01-02-2013 11:18 AM
Happy New Year everyone,
I'm thinking of creating an office/play area/home theater for myself and the kids in the existing garage. The idea is to keep everything under code, while reducing the clutter, dust and noise to make it easier to use that space. I have summarized my thoughts below, but in doing so, have made this post rather long, my apologies in advance!
Standard 2 car garage, with 3 doors - the one to the house, one to the side yard and of course the garage door. They will all stay. In the garage currently I have, a water heater, a furnace, a washing machine and dryer. They will need to stay there (and possibly in the same location). They currently take up a corner (5'x10') by the door
- Organized storage space for long-term storage (kids crap), seasonal (xmas crap) and other stuff (cleaning supplies, gardening supplies etc.)
- Create an office and playroom area for primary use
- Park cars inside occasionally (when away on extended vacations etc.)
- Maybe put up a projector and few couches for a home theater (wife disapproves)
The idea is to move the office furniture away and park the cars inside when I need to. Otherwise, this will be the main work play area for me and the kids.
After discussing with a contractor, the thought is to create storage around the walls on the ceiling to store the long-term and seasonal stuff off the floor. We are planning to put 1-2 curtains around the washing machine/dryer, furnace and the water heater to visually isolate it from the rest of the room. I want to keep everything to code, if I want to sell it later, so don't want to create a dry-wall room around it and also want to keep it easily accessible for maintenance.
Here are some of the decisions I am grappling with:
- Should I use dry-wall to close the roof or keep it open to the roof. I kinda like the peaked roof look and feel it might help with the ventilation and avoid making it stuffy. Any pros/cons?
- Insulation: A contractor suggested R-tech insulation board (http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbaxx/h_d2/Na
- Venting - the furnace and the heater went to the outside now. Do I need to do more or be aware of CO poisoning? The garage has no windows, concerned about it becoming an issue for air circulation? I'm thinking of using fans and a space heater. Is that sufficient?
- Flooring - suggestion is to use indoor/outdoor carpet or coat with epoxy for a cleaner look
- Dust - Will that be an issue if we insulate, seal as above? Should I put something below the garage door where it closes?
- Cabinets - what kind of cabinets to use? I don't quite like the metal/industrial look if this has to be an office area, but instead would like a closed door look, while at the same time have it easily maintainable and long/wide enough to store odd-shaped things that go into the garage (vacuum cleaners, mops/rakes, paint drums etc). Not sure about where to keep the hundred pair of shoes neatly and out of the way. aargh
Any suggestions / thoughts appreciated!
01-02-2013 11:30 AM
Generally, Converting Garage is negative - sale point of view - as buyers finances/bank may not provide loan, at times. Hence, whenever you convert and whatever you do with garage, make sure it is easily revertable to Garage. I have seen many places garage is changed to play room or study room or office room. When it comes to sales, they change it to Garage and some of them even look better Garage.
01-02-2013 11:41 AM - edited 01-02-2013 11:42 AM
Yes, thanks - I'm aware. I'm not looking to maximize resale value or make permanent changes (not in code). I'm looking to make my living space more usable for me and my family.
01-02-2013 04:10 PM - edited 01-02-2013 04:12 PM
I would put drywall up on the ceiling and have them install can lights and speakers for surround sound. For the cabinets I would use kithen cabinets. If you want to save some money you could get some used ones from craigslist. For the floor I would intall race deck. I would not worry much about insulating the walls; the area above the garage would be worth while though. Depending on your location, a ceiling fan/AC/heater would be a good investment, but you cannot tie into the house HVAC by code.
01-03-2013 08:15 PM
Insulation board must be covered with a fire-resistent material..... so, regardless, if you use that foam board for insulation you're going to have to drywall the ceiling and walls. The stuff is toxic when it burns and puts firefighters in jeopardy. If you put a ceiling in a garage, it must be seamless (aka no attic stair access) due to fire codes. The last thing you want is to have a garage fire and have it get into the attic. You also do not want a repository for combustible fumes.
Things to be aware of: You can't seal the garage off too tightly. The furnace and hot water heater (as well as your dryer) need combustion air. There are usually vents (or the garage is leaky enough) to provide it. Once you start drywalling and insulating, you're covering up that venting. Leaving the vents open will create a draft and reduce the comfort of the room.
