If you have a garage, you might have wondered already whether it makes sense to insulate it. Not all of us keep our cars in garages, to be honest. Quite many homeowners turn this place into a storage room where all kinds of stuff are stocked - skies, bikes, sports gear, tents, winter clothes, and many others.
However, sooner or later you might start wondering whether you should insulate your garage. There can be different reasons for doing this and today, we will talk about it with you in detail. You will learn about the benefits of insulating a garage, as well as about the reasons that might make you do it. Also, we will tell you what the best way to heat an uninsulated garage is. In addition, you will learn about a few alternative heating options that can be used. Finally, we will share some basic pros and cons that an uninsulated garage has.
Why Insulate Your Garage At All?
First of all, let’s answer this question: why would anyone want to insulate a garage? Well, insulation can make sense only if you are actively using your garage space. For example, if you are working or exercising there (yep, some folks have turned their garages into home gyms!). If you use your garage as a home studio or workshop, it also makes sense to insulate it since nobody enjoys working in a freezing-cold environment!
However, even if you don’t use your garage as an extension of your house, you might want to insulate it. See, even if your garage is used as a storage room or you keep your vehicle there, insulating it can help you save on heating bills during the winter! Below, you can compare all pros and cons that an insulated garage has over the uninsulated one.
Pros And Cons Of an Uninsulated Garage
We wish we could say that an insulated garage is absolutely and undoubtedly better than an uninsulated one, but we can’t do this. See, there are pros and cons of insulation installation, and you should take them all into consideration before you make a final decision.
|Pros Of Garage Insulation
|Cons Of Garage Insulation
|Can save on energy bills
|Might be pricey
|Keeps the garage at a regular temperature
|The garage door may cause issues
|Reduce the amount of moisture
|Can make your garage too hot
|Provides sound insulation
|Can take years to recoup costs
|Allows you extra living space
|Can look ugly
|Helps with fireproofing
Of course, this chart is just a short list of the pros and cons of garage insulation but below, you can read more about each of the factors that it consists of.
Pros Of Insulating Your Garage
First of all, let’s check out what benefits you get if you decide to install insulation in your garage.
It Can Save on Energy Bills
If your goal is to cut down on your energy bills, then adding insulation is your option to help. This is especially true if you are using a space heater or fan to regulate the temperature in your garage.
Insulating your garage can result in significant energy savings, especially if you often use a space heater or fan to maintain a comfortable temperature. An uninsulated garage requires these devices to work harder and longer to compensate for the loss of heat or cool air, leading to increased energy bills.
And it makes sense! Just think about it: in winter, it’s often really cold in your garage, like outside temperatures cold. So when you turn your heater on, it has to run for quite a long period of time before it will be able to heat up that entire space! But with garage insulation, you will maintain the temperature.
It Keeps The Temperature In Your Garage Regular
Maintaining Temperature: With insulation, your garage can hold onto heat more effectively, offering a solution for heating an uninsulated garage. This regularity in temperature can be quite beneficial, particularly if you're in a colder climate and frequently use your garage during the winter months.
So, beyond heating, insulation provides soundproofing benefits, dampening the noise from power tools or the clamor of a bustling workspace.
It Helps Keep Moisture Out
Insulation not only helps to keep your garage heated but it helps keep moisture out. See, uninsulated garages are very prone to moisture problems. As a result, all the stuff you store in your garage can be ruined by moisture! Even your car can suffer because condensation on metal can lead to rust.
Most types of insulation are not only used for insulating heat but also for sound. Of course, this may be more important for those who have a drummer band in a garage, but there are other noises you might want to stay away from.
When they are in use, garages are noisy places. We often use power tools in our garages or our garage door opener can be extra loud. But those loud noises can reach you in your house, especially if you have your bedroom right over the garage. In this case, insulation will become handy.
It Will Give You Extra Space
An insulated garage is a much more comfortable and usable space. If you don’t keep your car in it, you can use that extra space for a workshop or keep your exercise equipment there. You can also store delicate items there being sure that they are safe.
Insulation Helps Prevent Insects
How could that be? Easily! When you insulate your garage, you seal up any holes where insects and bugs can pass through. That helps cut down on bugs that can get into your home.
Insulation Can Help With Fireproofing
According to the US Fire Administration, there are an average of 6,600 garage fires every year! Garage fires often take longer to detect, so they tend to be larger, spread further, and cause more damage.
Of course, the insulation won’t make your garage fireproof, but it can help minimize and contain it because most commercial insulation has some kind of fire-retardant properties.
Cons Of Having Your Garage Insulated
As you know now, installing garage insulation has many benefits. But it is also not without certain complications and downsides! We suggest you take a look at some reasons you may not want to insulate your garage.
It Can be Expensive
Installing garage insulation is all well and good until you think about its cost. Insulating your garage can be expensive. The average cost is between $1.48-$1.95 per square foot!
Of course, it matters where you live and what insulation material you choose. In addition, should you hire a professional installer, it will cost more than installing it yourself. Besides, the bigger your garage, the more it will cost to insulate. So consider all these nuances and calculate how much you might pay.
The Garage Door May Cause Many Issues
First of all, every time you open it, you let the indoor air out and the outside air in. That is one giant air leak. The second problem is that the garage door isn’t insulated! This is why for proper insulation, you need to insulate your garage door as well. And that means extra cost.
