Insulate a Spare Room in a Garage
LESLIE: Dana in Florida’s looking to reclaim some space. You’ve moved into the garage. Tell us about your new room.
DANA: Hi. Well, what I’ve done is I really didn’t do a rec room. I have air conditioning running in there. But I still have the garage door there and I’d like to be able to seal up those openings from the garage door to the wall and still be able to, if necessary, remove the sealant so I can open the garage door.
TOM: So you still have an active garage door? You’ve not completely sort of sealed it off or walled it off in any way, Dana?
DANA: I – yeah, I live in a homeowner’s association and they do not allow you to close off that wall.
TOM: Ah. OK. I understand. Yeah, because if you didn’t have this homeowner’s association looking over your shoulder I would have told you to, you know, get rid of the garage door and put a real exterior wall there. Because your situation now is you’re trying to do just that but, you know, you’ve got a very uninsulated garage door. You know, garages are not designed to be part of the heated and cooled spaces in the home, so the doors are kind of not designed to give you any kind of insulation or sealing ability whatsoever. So everything you’re going to do at this point, Dana, is totally stop-gap measure. You follow me?
TOM: So what you need to do is to kind of take advantage of the garage door sealing products that are out there now. I would start with the bottom door seal. You can get a rubber gasket that goes along that whole bottom door and it might be available easier online because I doubt this is going to be available locally in Florida because it’s something you would almost never do. But you would want to buy a bottom door gasket for that and then you’re going to want to weatherstrip all of the sides of that door. And the other thing I would do is I would get some foam weatherstripping and I would put it in between the panes of the door; if it’s like a four-panel garage door. As the hinge sort of opens up those panels I would put weatherstripping in there. And then, you know, you bring it down. That’s probably, frankly, going to be as tight as you can get it.
LESLIE: Well, there’s another thing you can do. If you get foam sheeting – like insulation foam sheets that are 4×8 sheets and they’re an inch, two inches, three inches thick depending on what you’re looking for and you can find it in Florida because I’ve actually done this with While You Were Out in a Florida house – and cut them into rectangular shapes that are the same exact size as those inset on the backside of those raised panels if you were looking at it on the inside …
LESLIE: … and you can cover it with fabric or any sort of decorative paper. And then I used some sort of, you know, liquid nails adhesive to pop it into that space. Because then you’re taking that thin layer of aluminum and you’re – or metal, whatever the door is made out of – and you’re sealing it and giving it some sort of insulation which will help keep it cooler since you’ve got it air conditioned.
DANA: OK, so you say the bottom – I should get a bottom door gasket for the bottom part of the garage door itself.
DANA: And then foam insulating for the panels of the garage door.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you can cover them fabric. Make them decorative. Make it look like wallpaper or some sort of treatment. This way it really is a detail to the room.
TOM: And then weatherstripping for all the other gaps. Got it?
DANA: Weatherstripping. Yes.
TOM: Alright, Dana.
DANA: Thank you very much for your help, guys.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: And it’s good because when you put those foam insulating panels in there …
LESLIE: … you can still operate the door.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a good point. Yeah, you know, the homeowner’s association puts a lot of restrictions on what you can do. So …
LESLIE: Yeah, but what are they giving you?
TOM: (chuckling) They’re giving you a consistent exterior so that you …
LESLIE: I would rather be individual in my home’s aesthetic.
TOM: No, no. Trust me. Trust me. You wouldn’t. (Leslie chuckles) I used to be the president of a homeowner’s association. And the stuff that like people think is attractive – like the storm doors with the old-fashioned buggies on them and stuff like that and …
LESLIE: Oh, you’ve just made half of our listeners cry.
TOM: … you know, hanging the college flag and, you know. You know, you’re …
LESLIE: But it’s all individual personality. You can’t tell me what I can’t do.
TOM: Yes I can if you live in my homeowner’s association.
LESLIE: Mm-mm. I’m not moving into your neighborhood.
TOM: (chuckling) Well, hopefully we gave Dana some good ideas on what to do with his garage door.
LESLIE: Me and my purple house are going somewhere else.