Garage floors are cold. An epoxy floor does nothing to remedy that. Those rubber mat tiles might be an alternative, but they're not all that comfy for kids to play on.
Your garage roof may require more vents as will your soffits. That's to keep the roof from eating itself.
You also have to maintain air circulation inside the garage if you park a car in there (gasoline fumes), store a lawnmower or other combustible materials.
If you want to heat the space, you'll likely have to go with resistence heat (electric) - which is expensive to run. Don't forget that your garage door will also likely need to be insulated in order to not create a money pit in the garage.
You may have to add additional circuits for the garage. Most do not have sufficient outlets to power auxiliary heaters, video equipment, computers and the like. Those will require GFCI's and/or arc fault interruptors.
Curtains around a furnace / gas fired water heater / gas dryer (or even electric dryer) aren't a good idea.
Storage around the perimeter of a garage will shrink it dramatically. Tape it out on the floor and then see if you can get in and out of your car. You might be surprised at what the loss of 18" on each side of a two car garage can do to ingress / egress from a vehicle. I have a three car garage and can tell you that it's nearly impossible to use the bay on the one side where I have storage built in. I have to back a car into that side in order to get out (or put the top down and climb over the side...). If you have a family vehicle (minivan or SUV) you're likely screwed. Add to that mix furniture and you can see where this is all going. Storage in front of the car should be elevated so the hood of the car can fit underneath it. Of course, that creates the situation where the kids can't access their stuff.
Windows: Get a garage man door with moveable sash. It provides both light and ventilation. You can put a security panel over it if you're concerned about break ins.
Lastly, no one will object to a nicely finished garage. It just needs to retain it's functionality as a garage.
06-19-2013 05:48 AM
06-20-2013 11:17 AM
To be honest I didn't know there are so many rules that you can't "dress up" your garage.
I would put ceiling and drywall in the garage and always have such garages...
As long as you don't disturb the wall between living quarters (if attached) and the garage I don't see how there would be any issue when you sell, just don't plumb any HVAC or put a opening between living and garage, and you can have your man cave
06-20-2013 12:30 PM
Garages are for storing cars, according to code.. But almost nobody uses them for that.. Maybe the code needs to be rewritten... It was written when you had to keep cars in the garage..they needed lots of maintenance and the paint would peel off in three years if left outside...those days are long gone..The driveway is sufficient enough to provide off street parking...
06-20-2013 12:44 PM
The driveway is sufficient enough to provide off street parking...
Not according to HOAs and lots of city ordinances. In fact, I was aghast at the rules in that gated community in the hills of San Jose - Silver Creek or something like that?. A very well off acquaintance lived there and when we visited, he was nervous about getting in trouble for letting us park in his driveway! It was verboten to park on the street!
Yeah, that's why I'd pay top dollar for a property. So a bunch of retired, busy bodies with nothing better to do can tell me what to do with it.
06-21-2013 07:41 AM
Sounds like a lot of stuff for a small space. I agree you should lay things out and see what you think before proceeding.
I agree with other posters that a finished, but functional garage is a plus. If you can move out and no one knew you'd been "living" in the garage, then it'll simply be an improvement. I'd be a little concerned about not providing access to the attic though, if you put in a ceiling.
One concern I'd have is that cars tend to be dirty, so you need to think through what you're doing regarding the flooring. If you do an epoxy coat, can you still mop the oil and dirt off? If you do carpet, you'll need to be able to roll it up, or it's going to get disgusting. If it were me, I'd skip the plan to park the car in there again. How important is that to you? Where would you put the furniture anyways?
I've seen garages used as a kid's playspace and I've seen them used as a home entertainment center. The latter generally involves putting a single couch in, and it always looks depressing. It's tends to look like a bachelor pad. If you're going to be out there with your man-buddies drinking beer and watching sports without the spouse, that's probably fine. If you expect her to be out there as well, I can see why she might object. The kids playspace on the other hand, doesn't look so bad as long as its well lit. You can open the door during the summer to give light, and you can move the toys out of the way if you decide to park a car. As they grow older you can trade the toys for a pool table.