Converting your garage into a new studio or living space can be an exciting project, and it can add tremendous value to your home. Whether you're changing things up for your own enjoyment or you're planning on moving in a friend or loved one, here's what you need to do to revamp that space.
Heating and Cooling
One of the biggest points to ponder includes whether or not to run heat and air to your newly created space. You can always get an estimate for installing new ductwork that runs off your existing HVAC system to the garage. The problem is this: your system may not have been set up to accommodate that extra space. The end result could be your new room—and the rest of the house—feeling uncomfortably hot or cold.
Obviously, there are a couple of solutions. If your existing system can't handle the extra square footage, the new space can have its own central heat and air installed as a separate self-contained unit. On the other hand, you may be able to get by with a small space heater as well as fans or a window air conditioning unit.
If you live in a colder climate, you might want to look into the ductless mini-split heaters. These are essentially ductless heating systems that are perfect for smaller add-on rooms and spaces. They're additionally great because without the ducts, you won't suffer from the energy losses that come with a traditional forced air system.
For additional info on heating your garage renovation, try checking out the link to an HVAC company.
Depending on what you're going to be using the space for, you don't necessarily have to remove the garage door. If you prefer that it's out of sight, however, and money is no object, then most contractors can replace it with a beautiful window, a sliding glass door, French or swinging doors, or a permanent wall. This can be costly to do, so if it's not within your budget, you'll need to insulate the door as well as seal up the cracks and edges with a special, drying foam.
If you're planning on having a sink or bathroom added to the room, the plumbing will need to be addressed at the start of the project. This is because the lines that supply the water as well as the pipes that carry the waste away will need to be added to the concrete slab. If this is too much to consider or it's more than you want to take on, you can look into an upflush toilet that works above ground. The mechanics behind this system are fairly simple. And what adds the most value is the simplicity of the design and the fact that the whole process allows the homeowner to avoid drilling or cutting through the garage floor.
In order to protect your property from flooding, your garage floor is sloped to allow for easy water runoff. If you're going to cover the garage with any kind of flooring, you'll need to have the concrete leveled. Without doing this important step, it will be extremely difficult to lay tile or any other kind of floating floors.
But getting the floor level is only the first step. You see, concrete is a very porous substance. In other words, it tends to allow moisture to seep in from the ground below and wick upward, soiling anything that's resting on top. Because of this, you might want to stay away from hardwood floors as they become easily damaged from moisture. At the very least, speak with a contractor about what type of flooring is best in your situation while also discussing the possibility of laying a vapor barrier strip.
There are a number of options for a vapor barrier, and they include painting a coating on the floor, applying special sheets, and laying down heavy insulated panels. If your garage has a low ceiling and raising the floor with layers of vapor barriers simply isn't an option, inquire about ceramic tile flooring. This can be installed directly over concrete without the barrier, as ceramic is immune to the negative effects of moisture.
If you're starved for inspiration or ideas, check out this article on freshome.com that showcases ten of the most unique garage conversions. You just might get some ideas of your own.