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Forum topic by Sanity posted 10-13-2012 12:49 AM 2236 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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174 posts in 2657 days

10-13-2012 12:49 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Probably a much discussed topic so I will apologize in advance. Much as I would love to have a temperature and humidity controlled workshop, I work out of a two car garage with no air-conditioning or heating. With winter approaching I am thinking once again about practical and realistic ways to keep my shop comfortable enough to work in without going to significant expense, or moving to Florida. I should add that I live in Ohio where the summers are hot and humid and the winters are bloody cold.

My first consideration is the garage doors which are made of sheet metal with a thin lining of mdf, and with single pained glass windows at the top of each door. I can probably get double-glazed units to replace the existing windows, and add insulation to the door panels but will this really provide any significant benefits? The doors are surrounded by thin weather stripping so I am not convinced that I will be able to prevent drafts or heat loss around the doors. The walls and ceiling of my garage are all fully insulated.

I can always add a heater to the garage but as I would not have it running 24 X 7 and therefore maintaining a constant temperature, I would be concerned about condensation immediately forming on the metal surfaces of my machines whenever I fired it up. I do use CRC on all my cast iron surfaces but it does not prevent moisture from forming of course.

Just curious about the experiences of others living in similar climes.

-- Stuart

20 replies so far

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2155 days

#1 posted 10-13-2012 02:21 AM

Those roll up doors on garages make a garage a really tough place to keep climate controlled. They leak like sieves and don’t provide any real thermal barrier. If you are using the garage as a dedicated space for woodworking, you could do what I did and replace this kind of door with a skookum pair of barn style doors that are fully insulated and seal the opening well. I use these doors when necessary to get big stuff in and out, otherwise they remain shut and I use the passage door. Not perfect but a huge improvement climate wise.

I am surprised your garage has insulated outer walls and ceiling. Mine did not.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3308 days

#2 posted 10-13-2012 02:29 AM

talk to a local overhead door company
they can make you a fully insulated new one
and a remote
with or without double glass

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2657 days

#3 posted 10-13-2012 03:16 AM

I covered my uninsulated overhead door with pieces of foam insulation board and duct taped the seams. I then applied that weatherstripping around the outside frame. It looks a little “ghetto” but made a BIG difference (and it still looks fine from the outside).

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2642 days

#4 posted 10-13-2012 03:26 AM

I would do like gfadvm did. Cover that thing in insulation. Cover the windows too. If you are afraid of the looks cover the windows with a black plastic bag and you will never know. You could get a vent less heater that uses a 20 lb propane cylinder that would heat your shop. They are on sale for $89 and I think it is at Home Depot.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3146 posts in 3076 days

#5 posted 10-13-2012 03:57 AM

If you have the plain steel (or aluminum) doors, you can get the insulating pads put in behind the panels. That helps a lot. What does your shop look like? Are there open rafters that you can add insulation to? I live in southern California, and I added reflective barrier insulation to the ceiling in as many areas as I could, and it makes a great difference.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View AandCstyle's profile


3027 posts in 2224 days

#6 posted 10-13-2012 11:02 PM

Regarding condensation, I have used these covers successfully. HTH

-- Art

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3544 days

#7 posted 10-13-2012 11:16 PM

Like gfadvm said add some ridged insulation to the door the thicker the better,you can even cover the windows by pressure fitting some ridgrd insulation over them. Off course this won’t work if you need the light from the windows. in that case you can add a insulating kit like some folks use inside their homes. of course the best way is to have your door replace with a new insulated door if your budget allows.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View LeChuck's profile


424 posts in 3029 days

#8 posted 10-13-2012 11:16 PM

There will be leaks, but I have to say the foam (polystyrene) insulation from home depot works really well on the inside of an non insulated garage door as a radiant barrier. Here in Arizona, with the garage facing west, it would get to the point where it was literally burning to the touch on the inside and the door acted as a giant radiator.

