What You Should Know About Insulating Your Garage
Winter weather is nothing new in Northern Illinois, but this year has been particularly snowy and cold. If you have a garage—and you actually use it for your vehicle—you have probably saved yourself some time and energy by not having to brush off the snow before heading out. However, you might have noticed that your garage is not as warm as it should be. Or, maybe the heater you have installed in your garage is having to work overtime to keep up with frigid temperatures. If either of these is true for you, it might be time to consider insulating or re-insulating your garage.
The Basics of Garage Insulation
As you probably know, insulation does not add warmth to any structure. It simply slows the transfer of heat through the barrier in question, whether that is a wall, floor, or ceiling. With this in mind, it only makes sense to insulate a detached garage if you have added a permanent or as-needed garage heater. If your garage is attached to your home, you will definitely want to insulate any walls that are shared with the house, but unless you have heat in the garage, insulating the exterior walls probably will not help very much.
If you are going to insulate, you should also be sure to air-seal any gaps to the outside. Unfortunately, many garages are not built to the same exacting standards as living spaces are, which means you are likely to find cracks and gaps around doors, window frames, and maybe even the bottom of your garage door. Low-expanding sprayable foam should work well for most gaps, and weatherstripping should take care of the gap under your garage door.
Common Types of Insulation
You have a number of options when it comes to choosing the insulating material for your garage. The right choice for your situation will depend on whether your walls are finished. The most common type of insulation is fiberglass. Fiberglass can be installed between ceiling joists and wall studs, and if your walls are not finished, you can get plastic-wrapped, paper-faced bats of fiberglass that will not leave itchy, dusty fibers exposed. Fiberglass is cheap and easy to install, but it is a skin, lung, and eye irritant. It is also vulnerable to moisture.
If you have finished walls, loose-fill cellulose might be an option. This type of insulation is made up of recycled paper, and it is blown into ceiling and wall cavities by a machine that fluffs up the cellulose. You can install cellulose insulation yourself, but you will probably need to rent or borrow a blower. Cellulose is more expensive than fiberglass, but it is environmentally friendly and fire-resistant.
Another affordable choice is rigid foam insulation. Rigid foam is similar to Styrofoam, and it can be cut to fit nearly any space. It is a very efficient insulator, but it can create airtight seals that might violate air-venting codes. Rigid foam is also not guaranteed to be fire-resistant, so you will need to check the fire rating on the product before you buy it.
Finally, there is spray foam insulation, which is a high-end material often used in energy-efficient structures. The cost and difficulty of installation might be a bit much for a garage application, but if you plan to spend a great deal of time in your garage in cold weather, you might consider it. Spray foam can be used on unfinished or finished walls, but it is best installed by a professional.
Contact a Garage Expert in Chicago Today
To learn more about your options for insulating your garage, contact the Chicago garage specialists at Blue Sky Builders. Call 630-852-8485 to get the help and guidance you need from a team you can trust. Let us help you make the most of your garage space. Call today.