September 9, 2016

R-Value 101: insulation and garage doors

R-Value - Hot and cold

Would you like to reduce your energy bills while also reducing your impact on the environment? We all know there are little things we can do to decrease climate change. We can also choose sustainable materials and energy efficient products. When it comes to garage doors, manufacturers label their products with an R‑value. But what does that number mean? What do I need to know before purchasing my next garage door?

R‑value… what does it mean?

Different materials have different levels of thermal conductivity. Some allow heat to pass easily, for example, while others don’t. R‑value is a measurement of thermal resistance – or how much it resists temperature transfers. A high R‑value means the product or material offers a high level of insulation.

What is garage door insulation made of?

There are two kinds of insulation used in garage doors: polyurethane and polystyrene. Polyurethane surpasses polystyrene; it provides better thermal resistance (or has a higher R‑value) and it sticks to the walls of a garage door. This makes for a stronger final product.

Since it has a certain bendability, polyurethane is also found in products like home entry doors and automobile bumpers.

The second product, polystyrene, is used to make various items, like one-use coffee cups and protective packing materials. For garage doors, polystyrene can be inserted between the steel walls that make up each panel, or bonded to the back of a single layer door.

Insulation: is it the only thing to consider?

Even with the highest R‑value on the market, if a garage door isn’t built with proper weatherproofing, you’ll lose out. Seek out a garage door with weather-stripping between sections, at the bottom of the door, and above all, around the exterior frame. Each strip should stay flexible in the cold.

Which R‑value should I choose for my garage door?

Do you have an attached or detached garage?

  • If it is attached, it is likely well insulated; even more so if there are bedrooms over the garage. Choose a door with a value of R‑12 or higher, and check for appropriate weatherstripping.
  • If your garage is detached, is it insulated?
    • If so, choose a door with a value higher than R‑10, which is especially important if you heat the space.
    • If not, a door without insulation or one with an R‑6 value will be enough.

Will I need to heat my garage if I install a door with an R‑16 value?

That answer will vary… it all depends on where you live. If your winters are cold, you may need to heat your garage on occasion. If your family uses the garage for do‑it‑yourself projects or as a play area, you will want the space to be comfortable.

Here’s something you may find interesting: when parking in your garage, the heat that radiates from your car’s engine will keep your garage above the freezing mark. Heat also transfers from the inside of your home to the garage whenever you use the door that connects the two.

Lastly, it you live in a warm part of the country, a garage door with a value of R‑16 will shield your home from the heat and humidity, which reduces your cooling costs.

For the purchase of a new garage door, an electric door opener, or to schedule an annual maintenance, contact us today! Book an appointment using our online form or call us directly at 506-450-3031. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have! We will work with you to make your next garage door one you will be proud of for years to come.

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