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How to Heat Up a Cold Concrete Garage

How to Heat Up a Cold Concrete Garage

Your garage is among the most useful parts of your home. Aside from housing your car and home improvement equipment, you might use the space as a gym, and office, or a workshop.

Because of this, it’s undesirable to only use your garage during the warmer parts of the year. No one wants to avoid their precious garage space during the winter!

Not to mention, the extreme temperature drops can cause damage to your car and other equipment. You need to have a way to heat up your cold concrete garage. We’ve outlined different approaches that allow you to do that.

The challenge

While sturdy and durable, your concrete garage can be a nightmare when mixed with the cold temperatures of winter. In fact, warming up a cold garage in winter often feels like trying to heat empty space. That’s because concrete has a dismal rate of heat transfer.

If you don’t take precautions, you might as well be burning dollar bills for warmth!

Insulate your garage

First and foremost, if your garage isn’t insulated, insulate it.

Insulation allows you to preserve the existing heat inside while also ensuring that cold air cannot come in. The last thing you want is the warm air from your heater dissipating through cracks and crevices.

The type of insulation best for your garage largely depends on your space. However, I tend to favor standard fiberglass insulation for its ease of installation and cost-effectiveness. Just be sure to remember to apply a vapor barrier between the insulation and the outer wall.

In terms of insulation thickness, it all depends on your studs. For standard 2×4 wall studs, many folks reach for R12. If you have 2×6 walls, R20 may be necessary. For the most part, a greater R-value indicates a higher insulating power.

Inspect and repair weather-stripping

Gaps around garage doors, door-frames and windows tend to invite the cold air into your space.

To remedy this costly situation, you need to apply weather-stripping to your windows, doors, and garage doors. Adding weather-stripping to doors and windows is a common task, but adding it to garage doors is a little more involved. Here’s a handy to guide to ensure you do it properly.

Add garage heaters

While weather-stripping and insulation are musts, they won’t do much to raise your garage’s temperature in the winter months. To truly keep your garage toasty, you need to get a garage heater.

Types of Garage Heaters

There are quite a few different types of garage heaters that you can choose from. Generally, the higher the cost the better a given option will heat.

However, your typical garage will only have so much square footage. You’ll get diminishing returns with each additional dollar.

Type of HeaterNeeds ventilationCost
Direct-vent gas heaterYes~$700
Electric radiant ceiling panelNo~$350
Mini-split heat pumpNo~$600
Infrared heaterNo~$80
Oil filled electric heaterSomewhat~$40

As you can see, the cheapest type of heater for your garage is an oil-filled electric heater, although infrared heaters give it a run for its money.

There are quite a few non-budget options as well, but they have a higher installation barrier as well as upfront cost.

For small garages, I would choose the infrared heater or the oil-filled electric heater.

For medium to large garages, you might consider an electric radiant ceiling panel. Especially if you spend a lot of time out there or have sensitive tools to protect.

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