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Insulate shop or not?

Joined
Jan 23, 2020
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Location
Shingletown CA
I moved to A very hot and low humidity area (Lower shingletown in Ca). The house has a oversized two car garage that has zero insulation. It is connected to the house by a breezeway. I plan on using a through the wall air conditioner in the hotter months. My question is; is it a waste of money and time to insulate this garage?
By 10am, it's too hot to even think of staying in there. The average temperature in June, July, and August is around 96-104 degrees.
I also still need to feed in a sub-panel for power. There is only a few 110v outlets in the space.
I figured there were many here that live in such a place, and would know a lot more than I do.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2019
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Location
Buena Vista, Colorado
I moved to A very hot and low humidity area (Lower shingletown in Ca). The house has a oversized two car garage that has zero insulation. It is connected to the house by a breezeway. I plan on using a through the wall air conditioner in the hotter months. My question is; is it a waste of money and time to insulate this garage?
By 10am, it's too hot to even think of staying in there. The average temperature in June, July, and August is around 96-104 degrees.
I also still need to feed in a sub-panel for power. There is only a few 110v outlets in the space.
I figured there were many here that live in such a place, and would know a lot more than I do.

We live in the mountains of Colorado. When we bought our home the oversized 2 car garage was uninsulated. It was blazing hot in the summer time when the sun was shining on the roof, and temperatures rarely hit 90 F. here accept for maybe 10 days a year.

We insulated the walls and the ceiling and then installed T1-11 siding inside to cover the insulation. We also installed Clopay insulated garage doors. Now the temperature is fairly consistent, and always quite pleasant.

It's money well worth spending.
 

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Joined
Jan 23, 2020
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Location
Shingletown CA
I should mention that the garage is finished with drywall and painted. I was exploring self blown in insulation but heard that isn't very effective
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2009
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Location
Rockingham, Virginia
I would dedinitely find a way to insulate that space! Insulating will help keep a more constant temperature and allow you to control humidity with a dehumidifier, saving your machines from rust! More comfort equals more productivity too! Blown in insulation is not bad... much better than no insulation!
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
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Location
Eugene, OR
Well, you want insulation for sure, if you want to play in the shop. I really don't know how well the blown type stuff works. When it was new, not very well, but it has gotten a lot better. Ceiling as well. I was looking at doing the insulation in my old shop and priced materials. On a whim, I called an insulation company and asked for a bid. They installed the insulation, and put up a white vynal cover on the ceiling insulation for $50 more than I could buy the materials for. If you put an air conditioner in, you have to have the insulation. Insulated garage doors as well.

robo hippy
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
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Location
Benton, AR
Here in central Arkansas it was 98 degrees yesterday with a heat index of 108. Last winter there was 15 inches of snow on the ground with sub freezing temperatures for over a week. YES, you do need insulation. I personally insulated a building that had finished walls and ceiling. Access to the attic was not a problem. But for the walls I used a hole saw and drilled a 2 inch hole at the very top of the walls between the studs. We then blew insulation between the studs using the holes as access points. Afterward I "returned" the the plugs to their original location. The building is about 20 ft. x 40 ft. and is quite comfortable in both winter and summer using a window unit.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
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Location
Lebanon, Missouri
Assuming you own the property, absolutely insulate it. I think you will find the wall blown in insulation will be ok. Find an installer and see if you talk with customers to check how well it works.

