How does insulation for a garage door work? Pros and cons
Insulators come in panels, sheets or blankets and they act as a barrier against sound. Also, they regulate temperatures. The insulators are designed to restrict and resist heat transfer using three systems:
- Conduction: This system is how heat moves along or through materials by passing along one molecule to another. Conduction can take place through solid matter, liquids and gas. It depends on what insulators are made from which can increase or decrease the conduction process. Utilizing low conductivity gas in insulation rather than air can reduce conduction.
- Convection: This system only takes place in liquids or gasses therefore it can’t form in solid matter. The molecules of a liquid or gas heat up which alters their densities. Therefore, warmer air will become less dense causing it to rise. Closed cell insulation with small cell sizes slows down convection which reduces their ability to infect adjacent cells.
- Radiation: This is the system of heat transfer across the space from one material to the next as energy. Radiation can transfer through liquids, gasses, solids and a vacuum. The rate of heat transfer through radiation is controlled by the distances and temperatures of surfaces. Additionally, radiation controls the emissivity (how shiny a coating is) of these surfaces and its ability to reflect thermal radiation. An example is a low emissivity foil coated panel.
Heat transfer can occur through these three systems and thermal insulation is designed to restrict them. In turn, it reduces the amount of heat lost or gained through a garage door. The benefits of these insulation panels are the following:
- Saves energy: Since insulation is designed to regulate temperatures inside a space, it can help you save on energy costs. This is because you won’t need an AC/HV system, electric fans or heaters to cool or heat an area. You will save on electricity each month and you’re creating sustainable energy by insulating.
- Creates a durable door: An insulation blanket for garage door kit creates a protective layer that makes your door more durable. For example, the Matador Garage Door insulation is a high impact product. Therefore the door won’t dent as easily with the insulation installed; a handy feature if you accidentally bump the door with your car.
- Soundproof: As mentioned before, insulation is an excellent choice when it comes to soundproofing your garage. So if you live on a busy street, the insulation panels can block out the sound of traffic or noisy neighbors. If you want to soundproof your garage then take a look at the Owens Corning garage door insulation kit. This kit blocks out all noise coming from outside the garage door.
Even though there are pros to using these garage door insulators there are also a few cons. Let’s go through them here:
- Aesthetics: There are some garage door insulators that don’t look appealing. It can alter the interior design of your garage. On the other hand, there are kits that can add to the aesthetics of your garage such as the Anco garage door insulation panels.
- Adhesives: The advantage of insulator kits is that you don’t need power tools to install them. They come with adhesive tape that allows you to stick the panels to your door. However, these adhesive tapes are sometimes not strong enough so they tend to peel off especially in warmer climates. Try the NASA Tech white reflective foam panels on our review list because it comes with excellent quality tape that won’t lose its stickiness.
- Toxic materials: Some insulation kits are made with highly toxic materials. Ensure you know what your insulation kit is made from especially if you have pets and children. You don’t want your loved ones to get sick from toxic materials.
- Incorrect dimensions: It’s important to measure your garage door first before you buy a kit. Some people complain that there are kits that state they fit standard doors but the dimensions are incorrect. Check the size of the kit and your garage door to avoid this problem.
There are six types of garage doors:
- Side hinged
- Overhead door
- Tilt up canopy
- Tilt up retractable
You must ensure that the insulation kit you pick doesn’t affect the operation of these doors. For example, a roll up garage door insulation kit is specifically designed for this type of door. An overhead garage door insulation kit is only meant for overhead doors.
The material of the door also plays an important role in which insulation kit you should pick. A wood garage door insulation kit comes with specialized equipment so the panels stick properly to the surface of the door. Any type of adhesive will stick well to glass, metal or vinyl door types.
Features to consider while choosing an insulation for a garage door
Now that you know a bit more about the purpose of garage door insulators it’s time to see what features to consider before buying your product. You must know the features of your product so you can select the correct insulation for your door size and type. Keep reading so you can find the right garage door insulators for your home.
