DEAR MIKE: I spend a considerable amount of time in my garage doing crafts for my church, and with the summer heat I can only work in there for brief periods. I have a swamp cooler to cool the air but my metal garage door is the cause of my problem. When you get about 2 feet from the door, you can feel the heat coming off of it. I've heard you can insulate the door. Please help, as my church needs me. -- Jennie H.
DEAR JENNIE: It's time for you to sing the praises of rigid foam insulation. You can insulate your garage door and install weatherstripping around it.
My neighbor has a large swamp cooler in his garage, and claims that with his insulated and weatherstripped metal garage door, the temperature stays around 75 degrees. I didn't believe him until I walked into his virtual North Pole and saw him with a smirk on his face.
You can buy insulation kits made specifically for garage doors or you can buy sheets of styrene foam and cut them yourself. The thickness ranges from three-quarters of an inch to two inches.
R-value indicates a material's resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater its thermal resistance. For every inch of rigid foam board, you typically get an R-value of 4, so 2 inches would have an R-value of 8.
The foam board is light and shouldn't affect the garage door opener.
A metal garage door is comprised of sections. These individual sections have tracks around them that will hold the foam insulation. About the thickest board you could hope to get in these tracks is 1 1/2 inches.
Measure the dimensions of the door sections and cut a piece of the foam board. You want the piece to be a little long on the vertical measurement, but you want it to clear the sidetracks.
Cut the piece lengthwise down to the plastic or foil facing, but not through it. This will allow you to fold the piece in half and push it into the top and bottom tracks -- they will hold it in place.
Put a bead of panel adhesive in the cut and push the folded piece behind the tracks to keep it in place. Put a piece of reinforced vinyl tape across the cut and let it firm up. After the panel adhesive dries, you can remove the tape if you choose.
Another technique is to use a thinner board and use shims to hold it in place. For example, use three-quarter inch foam board and cut it to fit in the section. Cut strips of the board the same length and thickness, but only about 2 inches wide.
Use these strips as shims and wedge them between the board and the track. You can also add weatherstripping around the door and replace the rubber boot on the bottom of the door to seal out the heat.
>From inside the garage with the door closed, look for sunlight coming in from the bottom of the door. The rubber boot then slides out of a track along the door. Just slip the new boot into the groove and pull it along the length of the door, and then tighten the screws.
For about $15, you can buy enough garage door weatherstripping for a two-car garage. The weatherstripping goes on the outside of the door and gets fastened to the opening.
With the garage door closed, start at the bottom of the opening and push the lip of the weatherstripping against the door. Fasten the other side to the opening's framing with nails long enough to hit the wood behind the stucco.
Your door will not allow as much heat into your garage, and you can craft to your heart's content. Hallelujah.