Transforming a Single Car Garage Into a Small Living Space

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Old 12-04-15, 01:00 AM
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Question Transforming a Single Car Garage Into a Small Living Space

Hey everybody. For the longest time, I've wanted to turn my single car garage into a small living space. Unfortunately, the pre-imagined cost (I've never actually bothered to find out) has always been the main barrier to entry, along with the fact that I'm not really a handyman (far from it, in fact). I might be able to do some small stuff like re-shingling the roof and putting in the insulation, but the rest of it will definitely need to be contracted out. Stuff like re-cementing the floor, taking off the garage door and building a wall, or inserting the drywall are way beyond my capabilities, sadly. The garage itself, is currently being used as a place to store garbage and other random junk, so nothing's being lost by embarking on this kind of project. I've never used it to store my car, nor do I have any desire to. It's pretty much just been a garbage can for the last 20 years. The garage is pretty old as well, it was probably built sometime in the 1960's, I believe. The foundation is rock-solid, though, and there is already some basic wiring laid inside for a couple outlets and some lights. The garage is detached from the main house, so will I need a building permit before renovating? Discounting utilities (such as running water, for example), what exactly would the overall cost be for renovating a garage like the one I've described? My budget is $6000, maybe $8000 MAX. Also, I'm going to be the one using this space, just FYI.

Like I said, however, I just need this to be a very basic living space. I'm in DESPERATE NEED of the extra space, so if there's any possible way to make this work (given the budget I've mentioned) I'd really like to know.

By the way, if there's any additional information that is needed such as the exact dimensions or even pictures of the interior and exterior of the garage then I'd be happy to provide them. Thanks in advance.
 

Last edited by Shiny_; 12-04-15 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 12-04-15, 02:03 AM
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I don't know what the Canadian codes are but a permit would be required here. Your first step would be to pay an architect to draw some plans. Then you will have a much better idea. $6,000 can go quickly.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 02:44 AM
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Architect? Hmm, is that really necessary? How much do you think that would cost, exactly?

I think the bigger problem for me, is knowing the actual cost for the jobs I want to contract out. For instance, what would be the ballpark estimate for re-cementing the floor inside my garage? I believe the rough dimensions of the floor are something like 200 sq. meters. The floor doesn't have to be insulated, nor does it need any hardwood. To reiterate, this project is for a bare-bones living space, nothing more.

Also, what does the temperature need to be like for laying cement? It's pretty nippy up here, but it's not too bad relatively speaking. Most days are somewhere between 5C to 12C, usually. Hopefully, that's not too cold.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 03:05 AM
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I'm going to somewhat disagree with Pulpo (I'm doing that a lot today. ) by stating the first thing to do is to determine IF such a conversion would be allowed at all. This would entail a talk (could be anonymous) with a government building inspector in your area. Sometimes they are prohibited for any number of reasons and excuses and sometimes the requirements are much relaxed for a small "hide-away" room. Depending on the area a permit may or may not be needed. Generally, the more urban the area the more often a permit will be required whereas if you are "out in the sticks" it is possible that no permits at all will be required.

I DO agree with Pulpo that $6,000 will disappear mighty fast. This is especially true if you have to hire out most of the work. I know that you stated you don't (yet) possess the skills to do much of the work but you CAN learn them on this project. If the conversion is going to mostly be cosmetic then the mistakes you will make are usually rectified or are of no consequence. Doing-it-yourself has many more benefits beyond simply saving money, there is the satisfaction of knowing that YOU did the work as well as the valuable experiences that will always have value.

There are tons of books that can help you as well as a HUGE amount of information on the Internet. While I personally detest doing drywall work it IS relatively easy and mistakes are not fatal. The materials are inexpensive and even if you make a huge mistake the cost to fix it is minimal. Electric wiring, although much more technical than drywall, is not rocket science and with help from this forum you CAN do it.

There IS one thing to consider. Do you have space to store (or add storage) for those items currently being stored that you will want to keep? Are you psychologically prepared to get rid of much of your stored items? Do you have any plans on selling your house before you die? Considering how a prospective buyer may view the lack of a garage and storage area is an important thing to keep in mind.

