The garage door industry association, the Door & Access Systems Manufacturing Association (DASMA ) is in the process of performing U factor testing and eliminating R rating on all garage doors. This has been expected for some time as the major manufacturers (Clopay, Overhead Door, Wayne Dalton, CHI, Amarr/Entramatic and others) have been battling over who has the highest R-Factor.
Forty years ago a company, by the name of McKee Door, did testing on a 10′ x 10′ insulated door that didn’t have weather seals around the perimeter. They determined that they may as well have a 12 inch diameter hole in the center of the door due to air leakage. Perimeter seals are a major factor in buying an insulated garage door. Regrettably no one in our industry provides anything close to the kind of seals that the window entry door industries provide on their products.
So while consumers and door dealers get hung up on polystyrene/urethane doors with fictitiously high R-Factors, they are doing nothing less than selling the consumer a bill of goods. It’s reminiscent of the same commotion that energy tax credits and pinch-proof doors provided and flooded the industry for a number of years.
A conditioned air space and an insulated garage play a major role in providing a garage with a space that insulates like that of the house. When you drive home in the winter and its 25 degrees, you close the door trapping that cold air in the garage. You might notice the next day when you go outside and the temperature is 40 degrees, when you go back into your garage, you’ll find the temperature is still 25 degrees. So what have you accomplished? Without providing the garage with a conditioned space to balance the temperature, you haven’t achieved anything. The same can be said about the heat. Drive a hot car into a garage when its 100 degrees and go back an hour later and that garage will be over 115 degrees.
The lesson here is if you want to upgrade your garage door to a steel sandwich door, which is typically stronger and quieter and perhaps more stylish, do so for that reason and not for some fictitious high R-Factor that a manufacturer is promising. It’s obviously unrealistic and incapable of achieving without a conditioned space. Before you go out and spend $4-5000 dollars on making your garage conditioned, you might also ask yourself, how often do you intend to really use that space for living type of environment?