Garage Remodeling
Converting Your Garage

Garage remodeling, utilizing an existing garage, is a great way to add on to your home. Simply convert your attached garage to living space! The wall structure is already in place, and with some easy modifications and the addition of more walls, doors, and windows, as needed, you can take advantage of space you already have to accommodate your growing family.

Converting a garage space into one or more bedrooms, a living or dining room, a family room, or an office is a fairly simple garage remodeling process. Changing garage space into a laundry area, bathroom, or kitchen will be a much bigger challenge.

Most garage spaces are constructed on a concrete slab and do not have a basement beneath them. That can make installing plumbing for the latter options an issue.

So wherever possible, try to convert a garage space into one of the former options and simply expand on the existing kitchen or bathrooms already in the home to minimize the major hassle involved with moving, rerouting, or completely installing new plumbing.

Assess and Plan the Space

The first step is to assess and plan your garage remodeling. Decide what the space will be used for, how it will be configured (do you need to add any internal walls or halls-and if so-where), and whether you will need to move or add windows, doors, outlets, light fixtures, and/or heating and air conditioning ductwork or registers.

Check with the building inspector for your local municipality to be sure your plans will comply with all building codes and to get any necessary permits before you begin work. For instance, to convert your garage to living space, you will probably need to adhere to codes regarding the size and placement of windows, number and placement of electrical outlets, and other details.

Start With Structural Changes for Your Garage Remodeling Project

To begin, you will probably need to remove any overhead garage doors and frame the space in with 2x4's to create solid walls. You will also need to relocate or install additional windows and doors where necessary, creating structural headers above them for support. If the garage still had open rafters, you will need to enclose the ceiling, as well. Then you can add any new walls where desired, tying them into the existing structure for stability.

Wiring, Ductwork, and Insulation

The next step is to add all of the necessary wiring, including new circuits and circuit breakers, electrical outlets, light fixtures, switches, and any other wiring where needed. Be sure it meets all local wiring codes for safety.

Then, if you will be tapping into your existing heating or air conditioning system, you will need to run the appropriate ductwork, joining it to the current unit. If the unit is too small or inadequate for the additional living space, you may need to install extra wiring and an additional system for the new living space and run the appropriate ductwork.

Finally, insulate the old garage area completely. Be sure to insulate the ceiling and walls, making sure you do so adequately to meet the recommendations for the climate in your area of the country. You can look online for charts that tell you how much insulation you need for your area.

Finish the Interior Walls

Now it's time to close in the interior walls. Most people these days hang sheets of drywall to create interior walls. Alternatively, you could opt to use sheets of paneling. Or you could nail up knotty pine boards. If you go this route, you will need to nail up sheets of plywood or OSB first so you have something to attach the pine boards to.

Drywall boards should be hung horizontally so you can more easily tape and mud the seams and joints. This is the next step. You will need to do this - and then sand the joints - to ensure a solid, smooth finish to your walls. If desired, you can then apply a texture to the walls, as well. Then prime and paint the walls in the colors desired or hang wallpaper.

Level The Floor and Install Floor Coverings

To install floor coverings properly, the floors should be repaired, if necessary, with concrete. Then you may wish to seal the concrete floor. Finally, you will probably want to install a subfloor so you can utilize whatever floor coverings you desire. After the subfloor is installed and leveled, you can add wood flooring, linoleum, tile, carpeting, or whatever type of floor coverings you prefer.

Add Inside Doors and Trim

After the floor coverings are installed, prefinish any trim or moldings to be installed. This could include crown molding around the ceiling, base board trim, and trim around doors and windows, in addition to a chair rail or wainscoting.

At the same time, paint or stain and varnish any interior doors that will need to be hung in the new space - such as bedroom doors. Then hang and level the doors. Finally, use a brad nail gun to affix the trim to finish the rooms off with a professional touch.

Complete the Final Details of Your Garage Remodeling Project

Finally, to finish your garage remodeling, it's time to install registers over the ductwork openings and then install any light fixtures. Put outlet covers on electrical outlets and switch plate covers on the light switches. And don't forget to complete the exterior to match the rest of your home. Then it's time to decorate and move your furnishings into your new living space!

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