Shop AC Installation, Part 1

My shop conditions are great 2 months out of the year.  That is early spring (April) and late fall (October).  All the other months the heat is miserable or the cold is not glue or finish friendly.  I have tried to combat the heat (108+ degrees inside in the summer) by running fans as the added air movement makes working a little more bearable.  Sweating on my projects isn’t something I enjoy doing, though it does show what the work piece may look like when finish is applied.  For the cold months I run a ceramic heater next me but the sheer amount of space to heat is inefficient and ends up costing more on the electric bill than the warmth it offers.

Now, in the space’s current state, the weather efficiency is very bad.  I have finished walls (insulated) and a ceiling but the latter is not insulated.  Furthermore, the shop faces west with a non insulated metal garage bay door.  When the summer sun hits the garage door the heat that radiates through essentially turns the shop into an oven.

The first order of business I am taking to make the shop a comfortable working environment is to seal the garage door.  I had the foam garage door seal nailed to the side and top frames of the door but it has since dried up and become more than useless.  Time to replace it with a longer lasting seal.  Enter the vinyl seal.  This stuff looks great, is easy to install, it’s paintable (latex or oil based), will last (so “they” say) forever (who ever “they” are don’t live where I do), and it comes in 9′ lengths.  Available on Amazon here: Frost King Garage Door Side/Top Weather Seal (Affiliate link).


Step 1: Remove the old seal.  This is easily done with a claw hammer.  Just pry out the nails and toss the waste in the can.


Step 2: Close the garage door and take measurements.  The height of my garage door fame is 84″.

Step 3: Cut the weather stripping to length.  I cut a 45 degree bevel at the end that will touch the top frame.  With the garage door closed, I place the stripping against the frame with the rubber flap against the garage door and slide it so it applies a little pressure on the door.  Not too much and not too little.  It should be just enough to flex the rubber seal.

Step 4: Nail the strips to the frame.  I use an 18 gauge brad nailer with 1-1/4″ nails but a 16 gauge finish nailer would work fine too.  Some folks would even pre-drill a few through holes in the stripping and drive some nails through for an extra hold.  I just nailed the hell out of it.  It ain’t going anywhere.


Step 5: Place the top piece into position.  I left the end square as the seal will overlap with the 45 degree seal from the side.  No gap.  Hold the strip with one hand (though a helper is always good to have) and shoot the nails through the vinyl strip to hold it into place.  Work your way to the end of the strip and move the seal as needed to maintain good pressure on the door.  Nail it some more.  If the slight gap in the corner and the nail holes bother you (as they do me) just fill them with paintable caulk (I’ll be painting the house later anyhow).


Step 6: Measure the remaining distance and cut the piece to that length.  I did it that way as I didn’t want a bunch of scrap pieces by measuring the middle point of the frame and cutting to that point.  It doesn’t matter to me, it is a seal not tiling…or a boat…or a piano.  I did, however, cut the end that meets the other strip at a 30 degree angle so it would overlap the seal on the other strip.  Then  repeat Step 5.


With the door now sealed from the weather it is time to move on to the next most economical portion of this process…insulating the garage door.


Stay tuned for the next installment of the shop insulation project and AC installation.

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