A garage door can be the largest uninsulated space in your home. If you are in the market for a new garage door, you should become familiar with a few of the commonly used terms surrounding commercial and residential garage door construction before you make your selection.
Garage Door R and U Value Factors
Most of us are familiar with the term R Value. This is the standard way of describing how effective an insulating material is. R value is a measure of heat resistance. The higher the R value, the better the insulation.
U value is the opposite of R value. Scientists came up with this to measure the rate at which heat flows through 1 square foot of material. U value is a measure of transmission of heat. It is normally used in measuring the insulating qualities of windows. The lower the U value the less heat is lost, therefore a smaller number is better. The formula is: U=1/R. An R value of 8 would translate to a U value of .125
A Word of Caution
Any garage door submitted to testing per ANSI / DASMA 105 standards. Testing is done in a controlled environment and do not normally replicate real world situations. There can be a case made for the test to favor fiber insulators over rigid materials. Keeping that in mind, the R value of a material or system is still the best indicator of insulating properties, if only to show relationships from one to another.
All major garage door manufacturers offer insulated and non-insulated doors. You can find overhead and carriage garage doors of solid wood that offer very little insulating properties (R2 or R3). Ratings of 20+ can be obtained using 2”of rigid foam insulation surrounded by steel with half-inch thick polymer composite cladding molded from actual wood which replicates natural wood texture and intricate grain patterns. Of course your existing climate will be a big factor in determining how much insulation you will want.
Can I Insulate My Garage Door Myself?
If you have an uninsulated steel garage door you may want to consider insulating it yourself. Many manufacturers such as Johns Manville, Owens Corning, Lowes and others, provide DIY Kits. These kits range in price from around $130 to $150 for a residential double car garage door. You can expect to receive advertised R values from R6 to R 17 depending on the type of material used.
Garage Door Insulation Kits are relatively easy to install, normally taking about 2 hours, and do not require any disassembly of an installed garage door. These kits will come with pre-cut panels of insulation material, either vinyl backed fiberglass or laminated solid foam. Since all garage doors don’t have the same type of construction, you may be required to measure and cut each panel to provide a good fit.
Of course the best way to make sure you have a well insulated garage door is to have one installed when you replace your current door. Keep in mind all the factors involved in rating insulating properties and don’t just rely on any one number, and it goes without saying, make sure you get your new door from a reliable supplier. You can call or contact Steich Overhead Doors for any questions you might have concerning overhead doors.