R-Value vs. U-Value: Choosing the Right Insulated Garage Door

In the past, insulation wasn’t always taken into account when producing and purchasing garage doors—garage doors were often just sheets of steel or wood that did little to keep out the heat and cold. Today, however, companies like NationServe are able to distribute affordable, insulated garage doors that are highly thermal-efficient, saving you money on energy bills as well as garage door maintenance.

 For many years, R-value has been the most common way to rate the thermal efficiency of garage doors. Now, however, the garage door industry is gradually shifting toward using U-values to measure insulation levels and energy efficiency. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of insulated garage doors and the differences between R-value and U-value measurements.

Why is it important to have an insulated garage door?

Your garage door is probably the largest entrance to your home. If it’s not well-insulated then heat can easily pass through it, decreasing the overall energy efficiency of your home and increasing how much you pay for your heating and air conditioning bills.

 Having an insulated garage door minimizes how much heat is lost through the garage, which saves you money in heating and cooling costs. Insulated garage doors are especially important if you spend a lot of time in your garage, or if you have a bedroom, office, or living space directly above or next to your garage. Many people resort to buying space heaters which just adds to your energy bills and can be hazardous if left on indefinitely. Also, insulated garage doors are more durable, muffle sounds from the outside and can keep your vehicles from malfunctioning due to drastic temperature fluctuations.

 Insulated garage doors usually consist of two layers of a material like steel, fiberglass or vinyl with polyurethane  or polystyrene foam in between. The type of garage door material and level of insulation that you need for your home will depend on the climate of the region in which you live. Check out our guide on how to choose the right garage door for your local climate to learn more and to make an informed choice.

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R-Value vs. U-Value: the basic differences

R-value and U-value are two different ways to measure and indicate how well-insulating and energy-efficient a product is. These values help consumers choose doors, windows, wall insulation, and other building components that offer appropriate levels of protection for the climates in which they live.

  • R-value is a measurement of a material’s resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the more energy efficient the product is. In other words, a garage door with a high R-value will be better at stopping the flow of heat out of the house during the winter and into the house during the summer, making it easier and cheaper for your HVAC system to keep your home at the temperature of your choosing.
  • U-value measures the rate of heat transfer in a given product. The lower the U-value, the slower heat escapes and the more energy efficient the product is. Put simply, U-value is the mathematical reciprocal of R-value, meaning U=1/R and R=1/U. So, the U-value of a garage door with the R-value of 10 would be 0.1, or 1/10.

Accuracy matters: the benefits of using U-values for garage doors

Although R-values have been standard in the garage door industry for many years, U-values are becoming more common because they provide customers with a more accurate understanding of how thermally efficient their garage doors are as a complete unit.

R-value describes the insulation level of a specific material rather than as a system of different materials. With an insulated garage door, you can only derive the overall R-value by adding together the values of all the different materials involved.

U-values describe the rate of heat transfer for an entire system, not just individual materials. It not only considers the conduction properties of all the different materials but also takes into account how much heat is lost through airflow. For instance, the U-value of your garage door would take into account not only how quickly heat passes through the primary material, insulating foam, metal hardware, and windows (if any) but also how much heat is lost by air leaking out around the edges.

In short, while R-values are helpful for choosing the right material for your garage door, U-values are better for figuring out what complete garage door systems best meet your insulation needs.

U-values are already standard in the door and window industries and slowly becoming accepted among garage door manufacturers and suppliers. At NationServe, we’re thrilled to be leading the industry-wide move in that direction.

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Contact NationServe: America’s Garage Door Specialists

At NationServe, we’re committed to helping Americans find the right garage door for their home or business with the right level of insulation for their region. Whether you need a door that can stand up to the dry heat of Tucson, the chilly winters of Cincinnati, the humidity of Charlotte, and any weather in between, we’re confident that we can find the right garage door for your individual needs. Contact us today to learn more about our teams in 18 different locations across the US or use our online form to request a quote for your next project.