Special to Yahoo Homes
Adding to your family either with a new baby or with elderly parents moving in means you need more living space. Renovating a garage into a new bedroom or recreation room makes sense because you already have a foundation and walls. It’s cheaper than adding on, but certain considerations must be made.
Before tackling this type of remodeling project, you need to consider what to do with your vehicles and all the equipment stored in the garage. Depending on where you live, brutal winters can take their toll on cars and shorten their lifespan. So can saltwater if you live close to a beach. Consider adding a standard-size detached garage and driveway some place else on your property if you need indoor coverage for your cars. You may be able to relocate lawn mowers, tools and other paraphernalia from the garage to a new storage shed.
Once the decision has been made to convert the garage, you need to plan exactly what that will look like.
1. Make the New Door Look Natural
The materials used to infill the old garage door need to match the existing exterior. If you have brick on the outside and that can’t be matched, then you may have to resurface that entire area of your house. The driveway into the garage needs to be removed and landscaping added in its place. You don’t want your conversion to mar the beauty of your home.
2. Blend In
The entire converted space, not just the door, needs to look like it has always been a part of the house and adapt to what’s on the outside. That means match colors, construction styles and landscaping.
3. Consider Traffic Inside the House
If your new room caters to family recreation, passing through the laundry room or a bathroom to get there won’t be ideal. Walking through the kitchen to get to a bedroom might be okay unless all the other bedrooms are located in the opposite end of the house.
4. Create a Master Plan
Consult with professionals about this project and find out your best options. Often residential architects have a creative solution for issues that seem unsolvable.
5. Level the Floor
Garage floors typically slope towards the door plus they typically have a step down from the interior entrance door. That all needs to be filled in to bring the floor up to the level of the interior door. You want a smooth transition from the house to the new living space, with no steps down.
6. Insulate the Space
If your garage already has insulation and drywall on top of that, you can skip this step. Otherwise the walls need to be insulated. Don’t forget your wiring and plumbing needs before closing up those walls.
7. Install a Heating and Cooling System
With an attached garage, you may have the capability of extending your system from the house into the new living space. If not, electric baseboards, space heaters and woodstoves might be good options.
8. Consider Wiring
Will electrical use be amped up considerably in this new space? If so, think about adding a new 20-amp circuit. Hire an electrician to install outlets and light switches and take care of any other electrical needs.
9. Adding Windows
Garages usually have only one or two windows, so you’ll want to add a few. Keep in mind the view outside, gaining as much natural light as possible, but also don’t forget about privacy, especially if this room will become a bedroom.
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