Do you have any ideas of what you would do (or want done) considering the desired end result? Some dimensions of the garage as well as the desired usage, such as using it as a hobby studio or for watching TV away from others will help us to help you. Pictures of the existing structure will also help.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 03:24 AM
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I appreciate the encouragement, but, (to employ an overused phrase), I couldn't screw in a light bulb if my life depended on it. Trust me when I say, that is no exaggeration. I'm just not the type of person who can accomplish these sorts of projects in there totality. I wish it were otherwise, but sadly that's just how it is. I CAN do a lot of the brute force work such as shingling or removing the garage door, but that's about it. I am but a mere laborer, I'm afraid.

Anyway, there is NOTHING in that garage that's worth keeping. Like I said before, that garage has been a glorified garbage can for many, many years now. It'll be very satisfying to see it be put to some kind of use other than being a gigantic landfill.

As far as re-sale value is concerned, I'm not really worried about it. Odds are I'll not be selling this house for quite some time. Even if I did, the best I could hope to do is break even. This renovation is mostly for my benefit. My end goal for this garage is for it to be an entertainment room. I won't be sleeping in it, nor will I need any other utilities to be installed. Other than electricity, obviously. It doesn't need to be fancy. Anything to get it done in my designated budget.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 03:57 AM
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I'm sorry to state this but you have a defeatist attitude. You don't say if you are a man or a woman but I have known many women and a few men with such an attitude. I have helped people to overcome this attitude and the results were nothing short of amazing. BUT, the person has to want to overcome the problem. When a person finds out they CAN do things they previously thought to be impossible it changes them in ways that you can only imagine. They become much happier people in the process. It is your choice.

I'll end this with a sad note, for a budget of only $6,000 to $8,000 AND the stipulation that anything other than "grunt" work will have to be hired out, you will not be able to have much of anything. If you want any more encouragement towards "Doing it yourself" then I am here to help.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 04:29 AM
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I agree with Furd My wife who never did anything toward repair or building I had helping me with a kitchen rebuild (complete with home made cabinets, drywall, plumbing) she now can't wait to start another project.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 04:32 AM
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Damn, that's a shame. I had sort of assumed that would be case, unfortunately. Sort of explains why I've been putting it off for the last couple years. Without being able to do most of this myself, the expense is just too damn high. I'm a male middle aged officer worker, by the way. Don't hold it against me!

I mean, I guess I could try taking a crack at it. Cementing, for instance, might be an option, but I've never done anything even remotely close to that, so I have no idea where I'd begin. I work best when I'm being supervised, frankly. As long as someone's telling me what to do, I can usually manage pretty well. As an example, I do a lot of landscaping work, along with other small miscellaneous projects, for my brother, but he's usually able to help guide me so I know what I'm doing. Without him, I've always been very reluctant towards starting anything of this nature. He's the brains and I'm the brawn, essentially. And before you ask, no. There's absolutely no way my brother could come and help me with this. He happens to live quite a distance from me and he has a couple physical ailments which make it difficult for him to travel. Besides, this project is probably going to take quite a bit of time, so the logistics would be too difficult for him to come here multiple times to help me. My house is also way too small to have him stay here for a couple days, so that's ruled out.

Anyway, I'll post some detailed pictures of the garage as soon as I can, along with any other information that might be needed.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 04:37 AM
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What type of electrical improvements are needed? With a small budget you might be limited to just cleaning the place up, replacing the garage door with a wall with a window and carpet over the floor. While an architect might not be required it isn't uncommon for the permit office to want a set of plans [you can draw them yourself] Is the garage insulated?

Echoing what Furd said, most folks are capable of doing a lot more than they think they are. It does take the willingness to try!! Nothing beats the satisfaction/pride that comes from having done a job you previously thought you couldn't do
 
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Old 12-04-15, 04:45 AM
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I have no idea what the state of the electrical is, I'm afraid. I can take some pictures of the wiring, but beyond that I'm not sure what else I can tell you.

The garage is not insulated, unfortunately.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 04:54 AM
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So no wall covering [drywall/paneling] either?

While none of us can show up to guide you thru the work, there is almost always someone on the forums that can talk you thru whatever project you are working on
 
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Old 12-04-15, 04:57 AM
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You have mentioned "cementing" the floor a few times. The word cement refers to a specific ingredient of concrete called Portland Cement. That is a type of cement and not a geographical reference. Cement is only the "glue" that holds the sand and gravel (called aggregates) together in the substance we call concrete.

What exactly is wrong with the floor that makes you think it needs repair? If it has minor cracks you can fill them with a one of several different materials, many as easy as squeezing toothpaste from a tube. If it is staining, then there are many cleaners or top coats that can deal with those problems.

