You might dream of rebuilding a garage for many reasons. Perhaps you purchased a historical home with a dilapidated, unattached garage. Maybe your attached garage lacks the updates your home received, such as a new roof or re-siding and now it needs revamping, so they match. Many reasons provide the catalyst for renovating a garage, and many small projects comprise the larger project of rebuilding a garage. Let’s consider each task in the larger renovation.
Form a Plan
Approach rebuilding a garage as you would building a house. Make a detailed plan and draw up blueprints, or hire an architect to do so.
As tempting as it might seem to revamp the garage in a piecemeal fashion, the project requires a master plan. You can fund the changes to the garage in a piecemeal fashion but create a full plan first and a budget for the project.
Check the Permitting Requirements
Before you hire an architect, check with your city government to obtain building permits for your project. Some areas require only one permit for garage work, others require a few. It depends on the work you do and if it involves plumbing or electrical. Some rural areas lack permitting processes because they lie within unincorporated areas. In those cases, rely on the state’s building code as a guide for safe construction. That’s why municipalities developed building codes – to define what provides the safest design.
Foundation Repair and Flooring
Start at the bottom and work your way up. Rebuilding a garage works a lot like getting ahead in your career. You start at the bottom, focusing on foundation repair. A neglected garage probably has significant foundation damage or no foundation. Many unattached garages on older properties feature dirt floors. That means you’ll need to hire concrete services to lay a floor to start your project. Let’s consider each option.
If the garage has a foundation, walk its perimeter outside first, noting each chip, crack, or uneven area. Go inside and conduct the same inspection, noting all problem areas. If one area of the foundation appears higher than the other, you may need a foundation lifting service. Otherwise, contract with a foundation repair service to repair the cracks and chips in it.
If the garage features a dirt floor, you’ll need to demolish the existing structure and start over or lay a foundation inside the existing structure and “shrink” the garage to fit around it. If you want to keep the existing structure, that may provide the only means of improving the foundation and flooring. In old, dilapidated structures, tearing them down to start over completely may offer the only option. That provides the simplest way to lay the foundation.
Instead of putting in a bare cement floor, use a coating or sealant that adds gloss or shine to the cement. Combing wet cement to create a design in it offers another way to make functional flooring look fabulous without adding to the cost.
With an unattached garage, you may need the services of a home addition builder to connect the garage to the home. This could take the form of a causeway, portico, mudroom, or pergola. Connecting the two spaces modernizes the structure and adds to its curb appeal.
When rebuilding a garage, many homeowners end up adding to their home to connect the two areas, but this addition can add value to the property. As home renovation expert Bob Vila points out in This Old House, connecting spaces can result in hardworking home spaces, such as the one featured in the Auburndale project that resulted in a mudroom, bathroom, and breakfast nook.
Address the Roofing
While you started at the bottom, once you have the foundation repair finished and the project attached to the home, inspect the roof, and make repairs. When rebuilding a garage, prioritize the roof as soon as possible. A healthy roof protects all the rest of the building and your work.
If the garage roof consists of asphalt shingles 15 years of age or older, then replace it. Match the garage roofing to the home’s roof. Re-roofing it with metal roofing offers the longest-lasting sensible solution for a utility building. Metal roofs last about 50 years, providing a wise investment if you plan to age in place.
Garage Door Installation
Replace your garage door for an instant upgrade in curb appeal. Perhaps when you take stock of the state of the garage, you discover you only need to make a few updates to revamp your vehicle’s covered parking space.
Instead of rebuilding a garage, you only need to repair a few things. Leave the garage door installation to professionals. This results in your obtaining a materials warranty on the door itself and an installation warranty. Having both can save you serious money if something goes wrong with the door in its first year or two of installation.
Replacing a garage door costs little compared to other home renovations. It adds to the resale value of your home and attractive, strong garage doors start at a cost of about $1,000. Look for sales and specials from reputable brands that install doors, such as Precision Door.
When rebuilding a garage, address the windows next. More than just an aesthetic item, windows bring in light while keeping out intruders. They provide security attractively, so upgrade them as soon as possible. If the existing garage does not feature any windows, add some to update its design and usefulness. The light streaming through garage windows provides you with light to work by during the day, and that saves you electricity.
Instead of trying to install the windows yourself, hire professional window replacement services. Some of these companies may offer windows for sale, while others order what you tell them to order, or purchase the windows using their professional discount at a home improvement supply store.
Match the style of the garage windows to the style of windows used in your home. This creates continuity between the two buildings. Choose double- or triple-pane windows to offer the best insulation for your garage, which offers the best protection for your vehicles stored in it.
