Remodeling the Garage to Create a New Living Space

Sometimes you just need more living space in your home. Whether you are planning to accommodate aging relatives or you want to enjoy a new media room and playroom for the kids, a creative and open-minded approach can transform an attached or detached garage into the living area of your dreams. From home office to craft room, the possibilities for your new space are endless if you have the budget and the vision! Here are some factors to consider when remodeling your garage:

Permits & structural safety: As with any remodeling project, you first need to ensure that you have the proper building permits for the space from your city or town. The first thing you should do is to call your local building inspector to ensure your new repurposed garage will comply with any codes that may be in place. It is also important to consult a professional about this project, whether you speak with an architect or a designer, before you begin the process. During these conversations, focus on issues like structural integrity, any utilities that might run through the garage, and any special design considerations. Clarifying these considerations early will ensure that your space is safe and you won’t run into expensive surprises later in the project.

Flooring: Most garages have concrete slab flooring, which is probably oil-stained and cracked from years of parking cars on it, and thus not conducive to a comfortable living space. There are a number of options for changing out the flooring from carpet to hardwood to concrete. Before you decide on the flooring and the process for installation, you will want to make sure the space is dry and does not take on water at certain times of year. If your garage tends to get a little wet, specific steps can be taken to seal the building as well as reroute water by installing drainage solutions outside around the building. If the space is dry, you may want to consider putting a layer of concrete over the existing slab and installing radiant flooring. This creates a modern and comfortable look, or a great base for laying tile in the space.

Weatherizing: Weatherizing the space is also crucial, especially if your climate is very hot or cold. Installing insulation is a relatively easy task you could tackle on your own. However, you may want to talk with a contractor about installing new heating and/or cooling systems. After all, you probably want to be able to use this new room year round! Ensuring that the space is properly weatherized is a top priority when converting an existing garage space.

The Garage Door: One obvious factor that to address is the opening of the garage. A good option to consider is to install large folding glass doors or windows. This addresses two issues: it creates a lovely indoor/outdoor living feeling, and it lets plenty of light into the space. Most garages have very few windows, allowing for very little natural light. By installing large folding glass doors or floor to ceiling windows, you’re bringing in plenty of beautiful outdoor light into the space while also potentially making use of the existing garage door opening.

After these major tasks are done, it’s time for the easy part – decorating! While converting a garage many not be an easy undertaking, if you tackle the process methodically and bring the right people in for the construction, you will be able to create a space that your family will enjoy for years to come.

About the Author

Tom has been writing about eco-friendly home improvements for several years. You can find him reviewing garage doors, high speed traffic doors and other products for Door Systems, in hopes of perfecting more energy efficient door technology.

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