I suggest that you go to the public library and check out several "do-it-yourself" type books on a number of subjects. Some will be so simplified as to be almost worthless and some will be so complex as to make you think you could never do any of it but there will be a few that will give you a very good idea of what you can and cannot do yourself.

And ask questions! Ask your co-workers what they know about various jobs and how they would accomplish them. Most DIYers are very friendly when it comes to sharing their knowledge and you may find lots of help that way.

And do NOT run yourself down. So you work in an office, so do tens of thousands of other people and many of them are accomplished DIYers. Don't overlook the possibility of vocational schools and night classes as well. Lots and lots of people that DIY come from a background where they never learned any of these practices during their childhood years. Be prepared to make mistakes and always remember that there are very, very few permanent mistakes.

You have a lot of people right here on this forum ready and willing to help. The talent here is tremendous and many of the most competent are also very good at explaining the details almost as well as having a trained professional at your side.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 05:00 AM
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How far away from the House is this Garage ?

Would that entire area be enclosed and become living space between the House and Garage ?
 
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Old 12-04-15, 05:00 AM
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Nope, there's no drywall or insulation over the walls. It's just bare foundation. I suppose I should also mention that the garage itself has to be resided. Not sure what the cost on that would be either, I'm afraid.

Thanks for the support, guys.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 05:59 AM
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Sounds like you need a bigger budget but the work can be done in stages.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 06:53 AM
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I made a mistake. Furd is correct. I missed the part that it was a detached garage. Ask the building dept if it's allowed at all. You would have a better chance applying for an extension, on the house.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 07:00 AM
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It's a shame you can't work on this or get some help, $8K would be possible IMO.
Anyway, in California, we call these small buildings Granny Flats. (maybe everywhere) I would love to have one.
Probably echoing a lot of the above, but here's a start:

- Check with City to see if the building can even be improved and occupied
- Check if a requirement exists for a bathroom and kitchenette
- Check for electrical requirements
- Check for required set-backs from property lines

This sounds like a pain but the City should be able to let you know pretty quick if this is doable or not.

Someone asked why the concrete needs repaired?

The $8K which I think is doable does not include the bath and kitchenette. Hopefully that's not required nor desired.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 09:11 AM
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Space

200 square meters is a lot bigger than a single car garage.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 10:44 AM
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Could you not just update the garage? What exactly are your plans for this space. Man cave?

Leave the garage door (maybe repair or replace if needed)
Update the wiring and lighting (add a few more receptacles and overhead lights)
Add insulation
Put up drywall
Depending on what is up with the floor, repair as needed and put a nice concrete coating down and use area rugs.

That way, functionally it is still a garage that a vehicle can parked inside and used to store things, but instead you have a few pieces of furniture. Then down the road if you do decide to sell, you still have a garage.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 12:46 PM
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While you are considering costs, don't forget heating and possibly air conditioning.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 05:21 PM
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Hmm, I'm trying to upload some pictures of my garage, but the upload keeps failing. What's the deal with that?

Should I use something like "Imgur", instead, to post the pictures?
 
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Old 12-04-15, 05:25 PM
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Yeah, that garage being a "Man Cave" is pretty much going to be its main purpose. I'm certainly not looking to do a total conversion of the entire space or anything. In the end, I just want to have enough room to put a couch, a TV, my computer and possibly a few other small things as well. My plans for that garage are very modest, so we should be able to get this to work somehow.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 05:33 PM
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Sometimes a new member has to have pictures okayed by a moderator before they will post. Imgur is the hosting site I use and it works well for me.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 06:15 PM
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Ok, Here's The Moment You've All Been Waiting For

Well here's a good assortment of pics from my little shop of horrors. Hopefully, it will prove sufficient. Fair warning, though. You may very well go blind based on how frightening it is.

Exterior - Album on Imgur

Interior - Album on Imgur

Electrical - Album on Imgur
 
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Old 12-04-15, 06:38 PM
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As I said this morning, I think you would be better off looking into an extension on your house. Don't waste your time or money with the garage.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 07:01 PM
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I appreciate the suggestion, but there's absolutely no way that I have the money for something as ambitious as that (nor am I likely to in the near future, sadly). Besides, there is not a chance in hell that I could do something like what you're suggesting by myself. Forget it. As I said in my first post, my budget is $8000 MAX, so let's try to be a little bit more realistic to my situation.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 07:19 PM
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There seems to be some problems with some of your pictures. It may be a hosting problem or it may be on my end. I think I saw all of the exterior shots and most of the interior. The electrical I only saw what I think is the connection to the house and that IS scary.

