A picture of a brightly lit bare residential garage with the words Do You Insulate Your Garage? written on top of it.

To insulate your garage or not insulate your garage? That is the question- whether ‘tis nobler to suffer from chills and noise from an uninsulated garage. Or whether to take insulation to the nooks and crannies and, by insulating, end them?

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to insulate your garage. A big thing to consider is how you use your garage. If you simply park your car in the garage, then there may not be a lot of benefit for you. However, if you plan on using your garage as an extension of your house, then it may be worth it. 

We’ve outlined the pros and cons of garage insulation so you can decide if it makes sense for your home. 

Insulate Your Garage: Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Can save on energy billsCan be expensive
Keeps the garage at a regular temperatureThe garage door causes issues
Cuts down on moistureCan make your garage too hot
Provides sound insulationCan take years to recoup costs
Allows you extra living spaceCan be ugly
Helps prevent insect infestations 
Can help with fireproofing 

As you can see, there are a lot of both pros and cons to garage insulation. So let’s examine them more closely, starting with the positives.

Pros

If you spend time in your garage, there are many good reasons to add insulation. From money savings to keeping your family safe- insulation can serve many purposes. 

A picture of a wall with pink fiberglass insulation in between the studs in the garage, with a window in the upper right hand corner.
Fiberglass insulation is the traditional and cheapest way to insulate your garage, if you have the room (about 1.5 inches) between the drywall and the exterior wall using 2×4’s or thicker studs.

Can Save on Energy Bills

One of the biggest reasons we look at adding insulation is to help cut down on our energy bills. And your garage isn’t an exception. If you spend a lot of time in an uninsulated garage adding insulation, there will help cut down on your energy bills. This is especially true if you are using a space heater or fan to regulate the temperature.

Think about it. When you go into your garage in winter, whether it’s because it’s your workshop or your workout space, it’s really cold. Like outside temperatures cold. So when you turn your heater on, it has to run for a long time to heat up that space. 

But adding garage insulation will help you maintain the temperature. (We’ll explain more about how in a minute.) A more regular temperature means your heater doesn’t have to run as hard- cutting down on your energy costs. 

Keeps The Garage a More Regular Temperature

As we mentioned above, insulation helps maintain a more regular temperature inside. That’s its purpose. To keep outside temperatures outside and help you keep your home more comfortable inside.

Without insulation, you are currently losing any heat you add to your garage right out of your walls. But insulation will trap in that heat. So your garage will stay warmer for longer. This is especially useful if you live in a cold climate and spend a lot of time in your garage in winter.

Insulation works the same way for cooling your garage as well. However, if you live in a hot, humid climate, you might find that there are some problems. We’ll discuss those later when we handle the downsides of garage insulation.

A picture of an empty renovated garage with bright white LED's shining, and a new EV charger installed to the left.
Complete with smart garage opener, new drywall and paint, LED lighting, and a Level 2 EV Charger on a 240V line in our first net-zero home renovation project. We had to completely redo the insulation, drywall, and paint throughout.

Cuts Down on Moisture

Insulation not only helps trap heat in but it helps keep moisture out. Whether you realise it or not, uninsulated garages are very prone to moisture problems. While you may not think a little moisture is a problem, you are wrong.

Think about what you have stored in your garage. Do you have metal, electronics, seasonal clothing or Christmas decorations? All of those things can be ruined by moisture. Condensation on metal can lead to rust. And I don’t think I need to warn you about the dangers of moisture and electronics. Clothes and decorations can easily mold and mildew if they get damp. 

Adding insulation can help you protect the items you have stored in your garage from damage because no one wants to see their precious Christmas decorations covered in mold!

Sound Insulation

Most types of insulation out there are not only effective at insulating for heat but also for sound. While this may be extra important if you have a teenage drummer in a garage band, there are other noises you might want to insulate against.

Garages are noisy places when they are in use. Think about it. Do you ever use power tools in your garage? Or maybe your garage door opener is extra loud and right below your babies room. There are kinds of loud noises that emanate from your garage. And insulation will help quiet them all. Now band practice can go until 2 am, and you can still get a good night’s sleep.

Allows You to Have Extra Space

All of the benefits we have mentioned mean that an insulated garage becomes a much more comfortable, usable space. No longer does your garage need to be only where you park your car. 

With an insulated garage, you can use that extra space for a workshop or keep your exercise equipment there. You can feel safer storing delicate items there. Really, you can use that space just like any other space in your home. 

Helps Prevent Insects

When you insulate your garage, you make sure you seal up any drafts or holes where air may be escaping. But the air isn’t the only thing that passes through those drafty areas. Bugs can get through as well. 

