What Is an Insulated Garage Door?

When you have a garage, you want the conditions to be optimal for your vehicle when you park it. You also want your garage to be a comfortable place (as possible) whenever you’re fixing your car, or doing other tool work or craftwork, no matter the weather outside may be.

A garage is the largest entrance of your home’s exterior. However, a garage is also notorious as the coldest and the least airtight space in anyone’s home. Throw in another fact that garage doors are big – not particularly good in keeping the cold air out, and you end up working in a spine-tingling chilly space. In most homes, the door is open several times a day, exposing most of its near-entire wall to air from the outside.

There’s a disadvantage of having an attached garage. Compared to a detached garage, a garage attached to a home is more prone to heat loss due to air leakage. Aside from the large main entrance, there is also at least another one entrance that leads into a high-traffic area such as a kitchen or a hallway. Or there are other rooms above the garage. The way an attached garage is situated makes it easier for the cold air to enter in the garage and circulate throughout the rest of the house, especially during the winter.

Using insulated garage doors: what are their benefits?

Installing a heater inside the garage will make the place comfortably warm in an instant, but it eats up much of your energy expenses. That is why most homeowners are turning to a more cost-effective alternative solution: to insulate doors, windows, and sealing.

An insulated garage door is like any other garage door, except that it is equipped with insulating features that help reduce heat loss by preventing it from escaping.

An insulated garage door is useful not only during cold winter months or climates. In warmer seasons or hot climates, an insulated garage door blocks excess hot air from entering your garage. Not only it keeps your garage comfortably cool, but it can also help lower cooling costs.

Having your garage door insulated has a bonus benefit: it tends to make your garage quieter compared to an uninsulated garage door. A lot of garage doors tend to produce some noise, especially for older garage doors. The tracking mechanism is usually the culprit, which consists of loose chains that produce the noise. In addition, worn-down rollers and unlubricated hinges may squeak and grumble, which can sound really annoying. You won’t encounter any of these problems with insulated garage doors. Depending on the brand or make of the insulated garage door, a garage will be about three times quieter compared to a garage that uses a non-insulated door.  Its also a consideration if you are going to be refurbishing your garage.

Since an insulated garage door is typically made of several layers of materials, you can also be sure of its durability compared to conventional single-layer garage doors. Many insulated garage doors today are made either of aluminum or steel frame. The frame is filled with solid-core insulation, which situates between single- or dual-steel panels. This type of construction produces a lightweight but durable door that is less likely to dent compared to single-layer garage doors. Plus, it’s also energy-efficient.

Shopping for a garage door


Have you decided to replace your old garage door with an insulated garage door? If you are shopping for one, you may notice a few differences, provided that they measure how effective a door will be in insulating your garage.

  • R-value – “R-value” represents a garage door’s capability to delay transmission of heat. The higher the door’s R-value, the slower the transmission of heat – the better it can keep your garage warm during the cold winter months. The R-value is the most widely used measurement to gauge a garage door’s energy efficiency. A lot of R-value garage doors depend on the door’s thickness, the material used into making it, and the type of insulation. Depending on the brand or make, R-value garage doors can range from 6.3 to 20.4.
  • U-Factor – “U-Factor” represents the flow of heat through a material. Although this number is not used as often as the R-value, it is also an important determinant in terms of a door’s efficiency of containing warmth in your garage. The lower the U-Factor, the better.

Types of insulation

Insulated garage doors commonly have a polystyrene or polyurethane insulation. It helps to know what type of insulation a door may have so that you will know which of them will work best for your garage.

  • Polystyrene – This type of insulation is used in most insulated garage doors. Polystyrene insulation comes in the form of rigid polystyrene panels which are inserted between layers of steel of a garage door, or placed within a single-layer garage door. They typically include a vinyl backing. You can find polystyrene insulation in aftermarket garage door insulation kits at several major retailers.
  • Polyurethane – This type of insulation is an energy-efficient material, comprising of a polyurethane foam injected between layers of steel of a garage door. After being injected, the polyurethane foam expands to fill every nook and cranny of the door, forming a bond to the door’s frame. This results in increasing the door’s strength and durability, making it less prone to dents.

Types of materials

  • Steel – Steel is the most common material of insulated garage doors. While it provides moderate insulation, steel is durable. It requires little maintenance and comes in a wide range of designs.
  • Aluminum – Aluminum is a lightweight alternative to steel. But compared to steel, aluminum is inferior at insulating a garage. However, it does give the garage door a modern look.
  • Wood – Wood gives a garage door a classic and sophisticated look. However, it is a very poor insulator. So it’s usually chosen for aesthetic reasons over energy efficiency.
  • Composite wood – Generally, composite wood is a poor insulator. But compared to a regular wood garage, a composite wood garage is often layered over steel and insulation, which is typically found in double- or even triple-layered doors. Not only does a composite wood provide your garage a fair amount of insulation, but it also gives a classic appearance just like their genuine wood counterparts.