Many homeowners fail to think about home insulation until facing the winter months, when it should be a year-round consideration. After all, home insulation has just as much impact on your cooling costs during the summer. All windows, doors and vents need efficient insulation in order to keep the warm air out and the cool air inside the home - and those doors in the home include those in the garage.

You may not realize it, but the garage door is likely the largest uninsulated area in your home. When the garage is part of your home, leaving it uninsulated means you will have higher energy bills throughout the year. You're also leaving yourself open to moisture damage within your home.

Installing garage insulation is one of the least expensive and easiest DIY projects you can undertake. There's no real reason why you shouldn't be able to tackle it on your own. You'll be saving money and lowering your family's carbon footprint at the same time.

Your Attached Garage

If your garage is part of the home's structure, taking steps to insulate it makes as much sense as any other space in the house. Neglecting it means you are leaving the garage open for a large amount of heat to escape. The shared walls mean your heating and air conditioning system will have to work harder to keep your entire home warm or cool. The warm air entering your home through the garage will be able to access the rest of the house far easier than if the garage was a separate structure.

How to Insulate your Garage Door

Hot and cold air easily works its way beneath garage doors, so the first step in insulating the door is to apply weather stripping to the bottom edge of the garage door and the door leading from the garage into the main living area.

Reflective Foil Insulation

Once the weather stripping is installed, you have a couple of options. The first one is to install reflective foil insulation on the interior surface of the garage door. Available in rigid boards or rolls, this type of insulation has highly reflective aluminum foil applied to one or both sides of the base materials, such as cardboard and polyethylene bubbles. This type of insulation reflects radiant heat from outdoors, making it a good insulation choice for garages that heat up in summer or hot climates.

Polystyrene Panels

Another option is installing polystyrene panels or foam board, which is cut into measured sections, then secured to the interior of the garage door with specialized adhesives. They look less utilitarian than the reflective vinyl insulation and have a higher R-value (capacity to resist heat flow). While this insulation is slightly harder to work with than reflective rolls, it is a better insulator than reflective panels or rolls.

You can buy either type of insulation material in a kit from your local hardware store or home improvement center. The kits usually contain the insulating material, tape, a straight-edge razor and a utility knife.

Installation Process

To install the insulation, thoroughly clean the garage door and allow it to dry. Rubbing alcohol is useful for this because it dries quickly. Measure the length and width of the garage door to ensure that you have enough materials to insulate it. Measure the length and width of the cavities in the door and mark all of your measurements.

Using your utility knife, cut the insulating material according to the door measurements. If you decided to use composite material, most of the cutting may have already been done for you. If not, you should be able to slice through the material with the knife quite easily.

If you are using foil, take a piece of double-sided tape and attach it to the insulating material. Place it carefully inside the ridges on the inside of the garage door, taking care to make sure there are no air bubbles beneath the foil. No part of the garage door section should be visible when you are through.

If you are using panels, measure the ridges in the garage door and cut the panels to size. Apply a coating of spray adhesive to the insulating material and a small amount on the garage door, if you wish. Firmly press each panel to the garage door.

Insulation Costs

Depending on the size of your garage, this project is usually inexpensive, especially when you consider the nearly immediate savings on your utility bills. All of the materials needed to insulate an average two-car garage door should run little more than $100.

Frugal Village