Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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Garage Door Insulation

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When you have an attached garage, or you are creating a conditioned workspace in a garage, you will need to insulate the doors to improve your energy efficiency.

I had to rethink what I said about garage door insulation in a previous post. This article is a follow up to a dsicussion why attached garages are energy inefficient. In that post I did suggest using foam insulation boards in a garage door, yet I mentioned that I would be using insulation batts. I discovered a few things, like there are garage door insulation kits, and that there were problems with my set up. I was also investigating using what some people call foil bubble insulation (a type of radiant barrier). I ended up changing my garage door insulation.

Could the Foil Bubble Insulation be my Solution?

Since I had a roll of this type of radiant barrier insulation on hand, I did consider placing it on the door. When I heard a client refer to this insulation as foil bubble insulation, I thought the term appropriate. The foil reflects radiant heat. The bubbles in a plastic sheet, the same as that packing material really, provides an insulating factor. You see, insulation relies on trapping air to slow the transfer of heat through a space.This radiant barrier can offer R-values as high as an R8, which is great for such a thin material. However, I found that this material may not provide that much insulating value when used as an insulation on a garage door.The problem with my original insulation method turned out to be the family and friends. The insulation batts were being knocked out when the children were playing, or when I was moving equipment around in this crowded space. I thought of what people do with that bubble packing material, bubble popping. Having worked in a shipping department as a teenager, I knew that everyone took strips of this packing material to pop as they did their job. I could see the children and their friends discovering that they could do the same to a foil bubble insulation.
    My solution became the foam insulation boards with a foil backing. To work as a radiant barrier, the foil face had to be positioned facing to the open garage space. The R-value was only an R3, but I can double the boards to achieve an R6. I measured my space in the garage doors, and cut the foam boards with a utility knife, using my four foot level as a straight edge. The process lasted a half hour. I want to make a note here: in Houston, I can find foam insulation boards with a thickness up to 3/4″ in a building supply ceneter. In other parts of the country(mainly the colder north), you can readily find these boards up to a 2″ thickness. Part of my goal was to imploy material that I encountered in my building supply center (hardware store or home improvement store).

Are there other options for garage door insulation?

I knew of garage door insulation kits, but I did not bring them up in my last article, because I did not find them. That is one thing suprising to me. Each hardware store or home improvement center appears to have different types of materials to purchase, yet they do not always carry all of the options when you have visited them all. After considering ordering some hardware through an internet site, I decided to include the web in my search. I wonder what the figures are for ordering larger home items through the internet is. How would the experience be compared to having furniture delivered? I havve not installed one of these insulation kits, but I have seen them in place. They appear to be less work than my foam board insulation. The batts are covered in plastic, and there is an adhesive strip to hold them in place. I think you may have to cut them to fit your particular garage door, but the ones that I saw fitted in the door with no cuts. Maybe the homeowner was lucky. The insulation I have seen in these lits appeared to be around an R6, which is not bad.
    Avoid my mistake of using plain insulation batts. They will fall out. The foam insulation boards were good for me, since I could pick them up at a store near my house. Who knows? You may find garage door insulation kits near your house; however, you may need to order theme.

« « Why You Should not Over Insulate Your Home| Is My Renter About to Leave? » »

© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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