Remember to add storage when rebuilding a garage. Consider a custom cabinet install job, an option that works to create a unique solution for your older garage.
Originally called carriage houses, garages have come a long way since the days of housing a horse and buggy. At its inception, a carriage house didn’t need a workspace. The homeowner did not care for their horse and buggy; their stable boy took care of the horse, while a blacksmith shoed the horse, and a vet cared for it. A coachman cared for the buggy or carriage and often resided in an apartment above the parking area.
Today, homeowners care for their own vehicles and require a spot to store accouterments, tools, and how-to magazines that may or may not ever get read. Choosing to purchase and install custom cabinetry results in a more useful garage that serves multiple purposes. You can use the cabinets to store family items, such as camping gear or sports equipment that otherwise take up space inside your home.
Insulating Your Garage
Here’s a vital small task that most people overlook when rebuilding a garage and installing insulation. Think about all the time you spend in your garage, or you need to spend in your garage, but you don’t because – fill in the blank – it’s either too hot or too cold. You don’t want to heat or cool your garage, so you avoid spending time in it. However, your car, truck, or SUV needs you. Your vehicle requires year-round maintenance that you’d more likely perform if your garage weren’t too hot or too cold.
Rather than installing an expensive HVAC system in your garage, add insulation to the walls and ceiling. This reduces or eliminates drafts and stops the flow of seasonal air into your parking place and car maintenance location. Insulation costs less than you probably think, and roll insulation or blanket insulation offers an easy-to-install solution. If you already heat and cool your garage, adding insulation can reduce your utility bills.
Adding a Mini Split
Sure, adding a full HVAC system to your home’s garage equals overkill, especially if it’s an unattached garage, but having an HVAC service professional install a mini-split system makes total sense. These single-unit systems use less energy than a window unit for cooling and a space heater for warmth, plus they offer a safer method of heating than a space heater.
Using Your Newly Comfortable Space
Adding a mini split lets you create a comfortable working environment that offers you a place to park your vehicles, work on them, and to create a workshop or utility room. Once you install proper heating and cooling, you turn the parking garage into a utilizable workspace. Set up a workbench for the hobbyist in your family, or use part of the space to set up a washing machine and dryer. While you busy yourself rebuilding a garage, you might as well make the building work for you and your family.
Creating a Space for Auto Repair
While renovating your garage, create a dedicated area for auto repair. As mentioned, vehicles need regular upkeep. You can make auto care simpler by designing an area of your garage for this task.
Choose an area to the left or right of where you park to install a large pegboard on which you hang your tools. This keeps everything in view, where you can easily grab it and make use of it.
If you need a workbench, try to site it in front of or near the pegboard area. This offers easy access to the tools and bench.
Finally, add a HEPA filter device. If you do woodworking, you’ll need a dust collection system to keep the air clean. Even if you wear a mask while you work on your projects, you will still need a dust collection system with a HEPA filter to keep the air healthy.
Replacing the Siding
Older garages of wood construction may need some boards replaced, or they may require a full replacement. Transitioning to vinyl siding offers many benefits, including longer-lasting performance. Professional installers can place vinyl siding on top of the original wood layer. This saves you renovation time and strengthens the garage overall.
Typically, you should match the siding on the garage to the siding on the house. In some instances, though, creating a red barn look for the garage complements the home. Siding replaces the need to paint and reduces the need for maintenance on the home.
Driveway and Other Hardscapes
While you’ve got concrete services visiting your home, have them update the driveway or add one. A garage renovation provides an ideal time to upgrade the hardscapes in your front or side yard. Besides your driveway, consider adding a front walkway and a paved path from your garage’s side door to the home’s main or side entrance.
Your garage remodeling project offers many other outdoor opportunities, too. Consider creating a hardscape as a part of the connecting building that links an unattached garage to the home. This hardscape might consist of a patio beneath a pergola or a series of raised beds for gardens. Use your imagination to create a structure that serves your needs and improves the exterior appearance of your home.
Shopping for Building Supplies
By now, perhaps you feel ready to rent a bunk bed in your nearby building supply store. Staying on budget for renovation projects of all sizes requires savvy shopping and vigilance. While you can purchase some items directly, others, such as a garage door, you will likely purchase through your installer.
Prepare for the whole garage rebuilding project to consist of a mix of do-it-yourself projects and professionals you hire. This means that some of your building supply store purchases will consist of tools, such as a power drill and nail gun.
With proper planning and execution, your garage remodeling project can result in a finished garage that offers multiple uses and something for every family member. Get started on your renovation today.