There are four types of insulator kits to pick from. Let’s go through these types to see the pros and cons of each:
- Spray foam: This type of insulator comes in an aerosol can. All you have to do is spray the foam around the edges of your garage door and wait for it to harden. This type of insulator isn’t suitable for garage doors because it’s messy and has a low R-rating.
- Panels: This is the most common type of insulator. Kits come with eight or more panels that can stick onto garage doors in sections. It’s perfect for garage doors that roll up or slide to the side. The Matador Garage Door insulation kit comes with panels that are easy to install.
- Sheets: There are insulators that come in the form of a rolled up sheet. The advantage of these sheets is that you can cut them into the shapes and sizes you want to fit onto any garage door type. They can be made with any materials but fiberglass is the most common textile used to make insulator sheets.
- Blanket: An insulator blanket can be made with fiberglass or aluminum foil. It’s essentially a large blanket that can be fitted onto your garage door with clips. The downside to this type of insulator is that they’re sometimes too small or big. If you do buy a blanket insulator ensure you measure the size you need first before your purchase.
Cold vs hot climate
There are some factors that differentiate hot and cold insulation kits. Firstly, hot insulators don’t require a water vapor barrier that prevents metal corrosion over time.
In colder climates, condensation buildup occurs. Therefore flexible insulation is required to deal with the problem. Fiberglass, foam and foil insulators are more bendable than those found in hot insulators.
Another factor is that close cell systems are needed in cold insulators to reduce wicking. The insulation in hotter climates doesn’t have close cell systems. This allows moisture to enter the system so the heat can evaporate the dampness.
In building construction, R-value is a measurement of how well a layered construction such as insulators, walls, ceilings and windows can resist the conductive flow of heat. There are components that make an insulator resistant to changes in temperature such as:
- Moisture buildup
All these components will give you a single R-value which will give you an indication of which product is ideal for your requirements. There’s an R-value on every layer of insulation so you may have to add them up to get the total of the actual rating of the product.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that the way you install your insulation can affect the R-value. Poor installations can lower the R-value significantly.
To pick the best garage door insulation kit, find one with the highest R-value. The Anco garage door insulation kit has a high R-value of nine so this is an excellent choice.
The U-factor is the thermal transmittance value of an insulation kit. It indicates how well an insulator conducts heat. An insulation kit with the lowest number on the U-factor will reduce the amount of heat that’s transferred. You want to select a kit that has a U-factor close to zero.
The type of material your insulators are made of can make a huge impact on how well they work. Some products work better than others simply because they’re made with different types of material. Here are the most common types of material garage door insulators are made from:
- Fiberglass: The fiberglass insulation kits are the most popular because they’re durable and provide the best results. Typically fiberglass insulators have a high R-value which means it works well to regulate the temperatures in your home. These fiberglass insulation panels come with vinyl coatings so they’re easy to clean. The panels are heavier than other types of insulators but they look the best and they don’t create a mess when installing them. You may like the Anco garage door insulation kit that’s made from heavy duty fiberglass.
- Radiant Barrier: These insulators are generally made with highly reflective materials such as foil. The aluminum foil blocks the radiant heat energy instead of absorbing it. There are more layers to these panels such as air bubble material between the foil and barrier. The air bubble layer reduces condensation and humidity to prevent mold growth. Pick the Reach Barrier 3009 product on our review list if you want to reduce humidity in your garage.
- Foam panels: Another popular type of insulation is foam because these panels come at an affordable price. The panels are made from Styrofoam which can get messy if you need to cut them to size. On the other hand, foam panels are lightweight and they tend to hold better on garage surfaces.
- Cellulose: This type of insulator is made with plant fibers which makes is 100% organic. Many people say that cellulose is a better insulator than fiberglass products. The drawback on this type of material is that it’s expensive. But it’s environmentally friendly and these kits are easy to install.
As mentioned before cold insulation materials must be flexible. Thicker insulators have a reduction in flexibility. However, the thickness doesn’t always mean improved insulation. There are thinner insulation panels that work exceptionally well to retain heat such as blankets.
