For many people, a garage is a place to securely store away your car or truck to protect it from the elements and thieves. For others, it can be part storage building and part catch-all junk room for keeping everything that doesn’t fit elsewhere in the house. But many people are now using garages as a way to add some additional square footage to their actual living space. Converting the garage into a new bedroom or bathroom (or a combination thereof) or a man-cave/den where you can hide from the kids have been popular for years. But one new idea that is catching on is converting your garage into a patio. Here are some ways to do this as well as some design ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Before you begin any major project, you need to spend a great deal of time planning and mapping out the renovation. You can sketch out ideas that incorporate what you are looking for. Online resources such as Houzz are a great point of reference because you can see what other homeowners have had done. Some of the things that you need to consider are:
• Flooring—Consider if you want to keep the standard concrete slab of the garage or if you want to step up to something such as pavers, wood deck flooring or painted concrete.
• Ceiling/Walls—Since this is a patio renovation, do you want to remove the ceiling and walls to leave it completely open, or do you want to keep some of these to block off the patio from the surrounding area? Also, do you want to keep the ceiling and just have posts for support, giving the patio an outdoor feel or do you want to replace the ceiling with a trellis for an “outdoorsy” feel?
• Climate Control—Even though this will be a patio, do you want to add any features such as ceiling fans or misters to keep you cool during the warm summer months?
• Plumbing/Gas—If you are planning on having a water feature or sink in this converted patio, do you need to run new plumbing in to hook up this feature? Also, if you plan on doing any grilling, will you need to add gas lines for your grill or will you use gas canisters for your cooking needs?
Before you do any major construction or renovations, you must also check on local laws governing this type of work. You need to find out if it is even legal for your area to do this and, if so, what types of permits you will have to procure for the project. Also, you should check the by-laws of your Homeowners’ Association (HOA) if you have one. Many of these have regulations regarding renovations inside the neighborhood to prevent homes from being too incongruous with the other homes in the area. Be sure what you are doing is even allowed before you start investing more time and money in the project.
The next step on your to do list is to get the garage itself cleaned out. Find a new place for all of the junk in your home. Even better than moving it is to just remove it from the home entirely. Have a garage sale or donate items to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If it really is “junk,” then put it at the curb for the garbage collector. The bottom line is that this is the perfect opportunity to streamline your home to make it cleaner and more efficient.
Finally, decide who should do the work. If you are especially handy with tools and construction, you can decide to tackle this alone. If not, it is better to turn it over to a professional. Even though many people think they are good with these types of projects, this is a lot more involved than simply slapping some paint on the wall. You are talking about doing work that will require rewiring part of the home as well as possibly adding new plumbing and gas features. It is best to leave this work to the pros so you don’t wind up with a disaster. However, you should also do major research to find the best contractor for your budget and project so that your garage doesn’t turn into a money pit.
There are some truly stunning examples of garages that have been converted into patios. This change of space for your home can completely revitalize your experiences by turning the house’s largest storage unit into a viable and functional part of the home’s living space that you can enjoy for years to come.