Garage insulation may seem optional, when other more obvious home improvements vie for limited dollars. But with rising fuel costs, it’s a good idea to take a close look at all the ways it could make good sense, and good cents, to insulate all or part of the garage.
This is particularly true for the attached garage. Insulation of common walls shared by the garage and the main living space is obviously of great importance. This includes the ceiling of the garage if there is living space above. All too often, there is great heat loss or gain through these walls, because the air in the garage can rise or fall to temperatures that are even more extreme than those outside. It is therefore almost more important to insulate the walls between the garage and the house as it is to insulate the house’s exterior walls.
Other reasons to insulate these walls include sound proofing, especially if the garage is ever used as a workshop. Perhaps the garage will someday provide a safe place to set up a generator for times when the power goes out. By opening the garage door wide and placing the generator in a safe position, adequate ventilation can be arranged, and the sound barrier between garage and home would be much appreciated by occupants of the house. Maybe the garage will someday serve as a practice room for the budding rock musician in your family, young or old. Or maybe it’s where you will lock the barking dog.
Proper insulation between the house and garage also serves a safety function, making it less likely that fire or fumes will spread between the two spaces.
A thorough evaluation of the insulation or lack of insulation in such walls should include careful examination to see if there are any holes between living and garage spaces, and whether the spaces around the doors are airtight.
Next, consider the reasons to insulate the exterior garage walls, including the roof, if there is no living space above. Insulating these exterior walls makes the temperatures inside the garage less extreme. This adds to the effectiveness of the insulation barrier between the house and garage and it also keeps the contents of the garage in a better temperature range.
Now, let’s consider the unattached garage. If you live in a cold climate and store your car in the garage, good insulation means your car will not be as exposed to the kinds of temperatures that can make it difficult to start in the morning. Conversely, if you keep your car in the garage in a hot climate, good insulation will mean your car will not have to endure such extreme temperatures. Nor will you, when you enter it.
If you use your unattached garage for storage or as a work area, the effect of insulation on your comfort and on the items you store will be beneficial. And if you heat or cool the garage for these purposes, then your energy bills will be that much less with good insulation.
It may be tempting to consider DIY spray insulation, especially if you decide to insulate only a small area. Keep in mind how quick and easy expanding foam insulation can be, especially if you already have finished walls in the garage, or if you will be insulating the ceiling. It’s definitely worth talking with a spray foam insulation contractor when you consider all your options for how to best complete your garage insulation project.