Random Thursday: The Home Improvement Edition (Pt. 1)

Howdy, folks. Today is Global Kinetic Sand Day and I have no idea what to do with that one. Fortunately (or not, depending on your outlook), it’s also National Presidential Joke Day and…sure, I could go for the obvious cheap shot, but we’re nothing if not classy here at the Gazette, so let’s just use this one and move on.

That’s also what they told me about blogging.

We’ve had a busy month or so here at Casa Fire Ant. We’re finally getting around to doing some projects (or, even better, hiring someone else to do them) that we’ve been contemplating (our euphemism for “putting off while we do more important things like napping”) for a long time. I doubt that you’ll find them as exciting as we do, but in the interest of maintaining the Hysterical Records, here’s a rundown.

Headline: “Old Man Shakes Fist At Sun For Being Too Hot; Vows Revenge”

Alert Gazette readers will remember this photo from June:

Photo: Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer showing insane temps
Ignore the temperature on the right; it’s dramatic but irrelevant.

The reading shown at the bottom left was the temperature inside our garage on June 10th. That makes for a pretty miserable environment for any kind of project. So, I decided to see if insulating our garage doors would help.

We have two garages that are connected but set at a right angle to each other. One is a standard two-car garage; the other is an oversized one-car model. After doing some research, I ordered this reflective foam core insulation for the big door, and a different amount of the same stuff for the smaller one.

I could write an entire post about the challenges of doing this seemingly simple project — working with heavy duty double sided tape is like wrestling a large and angry octopus — but suffice it to say that we got it done over the course of a couple of very hot and sweaty days. Here’s the final result on the big door:

Photo: Insulated garage door
It’s relevant but not dramatic.

It didn’t change the looks of the door very much. Some people said that the insulation made opening and closing their doors quieter but we haven’t noticed any difference. Unfortunately, it also didn’t result in much improvement in the temperature of the garage (I just checked and it’s 96º at 4:30 p.m.).

That shouldn’t have been a surprise. The R-value of the insulation is only 8, which is a bare minimum value. Also, it should have been obvious to me that our uninsulated attic space over the garage, coupled with the metal roof, meant that the garage doors were only a minimal contributor to the internal heat. On the plus side, I can now touch the garage doors in the heat of the day and they were too hot to touch before. I’m still looking for a project that requires me to touch the doors for an extended period of time in the middle of summer.

It’s possible (and I’m hopeful) that we’ll notice more of a difference in the winter months, because the garage does get pretty cold. But, in the end, I’d rate this project about a 4 on the Effectiveness Scale where 10 would make Tim Allen jealous, and 1 would be my usual DIY outcome.

Fist Shaking At Sun – Part 2

Having completed the GGDIP (Great Garage Door Insulation Project), I turned my attention to the two sets of garage windows, one south facing and the other facing west, which surely were contributing to the oven-like environment. I ordered two sets of mini-blinds from this website, and they arrived shortly after completion of the GGDIP.

Again, I won’t bore you with all the details of this installation, my first attempt ever at this type of job. The first set — the smaller of the two — went off without a hitch. The second set — almost nine feet long — well, not so much. I had neglected to order center support bracket extensions for the outside mount installation (if that means nothing to you, join the club). Fortunately, my local Ace Hardware store carries some generic doohickeys that did the trick without any significant modifications. The results were cosmetically pleasing (for a garage, anyway)…but, like the insulation, did little or nothing to affect the temperature. They do, of course, provide more privacy, not that we have any neighbors, but I grew weary of the deer peeking in.

By the way, it’s really hard to make a set of mini-blinds look dramatic.

Photo: Mini-blinds in our garage
This is the shorter set, installed inside the window frame.

Anyway, if you’re looking for some inexpensive mini-blinds, I can recommend Blinds.com for a good quality product at a reasonable price.

The end result of all this work wasn’t remotely life-changing, but no one was seriously injured and our bank account wasn’t badly damaged, so we’ll chalk it up as a win.

Up next (at some point): We move into the back yard for some improvements that don’t require me to do any work (unless you consider writing big checks work).

2 comments

  1. We insulated a two car garage and a single car garage by using a 3M product. Using a heat gun we got a reading of 15° cooler in the garage with no fans moving the air. Our garage doors face the west but the heat is cut by the forest around 6 pm as the sun drops behind the tree line. Our best bet is to do most things in the morning but even then, some days we look like we got out of the swimming pool when we finish.

    1. Norman, do you remember the R value for the insulation? I was hoping to get a similar reduction as yours, but it hasn’t worked out that way so far.

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