When you need extra space, building a room over the garage could be the answer.
As additions go, this choice for expansion can be more cost-effective than building out or raising the roof. This is because you are keeping the same footprint, and the garage roof is so much smaller than your home’s roof. Time.com’s Money section names this renovation one of its top five “smart fixes” for space challenges.
Check Structural Support
Not every garage was constructed with enough stability to support a living space above, so your first step is to have your contractor make sure your garage can handle the extra weight. If it’s a thumbs up, the next step in the planning stage is deciding whether you will add HVAC and plumbing.
Roughing in plumbing is expensive, so if your new room isn’t going to serve as a bedroom, you might not need a bathroom. You may want the space as a playroom for the kids, an office or an area to work on crafts. A design in which a door connects the new room to the house can make bathroom access easier.
Adding heating and cooling vents isn’t a huge expense, but your monthly energy bill will increase when you factor in regulating the temperature in this extra space. Unless you are in a temperate climate — and we’re not here in Utah — HVAC will likely be a necessity. If the room is small and not used for sleeping, however, you might be able to get away with a space heater and a fan.
Insulating the room will help cut down on the increased energy costs. You’ll want to insulate the floor too, as it will be directly over your unheated garage. This, plus the vapor barrier you will need to keep odors and noxious fumes from vehicles from infiltrating your new space, will help keep your floor warmer, but it still won’t be as warm as your home’s flooring. In fact, the insulation can settle over a period of years, so you may want to plan for carpeting.
How you finish the inside of your room will depend on its size and what you plan to use it for. Most often when building a room over the garage, the ceiling is sloped on both sides. This cuts down somewhat on space due to lack of headroom, but these areas are great for storage cabinets and bookshelves.
If you’re using your room as a bedroom, you can also easily slide a twin bed up against each wall and leave the center of the room open for activity.
Falk Construction has more than 30 years of experience in building and home remodeling. When you need extra space in your home, give us a call. We can discuss your options with you, including building a room over the garage.