How to Improve Your Garage's Insulation

As the cold weather approaches, it's time once more to winterize your home. These tips will help keep you comfortable and save you money this winter!

Getting your home ready for winter can be a stressful, hectic process. There's so much to do! You need to take care of your landscaping, check your heating system, make sure that any gaps are sealed that might let cold air in, and so much more. To help simplify things for you, we've developed a handy checklist so that you can easily winterize your garage without forgetting a thing.

However, there's more value here than just a checklist. We've also come up with the most cost-effective ways to winterize your garage. It's never been easier to reduce your utility costs!

This garage door is an Eastman E-21 design, 9' x 7' size, Ice White doors and overlays, 8 lite Orion windows.

Is this your style? These 1-car garage doors are in the Eastman E-21 Design, 9' x 7', Ice White doors and overlays, 8 lite Orion windows.

Pay Attention to Your Garage Door First

This garage door is an Eastman E-21 design, 9' x 7' size, Ice White doors and overlays, 8 lite Orion windows.

Love this option? This garage door is the North Hatley LP Design, 9’ x 7’, Desert Sand Color, windows with Richmond Inserts.

R-Values and Your Garage Door

When the outdoor temperature drops, so does the temperature in your garage. If there's air infiltration, that drop will be very fast. Slowing down that temperature drop requires good insulation. Insulation's job is to keep warmth in and cold out, and its ability to do that is described by its R-value, which measures the resistance to conductive heat flow in both directions.

The higher the R-value, the better performing the insulation will be. What level do you need? It really depends on where you live. If you live in a very temperate area where the winter and summer highs are pretty close together and there's little chance of snow, you can get away with lower R-values. However, if you live in an area where wintertime temps plunge, you'll need higher R-values. Your requirements also vary based on installation location. Your floor does not need the same R-value as your roof, for instance.

What about Thermal Protection for Your Garage?

Like any other door, your garage door represents a break in the exterior wall. That means it affects the temperature inside your garage, which can drive energy costs up. Of course, the actual R-value of your garage door will depend on a few things:


If you're looking to protect against significant cold, you'll need R-16 thermal resistance. If you're not in an area that sees a great deal of cold, R-12 is probably adequate.

Attached vs. detached

If your garage is not attached to the home, then cold penetrating the space will not really affect your energy bills unless you choose to heat the space. An attached garage, on the other hand, can directly affect your energy costs and should have a rating of at least R-12.


If you don't use your garage very much, a rating of R-12 is probably fine. However, if there is living space above the garage, you'll want a rating of R-16.

Types of Insulation

Garage doors today can be made with one of two types of insulation:

Polyurethane foam can be injected between the front and rear panels of the garage door. As it enters the space, it expands and fills the void. Not only does it provide good resistance to thermal transfer, but it also adds rigidity that helps make the door even more solid and stable.

Polystyrene is Styrofoam – the same material used to create cheap, disposable coolers. It's less effective at preventing heat loss and lacks the strength and density of polyurethane foam.

See the difference between polyurethane (on the left) and polystyrene (on the right) insulation for garage doors

You can clearly see the differences between polyurethane (on the left) and polystyrene (on the right) insulation for garage doors.

Beyond door insulation

Mind the Gap

Close your garage door during the day and look at the bottom. Can you see daylight? Even if you can't, you might have a gap where the garage door weatherstripping is located. Verify that the door seals completely to help prevent cold air from bleeding in during the winter.

Adjust Your Opener

Your garage door opener may be adjustable. This allows you to fine-tune it so that you keep the door as close to the bottom of the floor as possible. Your user manual should explain how to do this.

Sides and Top

Just like the bottom, you may have gaps on the sides and at the top of the garage door. Check your perimeter weatherstripping for damage, as well as the gap at the top where the stop molding should be located.

What about the Walls and Ceiling?

While your garage door can allow a great deal of heat out of your space, the walls and ceiling also need to be properly insulated. If they are not, it's time to make a change. Your walls should have a lower R-value than the ceiling because hot air rises, making it more important to prevent escape from above than from the sides. A professional can help ensure that you get the right insulation materials and R-level for your needs.