I definitely see what you mean about the garage being a collector point for trash that should have gone to the landfill with perhaps a side trip to the metal recycler as well. Maybe even a trip to the hazardous waste collection center. Cleaning that out would be the first step and needs to be done no matter what else may happen.

I can see that you live in an urban/suburban area so you need to get the information on required permits. OR, and I toss this out in case you want to keep this low key and claim ignorance if caught, you could just go ahead and do some minor repairs and modifications that would not impair the primary use as a garage. That should be exempt form any permitting with the exception of the upgraded electrical which will require permitting under almost any course of action.

The exterior paint is in sad, sad, shape and needs a lot of scraping and repainting. The wood siding at the very bottom is too close to the ground and therefore subject to rot. In fact, it may very well BE rotten to the point of needing to be replaced right now. The sill plates (horizontal members at the bottom of the walls) as well as the lower ends of the wall studs (vertical members to which the siding is nailed) may also be suffering from rot and need to be closely inspected as well as possibly needing some repairs.

(I just looked again at the interior pictures and a lot more loaded this time.)

The personnel door needs to be upgraded, probably a pre-hung (fully assembled) exterior door would be the easiest although not inexpensive. (Or maybe there isn't a personnel door and what i saw was the door to the house; the interior pictures are now failing to load.) The tilt-up main door is a relic from the past and I would upgrade it to a modern insulated roll-up door with proper weatherstripping. Keeping the garage (vehicle) door would go a long way towards convincing any government officials that the building is STILL a garage although temporarily (with no end date) being used for other purposes. Generally, repairs to a structure that do not significantly change the use or the structural parts are considered maintenance and do not require building permits. That should negate the need for a building permit but every municipality has their own rules so you MUST ascertain this locally.

Both the floor and the driveway outside look to be beyond mere patching. Removing the interior floor can be done with shovel, rake and a pickax but it is hard physical work. We have a couple of concrete experts here that may have some good ideas for you.

Looking at the electrical again and I can tell you that ALL of it needs to be replaced. This will definitely require permitting but since this is still going to be a garage (because that keeps the permitting costs lower than it being a habitable building) you do not need to follow the same rules for a "dwelling" building. I am not sufficiently knowledgeable on Canadian electrical rules to give you specific information but we DO have a member from Canada that is an electrician and perhaps he can help.

So, in order, this is what I think you need to do.

1. Clean out all the contents.

2. Inspect the bottom siding boards as well as the sill plates and lower ends of the wall studs for rot. (Several members can help you in this evaluation.)

3. Decide on what you want and/or desire in the way of electrical. Many members can help in this matter.

4. Find out what the LOCAL building department wants in the way of plans or permits and inspections. Do NOT tell them that you are changing the garage to a habitable room separate from your house but ONLY that you wish to upgrade the electrical and insulation of the structure. Find out what wiring methods you need to follow, i.e. conduit, type NM cable or other. Find out any restrictions on the placement of receptacles, switches and fixed lighting. Once the requirements are known you can then move on to a rough plan for the rewiring. Note well that this stage of the project WILL BE INSPECTED so you need to do all the work in an acceptable manner. We can help in that respect.

5. Once the intermediate electrical inspection is made (it may also be the final electrical inspection) you can move on to insulation. This is easy work and doing it yourself will ensure that you do a good job. Far too many insulation contractors do mediocre work because they have to do it as fast as possible and move on to the next job to make any money.

6. After insulation you add the drywall. This is fast work and the degree to which you finish the work, i.e. taping, sanding and painting is entirely up to you.

I left out the garage door on purpose. While not impossible to DIY I personally prefer leaving garage doors to the professionals. They can do the entire job in a day, or at most two days, and I think it is money well spent.

Others will have more suggestions. Most important, DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT YOU CAN'T DO THIS! You CAN do it and you will have a great feeling of accomplishment when you do.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 07:59 PM
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Jeez, is it really that bad? Damn, that's overwhelming.

Anyway, I can follow the steps you've laid out for me (which is must appreciated, just so you know), but I'm going to need a lot of direction in these areas if there's any hope of me doing it right. I don't mean to sound helpless, but in matters such as these I need all of the assistance I can get.