So, when you insulate your garage, you make it more difficult for insects to enter. That helps cut down on bugs that can get into your home. Which is super amazing because who wants to have to call the exterminator?

Can Help With Fireproofing

According to the US Fire Administration, there are an average of 6,600 garage fires every year. Whether they are caused by faulty wiring or oily rags, garage fires are dangerous. Garage fires often take longer to detect, so they tend to be larger, spread further, and cause more damage than other house fires. 

A picture of a person in a white construction outfit installing rigid foam board insulation on a wood wall.
Rigid foam can be a great option for garage insulation. It installs clean with less air gaps, and you can get thinner versions if your walls aren’t very thick.

While insulation isn’t going to prevent a fire- it can help minimize and contain it. Most commercial insulation has some kind of fire retardant properties. So, by insulating your garage, you can add an extra level of protection for you and your family. 

Now that you’ve heard all the positive things about garage insulation, you’re probably ready to go out and buy your insulation. But don’t be too hasty. There are some downsides to garage insulation. So makes sure not to skip the cons to make sure you are making an informed decision.

Cons

While garage insulation has many benefits, it is not without its complications and problems. So let’s take a look at some reasons you may not want to insulate your garage. 

It Can be Expensive

Let’s dive in and talk about cost. Insulating your garage can be expensive. Insulation prices and installation costs vary, but according to howmuch.net, the average cost is between $1.48-$1.95 per square foot to insulate your garage.   

Of course, where you are located and what material you choose for insulation are going to affect your final costs. And obviously, professional installation will cost more than installing it yourself. 

The bigger your garage, the more it will cost to insulate. But you need to remember that you will also see bigger energy savings. That is if you use your garage a lot. If you have a large garage that you only use infrequently then the cost may seem too much.

Can Take Years to Recoup Costs

Because it can be expensive to insulate a garage, it can take a long time to recoup those insulation costs. A lot will depend on how much you use your garage. If you don’t use your garage that frequently, you may not see a huge reduction in your energy bill. 

However, if you use your garage frequently and currently trying to keep the temperature regular, you may find you recoup the insulation cost more rapidly.

The Garage Door – So Many Issues

One of the most complicated parts of insulation in your garage is the garage door. I mean, look at it, it’s enormous. And everytime you open it, you let your climate-controlled air out and the outside air in. That is one giant air leak.

But even if you were never to open your garage door, it would still be a problem. Why is that, you ask? Great question! The problem is that the garage door isn’t insulated. For garage insulation to truly be effective, you need to insulate your garage door as well. And that can be expensive. (And if you have a double garage, you have double the problems.)

Can Make Your Garage Too Hot!

When we talked about the positives of insulation, we talked about its ability to trap in heat, which is amazing if you live somewhere with a cold climate. Unfortunately, it can also trap in heat in hot climates as well. And that can be a problem.

Here, I’ll give you an example. Imagine you have a black car and you park it outside in summer. You go to get into your car, and it is HOT from sitting in the sun. You turn on the AC, cool off the inside and head home. When you arrive home, you park the car in your garage. 

Now, think about how hot your car is after you are driving it. If you were to touch the outside of your car would probably yelp from the heat. Where is all that heat going to go? Into your garage. And if your garage is insulated, the heat will stay there. 

So, if you live in a hot climate, your might find an insulated garage is hotter than you can handle.

Can Be Ugly if Not Finished

The last downside to insulation is more cosmetic than anything else, but it is still worth mentioning. Bare insulation can be ugly. If you insulate your garage and want it to look nice because you use it more frequently, you have the added drywall cost to finish it off. 

Final Thoughts

A man in a mask with gloves holding up a piece of Rockwool (mineral wool) insulation in the foreground.
Rockwool AKA mineral wool is another option that comes in thick sheets and can be a good DIY material to use in your garage as well. We did a comparison of Rockwool vs cellulose as well, which you can see here.

Before you go out and start getting insulation quotes for your garage, you should give serious thought to how you use the space and what you hope to gain. If you are looking to save on your energy bill but really only park your car in the space, garage insulation probably won’t benefit you. However, if your car is never in your garage because it’s a complete gym, workshop, and band rehearsal space, then insulation makes sense. 

And while insulating your garage can save you money, it can do more than that. It can help protect your stored objects from moisture and your home from fire. And it can help muffle those late night band practices.

But again, garage insulation isn’t for everyone. If you live someplace warm and park your car in your garage, then insulation will only make it warmer. And you certainly don’t want to be paying money for that.

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