What should I buy: an insulated or non-insulated garage door?

This is one of the questions asked most often by homeowners when they’ve made up their mind to buy a new garage door.

To assist you in answering it, here are some of the factors to consider that will guide you in the purchasing process.


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To help you make an enlightened choice about purchasing of a new garage door, contact us! What’s more, we can provide you with a free quotation.

2 garage doors, single garage
ACADIA 138 garage door, R-12
2 single garage doors, for 2 cars
STANDARD+ garage door, R-16

What do you use your garage for?

  1. Attached to, or separate from the house?
    • If your garage is insulated and attached to the house, it is preferable to have an insulated door with an R-value (thermal resistance value) of at least R‑12.
  2. Is your garage insulated or not?
    • If it’s insulated, choose a door with at least an R‑12 thermal resistance. If it isn’t, a slightly insulated door (ex.: R‑6) can suffice.
  3. Parking your car (in winter) or as a storage space?
    • If you are looking for a minimum level of comfort, request a door insulated at an R‑12 level or more.
  4. Is it an extension of your house (workroom, gym, playroom)?
    • The more your garage is used for family activities, the better insulated your garage door should be. Get a door with at least an R‑16 level.

What types of insulation are available?

Basically, there are two types of plastic-based insulation.

  1. Polyurethane:
    • provides the best thermal resistance per inch of thickness, twice that of polystyrene;
    • in addition, because it adheres to the walls of the door, it adds strength and sturdiness to its structure. Based on bending resistance tests, it is two times better than polystyrene;
    • as a reference, polyurethane is the insulation injected into house entry doors.
  2. Polystyrene:
    • in a 3 layer type door, the insulation is slipped between the two steel walls of sandwich-type doors;
    • in a 2 layer type door, the insulation is placed on the interior side of the door;
    • as a reference, polystyrene is used to make disposable coffee cups and protective packaging material.

Is door thickness important?

  • Yes… Steel doors can be found on the market with thicknesses between 1 and 2 inches. The most popular are 1 3⁄8" and 1 ¾".
  • If you decide on a door insulated with polyurethane foam, the thicker the door, the higher the level of thermal resistance.

Are there other factors to take a close look at?

  • Yes, the weathertightness of your door system. Even if you have the best insulated door on the market, if your weatherproofing system isn’t effective, you haven’t gained much.
  • Look closely at the intersection of the joints between the sections. How is it made? Is there a real thermal break?
  • The ends of sections: are they made with steel caps that transfer cold to the interior of the garage?
  • The bottom weather stripping: will it stay flexible even on the coldest days?
  • Exterior frame weatherstripping: does it have a double lip to stop cold air from entering the garage?
Double garage door for 2 cars
STANDARD+ garage door, R-16
For double garages with 2 cars
TRIFORCE garage door, R-10

In conclusion, what are the key points?

What you want the most is to know how to reduce your energy bills. Thus,

  • if your garage is insulated and you use your garage for family activities rather than just parking your car, get a door with the best thermal resistance value;
  • if your garage is located in your backyard and more or less insulated, however you use it as a workshop, ask for a 2 or 3 layers insulated door, with an R‑value around R‑10;
  • if your garage isn’t insulated and you use is only for parking vehicles, you can opt for a low insulated or non-insulated door.

Contact us now so we can help you make the best possible choice. We have been garage door specialist for a long time. Our goal is to make buying your next garage door a pleasant experience. We will respect your needs, your tastes and especially the budget you have fixed. Lastly, we also provide electric garage door openers along with their accessories to answer your everyday needs.

To view all our Garaga door models, simply use our Design Centre. This way you can create your next dream garage door!

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