Garage Insulation - Everything You Can Do to Make Your Garage More Liveable

Insulation
Garage
By Alex Mikayelyan November 25, 2021

If you’re looking to turn your garage into something more liveable, then you’ll want to create the proper conditions for this. Installing utilities such as plumbing, heating, gas, and electricity are a great start, but what’s the use of any of these additions if the interior of your garage is not at a liveable temperature.

At the end of the day, the fundamental reason for your comfort or discomfort is going to be how you feel in a particular room. If your garage is too hot or too cold, no matter how many additions you make to your garage, it’s not going to be liveable. You could have the most cutting-edge entertainment system with an 8K screen, theater-quality surround sound, and the most comfortable massage chair and it would make no difference if you and your guests are freezing. The best place to start in your journey of turning your garage into a liveable space is with insulation, and there are four elements of insulation you need to consider.

Walls

Types of Wall Insulation to Use for the Garage

Types of Wall Insulation to Use for the Garage

Wall insulation is crucial for making your garage more liveable. Garage wall insulation will prevent cold air from entering the interior and will keep the warmth from leaving. While you will need some form of heating to make the garage warm in the first place, even the best HVAC system won’t be able to keep it warm unless you have proper wall insulation.

Fiberglass 

Among the most trusted materials for insulating walls is fiberglass. Thanks to the air between each fiber of the material, fiberglass insulation increases heat retention in the room, creating an airtight seal from which very little heat can escape. It is perfect for small spaces such as a garage and it is also mold-resistant, making it a perfect option for a garage, which is always susceptible to leaks.

Fiberglass insulation costs anywhere from $0.50 to $1.50 per square foot. Installation is relatively easy, as you simply need to staple each fiberglass batt in between the stud beams of your garage wall frames. It is also best to cover the fiberglass insulation with drywall, as you don’t want it to flake into the room. 

Spray Foam

Spray insulation is another great way of creating an airtight seal inside your garage that prevents heat from escaping. With an R-value of 3.5 to 4, spray foam insulation is a great option for garage walls that have pipes, wires, and other misalignments on the walls. With other, more rigid forms of insulation, you would have to cut around these details.

Spray foam insulation, however, does not have this problem since it is sprayed on the spot into the exact areas on the walls that need to be insulated. Several factors contribute to the pricing of spray foam insulation. 

Ceiling

What Ceiling Insulation Options You Can Pick

What Ceiling Insulation Options You Can Pick

Since heat rises, it can easily escape through an uninsulated ceiling. This is why it’s so important to have garage ceiling insulation, as this will trap all that heat from escaping, keeping the space more liveable.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass fits the bill for many types of insulation and this includes the ceiling. The mass of fibers in each fiberglass batt will trap heat from escaping through the ceiling, as there are a ton of air pockets inside the material which act as the perfect insulator.

But do keep in mind that, before the installation of fiberglass batts, you need to give the garage roof a thorough inspection. Fiberglass batts are not waterproof, which means that if they come into contact with water they may get damaged. Once water gets on the fiberglass it ruins the material, making it an ineffective insulator. So, ensure that your garage roof is completely patched up before installing fiberglass insulation.

Cotton Insulation

On the topic of keeping your roof dry, if you can manage to patch up any and every hole in your roof, you can also install cotton insulation. The benefits of cotton insulation speak for themselves. The material is light, making it a great pick for garage roof insulation. It is also non-toxic and causes no allergic reactions, something that you should always consider when applying wall or ceiling insulation.

If you can keep the roof completely dry and undamaged, cotton insulation can last up to 100 years, making it a very effective type of insulation. With a very high R-value of 19 for six inches of cotton insulation, you can install it for $1.20 to $1.50 per square foot. 

Floor

Garage Floor Insulation Methods

Garage Floor Insulation Methods

Garage floors are oftentimes not meant to be lived on. They are typically composed of cold concrete, which may be comfortable for your sedan, but is not going to cut it for your household and your guests. Consider the following garage floor insulation options to create a cozy and comfortable space. 

Epoxy

Epoxy resin is a common type of floor layering that is used to protect the underlying layers. While you will typically find it in more industrial environments, its ability to insulate the floor and keep it warm is not to be underestimated. This rubbery substance is poured over the concrete underflooring where it then strengthens to form a smooth and glossy surface atop the concrete itself.

Epoxy flooring can be installed for anywhere from $3 to $12 per square foot, but if you can do it yourself, you can get away with a much cheaper price tag of $2 up to $2.50 per square foot.

Concrete

If you don’t mind the concrete flooring of your garage, there are several options out there to make it homier. Your answer lies in screed flooring, which is a type of concrete that is poured over the underflooring itself. It leaves behind a smooth coat of concrete that can work perfectly in a liveable space as it is smooth and glossy.

For a smooth concrete floor, you will need to get a hold of professionals, as they know all the techniques and have all the equipment to make the surface smooth. For a low-end concrete floor expect the price to start at $2 and for the higher-end workmanship you may end up paying $30 per square foot. Since the prices do vary quite a bit, consider asking a professional concrete mason to give you a more accurate estimate.

Garage Doors

Garage Door Insulation Methods

Garage Door Insulation Methods

The easiest and cheapest to insulate are the garage doors. The cost to insulate a garage door ranges from $100 to $350 depending on the kind of insulation you’re using, as well as the square footage of the door itself. Regardless of whichever type you get, however, insulating the garage doors is a great wait to improve the heat retention of the space for a relatively low price.

Aluminum Foil

Widely considered one of the best garage door insulation types, aluminum foil comes with a slew of benefits for those looking to make their detached garage more liveable. All you need is a garage door insulation kit which you can easily purchase online. The kit comes with everything you need to make your garage doors more heat retentive and the installation is made easy thanks to the manufacturer’s comprehensive instructions.

This insulation type includes reflective aluminum foil plates which can be installed individually onto each garage door panel. Since they are reflective, heat can bounce off the surface and stay inside, as opposed to seeping through the metal of the garage doors and dissipating. Depending on the thickness of the foil, you can get an R-value of 3.5 up to 6, making for a very effective way to insulate your garage door and keep the interior warm.

Fiberglass

As with the walls and the ceiling, fiberglass batts can be installed onto the garage door for additional heat retention. Fiberglass insulators are very effective in general, with an R-value rating of 3 to 4 per inch. So depending on the thickness of the fiberglass batts, you will get different results.

These fiberglass batts are either lined with a paper or aluminum foil cover that acts as additional insulation for the garage door. Thanks to the airy nature of the fiberglass batts, this insulation is not only heat retentive, but it can also block out unpleasant vapors, making the interior even more liveable.

Foam Board

These polystyrene foam panels are typically used on the primary dwelling structure, but can also work on garage doors. Foam boards come with tiny air bubbles, which can block out exterior noise from coming in. This leaves the interior of the garage serene and quiet.

Polystyrene boards have an R-value of 3 to 4 per inch, much like fiberglass. However, keep in mind that foam board insulation is flammable. Make sure to be extra careful during installation as to not have any open areas protruding. Otherwise, these protrusions will pose a genuine fire hazard.

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan