February 19, 2016

Garage Versus Basement: Which Should I Renovate?

Garage Versus Basement

You may be thinking of expanding your living space. Two options leap to mind: remodel the garage as living space, or renovate the basement to do more than store your belongings.

How are you to decide which option is better?

Convert the Garage?

Consider what you will give up if you convert your garage to an additional bedroom or suite:

  • Protection for your vehicle
  • Safe storage of flammable and dangerous materials—chemicals, gasoline and other items that should not be inside your home
  • Ideal parking space for bicycles, ATVs and lawn equipment
  • Wall space to hold yard tools

You will have to work from the foundation up to bring the garage space up to local codes for habitability, and your taxes will increase. Electrical, plumbing, insulation, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) all have to be expanded from your existing systems.

As the website Homebuilding.co.uk says, "the internal space of most garages is longer and thinner than most people prefer their rooms. To achieve a more natural shape for the conversion, consider using stud or block walling to convert the garage into two rooms."

Most homes have their main power circuit breaker panel in the garage, often near the front garage doors. Along with dividing the space into two rooms, consider building a well‑insulated wall some two meters in from the garage doors. The electrical panel can remain in position, and you can add new, attractive garage doors for access to this storage area.

Convert the Basement?

A major advantage to converting your basement to habitable space is the ready availability of all your home’s systems:

  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Plumbing

You may need to create a livable floor over the poured concrete of the basement, and insulate the walls, but if the basement is of sufficient height to furnish living space, most contractors will tell you it is a better conversion space than the garage.

One major drawback: a basement bedroom must have emergency egress, which may entail sawing out part of your concrete foundation to install an emergency egress window well.

Other Options?

Keep your garage for vehicles and large storage, according to experts at HouseLogic, by leaving "the garage parking intact, and add new living space above it. It’s rare for a garage roof to be able to accommodate a full second story, so this project typically involves tearing off the existing roof, beefing up the garage’s structure, and then building the new space over it."

Or, rent an off‑site storage unit and remove extra "clutter" and extra furniture, to free up more living space for the happy additions to your family.

Revisit Your Garage Door

While you’re giving the garage new space, why not give it new life with a new garage door.

Ram Overhead Door Systems provides beautiful, contemporary doors by Garaga, one of the most trusted names in the industry, and we can help you find the door that best suits your needs.

Browse through our variety of residential garage doors, or even design your own online with our handy tool. Then, get a free quote, and upgrade your garage!

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