Insulate the hell out of the ceiling - just depends on the construction method what it will take. As mentioned insulate the garage doors - there are several methods, including building a sub wall to block them off. A temp controlled shop is so much more fun to work in!
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
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Location
Peoria, Illinois
Spending money on insulation is always well spent. Electricity is not going to every get cheaper in California as they have to shut down hydro plants for lack of rain. You better do everything you can to get efficient, and I'd even consider a stand by generator as rolling brown outs will also be a part of living in the future.
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
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Location
Lodi, WI
I've used a local contractor to spray expanding foam on walls, underside of decks (three season room) and exposed garage trusses. I has been well worth the cost (which I don't believe is excessive) in reduced electrical bill. There may be an issue (shortage) of material availability. No muss or fuss on my part!
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2017
Messages
189
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91
Location
South Plainfield, NJ
I moved to A very hot and low humidity area (Lower shingletown in Ca). The house has a oversized two car garage that has zero insulation. It is connected to the house by a breezeway. I plan on using a through the wall air conditioner in the hotter months. My question is; is it a waste of money and time to insulate this garage?
By 10am, it's too hot to even think of staying in there. The average temperature in June, July, and August is around 96-104 degrees.
I also still need to feed in a sub-panel for power. There is only a few 110v outlets in the space.
I figured there were many here that live in such a place, and would know a lot more than I do.
At a minimum, insulate the ceiling to at least R-35 or more. If you like being in your garage/shop, you won't regret spending the money to make it more comfortable.
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
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Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
I have no A/C in my garage shop, only a couple fans. The walls and ceiling are insulated. It's necessary to insulate here in MT. I've found that the insulation keeps the shop more cool in the summertime, and easier to heat in the winter.

-----odie-----
 
Joined
May 6, 2004
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Location
Sonoma, CA
Do not even think of not insulating.
Tear down the dry wall and insulate the walls to at least R-19. Insulate the ceiling to R-30 or whatever you can. Get an attic fan.
In the winter time you will need to heat the shop......need insulation.

Used to live in Colusa.......just down the road a bit from where you are.....hot summers. Cold winters. Turned wood in the unfinished garage. No insulation or heating. Need both.

Or, better yet......build a new shop and do it right. Insulate everything you can as much as you can.
Just my 2c's.
 
Joined
May 4, 2010
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Bozeman, MT
FWIW, I have a very old house and at some point blow in insulation was put in the walls. It settled and now the height of insulation is about 6 feet from the floor. It's hard to know how long this took or whether it was improperly installed. Also, if you pull off the sheetrock, you could install your upgraded wiring in the wall and sheath the wall with plywood for hanging stuff on. Some folks would recommend metal conduit on the surface for your wiring, for which open walls would not be needed.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
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Location
Nebraska
Many years ago when I worked for an engineering company we installed a panel system room inside a large unconditioned building so we could air condition the work area inside the panel built room. You could easily use foam panels with plywood skins to create your room inside the garage, if you built the room against an existing window your A/C unit has a home. A system like this is easy to build and quick to install, you can take it down later on and the garage will be the same as it is now. You could do 1/2 of one stall or the whole stall depending on how much air conditioned space you really need.
 
Joined
Feb 8, 2021
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156
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Location
Vancouver,WA
Absolute worth it!

I recently insulated my 2 car garage shop, it's also finished w/ drywall on walls & ceilings like yoirs.

I used foil/Styrofoam board insulation (1-1/2"?) as thick as I could fit in the panes of the garage door. It's helped tremendously to retain the AC blowing in from the in-garage HVAC - and keep heat out!

I do need to improve the area above garage which has a low level of blown-in insulation.
 
Joined
Jun 6, 2018
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Location
La Grange, IL
The thing I've always wondered about with spray in foam insulation is what happens later when you need to get into the wall to make plumbing or electrical changes? The foam products I've seen seem to adhere to everything.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
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Eugene, OR
With my first shop, I removed the 16 foot wide uninsulated roll up door and framed in a man door and windows. You can also roll them up and then frame in a wall. That worked out much better than insulated doors. The tops of the doors can be used for some storage, and it will collect dust.... My cats used to love to get up on the doors for a better view...

