Garage Door R Value: Surprising Factor You’ve Been Ignoring!

Insulated Residential door with a garage door r value of 7

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Insulating your garage door is crucial, especially if it is attached to your home, and it’s an effective way to save and reduce energy costs.

The garage door R-value, Also known as the “thermal resistance,” is an important measure of the door’s energy efficiency. This value is determined by its ability to prevent heat transfer between areas on either side of the door.

The R-value of garage doors ranges from 0 to 32. The higher the R value, the better insulated your door is and the more energy efficient it will be.  

Want to learn more about the importance of the R-value? Let’s get started!

What is a Garage Door R Value?

A garage door R-Value is used to gauge the insulation performance of a garage door, along with other factors like air infiltration and thermal bridging. When choosing the right garage door for your home, it is important to consider the best garage door insulation and all its aspects.   

In other words, an R-Value measures the thermal efficiency of garage doors, so the higher the R-value, the better the door is at keeping your garage warm and cool in cold weather.

The industry standard recommends an R-Value of  6.75 – 18 for residential garage doors in terms of insulation level, depending on where you live and your climate.

While other factors contribute to proper insulation, such as adding weather stripping, stop molding or spray foam insulation, many homeowners find that having a high R-value on their garage door is an easy, cost-effective way to increase their overall energy efficiency.

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R-Value Chart

The garage door R-Value chart has significance when deciding the insulation level of garage doors.

For example, if you live in an area with cold winters, you’ll want to choose a garage door with an R-Value of at least 8. But if you live in an area with hot summers, look for something around 6.

Insulation R-ValueAmount of Heat Flow ReductionImprovement in Energy Efficiency vs. R-8 Insulation

Is a Higher R-Value the Best Choice for Your Garage Door?

Yes, a higher R-value is usually the best choice when comparing energy efficiency between insulated vs non insulated garage doors.

As explained above, higher R values represent increased insulation abilities directly impacting your home’s energy efficiency. Depending on where you live, it’s important to understand the climate patterns and surrounding environment to select an insulated door that corresponds with them.

For instance, if you live in a colder region, such as the northern United States or Canada, getting an insulated door with a higher R-value would be beneficial for optimal protection from heat loss.

Insulated garage doors preventing heat loss during cold weather.

On the other hand, if you live in a warmer area like Florida or California, it would be more reasonable to opt for a lower R-value because this will aid with improved air circulation.

Although selecting an insulated door seems easy due to its desirable features, such as sound insulation and noise reduction, climate patterns are equally important when making that decision.

Recommended R-value for garage doors is 6.7 for hot climates and 12 for colder climates. But those are just guidelines, and you must weigh other factors when selecting your garage doors, such as the size of the opening, the type of insulation needed, and the cost. 

Take your time to review the features of each door, so an informed decision can be made that best suits your home.

Why is Insulation Important for Your Garage Doors?

Insulating your garage door is important because it helps to reduce energy costs, maintain a comfortable temperature within your garage, and protect the interior of the space from weather-related damage.

Research by the US Department of Energy shows that an uninsulated garage door is the source of up to 30% of a home’s total energy loss. Insulating your garage door with high R-value materials can reduce this amount significantly and help keep energy costs down.

Knowing whether or not you need insulation starts with the basics – what are you using your garage for?

If you live in a colder climate where the winter months might cause extreme cold temperatures in your garage, insulating it could be a good idea. Additionally, if your garage is attached to your house, then insulation can reduce heat loss from the home, which may result in lower heating bills over time.

If you use your garage as a workshop or home gym, consider a door with at least an R-Value of 16. Is the garage attached to your house? If so, you should choose a door with a higher R-Value than 16.

There are recommended r value for garage doors when you use your garage as a gym or as a workshop.

On the other hand, the U-Factor measures how well a material can resist heat transfer and represents how effective it is at keeping the heat in or out. The lower the U-Factor, the better insulated your garage door will be. 

Types of Insulation Materials

There are two distinct types of materials used for insulation, and each has its unique benefits and drawbacks.

So, if you want to maximize your energy efficiency while creating a comfortable living space, you’ll want to read on as we explore these two insulation materials.

Polystyrene and Polyurethane are commonly used in insulated garage doors.
  • Polystyrene – Polystyrene is a lightweight and affordable insulation material often used in garages today. It has an R-Value of 3-4, which isn’t the highest, but it does offer good protection from the elements. The downside to this type of insulation is that it doesn’t provide much soundproofing or fire resistance.
  • Polyurethane – Polyurethane is a more expensive and heavier material than polystyrene and has an R-Value of 6-8. This makes it better at providing insulation than polystyrene. In addition to its high R-Value, polyurethane offers good fire resistance and soundproofing.

Before you decide which type of insulation to use in your garage door, it’s important to understand the concept of R-Value – or resistance value – as this indicates how effective the insulation will be. The higher the R-Value of your garage door, the more insulated it will be from external temperatures.

Cost Considerations When Insulating a Garage Door

Typically, insulation kits range between $90 and $150 per 16-foot section, depending on factors such as the door’s dimensions and the type/style of the insulation kit. Generally, expect to invest anywhere from $300 to $900 when insulating your garage door.