Even though the whole garage was terribly hot this summer, you could feel even more heat as you got closer to the door. The foam insulation made a huge difference at that level, and I assume it would make a difference for cold as well even though it’s not the same as dealing with the sun beating on the door all day. The one I got has an aluminium facing on one side (that goes against the door) and is 1.5” thick. The other side is littered with blue branding and lettering, but I covered that with white paint.

-- David - Tucson, AZ

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 2853 days

#9 posted 10-13-2012 11:41 PM

I don’t know where you live but here in North Carolina it does get cold out. I have one of those tortches that hook up to a gas grill cylinder. It heats up my shop pretty quick I just turn it on about 20 min before I go in there. I never really have had an issue with condensation on my tools using it.

As for the door use the foam insulation and just cut to size (I am sure someone else already said that)


View REO's profile


928 posts in 2041 days

#10 posted 10-14-2012 12:40 AM

It will cost a little more but the Isocyanurate foam with the alluminum coating igives you a better r value in a thinner sheet and the surface is reflective as well. this helps in lighting the area. It is possible to insulat the door you have with a kit from Owens corning or make your own. cut the panels to fit the voids in the door and foam them in place. Tape the area you do not want the foam sticking to first and then just strip it off. Or what I did was wax the exposed back surface of the door and tape the edges so the foam didnt squirt out the holes and it cleaned up great! Adjust the hinges for a proper seal on the outside.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7749 posts in 2881 days

#11 posted 10-14-2012 12:55 AM

I ordered my 8×16ft Overhead Door with 1in insulation + Steel plate backing in all panels, for a near bullet proof security solution. It also insulates rather well, though I do need to add some more 1in foam insulation tape along the top of the door frame where I do get “some” air leak. The rest of the garage has the 1/4in Radiant Heat Barrier solar/fiberglass sheeting R5/R10. That truly is all I need in South Texas. I also have an 8ft closeable vent in the gable. In the winter I can heat the garage with a 1000w baseboard heater and get it up to 65F within a couple of hours.

Below, you can see the interior of the garage door in the left portion of the photo.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View CueballRosendaul's profile


484 posts in 2107 days

#12 posted 10-14-2012 03:30 AM

There are a lot of variables here that I don’t have time to cover, but you’re in luck because I do home energy analysis every day as a course of my business. Your number one enemy is air infiltration. All the insulation in the world makes no difference if there are air leaks. Install door seals on the garage door and ensure they seal tight all around. Look for other leaks around side doors, hose outlets, and windows. In a previous house I used the garage insulating panels that are pre cut to fit and regretted it. I would look at Dow Thermax foam. Try to find 1.5” thick foil faced and install it in the door with the foil on the exposed side.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2077 days

#13 posted 10-14-2012 04:19 AM

For many years I have used an unvented propane heater and have not noticed any condensation on the tools. I will turn it on about an hour before I want to do woodworking and it will raise the temperature about 20 degrees. With the insulation in my shop (part is walls and ceiling R11 and the rest R-19) I don’t seem to have many problems. I live in St. Louis.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Manitario's profile


2629 posts in 2850 days

#14 posted 10-14-2012 04:22 AM

I covered my steel garage door with 2” polystyrene and then a layer of silver “Reflectix” insulation. I also insulated the walls and attic and vapour barriered them. I’m able to keep the shop above freezing in -30 temps with a 5000 watt heater. Stopping the freeze/thaw cycle makes it a lot easier to keep rust at bay!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Sanity's profile


174 posts in 2657 days

#15 posted 10-14-2012 10:23 PM

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. My garage is part of the house which explains why the walls and ceiling are all insulated. I cannot help but feel envious when I see spacious workshops like HorizontalMike’s! I don’t have enough room to swing a cat – I’ve attached a picture of mine for comparison. I will try the insulation on the door panels as it is not a big expense. I am still worried about heat loss around the door seals but will see if there are better quality replacement weather strips. I like natural light in the shop so will definitely retain the glass windows. In the future I will look into double glazed units but will try the plastic window insulation kit for the time being. Agallant and Jessetut, I have seen the propane heaters but don’t they need to be vented?

-- Stuart

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