to how resistant a particular material is to conducting heat flow. The R-value tells you how effective a specific type of insulation will be and helps you calculate the projected energy savings.
- Installation. You’ll need to think about the practical side of getting the insulation into your garage. Some kits are pretty intuitive and come with material that’s easy to handle. Other options (like fiberglass and rigid foam) might be a bit trickier to handle.
- Budget. Any time you do a home renovation project, you’ll want to keep a budget in mind, as things can quickly spiral without one. From there, it’s about balancing the price with the quality. Sure, cellulose is very effective, but it’s also costly. Radiant barriers are a bit more affordable and still extremely useful. Conversely, if your focus is saving (both on your power bills and insulation), you might want something more basic with less emphasis on looks.
- Insulation goals. The requirements for insulation depend on the environment, so choose the type of insulation accordingly. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, water-resistant might not be sufficient. Those who live in sunny areas can’t do without a reflective barrier. Think about the elements you’re trying to contend with and pick your insulation accordingly.
Best Garage Door Insulation Kits Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Test for drafts after you install the insulation. This way, you can be sure that you get an optimal seal throughout the garage door. Even the smallest cracks in the insulation can make a big difference in your power bill.
- If you’re using tape, do a sample patch and make sure it gives you a good hold. Adhesives lose quality over time, so if you need something stronger, you know before putting in too much work.
- Monitor your power bill to see how effective the insulation is during both the warm and cold months. If you notice an issue down the line, you’ll know that the insulation requires repairs.
- Take your time during installation. Peruse the internet for instructional videos to make sure you are installing it correctly. Some materials are finicky, so to avoid wasting materials, plan the whole process before starting.
- Prioritize safety while you’re working. Wear gloves when cutting the insulation to size and if you are dealing with fiberglass, make sure your skin is covered. Safety glasses and dust masks are always important when doing renovations.
- Always check the specs. Some insulation kits rely on a pre-existing set of insulation in your garage door. Others specify that you can’t paint on the surface. Familiarize yourself with the kit before you get to work.
- Whether you use it as a car park or a workshop, you’ll be looking at your garage door frequently. Think about how you want the result to look and pick out an insulation kit that won’t leave your garage looking unfinished.
Q: What is the best garage door insulation kit?
The best garage door insulation kit depends on the structure of your garage and the area you live in. A worthy selection for those vying with both heat and cold is the SmartShield Reflective Insulation Roll. Insulation works to keep both heat and cold out, but some materials are better suited to a specific task. Radiant barriers work for hot zones, while cellulose and polyethylene are effective in battling the cold.
Q: Do garage door insulation kits work?
So long as it is properly installed, yes, insulation kits can drastically improve the R-value of your garage door. It acts as a barrier against wind and moisture, protecting both the door itself and the climate in your garage. As long as there are no breaks in the seals and the insulation itself is in good tact, it can improve your control over the temperature in your garage.
Q: What is the cheapest way to insulate a garage?
A cheap layer of insulation is better than no insulation at all. To cut costs, aim for polystyrene. Closed-cell polystyrene has a reasonable R-value and is affordable and lightweight. You can save a bit more by getting the standard EPS version, but the savings are nominal, and the quality difference is significant. Aim for XPS to balance budget with effectiveness.
Q: How do I insulate my garage door to keep the heat out?
To prevent heat from getting into your garage, the most important thing is a reflective outer layer on the material. Look for a radiant barrier with an air bubble or foam air gap to add extra protection from the elements. By reflecting the heat waves outwards, the insulation doesn’t absorb that heat at all.
Q: What is the best type of garage door insulation?
There are many different ways that garage door insulation works, so it's hard to pinpoint one material as being better than another. Any garage door insulation kit you buy should maintain a barrier between your home and the outdoors and slow the conductive heat flow.
Q: What is an R-value?
An R-value or R-rating is how the thermal resistance of a material is rated. It judges how the insulation reacts to changes in temperature and takes into account the thickness, density, and moisture accumulation of the materials used.
Q: How is garage door insulation installed?
Depending on what type of insulation you purchase for your garage door, there are a few common ways it can be installed. Each kit will come with the supplies needed to install your insulation. Foam board brands often use adhesive tape and retainer clips. It's often required that you cut pieces so they correctly fit your door's size and shape.
Now that you know the finer points of insulating your garage door, you can start prepping for the cold season. For protection in all seasons, you might like the SmartShield Reflective Insulation Roll; but, if you’re looking to save, the Reach Barrier Garage Door Insulation Kit has you covered for less.