Finishing your garage is a home improvement project that can prove highly valuable. Among its many perks is that it adds much-needed living and storage space. Plus, it protects your belongings from mold growth and fire hazards.
Yet, just like any DIY project, you want to be confident you’re going about it the right way. This means gathering as much information as possible about your project, and the best way to do that is by reading our step-by-step guide.
We’ve gathered everything you need to know on how to finish a garage. So, let’s get started.
Step 1: Get Your Permits Ready
Before starting your project, make sure your garage meets the required standards of your local code requirements. Making any changes in your garage without going over the plans with your city can be risky.
Then, check to see if you need any building permits for your project. For example, if you’re planning an extensive remodeling project in the garage, you’ll likely need to obtain a building permit beforehand. The cost of the permit varies depending on where you live and how much work you’re planning on doing.
Step 2: Start Planning
The golden rule behind every successful project is good planning. However, you need to keep in mind several pointers, such as the following:
What design do you have in mind? Are you seeking a storage space, living space, or both?
Does this design require electrical improvements, such as power outlets and extra lighting?
What’s the current shape of the garage? For example, if the walls are bare, this will guide you on what building materials you need.
Are you going to need plumbing? If the project is about creating an extra living space, installing a bathroom or wet bar would be essential.
Step 3: Start With the Walls
Many DIYers finish the walls in their garage first because they’re the biggest and most visible part. However, since an unfinished garage has walls that may not be ideal for living spaces or storage rooms, here are a few interesting ideas to choose from.
If you’re designing the garage to be a comfortable living space similar to the interior of your home, then choosing drywall is your best option. Drywall makes it easy to customize how it looks, whether it’s painting it or applying some wallpaper.
To secure drywall, you need to nail it to the bare studs in the walls. Then, apply a top coat of glossy paint to reflect the light and make the space appear bigger. This shiny coating also makes it easier to clean.
Another option is plywood paneling. These panels are cost-effective and easy to install. Simply screw it directly to the studs in the unfinished walls without having to go through the finishing process as you do with drywall.
You can also paint them to suit your design for the garage. Like drywall, they’re easy to clean and maintain.
If you’re looking to create a storage area on your garage walls, pegboards are the way to go. These simple boards have been around for decades.
Pegboards come in various shapes and colors to suit your needs. You can even frame it to add style and personality!
The downside is that some think pegboards take up a lot of wall space. Yet, the upside is they allow you to view all your tools simultaneously while keeping them safe from rust and damage.
It’s advisable to install insulation between the walls of your garage to reduce humidity build-up and prevent mold. By doing this, you’ll be able to keep the garage at a comfortable temperature all year round by insulating it against both cold and hot weather.
It’s also wise to add a vapor barrier if you live in a humid area. It’s another practical way to prevent moisture and mold that can damage your tools, equipment, and vehicles, causing them to rust.
Step 4: Finish With the Floors
There are many options available when it comes to garage flooring. Here are a few common examples.
If you’re planning on using your garage for occasional parties or get-togethers, then installing a permanent floor isn’t necessary.
Instead, why not get some outdoor carpeting? It’s more practical and can withstand the wear and tear of heavy foot traffic. Simply, roll it out whenever you need it, then roll it back up and store it away until next time.
Rubber tiles can work as well.
However, outdoor carpeting won’t do if you want to use the garage as a living space. In this case, you’ll need to add some style to the concrete floors for a complete makeover.
One way is to paint the concrete floors. Yet, before doing that, you need to repair any existing damages. An epoxy-based crack filler is a great choice to fill in cracks because it’ll let you paint over the floor once it dries.
Latex and water-based products don’t allow this. So, they might not be a good choice if you want to paint the floor after repairs.
When you’re done with the repairs, it’s time to paint the floor or use epoxy. You can find latex paints specially made for concrete floors.
Garage floors are best protected with epoxy coatings. They’re affordable, durable, and can help shield the underlying surface from stains and damage.
The best part is that you can add a coating of different colored acrylic flecks or a slip-resistant mixture to create any look you want.
Hardwood and Vinyl Tiles
If you’re looking for a familiar, home-like atmosphere in your garage, consider installing vinyl or hardwood tiles. Vinyl or hardwood floors add a nice finish to the room. Plus, they’re affordable as well as easy to install!
Their main drawback is they’re not moisture-resistant. Considering that the garage is often
exposed to higher levels of humidity and moisture compared to the rest of your home, these floorings might suffer.
Make sure to pick the right drain for your garage. This can make it easier to clean the garage floor.
To Sum Up
So, you’ve finally decided to learn how to finish a garage! While it can seem pretty intimidating, being prepared can go a long way in helping you finish your DIY project without any mishaps.
Having a handy guide like this one won’t hurt either. The next time is to get your materials together and get started.