A garage conversion into a living space has more potential than you can ever imagine. With a little hard work and some imagination, you can turn your garage into an office, family room, a gym or man cave creating a welcoming and functional space…or not. With endless options, a garage conversion can be an affordable way to gain living space. After all, you already have the foundation, the walls, electrical and a roof but you still have to take into consideration various factors.
One of the most important is what to do with everything that you are already storing in the garage including your car. For stuff, you have options such as adding a shed in your backyard, storing your stuff in the attic or better yet, having a garage sale! In regards to your car, if you live in the South you have to accept potential sun damage to your car and if you live in the North, you will be digging your car out of the snow. In addition parking outside increases the risk of your car being broken into and some HOA’s just will not allow it.
It is also important to be aware of all the permits you will need to complete your garage conversion. Generally, in order to get the necessary permits, you’ll need to draw up your overall plans and take them to your local permitting office to be looked over and approved. If a contractor is handling all of the work, a reputable one will take care of the permits for you.
After taking all of that in consideration if you decide to vote yes on a garage conversion, there are a few other big items that will need to be addressed. First off, the garage floor. A garage floor may have a slope to allow water to drain out of the garage and the floor may also be lower than the floor of your home thus requiring a step down. Another alternative to a step would be raising the garage floor if your ceiling height will allow it. In addition, adding a moisture barrier and insulation before applying new flooring and leveling out the garage should be part of the plan.
There is also heating and cooling to consider. Insulating the walls and the ceiling is a must. As far as temperature control, ductless heating and cooling (mini-split systems) is a great alternative for a garage conversion but can be expensive. Extending your existing HVAC is also a possibility or another option is a radiant floor heating system which is relatively easy to install on an existing concrete slab. Regardless of the type of HVAC you choose, you will need to consider the existing wiring in the garage not only for the HVAC but also for the total amount of electrical usage the converted space will need.
However the biggest question facing most garage conversions is what to do about that huge garage door. Once you remove the door, what do you do with the opening? You certainly want it to blend with the rest of the house but also want it to be functional. Possible options include installing a patio door or framing a new wall that includes a large picture window or bay window but there is a new option; a Contour Closures Horizontal Garage Door System.
Using a Horizontal Garage Door for your garage conversion comes many options for design, including a glass door which would allow for natural light in your new space or you could design the door to match your house with veneer or a carriage house style door. In addition, with the partial opening provided by the horizontal garage door, you do not have to open the door all the way to get out of the garage. The door can pass behind a false wall so it literally disappears when opened allowing you to add shelving, or artwork and there is no overhead hardware freeing up the ceiling for lighting or even a projector.
The best course of action is to think hard about how you can make the exterior of the converted space look like it has always been a part of the house, rather than an afterthought. Try to match the siding, colors, windows and door styles. Done properly, a garage conversion can a seamless addition to your home. Contact us for help in designing your new fabulous horizontal garage door!