How to Insulate an Existing Overhead Door

An insulated garage door adds to your garage and home's energy efficiency.
An insulated garage door adds to your garage and home's energy efficiency. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Garage doors that move overhead when open usually don't offer much in the way of insulation when closed. With nothing more than thin metal standing between the garage and the weather outdoors, you'll need to add aftermarket insulation if you want to warm or cool your garage. Adding insulation to a garage door also creates a buffer between the outside and the inside of your home, since a garage door typically represents between 20 percent and 40 percent of one side of the home.

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Preparation Saves Time

The garage offers an extra space to work on hobbies or projects year-round. Home improvement, hardware and even garage door companies all carry special kits for insulating an existing overhead garage door. Clean the interior surface of the garage door to ready it for insulation installation. Remove dust, cobwebs or any debris by scrubbing it with a stiff bristle brush and soapy warm water. Rinse clean and dry.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Insulation kits for garage doors typically come in packages for single garage doors. You may need two single door kits for a double-car garage door. To make certain you get enough insulation for your garage door, complete measurements on the door twice. Measure the width of the garage door and its height for the overall measurement. You will also need to measure each individual garage door panel, typically consisting of two panes, for cutting the insulation to fit each panel. Add an inch to individual panel measurement for tight-fitting insulation. Measure twice to make certain your measurements are accurate. Write the measurements down.

Pick the Right Kit

Review the choices available for your specific door before buying. Pick the kit that best matches your overhead door's configuration. Some kits come with vinyl or foil-faced insulation meant for each panel of your overhead garage door, retainer clips and tape for small rips that might occur during installation. Other kits may include solid foam panels for specific door types. If you buy the insulation without a kit, make certain you get enough insulation for each overhead door panel and don't forget retainer clips, two-sided adhesive tape and vinyl or foil tape for repairs.

Installation Tips

Wear gloves when you install the insulation on the door. Remove the insulation from its packaging and lay the panels on a flat surface. After marking the center of each individual pane in one door panel, remove the backing from one side of the adhesive tape from your kit and place it on the mark. To attach the retainer clip to the adhesive, remove the paper backing that faces you. Employ a utility knife and straightedge to cut the insulation to fit your earlier individual panel measurements. Tuck the insulation into the door panel with the vinyl or foil side facing you, pressing it against the retainer clip center out. Cut a small X over the retainer clip with the utility knife to expose it through the insulation. Secure the cover clip into the retainer clip to hold the insulation in place. Repeat for each overhead garage door panel.


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