It Can Make Your Garage Too Hot
You know that one of the benefits of insulation is its ability to trap heat in. And it is amazing if you live in a cold climate. But if you live in a hot climate, your garage will trap heat in as well. And that can be a problem both for you and your car! So, if you do live in a hot climate, think twice before insulating your garage since you might find it hotter than you can handle.
Can Be Ugly if Not Finished
This is the least serious downside to insulation because it is more cosmetic than practical. However, bare insulation can be ugly. This is why, if you insulate your garage and want to make it look nice, you will have to add drywall to finish it off.
Now you know what pros and cons garage insulation has. With that in mind, you will be able to critically estimate the need for its installation depending on your goals and the sum of money you are able to spend on this kind of work.
All About Heating an Uninsulated Garage
So what shall you do if you decide to leave your garage uninsulated but you still want it to be comfortable to work in? For this situation, we have a few handy life hacks for you!
Choosing the Right Insulation Material
The type of insulation material you choose plays a pivotal role when heating an uninsulated garage. Your main options are fiberglass, foam board, and spray foam. Fiberglass, the most common and affordable choice, is ideal for anyone who needs a heater for an uninsulated garage. Foam board has a higher R-value per inch, trapping heat more effectively, while spray foam provides the highest R-value but at a greater cost.
If you're using a heater for an uninsulated garage, choosing a high R-value insulation can help your heater work more effectively. The climate, your budget, and how you use your garage (e.g., as a workshop or a recreational area) should all influence your choice of insulation material.
Installation Tips for Optimal Efficiency
Once you've settled on the right insulation material, you're ready to install it. Here are some tips to ensure an efficient installation process.
Start by accurately measuring the walls and ceiling of your garage. This helps to determine the required amount of insulation and enables precise cutting.
Ensure the insulation fits snugly between the wall studs and ceiling joists to minimize air gaps, which are critical when you're trying to heat an uninsulated garage.
If your area is prone to high humidity, a vapor barrier can be a good idea to prevent moisture from infiltrating the insulation and reducing its effectiveness.
Add Basic Insulation
As long as your garage is not insulated, you’ll be wasting energy and heat anyway. So after you get a heater, insulate your garage.
Here’s a strategy:
- Buy a propane heater and see how well it heats your garage
- Install basic insulation
Very simple, as you can see. And don’t worry about the money spent on insulation! In the long run, you will earn it back easily because it will save you a significant amount of heating costs.
Opt For a Propane Heater
Regular propane heaters can be a good option as well because they’re very durable, being able to last for months. Besides, since regular indoor propane heaters don’t force out hot air, they are more efficient. There’s one more benefit: indoor propane heaters are absolutely quiet.
You can opt for one of the following:
- A torpedo heater if you need to heat the whole garage quickly
- A regular indoor propane heater if you want to keep warm and cozy
Install a Wood Stove
Wood stoves are a perfect choice if you don’t have access to electricity in your garage. However, they require wood to run and effort to fire up, so if you hate chopping wood or you’re looking for a quicker solution, skip this option.
Overhead Tube Heater
An overhead infrared tube heater is an effective way to heat a garage without insulation. Because they work with infrared radiation, these heaters don’t heat the air, they heat objects.
It makes sense since an uninsulated garage has air gaps (below doors, under the roof, etc.). If you heat objects instead of the air, the heat you perceive will not be affected by air exchange.
However, without proper insulation, the heat will eventually disappear. Additionally, these heaters will raise your electricity bill significantly.
So, now you are fully informed about uninsulated garages. You know how they can be heated and what type of heaters are best for this purpose. Also, you know why it might be wise to insulate your garage and in what cases insulation is not needed. In addition, you are now aware of all the basic pros and cons of garage insulation.
- Choosing the Right Heater: Not all heaters are equal when it comes to heating an uninsulated garage. Some might be energy-efficient but lack the power to heat a large space, while others may be powerful but consume a lot of energy. You need to evaluate these trade-offs and choose the heater that suits your specific situation the best.
- Considering DIY Insulation: Hiring professionals for insulation installation can be costly. If you're skilled and confident enough, you might consider a DIY approach. However, always remember that quality matters. An improperly installed insulation can lead to inefficient heating and other issues down the line.
- Optimal Insulation: Just because a garage is uninsulated doesn't mean it can't be improved. Insulating the walls, ceiling, and even the garage door can enhance comfort and significantly improve the efficiency of whatever heater you're using. The upfront cost might be high, but the long-term savings on energy bills can offset this.
- Heating Equipment Safety: Heaters, especially those powerful enough to heat an uninsulated garage, can be a potential fire risk. Never leave your heater unattended and always follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure safe use.
- Planning Your Heating: You don't necessarily have to heat the entire garage all the time. Use curtains, screens, or temporary walls to reduce the space you're heating and save on energy bills.
- Seeking Professional Advice: Even if you opt for the DIY route, it never hurts to get professional advice. An expert can provide useful insights into the best ways to heat your uninsulated garage, possible pitfalls to avoid, and the best safety practices to follow.
Remember, heating an uninsulated garage isn't just about providing comfort, it's also about safety and energy efficiency. By following these tips, you can create a warm, safe, and efficient workspace in your garage, even if it's uninsulated.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are All Garages Insulated?
No, not all of them have insulation. It depends on whether an owner needs it or not.
Does Your Garage Need Insulation?
It depends on your goals and the purpose of the garage. If you keep your car there, you might not need insulation. But if you use it as your studio/workshop, insulation is a must unless you live in a warm climate!
Is Insulating A Garage Worth It?
It is worth it since it helps you keep the garage warm during the winter. Besides, it keeps it free of moisture.