For starters, I'll try and inspect the wood. Although, I have no idea what rotted wood looks like, nor would I know how to replace it even if there actually was some. All the junk in the garage can easily be cleared out within an afternoon, so no worries there. I'll leave the electrical stuff until later. Also, ideally, I want to tear the garage door off and build an insulated wall there. I'll make sure to get the proper documentation, but I'm more worried about how I go about building a new wall in the first place.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I spoke with one of my co-workers today who's husband apparently does cement work. I was thinking that maybe I could bring him over to take a look at everything and see what he has to say. He's fully licensed and certified, as far as I know. What do you guys think?

Last thing I wanted to mention is that, the images that I linked all load up fine for me. Not sure what I can tell you to help clear it up on your end, to be honest.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 08:41 PM
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Looking at the project from the perspective of someone that has never done this kind of work it IS overwhelming. That is why you need to look at each step in turn. For me, the cleaning would be the most intimidating part.

After cleaning we will want several pictures of the sill plate from the inside as well as close up pictures of the bottom piece of siding. Using an ice pick or even a screwdriver you can probe the wood to see how soft it is and if it has a tendency to flake or even disintegrate when probed. Here is a page of Google images showing rotten wood. https://www.google.com/search?q=rott...w=1152&bih=711

Building a wall is really easy and there are probably several hundred YouTube videos showing how to do it. Here are a couple. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6vq-cOAi0Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2_A1GCHKds Because the opening is already framed for supporting the upper portion of the structure the new wall would be considered to be NON-load bearing.

Don't be intimidated by the use of power tools. Walls were being build in the same manner with hand saws and hammers for centuries.

Definitely have the co-worker's husband come over and be sure to ask about what YOU can do to lessen the cost. Stress that you are on a budget and IF you are absolutely certain that you will never want to have a car in there again (and are definitely going to remove the vehicle door) tell him that as well.

My problems with the photos may very well be on my end.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 09:28 PM
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Alright, will do. Do you think the weather up here will be much of a hindrance to this project? It hasn't started snowing yet, but I'm worried that the cold temperatures will make it difficult to accomplish certain things. Like laying cement, for instance. I have no idea, though. It's just a concern of mine.

To be honest, I really wish I had decided to start this process sooner. Admittedly, I could have begun this project way back in the Spring of 2014, if I wanted to. As I said though, the pre-imagined cost and potential technical difficulties always put me off the notion. It's a shame it's taken me this long to get past such silly fears. I guess the important thing is that now I'm finally stating to do it, but still. Better late than never, eh?
 
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Old 12-05-15, 02:39 AM
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so let's try to be a little bit more realistic to my situation.
I'm trying to be as realistic as I can be. I don't think converting the garage is a good idea.
 
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Old 12-05-15, 02:59 AM
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That's fair. I wish there was another way I could gain the extra space that I need without having to deal with converting my garage into a basic living space, but it's either that or nothing. My house and budget or way too small for an alternative that would meaningfully suit my needs. Believe me, this is the only option. Bad idea or no, I'm just going to have to do the best I can and hope for the best.
 
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Old 12-05-15, 03:10 AM
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Do you think the weather up here will be much of a hindrance to this project?
I don't know. The only thing I know is that you live somewhere in Canada and Canada is a pretty big country. If I knew you lived in Vancouver, B.C. (100-150 miles north of me) I would say that weather was probably not a big deal. On the other hand, if you live in the northern Yukon area I would say that weather could be a major factor. Painting requires certain minimum temperatures as does drywall finishing. Cutting lumber and nailing it in place is limited to YOUR ability to work in cold and/or wet weather. Concrete is normally considered to having minimum temperatures for working as well but concrete construction companies have several ways of working around colder temperatures. For electrical it is most likely that you will run conduit underground and digging in frozen earth by hand is definitely hard work.

I would say that for the preliminary work, cleaning, inspecting for rot, removing the vehicle door and rough electrical is going to be limited more by your ability to work in cold and maybe wet weather much more than the processes themselves.

Yes, forget about what you could have, should have or would have done in the past. The past is over and will never return. Keep your eye on the results and you will do okay. There WILL be setbacks along the way and you will periodically drop into a funk, thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?" but keep plugging away. Have a celebration for achieving "milestones" such as getting rid of all the trash and junk, bringing in the materials for replacing the vehicle door, getting rid of that door and so forth. You ARE worth it so make it enjoyable. To that end do NOT work on the project when you are feeling sick or like you have bitten off more than you can chew. Look back on what you have accomplished and pat yourself on the back periodically. You CAN do it!
 
