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Pros and Cons: Insulated vs. Non-Insulated Garage Doors

When it comes to shopping for a new garage door, insulation is often the top concern for homeowners. Understanding the importance of insulation and its impact on energy efficiency is crucial before making a purchase decision. Here, we will delve deeper into insulation and its benefits, so you can make an informed choice.

Understanding R-Value & STC Ratings

Insulation plays a vital role in maintaining the thermal efficiency of your garage door. R-value is a measurement that indicates the door's ability to block cold or hot air from entering your home. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation power.

Did you know? Homeowners can save up to 20% on their annual energy bills by properly insulating and sealing their home's energy envelope.

The STC rating of a garage door indicates its effectiveness in resisting the passage of airborne sound. Higher R-values are generally associated with higher STC ratings. The higher the STC rating, the more effectively the door will block sound. If noise reduction is a concern for you (i.e., you have a drumset in your garage), a garage door with a higher STC rating would be ideal.

Types of Insulating Materials

polystyrene garage door section

polyurethane insulation recessed panel

When it comes to insulation materials, there are two popular options: polystyrene and polyurethane.

Polystyrene is the more affordable option, providing basic insulation capabilities.

Polyurethane, though more expensive, offers better insulation due to its higher density. Polyurethane will also add durability to your door, making it more resistant to vibrations and shaking.

Why Are Insulated Garage Doors More Expensive?

You might be wondering why insulated garage doors tend to be more expensive. When you purchase an insulated garage door, you're paying for added layers of steel and insulation materials. There are also numerous other benefits to having an insulated garage door that come with the higher price--read on to learn more.

Pros and Cons of Insulated & Non-Insulated Garage Doors

Insulated Garage Doors

Pros Cons
  • Increase home value
  • Save on energy costs
  • Quieter to operate
  • Sturdy appearance
  • More durable
  • Stable year-round garage temperature
  • Protect cars and other valuables kept in garage
  • More expensive
  • Can be ineffective if garage door is constantly in use or kept open for extended periods of time


Non-Insulated Garage Doors

Pros Cons
  • Cheaper
  • Practical in regional areas with mild climates
  • Suitable for detached garage spaces
  • Not energy-efficient
  • Render garage area less useable
  • Noisy to operate
  • May look flimsy
  • Less durable
  • Can negatively impact lifespan of items kept in garage


Do You Need an Insulated Garage Door? Answer These 5 Questions:

  1. Do you have an attached garage?
  2. Do you live in an area where temperatures either a) vary drastically throughout the year, or b) are extremely hot or cold year-round?
  3. Do you use your garage as a workspace for hobbies?
  4. Do you keep animals or pets in your garage?
  5. Are you planning to sell your home within the next 10 years?


If you answered YES to two or more of the above questions, an insulated garage door is the best option for you.

Insulation is particularly important for homes with attached garages, since your garage shares at least one wall with the rest of your house. A poorly-insulated garage door will allow hot/cold outside air into not only your garage, but your home; in turn, you'll end up spending a lot more money on heating and cooling costs. You also might want to consider an insulated door if your garage shares a wall with a bedroom, as it will be significantly quieter to operate.

If you keep pets in your garage or use it as a workspace for hobbies, an insulated garage door will help to maintain a safe and comfortable inside temperature. Personality belongings, particularly your cars, will also benefit from being stored in a more stable environment. Extreme temperatures have a negative effect on your car's fluids, battery life, tire pressure, and more.

Insulation will also facilitate with noise control - if you work with power tools, play instruments, listen to loud music, etc. in your garage, your neighbors will thank your insulated door for suppressing the noise.

Finally, if you plan to put your house on the market within the next 10 years, it is smart to invest in an insulated garage door. Insulation helps to increase home value by reducing annual energy costs, maximizing garage usability, and boosting your overall curb appeal.

Get a quote for your new insulated garage door.

Not Necessarily

If you answered NO to three or more of the above questions, you may not need to spend the extra money on an insulated garage door.

If you have a detached garage, you're probably not too concerned about the temperature inside your garage. Likewise, outside temperatures and noise will not be able to creep into your home from your garage.

You could also bypass the expense of an insulated garage door if you live in an area with a mild year-round climate, as outside elements will not have a significant impact on temperatures indoor.

Another factor to consider is how often you operate your garage door throughout the day, and if you tend to leave it open for extended periods of time. Each time the garage door opens, your home's thermal envelope is broken - insulation will not serve much value to you if your garage door is constantly being operated or is kept open for long time spans.


In general, if you can afford it, an insulated garage door is the best long-term investment. Though insulated garage doors are more expensive than non-insulated, the energy savings and year-round usability of the garage allow the insulated door to pay for itself.

Finding the perfect garage door for your home and lifestyle doesn't have to be time-consuming. Download the Residential Product Guide to learn about C.H.I.'s full product line and start your journey toward a home that leaves the neighbors in awe.

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