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Remodeling A Garage To A Room
By Dan Fritschen

Remodeling a garage to a room is often a cost-effective way to add living space to your home.

1. Because the foundation, roof and exterior walls are already built, you will not incur these costs.

2. You will be able to remodel the area with little disruption to the rest of your home.

3. You may already have the electrical wiring in place (most garages have lights and at least one electrical outlet)
as well as plumbing.

4. Depending upon local building codes, you may not need a building permit for your project.

Why would you need a building permit? This can vary from one location to another, but the primary issues are:
* Structural soundness

* Exits

* Heating and cooling

* Windows

* Ventilation

* Insulation

* Plumbing

* Electrical

In some areas, failure to build to local code can require that you restore the space to its original condition before you sell the house.

The best place to start remodeling a garage to a room is to determine what you have to work with in terms of floor, walls, access, etc. You will likely have a cement slab floor and an adequate roof. If there are no windows, you will need to decide whether to install them, how many to install, and where you will place them. If your garage has finished walls you will need to determine whether the walls are insulated. If they are not insulated, you will need to make decisions about how you will insulate. You will need to plan for heating and cooling and adequate lighting and electrical outlets. Do you need plumbing in the room? If so, you will need to determine whether there is or is not plumbing in the area and what changes are required.

Your next decision will be whether to use the entire garage for your new room or only part of it. If you have a two-car garage, you might decide to finish only half of it into living space. In this case, you might want to pay extra attention to soundproofing.

Converted garages can serve a variety of functions. Garages can be converted into everything from a kitchen to a living room or a family room, den, home theater, home office or an extra bedroom. You might discover enough "attic" space to finish two rooms (one above the other) or to open the ceiling and design your new room with a vaulted ceiling.

The next decisions will determine the appearance of the finished room.

1. What kind of flooring will you use? You will find that a slab is conducive to almost any kind of flooring you choose to install. Be sure to seal the slab before you begin installation of any flooring materials. And, if you
install carpet, you might want to invest in double padding to make the room more comfortable. You can also build a traditional joist floor over the garage slab to match the floor level in the rest of your home.

2. What kind of ceiling do you want? Depending upon the planned use of the space, you might choose a vaulted, exposed beam ceiling, a pitched ceiling, a tray ceiling, a drywall ceiling, or a drop ceiling.

3. Finally, you will need to decide on the walls. You can choose paneling or sheetrock, or you might want to consider constructing the walls of insulated board. If the room will be used as a playroom or a home office, this might be just the solution you need.

Finally, you will need to decide whether to do the work yourself or hire a contractor. You might decide to hire a contractor for some of the work, like electrical, plumbing, etc. and do the rest yourself. Either way, you'll find that the cost of converting your garage to living space is far less than adding a room to your home.

A garage conversion is a great remodeling project. It's the perfect way to get the space you need at the lowest possible cost. Enjoy!

Copyright 2007 by ABCD Publishing

About the Author:

Dan Fritschen, the remodel-or-move guru is President and Publisher at ABCD Publishing and operates three very popular websites --, which helps homeowners make this important decision on the basis of knowledge and reliable cost estimates, and www.remodelestimates, which offers a variety of articles on various aspects of remodeling and remodeling cost estimate calculators, as well as referrals to great contractors throughout the nation, and He is the author of three books on home remodeling.


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