Polyurethane vs Polystyrene Garage Door Insulation

The garage door is an overlooked, yet essential, part of our homes, especially for houses with attached garages. Garage doors can provide curb appeal and a convenient entrance into the home. It also offers additional protection from the elements and energy loss. For this reason, insulating your garage doors can make a difference for your home. When you’re choosing a new garage door, you should consider adding insulation for the many benefits it provides. There are two main types of garage door insulation — polystyrene and polyurethane — and it’s crucial to know the difference between them. Find out more about the value garage door insulation provides, and which type is better for your needs. 

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What Is Polyurethane Garage Door Insulation? 

Polyurethane insulation is a high-quality choice for garage doors, and is also common in construction, car seats, furniture and more. This insulation is generally a foam material sprayed inside the garage door’s panels, expanding to get into all the crevices and bonding to the door’s surface. Polyurethane foam provides exceptional energy efficiency, sound-dampening qualities and dent resistance. Especially for anyone who lives in a harsher climate, or uses their garage door as an entrance into their home, polyurethane insulation is an excellent option. 

What Is the Difference Between Polystyrene and Polyurethane Insulation for Garage Doors? 

The two main types of insulation used in garage doors — polystyrene and polyurethane — have some major differences, but it’s a good idea to understand the choices available. Here’s what you should know in the debate of polystyrene vs. polyurethane garage doors.

  • Polystyrene: This type of garage door insulation generally comes in sheets and is relatively easy to install. The sheets of polystyrene come precut into panels, made to fit each section of the garage door. These sheets are available in several different thicknesses, which can affect the garage door’s R-value. R-value is a measurement of an insulation material’s ability to resist heat flow. Polystyrene usually has an R-value rating between R2 and R10. This method of garage door insulation is standard in aftermarket and do-it-yourself kits and is usually less expensive. 
  • Polyurethane: Garage door insulation made from polyurethane is usually a spray foam applied to the garage door. The spray gets into all the small crevices, bonding directly to the garage door itself, resulting in a stronger structure overall. The polyurethane insulation R-value is generally somewhere between R10 and R17.5. You can usually get garage doors treated with polyurethane as new or replacement garage doors. They may cost more than polystyrene but provide many more benefits. 

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Which Is the Better Insulation: Polystyrene or Polyurethane?

Polystyrene and polyurethane are both polymers — plastic substances composed of long molecule chains — and both are useful in all sorts of applications, from construction and industrial purposes to finished plastic products. Of the two, polyurethane is a newer invention, is more flexible and is gradually replacing polystyrene in many different applications. 

Both polystyrene and polyurethane have unique benefits, but when it comes to garage doors, which is better? If you need a cheap and easy fix for an existing garage door, polystyrene may be right for you. It’s a popular choice that offers increased R-value. However, polyurethane provides higher-quality insulation in many instances. When you’re comparing polyurethane insulation vs. polystyrene, polyurethane may cost a little more, but provides far superior benefits, including much better insulating qualities. 

What Are the Benefits of Polyurethane Insulation for Garage Doors

Though it may come with a slightly higher cost, polyurethane is the better option for insulated garage doors. Let’s look at the many benefits of this unique material.

  • Energy efficiency: An insulated garage door helps keep the cold air out in winter, and the hot air out during the summer. This quality is especially advantageous for homes with attached garages, since a more moderate temperature in the garage can help the energy efficiency of the whole home. Polyurethane has a higher R-value rating than other materials, and thus provides better insulation against energy loss. 
  • Sound dampening: Insulation, especially polyurethane, has excellent sound-dampening abilities, both from outside noises and the door itself. Polyurethane insulation bonds to the door, making it sturdier, which means fewer noises like creaking and rattling and less shaking or vibrating when the door opens and closes. 
  • A more robust garage door: Polyurethane-insulated steel garage doors are made with polyurethane filled between each panel. This combination of materials makes for a much more robust garage door that resists dents, rust and weather-related damage. 
  • More comfortable environment: Along with reducing those energy bills, insulated garage doors make your house and garage more comfortable year-round. Keep your heat inside in the winter, and your air-conditioned air inside in the summer. Prevent drafts and maintain a more temperate garage. With an insulated garage door, you can convert your garage to a more livable or multifunctional space if you like. It also protects your car from wild temperature swings, as well as any delicate items you may store in the garage, like food items, photos, paint and more. 

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Does garage door insulation make a difference? Yes, especially when garage doors have high-quality polyurethane insulation. Check out the wide variety of garage door options available from Ingstrup Garage Doors and Construction. We are proud to offer a range of choices from Clopay that can include Intellicore® polyurethane insulation.

No matter what style your home is, we can find a garage door to match. And when you’re ready to take the next step and get a free, no-obligation estimate for your new insulated garage door, contact Ingstrup Garage Doors online or give us a call at 517-374-4731. Connect with us if you have questions about garage doors or any of our services, or to request an estimate.

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