Of course, as with any other home improvement venture, numerous elements may affect the overall expense of this project. If you’re looking for cost-saving methods, remember that a reasonable quantity of insulation can make all the difference.

Types of Garage Doors and Our Recommended R-Values

Now that you know what an R-Value is and its importance, it’s time to talk about the different types of garage doors and their recommended R-Values for first-time homeowners. 

The most popular types of garage doors are steel, fiberglass, wood, and custom garage doors.

BrandModelMaterialInsulation TypeR-Value
ClopayClassic Premium 4000 seriesSteelPolystyrene R-6.5 or R-9
C.H.I3295 Full-view aluminumHeavy-duty aluminumNo insulationR-3.5
Wayne DaltonModel 8100 SteelPolystyreneR-3.7
AmarrDesigner’s Choice DC3200*SteelPolyurethaneR-13.3
NorthwestClimatech 4400SteelPolyurethaneR-15.7
MartinPinnacle aluminumAluminumPolyurethaneR-14

Steel Garage Doors

Non-insulated steel garage doors provide strength and security, while vinyl-backed semi-insulated steel garage doors have the added benefit of keeping the heat in during cold winter.

You can choose steel-backed insulated garage doors with increased thermal protection for additional energy efficiency.

Steel back garage doors can provide higher R-values, up to 18.4, depending on construction and thickness.

To guarantee maximum temperature regulation and energy efficiency, go for a garage door with an R-value of either R‑12 or R‑16 if attached. If the door is unattached and not exposed to direct heating, a lightly insulated or non-insulated doorway should be sufficient.

Fiberglass/Composite Garage Doors

Fiberglass/Composite are good and stylish insulated garage doors.

Fiberglass/composite garage doors are a great choice if you want something sturdy yet stylish.

Combining the beauty of wood with the long-lasting durability of fiberglass/composite materials, they don’t just look good – they can withstand whatever Mother Nature has to throw at them.

Not to mention, you don’t have to worry about spending time and money painting or staining them every couple of years. These doors are designed to hold their color in all seasons.

Fiberglass R-Value levels are comparable to vinyl garage doors, with some manufacturers offering R-values as high as 11.5. We recommend an R-value of 10 or higher for fiberglass/composite doors, as this will provide superior insulation capabilities.

Wood Garage Doors

Insulated wood garage door is used for certain garages.

Wood garage doors can provide an attractive addition to any home. The high wood garage door R-Value offers both durability and value since wood is a natural insulator. In addition, wood can be customized to match the unique look of your home or business.

If you’re looking for something less maintenance and wood isn’t your style, wood composite garage doors can often fit the bill, offering a similar look and insulation properties.

In terms of R-Value levels, wooden garage doors are in the middle of the pack. Wooden garage doors typically have an R-Value ranging from 4 to 8, depending on the type of wood used and whether it is insulated or uninsulated.

A good R-Value recommendation is 6 or higher, although many wooden garage doors can be upgraded with insulation to achieve higher levels of R-Value.

Custom/High-End Materials

If you’re looking to make a long-term investment and have more flexibility with design and insulation, custom or high-end materials are the way to go. You can choose from materials such as copper, aluminum, or exotic woods, to name a few.

These materials offer superior customization options in shape, color, texture, and R-Value. They also provide more security for your home since the higher quality materials are usually more difficult to penetrate.

Some good R-Value levels for these materials range from 11-18. The downside is that high-end materials often come with a higher price tag. However, investing in quality materials could be worth it if you plan to keep your home for the long haul.

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Factors Affecting the Overall R-Value of a Garage Door

Various factors can affect the overall R-Value of a garage door. Here are some of the main factors that can affect the overall R-Value of a garage door  

  • The thickness of Door Materials – The thickness of the door materials used for your garage can affect its overall R-Value. Generally, thicker materials will offer a higher level of insulation than thinner ones, making them more efficient in regulating temperatures and protecting against air leaks.
  • Panel Design or Style – Doors with fewer panels tend to provide better insulation than ones with more panels since fewer gaps between them could let in drafts.
  • Insulation Type and level– Different types of insulation may offer different levels of R-Value. Double-check what type of insulation is used in your garage door and the level that has been added, as this will affect how well it insulates.
  • Weather Stripping – Weather stripping is important for any garage door as it can help reduce air infiltration and energy loss. Installing higher-quality weather stripping around the edges of your door can also improve its R-Value, making it more efficient at keeping out drafts.
  • Vinyl Seals Around the Top Edges and Side Corners – Sealing the edges and corners of your door can also help improve its R-Value as this will reduce air infiltration even further.


As a homeowner, Investing in a high-quality garage door with a high R-Value is a wise choice. The good thing about this garage door is that it will save you money in the long run due to its improved energy efficiency.

It will also greatly enhance your home’s security and overall curb appeal. Additionally, these superior doors come with several manufacturer warranties, offering extra protection and peace of mind.

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Daniel Walter

Daniel Walter is a garage door expert with 15+ years hands-on experience and a degree in mechanical engineering. He's on a mission to empower homeowners with all the knowledge they need to tackle any garage-related issue with ease. When he's not sharing his expertise, you can find him scaling mountains and basking in the beauty of the great outdoors.

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