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Are you a homeowner with an attached garage? You may not realize it, but your garage is an opportunity for energy savings and lower heating bills. Your garage is one of the biggest locations of energy loss in your home, contributing to higher energy bills. There are a couple of key factors to consider when determining how to make your garage the most energy-efficient it can be: insulation quality and types of insulation.

Measuring Garage Insulation Quality

One of the most important factors to consider when discussing energy efficiency in attached garages is the need for and type of insulation for your garage door. Your garage door is the #1 culprit for energy loss in your garage, possibly leading to changes in the control of temperature you have in your house. Understanding the insulation ins and outs is important in deciding what insulation will work best for you. 

R-Value and Insulation

While determining which level of insulation is needed for your garage, a metric you may see often is the R-value.

The ‘R’ in R-value stands for resistance. In short, the R-Value of insulation is the resistance of heat transfer through the insulation itself. The higher the R-Value, in theory, the thicker and more effective the insulation.

What R-Value should you shoot for?

While it may sound like you need the highest R-Value possible, it’s actually more complicated than that. While you may see R-value advertised when doing your research there is actually some disagreement in the industry on its importance. There is not a consistent standard for how R-value is measured across the board in the garage door industry, so it can inevitably lead to some misleading results.

What is important to recognize when coming across R-values is that the higher the R-value is the more effective the manufacturer is trying to relay the insulation is. 

Types of Insulation

Now that we have a better understanding of how insulation strength is advertised, it’s important to note the types of insulation used for garage doors. The two most common types of insulation used are polystyrene and polyurethane.

Both are great options to increase energy efficiency in your home by containing the heat in your attached garage, but there are key differences to consider when discussing energy efficiency with your garage door professional.


Polystyrene is popular due to its value and ease of installation.  This type of insulation is effective for cutting down your overall energy costs, as well as being economical.  You can expect R-Values up to approximately R-10 with polystyrene, depending on your garage door style choice.  It also comes in sheets that can easily be tailored to your garage door shape if you have a door that is not insulated and you want to insulate it. 


Polyurethane is the best insulator as it more easily fills into the crevices of your garage door, but is a bit more of an investment. This type of insulation is best to consider when looking to add stronger support to your garage, as it is more dense and resistant to damage, or insulating for that year-round workshop creating a warmer space.

Both are great options for increasing energy efficiency in your garage, but differ in practicality depending on intended use for your garage. You may find that allocating more of your budget on a specific type of insulation may be best, especially if you live in areas that have harsher weather conditions.

Work With a Local Professional

Ultimately, it is important to discuss the intended uses of your garage with your garage door professional in order to distinguish what insulation strength is best for not only energy efficiency, but also your needs.

Understanding the impact your garage door has on the energy efficiency of your home can help you work with your local garage door company to get the best results and cost savings. The choices and numbers can be confusing as you think about your goals for your garage vs. your overall budget.  Will you use your garage for a workshop or entertainment? Do you have a bedroom(s) above your garage? These are things to consider when choosing insulation. 

Our team has worked with homeowners all throughout the greater Des Moines area to help ensure our community can receive the best service and materials possible. Let Amega garage door professionals help keep your home looking and feeling its best. Set up an appointment with us today or come visit our showroom so we can show you first-hand what we have to offer.