Not positive about the blown insulation or the foam in type. There are lots of options. If you have to add lines inside, it can be cut out, but dry wall would have to come off. If you have conduit in the walls, some times the electricians can pull more wire through the conduit.

robo hippy
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
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Nebraska
The thing I've always wondered about with spray in foam insulation is what happens later when you need to get into the wall to make plumbing or electrical changes? The foam products I've seen seem to adhere to everything.
Mark,

After the foam sets up in the wall cavity and you want to run additional utilities through the insulation, you can use a drill and auger a hole through the foam insulation. If the wall space is open you can use a jab saw and easily cut a slot into the foam insulation to lay your conduit, pipe, tubing or wiring into the slot.
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2017
Messages
189
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91
Location
South Plainfield, NJ
Thank you all for your experience/advice. I am definitely going to insulate!
FWIW- I prefer rockwool insulation over fiberglass. For one, its more forgiving to install. If you have any gaps, just tear off a piece and stuff it in to fill the gap. It comes unfaced. You can install a polyethylene vapor over the insulation, if your climate allows that. Or leave it uncovered, and just install whatever you want for finished walls. Also, its generally a higher R value per inch over fiberglass. And it's less susceptible to holding moisture than fiberglass.
 
Joined
Feb 8, 2021
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Location
Vancouver,WA
This is all I did and it made a huge difference. Was less than $60 in materials. Certainly better ways, I imagine, but it was cheap and easy. I'll probably paint it or add another layer later. Bonus is it didn't add a much weight to the door.
Screenshot_20210814-173445_Instagram.jpgScreenshot_20210814-173434_Instagram.jpg
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
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Eugene, OR
Makes me wonder if you can put a flexible tape over the hinge part of the folding doors. I did see some that the HVAC guys used when putting up my dust collection ducts that was a silver metal type tape, but it had a soft, maybe 1/16 inch thick foam on the sticky side of it. That metal can transfer a lot of cold or heat into the shop.

robo hippy
 
Joined
Feb 8, 2021
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Location
Vancouver,WA
Good idea, Reed. I had considered the bubble wrap 'foil' style insulation barrier over the entire thing and taping the seam but that may be overkill. Taping just the seams now w/ the right thing might do it. I mean, as is it's working pretty well (this includes AC vent to garage from central air system):
20210815_135132.jpg
 
Joined
Nov 4, 2018
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Location
Penrose, NC
John Simmons is spot on about the use of injected/sprayed in foam. You can not insulate any better than the results it gives you. I drew then built my current ham and went with SIP panels for walls and roof. 4-12 in. walls and 8-1/4 in roof panels. Normal, good construction using 2x6 traditional stick framing and R-19 insulation ( which is the maximum for 2.6 walls...if you compress fiber batting - you loose insulation value ) would have require 6.5 tons of HVAC. But - using SIPS - the engineering data proves only 2.5 tons are needed. And - I keep my house at 68F in Summer and 72-74F in Winter. Poof in the pudding with foam....
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
12
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1
Location
Greenville, SC
Here in central Arkansas it was 98 degrees yesterday with a heat index of 108. Last winter there was 15 inches of snow on the ground with sub freezing temperatures for over a week. YES, you do need insulation. I personally insulated a building that had finished walls and ceiling. Access to the attic was not a problem. But for the walls I used a hole saw and drilled a 2 inch hole at the very top of the walls between the studs. We then blew insulation between the studs using the holes as access points. Afterward I "returned" the the plugs to their original location. The building is about 20 ft. x 40 ft. and is quite comfortable in both winter and summer using a window unit.
How do you keep dust from being sucked into the A/C ? I'm considering a wall unit myself.
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
14
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6
Location
Benton, AR
This particular building was used for a purpose other than woodworking. However, I and others I know are using the HVAC return air filters in the front or face of the A/C units. While not as inexpensive as once was, these throw-a-ways are cheaper than a stopped-up, clogged-up unit.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
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Location
Ponsford, MN
Makes me wonder if you can put a flexible tape over the hinge part of the folding doors. I did see some that the HVAC guys used when putting up my dust collection ducts that was a silver metal type tape, but it had a soft, maybe 1/16 inch thick foam on the sticky side of it. That metal can transfer a lot of cold or heat into the shop.

