Insulating a Garage Workshop: Part I

by Patrick Harper - Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

The light at the end of the tunnel, finally!  My hands are a little sore from securing around 400 staples.  However, insulating a garage workshop was one of the easiest tasks I’ve completed so far.  I suggest you try this yourself as opposed to hiring it out.

Before installing the batts, I sealed all the seams in the sheathing with spray foam.  I also patched a few large holes with plywood.  After struggling with the disposable cans, I opted for the professional gun.  It allows you to control the bead of foam with precision.  You’ll finish the job with cleaner hands.  I also sealed the gaps between the door jamb and frame.  Here, I used a low expanding foam specifically designed for windows and doors.

With the workshop air tight, it was time to install some insulation.

I cleaned off a large section of the floor for a work area and got to work.  I’m not too keen on being itchy, so I used some long gloves while working with the fiberglass.  I decided to use rolls on kraft-faced R13 installed of pre-cut batts.  I measured my stud bays and cut the rolls using a utility knife.  I found that compressing the roll over a 2×4 scrap made cutting in a single pass a breeze.  I used an engineering square to make sure my cuts were square.  I also used the story stick from when I ran electrical to score part way through the back of the insulation where I had horizontal cable runs.  You want your wires to fit into the insulation as opposed to compressing it.

I waited until my batts were installed before I cut out for my electrical boxes.  Then, I secured the batts to the studs using staples.  The rolls have flanges that fold out to make sure a continuous vapor barrier along your wall.  I overlapped the flanges and stapled.  And I stapled, and stapled.  My hands are still sore today.  I should have invested in one of the hammer style staple guns.

I still have to decide on what to cover the walls with.  I’ll probably go with 5/8 drywall.  Then it’s on to conditioning the space.  Stay tuned!

For the rest of the workshop build, check out the garage workshop build index.