It’s a question that has bewildered philosophers and great thinkers throughout the ages. What are the pros and cons of insulating your garage?
Jokes aside, once you start digging into the details and doing research. It’s actually an interesting question to answer. You might be thinking this a simple yes or no. But that’s not always the case. Insulating makes sense if you use your garage regularly and makes less sense if you are pretty much treating it as a dumping ground.
That being said there’s a couple of pro’s and con’s in this list that might surprise you. So check out the article and read through to the end, there’s a few points that will definitely make you think.
Reduce Utility Bills
You can significantly reduce your energy bills as a result of insulating your garage. This is mostly because it takes less energy to bring the room to a desired temperature and subsequently less energy to keep the garage at that temperature.
The exact amount of money you’ll save is dependent on a few things. Like the size of the garage. So a double garage will likely cost more to heat than a single garage and as a result will take more energy to heat. So insulating this will likely result in a bigger decrease in your bills.
However if have a single garage and spend a bunch of time in there. Then your heating bills could be quite high. Even higher than a double garage that’s seldom used. So in this case it might result in a good reduction in your utility bills.
No More Condensation!
This is one positive that’s often overlooked. Anywhere were the atmosphere in an interior meets a cold surface then condensation can form. Garages can be magnets for this!
By Insulating your garage, you can dramatically reduce the how susceptible it will be to condensation. This is great if you have valuables in your garage that are sensitive like electronics or metals that rust. Also clothing in long term storage is less likely to mold.
If you have a carpeted garage floor then insulating can help reduce that chances of that molding as it’s vulnerable to the same factors that clothing would be.
Typically regular thermal insulation also has fairly decent sound insulating qualities. That’s because sound has to travel in waves through the air. Since the materials that are used in insulation, fiber glass, fire retardant wood chips, shredded jeans etc… are designed to trap air and keep a barrier between the inside and the exterior of the garage. They also prevent a lot of sound escaping or entering the garage.
The first and most obvious thing that comes to mind as an advantage of this is if you’ve got a musical instrument like a drum kit and want to avoid waking up the neighbors or scaring dog walks as they pass by.
It’s also super useful if you’ve converted your garage into a home office and need to concentrate. When you’re quiet, you tend to hear even the slightest noise. Things like road noise form cars that drive by can be distracting and lining your garage with thermal insulation can result in much less noise pollution entering your sanctuary of productivity.
A Fun DIY Project
Sounds simple, but yeah. Insulating your garage can totally be a fun DIY project. Typically it can be done over a weekend and requires no specialist skills. You just need the most basic of tools and a bit of perseverance.
Some garages come ready setup for insulation to be installed. For instance a wood built garage will have stud walls that you can fit the insulation inbetween. Simple!
You won’t need many tools, but I’ll recommend a box cutter to cut the insulation to shape and a stapler to fix the insulation to the wall. That’s pretty much it.
Can Help Re-purpose The Room
If you’re thinking of doing anything substantial to a garage in terms of repurposing. For instance turning it into a gym or an office or a kids play room then you need to give serious thought into including insulation in that place.
It’ll make the room far more accommodating for people who are spending an extended period of time in the room. If you’re thinking of covering the walls in sheet rock then it would make total sense to install insulation at the same time.
Keeps Your Garage Cool!?
People often think that insulation only has one singular purpose and that is to keep your garage/room warm when the ambient temperature is cold. While this is definity true. Insulation will forfill that goal with ease. It also has the opposite effect when the ambient temperature is warmer.
Namely it will delay the effects of ambient temperature heating up the garage. Insulation acts in reverse in this case. This is great if you’re in the middle of summer and want to stay cool as best you can.
It also means that your air conditioner doesn’t need to work as hard to keep the room cool as less of the cold air escapes due to the well insulated room. This can further reduce energy bills – touching on the first point we made in the Pros section.
Keeps Your Garage Warm!
Last but not least and probably the most obvious one is that insulation keeps your garage warm. In colder months the effect is reversed and the temperature inside the garage can stay warmer for longer.
This is usually the first reason people think to insulate their garage and rightly so. I just wanted to put this point last in the pros section as the other very valid points are often overlooked.
OK that’s the good covered, now how can their possibly be any cons for insulating your garage?!
Turns out there are a few things to consider and a few gotchas to be aware off. Read on and we’ll cover the main ones…
It Can Be Expensive!
Like all good things, insulation can cost. The total price of installation mostly depends on
- The size of your garage
- The Type of Insuation you use (Higher R rating is more expensive)
- If you pay someone to install it for you
If you did opt for someone to install it then a day or two of labor could cost the same or more than the materials! So bare that in mind. If you do decide to pay someone to install it then I’d recommend just going for higher grade insulation. In for a penny in for a pound!
Easy to Do wrong
So this is something I covered extensively in an article entitled How To Insulate your garage cheaply In this article I go over the main things to consider about what type of insulation and where to place said insulation in your garage. To result in the best performance to cost ratio.
What I mean by this is if you do this as a DIY task and miss a few air gaps in around a window or garage door then you’ll be dumping a bunch of warm air out into the atmosphere.
You’d be amazed just how much heat is lost through a cold spot. So this is what I mean by ‘Easy To Do Wrong’. This isn’t really a con, just more of a ‘something to be aware of when installing insulation in your garage’
Could Potentially Be Dangerous
OK this is something you definitely have to be aware of. If you chose to insulate your garage and you’re on a budget. Then you might be thinking about using low cost insulation. Or maybe even your own make shift insulation. (rolled up old clothes etc…)
Stop for me a minute and ask yourself this question… Is this insulation fire rated?!
Most modern insulation will have a fire rating. This means that it will resist being flammable and if it does, it will tend to melt rather than burn. If you decided to go with something that isn’t fire retardant. Then you are putting your safety and others at risk.
Not Worth It If You Don’t Use It
The obvious gains that come with insulating your garage diminish dramaticaly if you’re not using your garage.
If for instance you store empty boxes and park your car in there, is there any real reason to insulate it in the first place?
You could put that money to some other use like putting solar panels on the roof to reduce your energy bills. So if you are thinking about insulating your garage. Really go through the usecases you have for it.
You could save yourself a lot of money, time and effort simply by putting on a sweater and a pair of gloves ?
There’s Not Many Downsides
There’s not too many reasons not to insulate your garage. Typically it’s a great idea and a cool DIY project. I did mine and am totally pleased with the results.
So give it a go! Let me know if you have any questions and leave them in the comments.
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If you’re interested in reading more about garages check out these articles:
- Should I Insulate My Garage – My Story With Pictures
- Should I Insulate My Garage Ceiling – The Complete Answer
- Should I Insulate My Detached Garage – Things you Should Know