Get the Room You Need without Moving

Wouldn’t it be nice to have some additional space in your home? Given the fact that we’re all spending more time at home, having another room could be nice. It would be great to have a gym at home to stay in shape. Maybe you have a teen that would like to have their own room rather than sharing with a sibling. Perhaps you would like a room for sewing, a game room, or an office. With an extra room, there are endless possibilities.

Of course, you probably can’t just move to a larger place. It’s expensive and you probably don’t want to leave your neighborhood if you can help it. Even if you feel that there’s no way you could get an entirely new room in the house, there is a possibility you might be overlooking.

A traditional home gets a second floor over its garage. Great results!

Take Your Garage Up a Story

Maybe you have an attached or a detached garage. This could be the ideal place for a second floor and more room.

  • Cheaper than moving and getting a new home : The cost of adding the second floor is often a better advantage than changing your mortgage and getting a new home.
  • Building a 2nd floor is an investment, and you may be able to get back the cost when you sell the property.
  • You might be able to rent out the space if you need to have some extra income to help make ends meet.

Are you still on the fence? Check out these 6 reasons to add a studio apartment over the garage.

Are you just about ready to get started? That’s great, but you need to be sure that you check out the five steps that follow.

Step 1 – Know the Limits

Before you think about getting started, you need to get in touch with your municipality to check the regulations that you have to follow for the addition.

Each locale will have its own regulations when it comes to building onto a home. You will need to have permits in most cases, and different fees need to be paid. There could also be rules on the height of buildings, clearances, property lines, etc. Some municipalities also have regulations on how the home can look.

If you don’t like paperwork and want to make things easier, don’t cut corners! Read this infographic, published in Michael McDermott's article on CRD Design Build :

Infographic - 6 Reasons why you should'nt  do home improvements without permits

Step 2 – Have a Realistic Plan

Think about the reality of the situation. What is your current mortgage? What do homes in your area sell for on average? What’s the right amount for a great investment and expenses you will not be able to recover?

It’s easy to get excited about a project, but sometimes people get ahead of themselves. People get excited about the idea of having the project finished, about having more room in their home, and about all of the possibilities. While having these dreams is nice, it is also important to be a realist.

These are strange times, and you need to be careful about making changes to your home. This is your largest investment, after all. Be cautious and make sure you are making the right decisions. You will be happy that you did.

Talk with the bank’s credit specialist about:

  • The amount the bank will be willing to add to the mortgage.
  • How much your monthly payments will increase.
  • The number of years added to your mortgage.
  • The amount of time you expect to have to live in the house to recoup the investment when you sell.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How much sacrifice will the investment take? Will you still be able to do the things that you want to do? Will your financial situation last for years, or will it be temporary?
  • Is the neighborhood a good place for investment? What will the honest resale values be like?
  • How is family life? Working with contractors, spending all of this money, and all of the other stress that an addition will entail can put more stress on the family. Before you start such a large project, you will need to be sure you have a strong relationship.

Fixr.com found that adding a second story above your garage cost between $300 and $500 per square foot.

Split-level house where the carport is transformed into a closed garage. The sidings are changed too.

Planimage photo – These homeowners decided to turn their carport into a closed garage above to house a music room and a bedroom. The owners also opted to change the exterior finish of their home.

Step 3 – Lists Are Good Things

Although there is a lot to think about, make sure you don’t get discouraged. This step is a lot of fun!

People tend to love this step because they can dream about all of the things they want to do with their home. At this point, dream big and think about all of the most elaborate and ornate possibilities. There are no bad ideas at this point. Make lists of the things that interest you.

Even dreaming, though there are 5 practical considerations to keep in mind.

1. How will you get to the new space over the garage?

Attached garage

Traditional 2-storey grey brick house with master bedroom above the garage

Planimage photo – For this project, a second floor was added to the entire home to allow for the garage loft. The owners even added a balcony to the front of the home.

Figuring out how the space will be accessed is essential no matter how it will be used.

What will the room be used for? Is it a room for someone to rent? Is it a master suite? Should it be possible to access the space from inside the house or only from the outside? What access point works best for you?

Stone and wood traditional1-story home with a North Hatley LP, color Sand, and windows

What do you think of this garage door? This is a 9' x 7' North Hatley LP design in Desert Sand, featuring windows with Richmond Inserts.

If you are using the space as a game area or a gym, then you might only need to have an exterior entrance. If it’s your bedroom and you still want to keep an eye on your children, you will want to have an indoor entrance, of course.

Typically, the most cost-effective option is to use a staircase that already exists in the home.

Detached garage

A charming traditional detached garage door with a second floor above the garage, a dormer.

