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Enclosing Your Garage? What to Consider

Need more space in your home? Seeking an easy way to add living space to your house without the expense of constructing a home addition? There’s an easy solution. Enclosing your garage with a sliding garage door adds space to your house without the hassle, time and expense involved with a more traditional home addition.

Before enclosing your garage, there are many things that you should consider. Asking yourself the following questions can help you decide whether this home improvement is right for your household.

What’s your current garage door value?

Getting rid of your garage door is a big commitment, especially if your garage space is a real asset to your home. Knowing the value of your garage door can help you decide if your garage door is helping your home’s value, or perhaps hurting it. A new garage door can cost anywhere from about $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the type of garage door and how stylish it is.

If your current garage door is very old, then your old door may not be helping your home’s value in any way. Assess the current condition of the door, including the number of dings and scratches that you can find on the door’s surface. Ask yourself questions when you’re trying to assess the door’s value.

  • Is the door insulated?
  • Does it provide a good sound barrier between your garage and the noises outside your house?
  • Does your garage door add to your home’s aesthetic value or curb appeal?
  • Does the door need repair?

Making this kind of assessment can help you determine the door’s true value.

How will you heat and cool the room?

If you decided to enclose your garage tomorrow, you’d need a way to keep the room comfortable for anyone using it, which would require you to heat or cool the room, depending on the time of year.

If the garage is finished, then you’re already part of the way there! You’ll be able to tell the garage isn’t finished by the state of the walls. If the walls of your garage are made of drywall or plaster, and if there’s a ceiling made of a similar material, then your garage is likely finished. An unfinished garage has exposed rafters near the ceiling, walls made of concrete blocks or exposed wood, and the framing is exposed.

If you have a finished garage, then it may already be connected to a heating and cooling system that could keep the room comfortable without any effort from you. If not, you’ll need to install a heating and cooling system that will keep your garage comfortable throughout the year. A portable air conditioner and a space heater may work.

If the garage is unfinished, then your heating and cooling system will be burdened with the task of keeping your garage comfortable. Insulation is required to ensure that your heating and cooling devices can keep up with the task. Talk to a contractor to find out what’s involved.

Where will you park?

Some people use their garage to park their car every day – and some people don’t. If you already park your car in the driveway or in the street most of the time, then you’re probably not worried about where you’ll park your car when you convert your garage into a new space. If you use your garage on a regular basis, you may need a car port where you can store your car at night.

Will you need a permit?

Some communities have zoning laws that prohibit homeowners from converting their garage into a living space without getting a permit. You can find out if a permit is required by contacting your local building or zoning department. If you’re not sure where this is, call your local City Hall for more information.

The permit will add additional cost onto your garage enclosure project, but once you’ve got a permit, you’ll know that your garage enclosure is a legitimate addition to your house. This helps add value and can be an asset if you ever decide to sell your home.

The permitting process adds extra time to your garage enclosure project, because permits take time to be issued, and then once the permit is issued, the work will need to be inspected by a local building inspector. Permitting prices vary from one community to the next.

What happens if you enclose your garage without getting a permit?

If you decline to get a permit when one is required, you could be devaluing your home. Unpermitted work can make your house harder to sell, and when it does sell, it may sell for less money because the home buyer will have to get the permit retroactively.

What type of room do you want it to be?

It’s important to have a goal in mind whenever you take on any home improvement project, and enclosing your garage is no exception. Knowing what type of room you’d like to install on your house can make it easier to made decisions throughout the project. Some examples of uses for an enclosed garage:

Home Office Space

Do you work from home? A garage can make an excellent office space, especially if you struggle to find privacy in other parts of your house. To make your garage a more comfortable work space, you’ll want ample natural lighting and good insulation to ensure that your space is comfortable throughout the day.

Family Room

A family room gives your kids somewhere to hang out when you don’t want the living room to be a mess. Family rooms should be homey, cozy spaces. Install a rug or carpeting over the concrete flooring. Work with a carpet installation contractor to ensure that this work is done properly.

Dining Room

If your home lacks dining space, your enclosed garage could be the solution! Enclosing your garage with a garage door screen is a great way to add dining space that could be small and intimate for your immediate family, but large enough for a family gathering. Add touches of home to make your dining space more attractive. Finishes like moldings and trim on the walls and attractive light fixtures can make your garage space a perfect dining area.

How much value will enclosing your garage add to your home?

If your home is currently too small, adding more living space to your garage is an excellent way to add value to your home. For the price of a garage door screen and some small improvements like insulation addition and climate control, you can make your house worth more when the time comes to sell.

Adding extra space to your house can increase the value of your home by thousands of dollars, as long as the work is done correctly. Work with a capable contractor to get the work done, and purchase your sliding garage door from a reputable company to ensure that your enclosed garage project will add the most value possible to your home.


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