Updated 12/20/2011: Falcon Foam’s garage kit is not known as Matador.
How many of you use your garage as a work area? Or how many feel like their bedroom above the garage is cold despite adequate insulation? Are your garage doors insulated? I did not think.
My prior house had beautiful custom wood doors and no insulation in the walls. It was colder than you a know what in that garage and it severly impacted the upstairs room despite adequate insulation in the garage ceiling. So, lesson learned? Take the first step and insulate your garage doors. You can either insulate your doors yourself with kits from Matador , Owens Corning, Anco, and ASTRO-FOIL or buy brand new insulated garage doors. It is your dime. I am a firm believer in insulated doors and installed Clopay insulated doors in my new house. We also insulated the walls of the garage as well. The winter temperature is the garage is always around 50 plus degrees.
According to the EPA,
“Insulated garage doors are also widely available, which can help keep your garage and any adjacent rooms warmer in the winter, and improve the energy efficiency of your home. For homes in warmer climates, consider a perforated garage door, which allows ventilation and light inside the garage, while providing security and privacy.”
Here’s the low down on the garage kits:
The panel is comprised of EPS (expanded polystyrene) insulation with an exposed face of High Impact Polystyrene Laminate. (See picture at the beginning of the article.) According to the Company, you can install their kits in less than an hour with just a few required tools. The panels have an R-value of 4.5 at 75 degrees Fahrenheit for 1-1/4″ thick panels. One Garage Door kit contains 8 panels (each 1 1/4″ x 20 1/4″ x 54.”) The Company also sells a2 panel kit for oversized doors.
Note, it the door does not have cavities on its back side (wood door or insulated door), you can not use this kit. Read the Company’s FAQs before you order this kit. See here for instruction on how to install the product.
Thoughts? From an environmental standpoint, I don’t love that the product is made of EPS and a polystyrene laminate. Both are made from petroleum and are environmental nightmares, in my opinion. Plus, an R-value of 4.5 is better than nothing but I would like to see a higher R-value for a garage insulation kit. The Company’s response to the environmental question, “Does Falcon Foam require large amounts of natural resources to produce?”
“Studies have shown that Falcon foam production requires one-third less energy to produce than paperboard, one-half the atmospheric emissions and 42% of the waterborne wastes, compared with paperboard products. Also, total EPS production uses less than 0.1% of this country’s petroleum.”
(Note, that page no longer exist on their website; however, Atlas, the company who owns Matador states EPS Reduces Global Warming.) Looks? The Laminate appears to give the garage door a more finished look.
Priced at $85 on Matador’s site.
Owens Corning Fiberglass Garage Kit:
Watch the above video of how to install an Owens Corning Garage Kit*.(aff) The panel is made out of fiberglass with a vinyl backing. Note, this system can not be used for wood doors. The specification on the Lowe’s site stated the product has an R-value of 8 and the kit could insulate a 9 foot door (12″x16″x 24″.) (Update: it seems that it is no longer available on Lowes’ online store.)
Thoughts? From an environmental standpoint, I don’t love the vinyl backing which is made out of PVC as well as the fiberglass. According to the Company, their products contain trace amount of formaldehyde and have been certified by GREENGUARD as low emitting. [Source.] From a personal standpoint, I can’t be around fiberglass since the fiber dust bothers me.
Looks? Kind of like putting pillows on your doors.
Priced at $97.28 on Amazon. Check your local big box stores as well.
This product is similar in looks as the Owens Corning system except the fiberglass has no formaldehyde and is made of 85% recycled fiberglass fibers. It is also GREENGUARD certified as low emitting. The product is friction based so there is no need for plastic pieces or adhesive to keep it in place like the Owens Corning product. The backing is vinyl and looks simliar to the Owens Corning product. The product has an R-9 value.
Note, this product is similar to the above products in that your door must have cavities in order for you to use this product. You can not use this product on insulated doors or wood doors.
Thoughts? As I mentioned above, I am not crazy about fiberglass insulation; however, this product is different than your average fiberglass insulation. It contains long strands, which according to President/CEO Andy McCleery are not non-respirable. (See this video about Anco’s products.)
The word, “non-respirable,” stopped me in my tracks. Sherry from Customer Service explained that due to the longer stands, there is only a minute amount of dust associated with the installation of any of their products. My experience with fiberglass has been short of an asthma attack. So, I was pleased to hear that Anco was addressing this problem with fiberglass.
I also like that this product because it is formaldehyde free and made of recycled content. Plus, it has a high R value.
Cons? As I stated above, I am not thrilled with anything that has a vinyl backing.
Looks? Again, I am not crazy about the pillow look.
Priced at $89 on sale at Texas Garages.
Photo courtesy of Sky Mall. (Note, this product sold by Sky Mall is a reflective foil kit. I used this picture as an illustration of what the system could look like.)
There are two different ASTRO-SHIELD kits. One kits contains panels with foil insulation on both sides and an R-value of 6; whereas, the other kits contains panels with one sided foil and the other side white for a cleaner look. The single sided foil kit has an R-value of 5. The white side is made of polyethylene. The inside of the kits is made out of recycled polyethlene that is blown in between the two outside layers. It resembles bubble wrap. In order for this product to be effective, it needs an air space between the door and the insulation.
Note, there is no information about this product on ASTRO-SHIELD’s website. See here for how to install the insulation kits taken from a competitor’s website, Innovative Energy, Inc., who sells a similar product.
My first thought when I looked at this product was “low R value.” However, my understanding of R-value might be misguided. I spoke with Ken of Heartland Insulation Supply, the distributor of ASTRO-SHIELD (formerly known as ASTRO-FOIL) about what does the R-value means as it relates to foil insulations. Instead of trying to summarize what Ken told me, the passage in Heartland website’s page entitled, “High R-values Are A Must for insulation to be effective, right?” is right to the point:
“R-values only account for the heat transferred by condition and convection, and do not recognize the third form: radiation. The problem: the majority of heat transfer is in the form of radiation, which means that the R-values only tell you part of the story and as a result, are very incomplete measurements of heat resistance. Because residential buildings are required to adhere to strict building codes with specific R-values, it is optimal to use a combination of both mass insulation and some kind of radiant (reflective) material. This will increase the insulation values, satisfy the building codes, and allow you to reflect (stop) up to 97% of all radiant energy/heat.”
There are four kits available: Foil 2 Sides 2 Car; Foil 2 Sides 1 Car; Foil 1 Side 2 Car; Foil 1 Side 1 Car.
During my conversation with Ken, I asked him why I could not order off his website. He explained that they wanted people to call them to discuss their application. In my situation, I already own an insulated door. My inclination would be to order the single layer foil kit and install it face down on my door so the white side would show. Personally, I don’t like the foil side showing. Ken explained that given that I already had an insulated door, I would have to install the white side to the door with the foil showing. The product needs an air space to function effectively.
In the case of a metal uninsulated door, you can install the foil in between the cavities, which would provide for the needed air space. As for wood garage doors, Ken suggested that people install furring strips and attach the foil insulation to the same. I must have asked Ken three times to explain all of this information to me, so my advice would give him a call to explain your situation.
Just for your information, according to Ken, ASTRO-SHIELD is made for Heartland in a factory in Indiana.
Priced at $81.60 for a 2 sided foil 8′ by 10′ garage door. The white version is $76.60.
For a side by side comparison (except for the Owens Corning brand) see Texas Garages.
Despite my own green issues with the products, pick one that fits with your budget, environmental temperament, and aesthetic requirements. Why should your work space be cold? Take the first step and insulate your garage doors.
Readers, have you insulated your garage doors? If so, which product did you use? If not, which one would you use and why?
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