An amazingly effective, yet simple, home improvement project


As part of our recent home upgrades, we decided to invest in an insulated garage door, properly fitted and snugged up to the walls, with side and top sealing strips mounted externally to minimize air exchange between outside and inside.  We considered insulating our existing double garage door, a metal economy unit, but it had been poorly installed (long before we bought our home) and would have required re-mounting to be more weatherproof.  In addition, the old motor had ceased to function, requiring manual opening and closing.  We decided that since we had all that work to do, it would be simpler and easier (although more expensive) to just buy a new, factory-insulated door and motor, and have them professionally installed.

We turned to Overhead Door, the original suppliers of such hardware.  They’re expensive compared to their competition, but their reputation is second to none, and they have an excellent warranty.  Thanks to supply chain issues, it took five months to get the door here and install it, but that finally happened – and the results have exceeded all our expectations.  From being a hothouse in summer and an icebox in winter, our garage now maintains a much more even temperature (aided by a single HVAC outlet we installed there when we upgraded the house system).  It’s a few degrees warmer than the house in summer, and will doubtless be a few degrees cooler in winter, but it’s now a place where it’s comfortable to work.  It’s also no longer a heat or cold sink affecting the temperature in the house, making the HVAC work harder to compensate.  The improvement is so marked that I wish we’d done this years ago.

A more temperature-stable garage has the advantage that you can store more delicate items there (e.g. food reserves, etc.) with less risk of them spoiling or going “off”.  Another advantage:  in an emergency, we can put mattresses on our garage floor and sleep a dozen people there in reasonable comfort, whether it’s 100 degrees plus during north Texas summers or down in the teens during winter.  Previously, that would have been unthinkable, as the uninsulated garage usually matched the outside temperature.  In high summer, it was like a sauna (to the pleasure of our cats, but not Miss D. and I!), and in winter it was an icebox (sometimes literally – bottled water froze).  Not any more.

I recommend very strongly that if you haven’t insulated your garage door, and had it properly sealed to minimize the exchange of air, dust, bugs, etc. between inside and outside, that you do so as quickly as possible.  It’s made a huge difference to our home.  Yes, the process can be expensive, but there are cheaper work-arounds.  You’ll probably need a garage door technician to re-mount or adjust your door if it’s a loose fit to the wall, but that’s a very important part of the improvement, so it’s worth paying for.  As for an insulated door, if you can’t afford one, buy an inexpensive garage door insulation kit, available from most hardware stores or online.  We fitted one to the plain metal garage door on our outside shed, and have found it’s probably at least 80% as efficient as the purpose-built insulated double door on our garage.  That sort of improvement is good value for money.

All in all, I’m very happy with the added “livability” the insulated garage door has brought to our home.  I highly recommend it as a worthwhile home improvement project.



  1. In my experience, with anything other than the cheapest (and thinnest) doors, getting good seals around it makes a HUGE difference – as with any door or window.
    I've read claims that in winter, a quarter of heat loss from the average house is through doors and windows.

  2. I agree with Peter, it's an easy and very effective upgrade. I just screwed 3/4" foil covered foam board to the back of my door, cutting to match the door segments. Took about an hour, cost less than $100, and made a HUGE difference in temps in the garage.

    I've seen people use the 1" fiberglas ceiling tiles inserted into the back of their doors, and I've seen the foil "bubble wrap" style insulation taped to the back of the door. Both work better than nothing. Neither would break the bank.

    The sealing around and under the door helps tremendously too. If light gets around your door, air will too.

    I get MUCH better storage for my hurricane preps now.

  3. We swapped out our old, wooden garage door for a new insulated one from Overhead Door last December. From order to install was less than two weeks, because they apparently had it in stock locally. It has made a huge difference.


  4. I heavily recommend paying someone if mounting, re-mounting, or otherwise replacing garage doors!

    Had an old style door, the kind with two hanging springs (one of each side) connected with multiple cables, pulleys, etc. After the wife, ahem, accidentally backed into the door and knocked it off it's tracks, I decided to do all the repair work myself. At one point a cable had a come apart. One big spring, under tension, let loose and flew one way across the garage, hit something solid, then rebound and flew back across the garage and through a double layer of sheetrock into the finished basement. I was doing my best to crawl under the concrete floor as various bits of hardware flew in multiple directions all at once.

    Most new doors have the spring "captured" so that doesn't happen anymore, but man there is some stored energy in those things.

  5. Don:
    Current replacement garage door springs are required to have a builtin retaining design to stop those unrestrained flights across the garage. These have been available for at least 20 years.

    Replace all door springs with the newer design now, don't wait for them to break first. The new parts are inside the coil, so the fit of the springs doesn't change. Part of the design is they also are retained at the mounting ends, so no matter where they break, they can't launch/travel anywhere. Still makes a hell of a bang!

  6. I've gone both ways, home-brew and factory insulation. The locations aren't really comparable aside from hot. One was in SE Arizona at 4000 feet and the second in metro Phoenix.

    First place had 2×6 insulated walls and a foot of blown ceiling insulation. The home-brew was simply panels of the blue siding insulation cut to fit and stuffed into the door. Blue versus white as it is far cleaner to work with and is easily painted. With dark gray doors facing southwest we saw temps 30 degrees above outside before the change, after only a few degrees. Better doors or even color would have been good but we were planing on selling in a couple years and wanted the least investment possible.

    Now in a much warmer area (but wiser) we had a pale cream factory insulated door installed when we moved in. It is facing directly south. We didn't do a lot to improve the gap sealing as cold is rarely an issue here. With the new door we originally saw temps 20 degrees higher, we have no clue what the old door that was dark brown performed like, just knew it couldn't be good.

    As we were upgrading the insulation in the rest of the house a few months later we put a layer (blown in) in the garage too. We have a south facing tile roof with very poor ventilation over the garage area that really heated that attic space. Didn't insulate the walls as they are stucco and have a 2" foam layer already. Now inside temps are well below outside temps in the summer and warmer in the winter. The cost was minimal as an add-on to the original insulation upgrade job and well worth it. You can also rent a blower and do it yourself, or have a grand kid do it.

    Bringing the car home and directly inside during the summer does give us a big rise, letting it sit out for an hour plus, far less. In winter we see it as free-heat.

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