For a good portion of October, we worked hard to get our garage organized (here, here, here, and here). We tackled one wall at a time, and turned our garage into a series of zones, including a mudroom area, a sport storage area, a paint wall, and a workshop. But our work in the garage is far from over, and the to-do list is still long.

The garage To-Do:

1. Demo the broken dry wall ceiling
2. Upgrade the lighting
3. A new attic entry
4. Northern wall insulation
5. Finish/paint the northern and southern walls
6. Replace the old window
7. Replace weather stripping and broken trims around garage door
8. Insulate the garage door with a layer of foam
9. Fix the garage slab and replace the old weather stripping under the garage door

Most of the things in this list address one issue – insulation. As you can see from the schematic below, The two exterior walls in our garage (southern and eastern walls) came with R-11 fiberglass batt insulation. We would love to have R-13, which should also fit into the 2″x4″ studs on these walls, but the cost of replacing all the insulation and dry wall does not justify the difference between R-11 and R-13. Especially when we have no insulation whatsoever on the ceiling and the other two walls.

Our main living space has insulation on the attic floor, right above the drywall ceiling, whereas our garage has nothing. To make things worse, the garage ceiling are just small pieces of dry wall taped together, ready to fall on our heads.


At some places, the ceiling is completely missing:


With all the gaps and holes, heat in the garage rises right against the roof, and escapes freely through the recently added roof vents. It makes a big impact on our heating bills, because the wall between our living space and the garage was not insulated. That means that our new furnace is not only heating the living space, but also working hard to keep the garage warm, via the heat transfer through the shared wall. At the same time, all the heat was lost through the broken ceiling and roof vents.

The last place that could use some insulation is the garage door. The weather stripping around the garage door was falling apart, and there is a big gap under one corner of the garage door due to the settling of garage slab. We can feel the cold draft coming all around the garage door at night.


Our plan is to add insulation inside the northern wall, in order to decrease the heat transfer between the house and the garage. We also want to insulate the garage ceiling and the garage door, which should decrease heat loss. The last step would be replacing the old window. We hope that when we finish, the garage can stay warm on its own, without stealing heat from the house.

Remove the old weather stripping and broken trims:

Without much budget (thanks to the unexpected water heater breakdown), we decided to do our best insulating the garage without burning a hole in our pocket. An easy start is to replace the worn weather stripping around our garage door.


As you can see, the current weather stripping was held down by a piece of 1″ wood jamb. Not only the weather stripping has crumbled into pieces, the wooden jamb themselves were cracked as well.


There was no weather stripping on the top of the garage door, which left a 1/2″ gap along the top of the garage door. Based on the missing paint, we think that trims and weather stripping were there at some point:


To replace the weather stripping, Slav started by taking off the old door jamb down with a pry bar:



The jamb came down without a fight, leaving many nail holes behind:


Slav filled the nail holes, caulked all along the casing and header jamb to close off any seam between the door casing, the header jamb, and the framing. In this way when the new weather stripping is on, there will be no air gap around the door.


Painting around the garage door

During roof-installation, we painted all the fascia, soffit and trims a coat of bronze color. The area around garage door was left out of the game, because we knew that we would be replacing the door jamb with the weather stripping at some point. And now it is the time! After Slav patched all the nail holes and cracks, he scraped off any loose paint and gave everything a good sand:



After an hour of patching and sanding, everything was smooth and ready for a new coat of paint. I taped around the brick and cracked open the leftover paint can:



We also replaced the broken light above the garage door:


with two new lights, which come with motion-sensitive sensors and a timer!


Installing new door jamb and weather stripping

While I was painting, Slav went out and got new weather stripping for the garage. He did some research and settled on a product that combines weather stripping and door jamb, called garage door system from Royal Moulding. The jamb is made of PVC but looks like wood. And it comes with a dark brown color that really similar to the bronze paint. Rot-resistant, pre-drilled holes for easy installation, and good looking – it is a triple win that we cannot resist.



After an afternoon of work, our garage entry was changed from this:


to this – with freshly painted frames, brand-new weather stripping, and PVC jamb:


A draft-free garage door

With all the caulking and new weather stripping, the only thing we need to do to make our garage door draft-free is sealing the gap between the corner of the garage slab and the door. Eventually, we would like to level the garage slab completely. But it is simply too cold to do extensive concrete work now. For a quick fix, Slav used fast-set concrete patch to create a small bump at the problem corner, right below the garage door. It is not pretty, but it does the job to eliminate the gap between the door and the slab.

We have been monitor the temperature in the garage for a while now. Before weather proofing the garage door, the lowest temperature at night fell around 40 degrees. After the upgrade, we have seen the night temperature hovering above 50! We are eager to know how well the garage holds heat after we insulate the ceiling, which is our very next project. Slav has been slowly taking down the dry wall ceiling which revealed the pitched roof above. I am falling in love with the idea of cathedral ceiling in the garage. Who knows, if I play my cards right and catch Slav at the right moment, I may get him on board!