Another factor to consider is, will the thickness stop the door from opening and closing? Don’t select an insulator that adds unnecessary dimensions to your garage door. Furthermore, it also depends on the material that’s used to make the insulators. Thick fiberglass insulators are more durable than thick polystyrene kits.
Thick fiberglass materials are better at soundproofing than thick Styrofoam products. If you don’t want bulky material on your garage door, perhaps the NASA Tech white reflective foam will be ideal for you. This kit has panels that are 0.25 inches thick but they’re still capable of soundproofing and regulating temperatures because of the material it’s made of.
Dense insulators are highly effective and generally have a higher R-value. Insulators that are high in density tend to be more expensive because of its effectiveness to regulate temperatures, add a protective shield and soundproof a garage door.
What’s more, dense insulators help make your metal door more silent, especially the overhead kind.
Dimensions and weight
Garage doors have different measurements so you will need to pick one that will fit the size of your door. Select a 16ft garage door insulation kit that comes with a sheet that can be cut into the dimensions you want if you’re unsure of the sizes you need.
You must also consider the weight of the product because it can add pounds onto your door that can affect how it opens and closes. Pick a lightweight product that works well in cold and hot climates such as the Reach Barrier 3009 with a weight of 3.32lbs
Ease of application
All the products on our review list are easy to install and don’t require power tools or mounting equipment. These kits come with all the items you need to fit your insulation. Adhesive tape is used to stick the panels onto your door. Or pick a kit that comes with clips instead of adhesive products if you’re worried about glue coming undone. Some kits even come with knives so you can alter the dimensions of the insulators.
To help you further with the insulation process, each kit comes with an instruction manual. Follow the instructions if you’re unsure how to insulate your garage door.
Care and safety features
Most garage door insulation panels have a coating on them or a smooth finish so you can wipe the panels down with a cloth when they get dirty. It’s difficult to clean polystyrene because it doesn’t wipe down easily so ensure you pick a product that’s not a hassle to maintain.
Safety is a feature you must never compromise on when selecting your insulation kit. Buy a kit that’s made with non-toxic materials such as the US Energy NASATECH foam insulation kit. This kit is especially important to use if you have kids or pets around.
Another safety feature that you want to look at is whether it’s fireproof. If a fire breaks out you want to use materials that won’t help flames spread. Select a garage insulation kit that has a Class 1 and Class A fire rating ensuring the safety of your family, car and house. If you’re looking for a product that has an excellent fire prevention rating then select the NASA Tech white reflective foam kit.
The price for garage door insulation kits ranges between $51 and $74 so there are cheaper alternatives than getting internal door installation done. The price of these kits may increase depending on the types of materials they’re made from and their R-value.
As mentioned before, installing a garage insulation kit is straightforward but there are some factors you must remember before you start. Here are a few tips you can follow when installing your kit:
- Make sure your garage door is clean before you start. Vacuum up dust and wipe the door down with a damp cloth. Wait for it to dry before you begin.
- Consider what material your door is made from so you can pick the best mounting options such as clips or adhesive tape.
- If you’re using adhesive tape, make sure it can withstand all weather conditions so it doesn’t lose its stickiness.
- Consider getting two kits in case you need more panels for your door.
- Lay the sheets or panels down so they can straighten out before you start mounting them.
- Make markings on your garage door where each of the clips will go.
- There are kits such as the Owens Corning garage door insulation kit that come with adhesive tabs that the clips stick onto. Stick on two tabs per panel.
- Once the adhesive tabs are on, start placing your clips on the tabs.
- Now start applying your insulation panels to each section where you’ve mounted the clips.
- Cut an X through the insulation panels small enough so the clips can pierce through the material.
- Add the placement tag on the clips to keep the insulator panels in place.
- Sometimes the panels don’t sit properly on the door even with the clips. This is where you’ll need your adhesive tape.
- Use the tape to stick the edges of the panels down and to keep them neatly in place. Additionally, this will optimize your installation.
- Use foil tape if you want to maximize your insulation on the edges of the panels.