Best Ways to Insulate a Wood Garage Door

On their own, wood garage doors offer little thermal protection and are therefore poor insulators. Your garage may be too cold to be of any use. But you can add insulation, even to an older door, to make your garage more comfortable and energy efficient. We’ll explain how to insulate a wood garage door and what you need to consider.

What Is R-Value?

R-value measures the thermal resistance of a material or object. The higher the R-value the more resistant it is to heat flow and better it is at preventing heat loss. In many states, the minimum required R-value is R13, but a wood garage door often doesn’t have a rating of more than R2.17. A plywood garage door can be even lower. 

The R-value of an insulating material tells you its effectiveness. It’s determined by the type of insulation, its thickness, and its density. The right insulation will keep your garage warmer in the winter and cooler all summer long. 

Here’s a look at the optimal R-value depending on the type of garage:

  • Detached Garage: R0 to R6
  • Attached Garage: R7 to R9
  • Heated Garage: R10 to R13
  • Garage with Living Space Above: R14+

Is My Garage Door Insulated?

If your garage door has built-in insulation, look for white Styrofoam in between silver bars. Models with a thicker material often have a higher thermal resistance. Not all older doors are insulated as today’s standards are much stricter and more specific than those of the past.

Determine the Best Type of Insulation

There are different types of insulating materials. The best insulation for wooden frame-and-panel garage doors is foam board. The most common choices include:

  • Polystyrene: Expanded polystyrene foam boards can range from R2 to R10. They are usually simple and affordable to install.
  • Polyurethane: Polyurethane foam is versatile. It’s often used for kitchen sponges and is found in everything from medical dressings to sculptures. Ratings from R10 to R17.5 suit it for colder climates.

You can also purchase a new garage door that has built-in insulation. The purchase price, cost of materials, and professional installation are higher than standard units.

General Steps to Insulating a Wood Garage Door

Follow these steps if you’re updating an existing door:

  • Place a mark on both sides of each door panel, vertically centered and 12 inches from each side.
  • Stick double-sided tape to these pre-marked locations, and remove the front peel.
  • Press a retainer clip onto the front of each piece of tape on the panel.
  • Measure the panels, and write every measurement down as each panel may be a different size.
  • Cut each section of insulation individually for each panel; it should be an inch or two longer than the panel’s measurements.
  • Tuck the ends of the insulating material into the door panel. If the insulator is vinyl, face the vinyl side outward; if it is reflective, the reflective side should face outward.
  • Press the insulation to feel the retention clips; then cut ½ inch slits to fit the front parts of the clips and secure them to the back pieces.

Installing Foam Boards

When installing foam board insulation, take measurements and cut each foam board to size with a utility knife. At the back of each panel, apply the adhesive, creating an “X” mark, and then place the cut-to-fit boards into each panel. Using a rubber mallet, hit the material with enough pressure so it fits snuggly into the panel, and repeat for the rest of the panels on the door.

When insulating the door, be attentive to its design. Additional material may be needed if the panels are larger than average. If the door does not have panels, cut insulating boards to the full size of the door or cut multiple pieces that will cover its complete surface.

Contact Mesa Garage Doors for the Latest Options

We provide and install many types and styles of garage doors in the Los Angeles area. Whether you’re looking to improve the look of your exterior, the function of your garage, or your garage door’s insulation, our team can help. Our professionals can install an insulated wood garage door as well. To schedule an appointment or book a free estimate, contact us online or call (714) 975-5951.