Whether your garage doubles as a machine shop, sports equipment storage, or only houses cars, insulating your garage is a smart investment for the money. If your garage is attached to the house, insulating your garage will lower heating and cooling bills for your house. Even if it isn’t attached, insulating your garage will help mediate the temperature within, protecting whatever is inside from wide variances of temperature.
The best plan for insulating your garage will cover four areas: walls, floor, roof and the garage door. The first area of consideration should be the walls and ceiling of your garage. In order to know what type of insulation to use, take a look at your walls and how they are constructed. Masonry walls are more difficult to insulate, and may not be worth the added cost. However, the R-value, or insulating property, of a masonry wall is already far greater than other types of walls. Most likely, the walls of your garage are of stud construction. The studs may be enclosed on the inside or open to the interior.
If the studs are open to the interior, that is are visible from the inside, your best, and most economical option will be batt or blanket insulation. The three things to consider when buying insulation is size, material, and R-value. To determine the size of insulation you will need, measure the depth of the stud, and the distance between studs, and buy insulation that corresponds with these measurements. The next thing to consider is the R-value of the insulation. A higher R-value is indicative of a better quality of insulation. The final thing to consider is the material the blanket insulation is made of. The most common type of blanket insulation is fiberglass, but blanket insulation is made of less abrasive materials as well, such as cotton.
Installing insulation between open studs is a straightforward task. If you are using fiberglass, make sure to cover exposed skin, being sure to wear a facemask and gloves. Fiberglass can be extremely itchy, and can do damage to your lungs if inhaled, so be sure to take precautions. Cotton insulation requires less protective gear, although a facemask to protect yourself from dust may be a good idea.
Measure the amount of insulation you need so that it can run parallel to the studs, and carefully cut it with a utility knife. Apply the insulation so the paper on one side is facing you. Then, using a staple gun, attach the narrow lip of paper on each side of the insulation to the stud. Plan on spacing your staples about every 4 inches, and staple both sides of the insulation to the adjacent stud.
After all the insulation is installed, you should decide how you want to enclose the insulation. Drywall is a common choice, and the walls can be finished just like another room in your home. Pegboard is another good choice, which is easily applied, and then can be used for vertical storage opportunities. A careful beginner can install either of these materials. If you are not interested in doing it yourself hire a contractor. The cost should be minimal and the work could be completed in a few days.
If your studs are already enclosed, the best option is to hire a professional. In an already enclosed space, most likely the best option will be spray foam insulation. When this type of insulation is used, a hole is made in the interior wall and the insulation is blown into the cavity. It then expands, filling the entire area with millions of air filled cells. When hiring a professional to do this, ask if they are including the cost to repair the holes in the interior in the quote. Some contractors do not include this service in their price, leaving you with a well-insulated garage that is in need of some cosmetic work.
Once the ceiling and walls are insulated, take a look at your garage door. Many garage doors are made of thin metal that has a very low R-value. Other doors leave a large crack between where the floor begins and they end. The best way to resolve these problems is to buy an insulated garage door and have a professional install it.
The floor of your garage is the last area to consider. Most of the time a garage has a concrete floor that provides adequate insulation. However, you might decide to change the floor for cosmetic or even practical reasons that relate to the use of the garage. There are many options for the floor of your garage, ranging from floor tiles to insulated metal diamond plate. The cost can also vary between flooring, so be sure to do your homework before you buy. If you are not interested in buying flooring, consider painting and sealing the floor. Be sure to buy products that are specifically made for garages, and they will repel stains and dirt far better than a concrete slab.