Insulating Your Garage To Add Usable Space
If you’re hoping to use your garage as a space to exercise, work on a hobby or craft, or even turn into a mancave-style hangout spot, then you’ll need to plan out (and execute) some thorough insulation. Without insulation, your dream of a usable garage will be tossed aside as soon as the summer heat sets in.
Techniques To Insulate & Improve Garage Comfort
There are three distinct places that you should consider as areas to insulate your garage, some or all of which may have already been done or covered by a permanent finish; in any case, improving the insulation within your garage will come in one of these places: The floor, the walls (including garage door and windows), and the ceiling/attic/rafters. The following insulation methods can improve your garage’s temperature in one or more of these areas:
This is the type of insulation we are most familiar with, and it works best for installation between studs on a wall. This type of insulation is typically characterized by its paper backing and pink, cotton candy-esque interior. To install fiberglass insulation, all you need is a box cutter, plenty of the material, and access to unfinished walls. You can use this type of insulation on the ground level of your garage, or throughout the framing into the rafters and attic, but it does little good below the flooring.
The major benefits of this type of insulation are the ease of use and, above all, its affordability. You can basically go to the hardware store, buy plenty of insulation, and have a more temperate garage in a couple of hours. The drawbacks, as many will tell you, are the itchiness associated with fiberglass insulation, plus it is considered to be the “outdated” type of insulation, as it doesn’t compare equally to spray foam insulation in terms of efficiency and longevity.
Spray foam insulation actually has a couple of different purposes. While large-scale spray foam insulation, such as that which acts much like fiberglass insulation, is almost always performed by a company that specializes in this service, homeowners themselves can use a sort of spray foam to create a more thorough, insulated seal around windows and doors, regardless of their inner-wall insulation type.
The benefits of spray foam include its incredible efficiency, debatably quick installation process, and long-lasting benefits. To explain further, getting your garage spray foamed will require the work of a contractor, but they can get the entire project done very quickly, often in under a couple of hours. Once the foam is applied as a thin coat of liquid, it immediately swells up to provide a very efficient, tight seal against the outside elements. Obvious drawbacks include that it cannot be used under your garage floor, it will require more of an upfront cost, and also means that you’ll have to bring in a contractor to do the work.
This type of insulation is named after its trademark “blown-in” insulation technique, but can be made from numerous types of insulating materials, including fiberglass, cellulose, recycled newspaper, and even sheep’s wool! The basics of blown-in insulation are pretty simple: The contractor you hire will basically shoot loose, snow globe-esque insulation strands into your attic area, leaving a thick, puffy layer of insulation to keep heat locked in the attic and prevent it from leaking down into your garage.
The benefits of blown-in insulation are its overall effectiveness: For an attic space that will not be otherwise used, blown-in insulation will cause no disruption to the attic area, but keep heat locked upward and away from the living space below. Additionally, this type of insulation requires very, very little time to install, so you can typically save a good amount of money (when compared to any other contractor-based insulation type). The cons of blown-in insulation include losing your garage attic as a storage spot, the need for a contractor, and a less-optimal insulation solution than spray foam would be, and, of course, it requires that your attic have an accessible attic above the parking surface, not just rafters or already-converted living space.
The only really viable option for insulating your garage flooring include placing a moisture barrier below and using thin-packed, rigid foam insulation before applying your garage flooring. Atop the concrete base floor below, these layers act as an insulating “sandwich” that help to keep your floor from transferring the cold from the ground into your floor. If you plan to use your garage throughout the rainy San Francisco Bay Area months, you may want to consider an under-floor insulation, like a layer of insulation. Even without it, however, many homes in this warmer climate benefit more from insulating their walls and attic space, as the problem is usually too much warm air, not cold air. Still, it is something to consider, especially if you’ve noticed a chilly cement floor, as a new garage flooring wouldn’t necessarily solve that without insulation.
Doors & Windows
There are also plenty of ways to upgrade your garage’s energy efficiency surrounding your garge doors and windows. After all, the best insulation in the world won’t do you much good at all if you have an old, wooden garage door with visible gaps in it. In fact, simply insulating the inside of your garage door and upgrading any windows you may have would make a tremendous difference in most garages. Of special note, you should make sure that the rubber gasket at the bottom of the garage door is present and intact, as that is a tremendous deterrent for external temperature and pests alike.
This article is from https://www.garagesolutions.com/