Should I Insulate My Garage?
If you spend time in the garage, heat your garage in the winter (or believe your attached garage is affecting your home’s heating efficiency), insulating it can be a smart investment. If you’re affected by hot weather, it can also help to regulate the temperature swings that cause humidity!
Before you start, learn the pros and cons of insulating a garage and the best ways to go about the project …
Pros and Cons of Insulating a Garage
Homeowners have different motivations and goals for insulating an unheated space that usually lacks insulation. While this list focuses primarily on garages that share at least one wall with your home, many of these considerations extend to unattached garages, sheds, and outbuildings
Why You Should Insulate Your Garage
Depending on your needs, there’s plenty of upside to having an insulated garage. Here are some of the most common:
Additional living space – Having an insulated space to work, relax, or spend time is a plus for many families. The average two-car garage in the US is around 18 feet wide and 20 feet deep. That’s a substantial footprint for storage, a workspace, or an area for fun games with the kids that might be a bit too rough for the living room.
Sound insulation – Insulating an attached garage can reduce the noise of cars starting or the garage door motor opening and shutting. This is a welcome blessing for parents with babies or toddlers sleeping near that area of the home.
Humidity regulation – Temperature swings can cause humidity and moisture in garages that can lead to mold or mildew over long periods. Insulation can reduce temperature swings and help keep humidity in check.
Energy savings – Insulating an attached garage can also improve your home’s energy efficiency. Homes with a bedroom over the garage often experience a draft from the cold garage underneath. If you use central heating or a space heater in your garage for year-round access to your workshop, insulating the garage is an especially sound investment.
Why You Shouldn’t Insulate Your Garage
Here’s why insulating your garage or outbuilding may not achieve the results you’re hoping for:
Expense – Depending on the size of your garage and how much insulation you’ll need, insulating your garage can be costly. Calculate the amount of insulation you’ll need for the job and whether you plan on finishing your garage with drywall to hide the insulation (an additional expense).
Extended return on investment – If you don’t already pay to heat your garage during the cold-weather months, the amount of energy you’ll save might take years or decades to pay for itself. That is, if your main goal is to improve energy efficiency, there may be more effective ways to go about it: consider energy-efficient windows, insulating attics or crawl spaces, or explore more energy-efficient home heating or cooling methods like heat pumps, which can also vastly reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
Garage door heat loss – The simple act of opening your garage door acts to defeat the intention of the insulation, allowing cold air (or hot summer air) into the space. Even when they’re closed, garage doors pose air leak problems and are expensive to insulate.
Should I Insulate My Garage Ceiling?
A fully insulated attached garage may be too expensive—and it may not be necessary. Instead, start by focusing on the two touchpoints that matter most: the ceiling and the shared wall.
- Insulate your garage ceiling using roll-up insulation or spray-in insulation to reduce the impact of cold air on the room above it. In most cases, you’ll feel a noticeable difference in the space above your garage and experience fewer issues with cold spots.
- Insulate the shared wall of your garage and home. This can improve heat retention in winter and reduce noise from the garage, as well.
Are Attached Garages Insulated?
In most cases, neither attached nor unattached garages are insulated during construction. If your garage has wood or drywall, try looking behind the drywall for signs of insulation. Adding insulation to an attached garage does create energy savings, especially if you live in a colder climate.
Is It Worth It to Insulate a Detached Garage?
Insulating your detached garage won’t improve your home’s energy efficiency, but it can still be a good investment if you plan to heat the space. (Running propane or a portable indoor-safe space heater in a detached garage or pole barn can make a workshop or storage space comfortable in the colder months.)
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