Does Your Garage Need Weatherization?

Attached garages are often a source of energy loss in a home. The garage door is one obvious source, but it is not the only area to consider when thinking about garage weatherization improvements.

An attached garage, by definition, shares one or more walls with the house. The garage ceiling can also be the floor of a second story room. Both of these situations can lead to energy transfer, and energy loss, between the house and garage.

Many garages also have windows, and there is almost always a regular sized door between the house and garage. These are two other areas where garage weatherization improvements can make a difference in energy bills and comfort.

Many factors influence how much energy you can save by making weatherization improvements in the garage, or whether these improvements are worth the effort and expense. A lot depends on how you use your garage space and the climate where you live.

If you open and close your garage door frequently, but only use the space for parking, insulation and drywall on the interior garage walls that are shared with the house will result in energy savings and improved comfort inside the home.

In this situation, the temperature in the garage fluctuates widely each time you open the door during hot or cold weather. These temperature changes can then transfer into the house, if the shared walls are not insulated. The same applies to a garage ceiling under the floor of a second story room.

Many people do not park their car in the garage and do not open the garage door regularly but do frequently use the space for other household activities. Often, the garage is the location for the washer and dryer, recycling area, or pantry storage, making it more of an extension of the home workspace than a parking area. Many garages also function as a workshop or recreational space, and the door between the house and garage is opened many times a day.

In these cases, insulating and installing sheetrock on the exterior walls of the garage is likely to save money on heating and cooling while also making the space more user friendly in extreme weather.

Double glazing of windows in a frequently used garage also increases comfort and energy savings. Replacing old caulk around the window can also help. But, if the space is mostly used for parking, and the shared walls are insulated, upgrading garage windows becomes less important, unless they have deteriorated due to age.

Whatever the garage is used for, the door into the house is worth weatherizing. A solid core door with a sweep on the bottom and weather-stripping on the sides and top keeps heat transfer, drafts, and fumes from entering the house through this opening.

Of course, the garage door itself is a logical place for making garage weatherization improvements. If the door is made of a single panel of uninsulated metal or vinyl, this is a weatherization project worth doing in most cases.

Garage door insulation kits are one simple and inexpensive solution for the do-it-yourselfer. These kits contain sheets of pre-cut, rigid insulation which are glued in place. Look up the model and manufacturer of the door, and buy a kit made for that model.

There are several types of garage door sweeps for keeping a tight seal at the bottom of the door when it is closed. Even if your garage is not used a lot, a door sweep will keep the space cleaner and less drafty. A sweep also keeps out small animals and other pests.

On the outside of the garage door, cracks can develop between the door jamb and the wall letting drafts in and energy out. If these cracks are wider than one half inch, they should be filled with a spray foam sealant like Daptex Plus and then caulked. Smaller cracks can be filled directly with caulk and then painted.

Exterior, paintable caulk should be used for this repair. Silicone caulks are the longest lasting, but exterior latex caulk works fine in most situations, and it cleans up more easily.

Another solution is garage door replacement with a pre-insulated or solid wood garage door. A new garage door installed by an experienced garage door specialist will leave you with a safe, functional, and energy saving garage door. Garage door replacement can also give your home a boost on curbside appeal.