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Old 12-05-15, 05:43 AM
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You can save a lot of money by just scraping, priming and painting the exterior - but that will have to wait for warmer weather! Are all the shingles as rough looking as the ones on the shed roof in the back?

I agree with keeping it a garage, just modified some to accommodate your needs/wants. Except for the drywall finishing and painting it doesn't matter a whole lot what the temperature is [except for your fingers ] We use temporary heat all the time when finishing new construction during the winter.
 
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Old 12-05-15, 06:51 AM
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I asked before; but my question went ignored . . . . how far is the Garage from the House ?

In the pictures, and looking through the door, it appears to be a mere 6 or 8 Feet.

Canada is a big place; but living here in Vermont, I am located NORTH of many Canadians . . . . maybe even the majority in southern Ontario.
 
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Old 12-05-15, 08:45 AM
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I asked before; but my question went ignored . . . . how far is the Garage from the House ?
Oh, sorry about that. It's only a few feet from the house, actually. 3 or 4 feet, I think.

By the way, I live in Southern Ontario. Sorry for not mentioning that before, in regards to my weather related question.
 
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Old 12-05-15, 09:31 AM
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Here is something to consider. Modify the existing vehicle door so it is permanently attached and remove all the opening hardware. That way it still looks like a garage and could be fairly easily converted back to a garage at some future date. Build a "soft" wall immediately inside the door to hold insulation and present a nicer surface on the interior. This might actually be less expensive than removing the door and building an exterior wall.

My point here is to remove the possibility of the city building department from demanding you get some other kind of permit or possibly putting the kibosh on the whole project. You don't have to tell anyone the door doesn't open.
 
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Old 12-05-15, 07:46 PM
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Here is something to consider. Modify the existing vehicle door so it is permanently attached and remove all the opening hardware. That way it still looks like a garage and could be fairly easily converted back to a garage at some future date. Build a "soft" wall immediately inside the door to hold insulation and present a nicer surface on the interior. This might actually be less expensive than removing the door and building an exterior wall.
Wow, that's actually a really good idea. That would mean a lot less potential work needing to be done, which is great. I don't think the building department is going to be much of a concern where I'm at, but, as you say, leaving the door on would go a long way to avoiding any future headaches, should the worst occur. Plus, it can be rolled back to a garage, if the need ever arises. I'll be sure to take some more close-up photos of the garage door, along with the base of the garage itself. Sorry for repeating everything you just said, by the way.

Also, just to be clear, the only things that might be inhibited by cold weather is painting and digging up any frozen earth, correct? Things like laying cement, putting in insulation and replacing a few potentially rotten boards would all be fine to do, right?
 
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Old 12-05-15, 09:16 PM
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When pouring concrete in colder weather special methods and mixes ARE required but these are well-known by the contractors. I would not recommend that you attempt to do the concrete work yourself unless you have prior experience.

So no, nothing other than the painting is actually prohibited in cold weather, it is just more difficult. Digging into frozen earth is all but impossible with hand tools but it CAN be done with power tools if absolutely necessary. Cutting and fitting wood is okay as is placing insulation. The biggest problem is with YOU getting too cold to do the work. I personally find that wearing gloves makes almost any kind of work near impossible. If it gets really cold frostbite is a very real danger.

My first "real" job out of high school was working in a shop that built wooden fishing boats. We had a very cold winter for Seattle and the temperatures one week were between 5 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The shop had no heat and finally the owner told us to stay home until it warmed up. We couldn't do anything that required gluing or painting but it was the human factor that stopped all the sawing and nailing.
 
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Old 12-06-15, 02:14 AM
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When pouring concrete in colder weather special methods and mixes ARE required but these are well-known by the contractors. I would not recommend that you attempt to do the concrete work yourself unless you have prior experience.

So no, nothing other than the painting is actually prohibited in cold weather, it is just more difficult. Digging into frozen earth is all but impossible with hand tools but it CAN be done with power tools if absolutely necessary. Cutting and fitting wood is okay as is placing insulation. The biggest problem is with YOU getting too cold to do the work.
Alright, that's very good to know. Thanks very much for confirming that. The co-worker's husband, that I mentioned in an earlier post, actually happens to be a specialist in concrete mixing and laying cement, so this should work out well. I'm not sure if I mentioned that before, apologies if I did.

By the way, I'm also going to have a general contractor coming by in the next day or two just to take a look at things. I just want to get as many opinions as possible before I begin. Are there any important questions I should keep in mind to ask when I meet this guy? Any advice/suggestions are most welcome.
 
 

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