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How to Make a Garage into a Room - Part 2:

Installing windows in a current garage exterior wall:

The sketch can also be used to determine if you want to add additional windows to the garage wall. The most convenient place to put windows is in the area where the garage door currently exists. Placing a window in an exterior wall requires a substantial amount of demolition and rework. However, whether or not you decide to add a window to a current wall will depend on what you want the interior of the room to look like and its functionality.

Floor Height:

Most garage floors are not at the same height as the adjacent floors in the living space of the home. This means you most likely have another decision to make. Do you raise the floor in the garage but putting in a sub-floor or do you have a step leading from the house to the garage?

There is no right or wrong answer. However, your consideration must not only take in the functionality of a step, but the current height of the garage ceiling. In other words, if you raise the floor will it make the height of the room less than eight feet?

You really do not want to get involved with raising the ceiling in the garage as that would usually mean redoing the roof and if you are going to go to that extent, you might as well add an addition on your home rather than converting the garage to living space.

What replaces the garage door?

You have a lot of choices when it comes to putting in a wall to replace the garage door:

  • Floor to ceiling windows,
  • Sliding doors,
  • Exterior door and window combination,
  • Half wall with windows above,
  • Multiple windows with walls below and between the windows.

The decision of what to do should be based on the planned use of the room.

As examples:

  • If the room is to be used for a home office, you may want to add an exterior door so that your clients can come directly into your office rather than going through your home.
  • If the room is to be used as a bedroom you will probably want a wall with a window above it in order to maintain privacy and have more flexibility in positioning furniture.
  • If the room is to be used as a family room or den you may want floor to ceiling windows without any solid wall at all.

The construction can be relatively simplistic as there is a beam across the top of the garage door which supports the weight of the roof. So, any walls that you add are non load bearing, all they have to do is support the windows, door and outdoor wall veneer that you have chosen.

Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC):

Providing your new living space with proper HVAC can be a difficult proposition. If you currently have forced air or hot water heating it may be difficult and very expensive to bring air ducts or pipes to the new living space. There may also be the problem that the current heating and/or air conditioning systems cannot adequately supply hot air or water or cold air to the additional square footage that is being added.

There are a few alternatives to forced air heating and/or air conditioning which you can consider:

  • You can use electric baseboard heating.
  • You can use a window or wall style air conditioner.
  • One of the simplest and least expensive alternatives, especially if you consider the costs of installing duct work or piping are the combined through-the-wall heating and air conditioning units, as shown in Figure 4. They are especially advantageous if you are planning on a new half wall where the garage door currently resides. As constructing the framing for these units, when building a new wall, is very easy.
through the wall heater and air conditioning
Figure 4 - Through the wall heater and air conditioning