Insulated or Non-Insulated Garage Doors

Garage doors are an important element in any home. They perform the dual tasks of being both functionally and aesthetically important. In terms of function, when closed, they protect your vehicles, tools, and any personal items stored in your garage. Aesthetically, your garage door is a significant element that contributes to your home’s overall design style, and its curb appeal.

Garage doors come in two basic types; insulated and non-insulated. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two types, their use, and how to choose the right garage door for your home.

Insulated Garage Doors

Insulated garage doors are made using two layers of steel that surround a layer of insulation in between. Typically much thicker and more substantial than non-insulated doors, the amount and density of the insulation can be adjusted depending on your needs.

When choosing an insulated garage door for your home, make sure to check the doors “R-value.” This is a measurement that is used to determine the door’s resistance to heat flow and loss. The higher the door’s R-value, the lower the heat loss.

Many companies today sell insulated garage doors that use low VOC materials like CFC-free and HCFC-free polystyrene insulation. This type of insulating material emits fewer gasses and is more environmentally friendly. Along with the energy savings you’ll enjoy with an insulated door, they also offer better sound reduction, are more attractive, and are much better at resisting dents and dings than non-insulated doors.

As a general rule, insulated doors cost more than non-insulated ones.

Non-Insulated Garage Doors

A non-insulated garage door is constructed of a single layer of steel that is open in the back. As the name suggests, they do not use any insulation. Typically an uninsulated garage door is used if your home has a detached garage, or if you live in an area that has a mild climate year-round.

While non-insulated garage doors are less expensive, they also offer less sound insulation, are not energy efficient, and are less attractive than insulated doors. Because they are constructed of a single layer of steel, they are more susceptible to dents and dings.

If your weather gets too hot or too cold, a non-insulated door will either allow cold air in, or in summer, overheat the garage. If your home has living space above the garage, it will take on some of the climate properties of the garage. When the garage is cold, the room above it will be the coldest in the house.

Choosing the Right Garage Door To Meet your Needs

Choosing the right garage door is important for several reasons. First, it can directly affect the energy efficiency of your home. If your home has an attached garage, an insulated door can help keep your home cool in the summer and reduce heat loss in winter. According to, “most attached garages represent 40 percent of the typical home’s exterior.” Your garage door is also a significant factor in your home’s curb appeal, so choosing a door that matches your home’s exterior design is also an important consideration when making a decision.

The climate where you live is an important consideration when choosing between an insulated or non-insulated door. If you live in a region where the temperature rarely rises above 70 degrees or below 45, or if your home has a detached garage, a non-insulated door is a perfectly fine choice for your home. However, if you use your unattached garage as a workshop or “man cave,” then an insulated door is a better choice.

In any other climate, whether hot or cold, an insulated door is an essential element to keep your home comfortable and energy-efficient.

When shopping for a garage door, considering the climate and garage use is important, but you also need to consider your budget. An insulated door is significantly more expensive than a non-insulated one. Plus, you’ll also need to consider door installation costs. Depending on where you live, the average price for a two-car, insulated garage door that has a 6.5 R-value, including door installation, can run $1000 or more.

As the R-value increases, so will the price of the door. If you have the budget and live in a colder climate, an insulated door is probably the best choice. Even if you choose to save a little money by opting for a door with a lower R-value, an insulated door can save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs over its lifetime.

The best solution, if you have questions, is to speak with a professional local contractor or garage door installation company. They can explain all of your available options, and help you to choose the right door for your climate, home style, and budget.

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