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Finishing Garage Q's and A's

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Finishing off garage

We are getting to tear out the existing walls and get to work. Electrical work is minimal and we will do that first. Would you recommend closing off the garage door area next? Seems to me that we must if the floor is to go in properly. I am faced with the task of finishing off my garage into a bedroom due to an ever expanding number of family members. I have never undertaken this large a project and can't afford the pros so....
I need to close off the garage door area and install floor joists over the concrete in the garage. I would like some recommendations (please don't say call someone...I can't) on how to install floor joists on a solid surface and what to beware of when closing off the garage door area.

The house is about 50 years old and sits on a slab. Any assistance is greatly appreciated. I am fairly handy and have done many small projects, but this is a large one and I want to get it right. I have a fair amount of time, just need more quality information.

Do the floor first....
Is the floor of the garage lower than the floor of the house? A step down? You can and should then, make the floor even with the house's floor assuming the ceiling height can also remain the same as the house..... I would build the floor as a platform hung from the existing walls of the garage. Since tha garage floor may notbe level, you can place your box end boards on the walls and hang the joist from them using joist hangers. Thefloor joists can rest right on the garage floor where the floor is highest, and hang above where it is low. Does that make sense?

If the garage floor is perfectly level, then you can still build it that way, the joist would rest right on the floor all the way, then. Put plastic under on the floor under the joists to keep moisture from coming up into them. And insulate the floor also! As for the garage door. Take it out.. and frame in the wall right in the opening. I am sure you would want a window in there, so frame a window opeing into that new wall. Then remove the siding from that section and re-install new siding to cover the whole front side of the garage so you don't have the seam where the door was.

Fairly brief, I know.. but hopefully gives you a start.. and you can write and ask some specific questions on any or all of what I wrote.. Two quick points
1) You need to frame the garage door opening first before wiring. Code will require outlets on this and every other wall at maximum 6 feet apart. 2) If you lay the floor joists on the concrete, they will have to be pressure treated. That is code also.

Enclosing Garage

I want to enclose my one car garage to make a bedroom and bath. The garage is finished with drywall. I want to bring the floor up to the level of the rest of the house and close in the opening with a window. I know I need to put insulation in the outside wall too. I have read your tips but which step should I begin with? should I close in the end, bring up the floor, or work on the bath first?

The rough wall to close the end and the floor should come first... the order there is only dependent on how you will build them.. but you should rough it in like a typical addition/building project. Don't close in the walls or insulate until you install the wiring and the plumbing.

Insulation for extra room/Garage

I am having a ranch home built, with a bonus room over the garage. I plan to use this room as a music/theatre room. What is the best way to insulate and sound proof the room? The builder standardly uses R-13 and R-32. I live in Georgia.

The sheetrock should be doubled on one side of the wall, and type X used. Metal fasteners called resilient channels can be used to separate the single layer of sheetrock from the studs. All passages for sound travel should have at least R-11 insulation in them. Including uner the floor. And use those channels to hold the sheetrock off the joists as well.

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Room over garage

I recently bought a house that has an attached barn/garage with a big space over the garage with access from the second floor. In general, what steps would be involved if I wanted to finish off the room for year-round use. What would have to be done first? I live in Maine. Also, someone told me that this might be a Sears house. It's about 85 years old. What is a Sears house?

Sears used to sell house kits through their catalog years back. The first step you need to determine in converting the garage 'attic' into living space, is if the floor joists are capable of providing adequate support according to modern building codes. You must have usually a bearing capacity of about 40lbs persf and this is determined by the size of the joists and the distance they span. Your local building code officer can examine the structure and recommend what you must do with the floor structure to comply with modern code, if anything. The next step is to proceed as you would normally do in construction, starting with all necessary framing, then wiring, plumbing, heating....insulation, drywall, etc..

Weird garage question

Has anyone ever had to erect some sort of divider (temporary or permanent)down the center of their garage. I am planning to purchase an old car that I would like to store in my garage along with my wife's daily driver. My problem is my two young sons are VERY active (if you know what I mean) and all of the neighborhood boys come to our garage to get the toys out to play. I am afraid, correction, I know the old car would be constantly bumped, banged, scraped etc. The dimensions of the garage are D19 1/2 W22 1/2 H11 .

I was thinking of a knee wall, full wall with an opening, or a line of storage units down the middle. Any creative ideas would be sincerely appreciated.

I remember when my dad separated our garage with a chicken wire wall to keep the cat from sleeping on his newly washed car.That isn't a pretty thing.

At 22 ft wide, you don't have much room for storage, do you? I think you might want to build a floor to ceiling wall... you can cover it with something light and cheap like oriented strand board, OSB. My thoughts on going floor to ceiling are to make it strong and stable.. you can tie into the joists or trusses above. You could build a door into the wall, buying an inexpensive prehung hollow core door.

Other thoughts:
My first thought was chicken wire also, but OSB 'cheap"??? Not any more....
Might consider some discontinued paneling. OSB is up about $13 per sheet in my neighborhood. About the same as Luan. Better yet is to install drywall without finishing...About $3.50 per sheet round here...

Converting garage to office

I have a ranch-style home, with two bedrooms above the attached garage. I'd like to convert half of the garage to an office space (and better insulate the other half).At this point, the plan is to stud the concrete walls and insulate, re-insulate the ceiling (the insulation is very old and doesn't seem to be doing its job), and insulate the garage doors (its a 2 stall, 2 door garage).

Are there any special considerations I should be making?
I want to leave the garage door up (in the office half) because I have a lot of equipment that I frequently move around..
What should I do about the concrete floor? Can I just glue down some of that fake-wood flooring directly to the concrete?
Should I bother with re-doing the ceiling insulation, leave it, or just remove it? What considerations should be made for heating and ventilation? (there is currently a heating vent in the ceiling) ???

Your first order of business is to contact your local code enforcement office. Many code jurisdiction DO NOT allow garage to living space conversions. Yours may not and that kills the deal before it starts.

Assuming you can convert,you're on the right track with framing 2x4s and then insulating the walls with an R-13 fiberglass.

The ceiling area can be upgraded to at least an R-19 and possibly and R-30 depending on the depth of the ceiling joists. This should be done in both bays since it will help with heating across the board.

Flooring you should avoid any glue down flooring IMHO and add carpeting. Most glue down manufacturers void any warranties if their floor is applied below grade anyhow.P> Code problem:
Most codes require that you have a partition separating the actual garage from any living areas, and that partition wall be covered with, fire rated 5/8 drywall, finished and painted. This means you will have to construct a partition wall separating the used garage bay from your office garage bay, and that the ceiling of the office garage bay must be covered in fire rated drywall as well.

Heating might be done through the existing ducts, but you may want to consider a simple electric baseboard heat system for backup... Garage doors can't be insulated practically. You can replace non-insulated for insulated doors...

Click here for our Building A Concrete Slab Article
Click here for our Insulation Facts Article
Click here for our Garage Tips Article

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