robo hippy
Notice that the hinge center is about 3/4" inside of the door panels therefore when the door is opening the gap between the panels will widen such that any kind of tape would not last unless you didn't open the door.
DSC01033.JPG This is a view of the door in my attached garage stopped in the partially open position. This door and the door in my shop a pre insulated doors that are 3" thick and have a tongue and groove fit between panels with gasket plus the exterior and interior aluminum panels have a thermal break between them.
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2019
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Location
Martinsville, VA
Website
www.GrattanCreek.com
Do you find the insulated garage doors are effective?
Yes!

My shop is in an attached ~20x20 garage, isolated from the house HVAC.
The only full wall exposed to the weather (and direct morning sun) is the side with two metal roll-up doors.
Before insulating the doors I could feel the heat radiating through the metal when I got within several feet. I installed pre-cut foam pieces that I bought through Amazon. They are not a perfect, tight fit but it made an immediate and obvious difference in the shop comfort as well as sound transmission through the door.
I still want to foam in the structural channels in the doors and fill gaps and such but just putting the EPS foam panels in the door made it possible for a window a/c unit to keep the shop comfy to work in when it's 90+ outside.
My roll-up doors already had good gaskets all around. That is critical not just for heat but to keep bugs and bats out.
 
Joined
Jun 30, 2008
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Location
Chatham, Ont.
Yes!

My shop is in an attached ~20x20 garage, isolated from the house HVAC.
The only full wall exposed to the weather (and direct morning sun) is the side with two metal roll-up doors.
Before insulating the doors I could feel the heat radiating through the metal when I got within several feet. I installed pre-cut foam pieces that I bought through Amazon. They are not a perfect, tight fit but it made an immediate and obvious difference in the shop comfort as well as sound transmission through the door.
I still want to foam in the structural channels in the doors and fill gaps and such but just putting the EPS foam panels in the door made it possible for a window a/c unit to keep the shop comfy to work in when it's 90+ outside.
My roll-up doors already had good gaskets all around. That is critical not just for heat but to keep bugs and bats out.
I cut my own panels out of 1" foam, yes it works really well. Still have to cover with aluminum for fire proofing.
 

john lucas

AAW Forum Expert
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
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Cookeville, TN
My last 2 shops were both insulated. Makes a huge difference. I did make a mistake on 5his last one. It's a steel building and inhad ridgid foam sprayed in. Works great and adds to the ridgidity of the building. However it does not block the sound if rain on the roof at all. Even a light rain makes it hard to hear and you need hearing protection when it rains hard and I'm not kidding about that. Wish I had gone with soft foam for the ceiling. I have a wall unit air conditioner. I just pull the filter weakly and blow it out. That's worked fine for 2 years now.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2006
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Freelton, ON
By all means I would insulate. I have a 3 car garage, 2x6 construction with 11 foot ceiling fully insulated and these days with outside temps about 30C or close to 90F, it is going to just under 80F. My doors are cedar uninsulated. About a dozen years ago I lead a project to insulate the parsonage for our church, a 1920s brick structure. We used a product called Retrofoam and it worked out very well. It incorporates fully cured UFFI which is powdered and kiln dried to drive off any non reacting formaldehyde. The injection process only required a 1/2” hole and was an aqueous foam created with an air mixing nozzle resulting in a zillions of entrained tiny air bubbles. It was like a shaving foam and there was no chemical expansion to it so no bulging etc if overfilled. Stuff cured in a few minutes and IMHO was a total success. Our Canadian Federal Government was giving grants and then found out it had UFFI in it and with no scientific basis banned the product in Canada because of the issues in the 1970s with offgasing of UFFI. Test were done in the house at Government expense after and there were no residual gases of any sort. It is available in virtually every other country in the world! Details can be found at https://www.retrofoam.com/
 
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