With that being said, you can always insulate the garage on your own. Just follow these four simple steps provided by

#1. Make sure your garage walls are clean.

#2. Locate any damage, repair it, and seal gaps around the garage.

#3. Add fiberglass insulation to the walls and ceiling.

#4. Install sheetrock over the insulation and wall studs.

You'll also find a good discussion about the different types of insulation available to you, including the pros and cons of both. We recommend following the blog to get some important insights into protecting your garage this winter.

Insulate your walls to save energy costs with foam.

Want to save money and energy? The key is insulation in the walls and ceiling! Image from Pixabay.

Pay Attention to the Windows

Like your garage door, windows are gaps in the protection against cold. They do allow natural light in, but they need to be installed correctly or you'll find that you use a great deal more energy. How do you seal your windows? Here are some important tips:


Weatherstrip tape is an affordable, simple way to make your garage more energy efficient and seal gaps around your windows. Just cut it to fit and install it around the window frame.


Check the caulking around your windows. Over time, it dries out, cracks, and shrinks. Replacing it can make a big difference in your energy use. Check out this article to learn more about choosing caulk for your windows.

Window Treatments

Even the most insulated window will still transfer some heat. You can reduce that by using window treatments like curtains or blinds. The thicker the material, the more energy-efficient your garage will be.

Electrical Outlets and Light Switches

When was the last time you thought about sealing your electrical outlets and light switches? Conservation Mart points out that up to 5% of air infiltration in a space comes from these two sources. Not sure how to go about insulating those against thermal loss? Here are 7 simple solutions that can help. You'll also learn a few things about junction boxes. For instance, you'll learn how to install foam gaskets that fit under the outlet faceplate to seal small cracks and stop cold air from entering.

How to Reduce Garage Condensation

Do you ever notice condensation on the inside of your garage door or other surfaces in the garage? It's not uncommon and occurs when cold surfaces come into contact with moisture.

Eliminating Water

One of the most important things to do to prevent condensation is to ensure that water flows away from your garage door instead of toward and under it. The concrete outside the door should slope away. The interior floor should also slope down and out. Too much humidity in the garage can actually prevent the space from warming up correctly. It can also encourage mold and bacteria to thrive.

A garage door that keeps rainwater from running in your garage.

This is a good example of a properly sealed garage door with the right floor finish to help prevent water leaks.

If you're struggling with moisture, we recommend adding a dehumidifier to your space. This will pull moisture out of the air. A floor coating is another good addition.

Add Heat to the Space

You'll find plenty of heating options on the market today. For instance, you might use a space heater or go big with radiant floor heating. Why should you bother, though? Here are just a few reasons:

● Prevents door parts and pipes from freezing

● Protects possessions against cold-related damage

● Eliminates moisture

● Helps extend the life of your car battery

● Reduces indoor temperature loss

Questions about Garage Door Installation? We Have the Answers!

By this point, you should be ready to correctly insulate your entire garage and you're even armed with some other important tips.

What about maintaining and repairing your garage door, though?

If your garage door has seen better days, you might be tempted to replace it. Before you do, let the specialists at DSI North Door Systems give you the benefit of their insight and expertise. In many cases, we can renew your old door with brand new lift cables, springs, and more. Whatever hardware accessories you need, we have them.

What should you do if your garage door is the primary reason that you can't keep a stable temperature in the garage? If it's time to replace it, contact us at 1-800-425-0662!

Buying a garage door is a big decision. You have to consider things like the color, the style, window placement, and so much more. Our garage door experts are here to help you make an informed decision and find the right door for your home and your budget.

Where do you start? Check out our image gallery that highlights residential garage doors so you can find something that looks like your home and see how various doors will work. We also think that our Design Centre is worth your time, as it allows you to virtually try on different doors with an image of your home.

When you're ready to move forward, just request a free quote by email! We look forward to serving your needs and helping you keep your garage warm and protected this winter.

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