Most garages are equipped with overhead lights and wall outlets, but not nearly as many as a room in the typical house. In unfinished garages, this is easily remedied by adding some outlets and electrical boxes suited for your lighting style of choice. A licensed electrician should be able to complete the work in one to two days, and then you’ll be ready for the next step in your garage finishing project.
Framing and exterior finishing
Most people won’t want one or two large overhead doors leading in and out of their new room. The good news is that removing the doors and filling in the opening won’t be that costly or time consuming. The bad news is that exterior finishes can be hard to match. You or your contractor may need to get creative, but closing in your garage doors is an essential step in turning your garage into an extra room.
If you’re going to heat and/or cool your new room (and why wouldn’t you?), you’ll need to add insulation if it doesn’t already exist. Insulation is measured in R-value; the higher the number, the better the insulation. Wall insulation should have an R-value of at least R-19, while the attic or roof of your garage should sport a minimum of R-38 insulation. Insulation types include fiberglass, cellulose, and foam. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, but all will perform well if installed correctly.
The next step in your garage finishing project is installing drywall. If you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer, you can save money by hanging and finishing your drywall yourself, but most homeowners will be better off hiring a professional to take care of this chore.
Painting is one of the things in the construction world that everyone thinks they can do, but only a few can do it well. The bottom line is that you can paint your own finished garage to save money, but the results will be better if you hire a professional. Choose wisely.
With today’s technology, virtually any flooring can be installed over your existing concrete garage floor. Options include carpet, laminate, vinyl, or wood flooring. Prices vary according to the type and model of flooring you choose, so let your remaining budget and your decorator’s eye decide on what’s best for you.
Crown, door and window, and base molding can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like and can afford. Some homeowners choose to install this finishing touch themselves, which is fine. But a word of caution is in order. If you don’t finish your trim projects before moving into your new room, you may never do so. You’ve been warned. A professional trim carpenter can usually complete a room, even a big one, in less than a day. The added labor might be worth its weight in gold when your room is completed on time.
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