Monthly Archives: August 2013

Do-It-Yourself Garage Door Insulation

If you are considering purchasing a new garage door, we recommend you give some thought to having a door with built in insulation installed on your garage.  There are various levels of insulation including radiant barriers offered by major garage door manufacturers and, depending on your climate, you can gain considerable energy savings by buying a well insulated garage door.  It will also make the time spent in your garage much more pleasant in the hot and cold seasons.

Remember a 16 x 8 foot garage door represents 128 square feet of area allowing thermal transmittance or heat loss (known as the U-factor).  This unit of measure is the inverse or reciprocal of the R value which most folks are familiar with.  U-factor represents heat loss, and the R-value represents resistance to heat loss.  Before we get too technical here, just be aware that a hundred square feet of single pane glass in your house during a zero degree outside temperature can produce around 7,000 BTU’s per hour of heat loss.  Using an average cost of energy, that’s around $50 a month you could be paying for those 100 square feet of windows.  One layer of steel in a garage door isn’t going to give you much more insulating properties than single pane glass.  Of course your garage isn’t normally a climate controlled space, so your cost savings would not be comparable.  It will, at the least, make your garage a much more comfortable space to work in and provide noise dampening when opening and closing your garage door.

What about a Garage Door Insulation Kit?

What if you already have an uninsulated garage door that looks and works fine?  There are ways you can insulate your existing garage door yourself.  A number of garage door insulation kits are available locally as well as online.  These kits usually consist of a radiant barrier material (very helpful in hot climates) coupled with an insulating material.  The cost will average between $125.00 to $85.00 for a double garage door.  Be sure to check out the reviews, if you can, to see what previous do-it-yourselfers have to say about these particular products.  You can purchase polyurethane foam board with radiant facing material in 4’ x 8’ sheets and cut and fit them yourself to your garage door panels.  This will save you some money, but it will take more of your time.  If you decide on this option, it is advisable to have an expert on insulating materials to help you with your selection and installation procedures.

Most of the kits advertise a time to install of around 1 to 3 hours.  Just remember that an insulation kit will never provide the same insulating values and performance of a factory insulated door.   Many of the kits are made up of materials that can add a lot of weight to your door as well, putting a load on your door opening components.  Some consist of loose materials, and the fastening systems don’t always work they way they were intended.  Always be sure to check out the kits before you buy them and read the customer reviews where available.

What is a Carriage House Garage Door?

Carriage house garage doors have become very popular, especially in the northeastern part of the U.S.   We get a lot of inquiries about this type of door so we thought we would talk a bit about this style of residential garage door.

What exactly is a Carriage House door anyway?  Before garages were attached to a home, people built carriage houses – also called coach houses.   It was normally set behind the house and was basically a stable or place to house a horse drawn carriage.  This was before the “horseless carriage” or automobile became commonplace.  This style of building was always at street level, without stairs leading to the entryway and sometimes, in more expansive homes, had living quarters for staff above the storage area.

Original Carriage House doors were built to swing out from the center using side hinges.  Modern overhead garage doors incorporate the design elements of a swing-out door in an overhead style door.  These design elements are one of the reasons for this door’s popularity.

Most carriage house doors have the top panel dedicated to some sort of window treatment.  Many traditional Carriage house doors were arched at the top and this design is carried out with square openings using an arched window treatment.  Another feature that may be found is hardware, such as side hinges and door pulls that give the appearance of working side swing doors.

Custom garage doors can provide an almost unlimited combination of window treatments as well as panel design to give you the perfect curb appeal you are looking for in your home.  Amarr, a national manufacturer, for example, offers over 80 different styles of carriage house door in their collection.

Carriage house doors come in natural wood, composite material that resembles wood or steel construction.  These doors can provide very good insulation values.  A high R-value means the garage door insulates well and has increased thermal efficiency.  When comparing R-values among garage door manufacturers, you should look for statements that mention Calculated R-Value based on the Door and Access System Manufacturer’s Association (DASMA) TDS-16.

Wind load doors are built specifically to withstand specific high-wind pressures with an interior wind load reinforcement system. The most popular door manufacturers can add wind load reinforcement to your door to meet local building codes.  Remember, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure the garage door meets local building codes; however a reputable overhead door company should know the wind load requirements for your particular location.

Most manufacturers will provide a lifetime limited warranty for their carriage house style garage doors.