Is an insulated garage door better then non-insulated?
Is there really a significant difference in Northern California?
Homeowners find themselves asking these question at some point while researching a new garage door – and rightfully so. There are significant differences between Insulated and Non-Insulated Garage Doors. The types of materials can vary greatly from Steel, Aluminum, Fiberglass, Vinyl and Wood. The most common garage doors today are made of Steel, so to keep things simple we’ll focus there.
Steel garage doors are typically offered in 3 different grades.
- 2-Layer Insulation
- 3-Layer Insulation
When trying to decide on which grade to purchase, you must consider 3 things: Cost, Strength and Durability, and R-Value.
Non-Insulated Garage Doors are generally the least expensive, the weakest and have 0 R-Value. (R-Value is a number used to rate how well something insulates from temperature) These doors tend to flex and bounce during operation - especially when it’s a 2-car sized door. This can cause metal fatigue over the years and the sections can crack and tear. They are also generally louder than Insulated Doors due to the sound resonance.
2-Layer Insulated Doors are a slightly better choice than the Non-Insulated Door. The added layer is a Polystyrene Insulation board that is inserted in the open spaces of the interior of the garage door. There is a Vinyl protective skin that adheres to the foam board. This added layer helps to strengthen the sections and adds R-value to the door.
3-Layer Insulated Doors typically come in two different grades. However, this will depend on the manufacturer of the door. The 3 layers are made up like a sandwich: Steel – Insulation – Steel. The lower grade will use a Polystyrene board in between the two layers of steel. The added layer of steel on the inside increases the strength of the sections dramatically and also adds R-Value.
The higher grade will use a Polyurethane Foam Injection. This method offers yet more strength and even more R-Value. The Polyurethane Insulated Doors are the top grade for these reasons, in addition to adding dent resistance. The foam injection fills the raised panel from top to bottom, front to back. Less air space between the sections means they are less susceptible to denting. 3-layer doors are also great if you are going to spend some time in the garage (for example: Laundry room, Workshop, Office, Playroom, etc...)
Also, remember, if your garage is attached to an entry way into your home, you can decrease costs on your monthly Heating and Cooling expenses by choosing an Insulated Garage Door.