Building a floor above a garage
Last modified: 2019/02/20 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
If your home is slightly cramped or your family is expanding, you’re likely looking for a way to add more space to your home without starting from the ground up. Have you ever considered an addition above your garage? Many homeowners may overlook this area, but in fact, the space above your carport or garage is an excellent and cost-effective way to gain an extra bedroom, home office or otherwise.
For those who want just a little bit of extra space without breaking the bank, the spot over the garage is a perfect place. However, building an extra room over the top of your garage can pose some unique design and construction challenges, depending on the layout of your property. But, if you’re up for it, read on for all of the important information!
Here’s what to know about building a floor above your garage!
Think about both inside and out
With any home renovation, you’ll want the work to appear seamless, especially when it comes to tacking an entire room or floor onto your home. Creating an additional room over the garage will add some serious curb appeal. However, you don’t want it to look as though the addition was an afterthought stuck onto the side of your house.
Therefore, when building a new floor over the garage, it is very important to make sure features such as gables and windows are harmonious with the style of your home. This includes any details found on the façade of your home, from paint colour and texture to trim, siding and so on. In some cases, it may be necessary to schedule the project in tandem with an exterior upgrade. If you’ve been thinking about giving the outside of your house a fresh coat of paint, today is the day!
Can the garage's structure handle an extra floor?
Now, you don’t want to begin building an addition overtop of your garage to have the whole thing cave in weeks later. Not only would this be exceptionally dangerous, but it would be costly and a waste of energy. For this reason, it is important to work with an engineer who can assure you that the structure will be able to support the additional weight of a floor.
Often times, garage walls are simply exposed framing, and the framing and foundation may not bear the weight of an entire room. It may be necessary for you to install a larger header above the garage as well as support beams for the joists of your new floor.
Checking the foundation of your home to make sure it can support the weight is slightly more difficult. It is likely that a contractor will need to dig various holes around the perimeter of the garage. This will allow them to check the depth as well as the condition it’s in. Unfortunately, if your foundation is not up to snuff, you may need to put in a new one before taking on this job. This is a lengthy and costly project in itself, so it is best to be aware of this before starting out.
Planning to build a floor above your garage?
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Before beginning this renovation project, you’ll have to check in with local building codes to make sure that the addition you’re planning on is safe enough for friends and loved ones. In most cases, the building code will require you to use fire-rated drywall, as exposed framing will burn very quickly if a fire should occur.
All electrical work will likely need to be carried out by a professional, as it is illegal in most municipalities to complete electrical work on your own terms. Further, any plumbing that needs to be installed will also require the work of a professional. Make sure all penetrations in the drywall are tightly sealed and correctly treated.
Insulation is key!
Insulation is key to making the floor above your garage feel like one of the rooms of your home. One of the most important places for your insulation to rest is between the new floor and the ceiling of your garage.
Further, it may be imperative to insulate your actual garage before moving forward with this home renovation, as plenty of heat may escape by way of your garage and thus, cause your heating bill to go way up. There are many ways to quickly insulate a room, including spray-on applications as well as cocking methods. For a more permanent solution, we suggest using a vapour barrier. Again, make sure that drywall is tightly secured in place, filling any seams or openings.
Will plumbing be a problem?
Depending on what type of room you are installing over your garage, it may be important for you to consider whether or not plumbing installation will be an issue. In fact, you can build a bathroom above an unheated garage.
But unfortunately, pipes will need to remain in heated areas. As we mentioned, it would be best for you to contact a plumber, as most municipalities have laws in place that insist you work with a professional. Depending on the layout of your home, it may be possible for the plumbing from a downstairs bathroom or laundry room to be extended over your garage.
How will building a new floor on your garage affect the overall layout of your house?
For you to build a brand new space on top of your garage, will you need to change the layout or configuration of the other rooms in your home? This is definitely something to consider before starting this project. Although you may have a garage, it doesn’t necessarily mean that building a room directly on top of it will work within the layout of your home. It may be a difficult decision, but in some instances, it may be more trouble then it’s worth. After asking yourself the hard questions, contact a professional and get a second opinion.
Get 3 renovation quotes for your home addition project over a garage
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