Featured Garages Article


´╗┐Turning A Wreck Into A Recreation Room

If you find that your garage has become a useless space that is piled with junk, seasonal items, dilapidated furniture, and old toys, maybe it's time to turn your wreck into a rec room! With a few changes and some weekend sweat, you can turn your garage into livable space that extends your home beyond its existing walls. Converting your garage into a recreation room or family room is a very inexpensive do-it-yourself project.

Home improvement experts agree that one of the most effective things you can do to increase the value of your home is to organize or convert your existing garage into something new. Since you already have the walls, floor, and ceiling established, the rest is inexpensive and you can let your imagination rule.

Your first job is to figure out exactly how you want to use your newfound "room". Will it be a recreation room, a more functional family room, or an extension of an existing kitchen where entertaining becomes easier? Will this be a new children's play room, hobby room, or updated workshop? Decide how you want to use the space and then create a floor layout of what you envision the finished space to look like.

Depending on how you plan to use the room, the floor is one of your most important considerations. As a rec room, you may simply decide to seal and paint the floor. You can also use special tiles that are easily installed over concrete, or you can build an entire floor system of wood. There are a variety of flooring options and it's important to evaluate several of them before deciding. A key to a good, solid floor is to make sure the floor is level and the underlying concrete is in good repair before you start putting a floor on top of it.

Most garages are a few steps lower than the house and have stairs leading into the main house. If you prefer to have your floor level with the house, you need to think about this early in the planning process. You can build the floor up to the appropriate level. This takes a little more time and money but it is an option if you want the room to be a more natural extension of the house.

- Using your garage as a room means spending more time in the space. You will want a climate controlled room. That starts with good insulation to keep heat or cold out. If your walls and ceiling are already insulated, you're in good shape. If not, you will want to install fiberglass insulation in the walls. If walls are already dry walled, you can use foam insulation. Also, check overhead to make sure insulation is sufficient and if not, have it blown into the attic space above for better climate control. It will also act as an effective sound barrier too.

- A heat source is also an important consideration. There are various options for heat including a stand-alone unit or installing ducts from your home's existing heat system into the garage. Safety is critical when it comes to any type of heating source so do your homework and make sure the source you decide to use is appropriate and safe for the area you plan to heat.

- If you have decided to raise the floor, you can consider heated tiles or other heated flooring. This is the ideal time to include heated floors as you are building a new floor. It's a viable solution for the space and will create a comfortable environment.

- Walls are another consideration. You can sheetrock the walls or you can install paneling, wainscoting, or other finishes. There are various types of wood finishes and self-installation kits for walls that you can purchase and easily install yourself. Sheetrock may take a little more time and be a little messier, but it will give a more finished, polished look to your room.

- You also have to deal with that existing garage door opening which is large compared to normal doorways. But you do have options. Depending on how you plan to use the room, you could simply leave the doors. If you are creating a larger hobby room or rec room, this works well. However, if you want to create an extension of your home, you want to do more. Removing the existing garage door takes a little effort and time. But once it is done, you can install a wall of windows, or a combination of French doors and windows on each side. This allows lots of light to flow in and gives a beautiful appearance from the inside and outside of the new room. You could close in the garage space and leave only enough room for a single or double door. Once again, it is a personal preference but be sure to consider any impact on resale value of your home.

- Keep in mind that you need to have adequate electrical outlets in the room. You may need to add outlets. Survey the existing garage to determine what is needed and take care of this before drywall or paneling are installed.

- Lighting will be essential and natural lighting is always preferred. You can add a skylight or convert existing windows to bay windows for more light. Recessed lighting is also very popular in homes today and is a good option. Track lighting is easy to install and is very effective. Replacing the garage door with a set of windows is ideal.

- Resale of your home is important to consider. Some areas will de-value a home that does not have a functional garage for parking. Others see the added room as an increased value. Make sure you understand the impact this will have on your home's current and resale value. If you plan to stay in the home indefinitely, it's not a big issue. But if you plan to sell in the near future, think again and be sure it's the best thing to do. One way to overcome any issue is to build the room so that it can be easily converted back to a garage if necessary. For example, leave the garage doors intact and build a faux wall inside the room for aesthetics. It can be easily dismantled for easy conversion to a garage again.

Turning a cluttered garage into usable living space is a viable option for many homes. Consider how you will use the space and how it will impact the overall appearance and value of your existing home. Then, make decisions about what is best for your particular situation. Converting your garage to a room with the idea that it may be re-converted back to a garage will take a lot of the stress out of your decision.

Enjoy the space you have and take advantage of simple home improvement projects to get more use out of your house. Garages are a diamonds just waiting to be mined.