Does this look suit you? This is Plan 69701 from Planimage

Should the staircase be inside the garage or outside? An indoor staircase will take up space within the garage. This might leave you with less indoor space in the garage than you imagined. Maybe an outdoor entrance would be more suitable. It all depends on how you use the garage.

Maybe you like Contemporary styles, or maybe you long for a Traditional style. Regardless, get inspiration on Pinterest. Figure out the look you want and then start looking at actual plans to get a better sense of what you have to do.

A traditional detached garage in wood and stones with a second floor, dormers

What about this one? This is Plan No G-28A from Planimage

2. Plumbing and electricity

What will the plumbing and electricity needs be? This will add to the cost. Do you need to have a full or half bathroom? Do you need to add a refrigerator, a sink, a stove, etc? Is this just going to be a room, or will it be an entire apartment? You will want to talk with a specialist about the best course of action to take. Keep in mind access to the Internet, as well.

The more thought you put into the project the better. You can provide ideas and info to the designer or the architect. They can then take your ideas and turn them into a workable plan.

While you can supply the ideas to start, don’t create the plan and blueprints yourself. Always work with a professional.

3. Multifunctional or evolving space?

Make sure that you are thinking about more than just “right now” for the space. While it might be a space for your children’s bedroom or a workout room now, things could change. You will want to have a plan that can encompass the present, as well as the future. Talk about this with the professional that’s taking care of turning your plan into reality.

4. Any thoughts about the exterior look?

What about the outside of the garage? Although your focus might be on the interior space, you have to think about the outside, as well. Do you want to have it match your current exterior or do you want to change the outside of your home to match a new look on the addition? You want to find a solution that matches well and that meets your aesthetic needs, whatever they might be.

You should also talk with the pro about other features including dormers, roofing options, ceiling heights, and more.

The roof could have different shapes, and the amount of living space in the room will often be tied to the roof shape.

High-end 2-storey house in stone

Planimage Photo – The garage was made larger to ensure there was room for four vehicles. The second floor allowed for the construction of a large suite that features a full bathroom and two walk-in closets.

Sloped ceilings and dormers might seem like they won’t give you much space, but you could consider these to be storage space. You might even opt for built-in bookshelves or drawers in the space. There are many interesting things you could do.

Step 4 – Define Your Style

As you are starting to narrow down the basic ideas, you will also want to consider the décor and style. Using a mood board, such as a virtual option like Pinterest, can help you keep all of your style, color, and theme ideas in one place. Of course, you could also opt for a physical mood board with magazine cutouts. The mood board is a good tool to present to the designer or architect.

You might say that you like " Scandinavian " style or " cottage style decors ". Maybe you say you enjoy " rustic but modern " or simply the color " blue ". While you know what this means, others might not. The mood board will help.

Check out décor websites and Pinterest to get some more ideas to consider. You don’t have to stick to looking at residential properties either. Check out hotel and restaurant sites to get some more ideas.

Research outside of the box. Check out these 25 solutions for unusual spaces from Better Homes & Gardens.

From style to colors and furnishings, there are many things to consider. Make your space interesting and unique no matter what you are building.

The world is filled with inspiration.

Country style house with 2 single garage doors in Classic CC design, Ice White color, and 4 lite Orion windows

What do you think of these doors? These are the 9' x 7' Standard+ Classic CC doors in Ice White with 4 lite Orion windows.

Step 5 – Garage Door Choices

Don’t forget the importance of the garage door. This is your fourth wall.

Prestigious house with a double garage door in Eastman E-11 design, Black door and overlays, and panoramic windows

Do you like this garage door? Here is a 16’x8’ Eastman E-11 garage door. The overlays and door are in Black and feature 4 lite Panoramic windows.

The garage door is a 4th wall beneath your new space. When you are shopping for a door, you want to do more than just look at the R-value. You should also make sure that you are looking at all of the other factors of the door, and ask the pros to determine if the garage door is really energy efficient.

You should also consider the benefit of having more light in the garage. You can add windows to your Garaga garage door for a better overall look.

Remember, you want the space above the garage to be as comfortable as possible.

Modern house with a two car garage door in the Shaker-Modern XL design and Iron Ore Walnut color

Check out this “in” look for garage door colors and styles Here is something to love! This is the Shaker-Modern XL design in the Iron Ore Walnut color.

Ready to replace that eyesore of a garage door?

It is time to contact a garage door specialist near you. We have experts ready to provide you with the advice you need to make your garage door reflect your style. We also make sure you meet your insulation requirements.

Do you have a favorite door?

Norwood Door Systems can email you a quotation right away.

Need some advice from a live representative? Call 781-769-8988.

We would be happy to answer all of your questions.

Check out this app!

Visit the Design Centre and you can create a garage door in a matter of minutes. If you need more inspiration first, we can help, as well. Browse our gallery.

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