Newb thinking of converting about half of my 40x30 concrete block garage into a home office/guest suite.
I am removing the existing block windows on the remodel half and want to add several new windows. I also plan on framing the walls inside the concrete block, so do I install the windows in the concrete block, or in the interior framing? I would like to do this in stages and just want to know if I can do the concrete block work and all the windows first, then work on the interior framing later.
I am also looking for some ideas on how to finish the flooring. Right now there is a slighlty cracking poured concrete floor. Should I put in some insulation and raise the floor a little?
Any other advice, or links to similar projects?
Your windows will need to be installed in the block part of the wall. The main thing here is that the exterior of the window/block area is designed for weather and has the ability to shed and not trap water.
After you have framed your interior walls and added drywall, then you will need to make custom window jambs to fill the space from the existing window jamb to the new wall plane. Usually this is done with 1x material ripped to the correct thickness dimension of the new walls.
The floor depends on how level it is now. Most garage floors have a slight slope towards the door but many only have this slope starting within a few feet of the garage door end. If your living space is at the house end then you may get lucky and already have a level floor.
If the floor is level, then you can carpet or install a floating floor. Either choice will provide a nominal amount of insulation as a barrier (foam pad in the case of carpet, foam liner for floating floor). If the floor is sloped then it's either live with a slightly sloped floor or pour in a leveler on the low end.
A more drastic (ie - more expensive and time consuming) plan is to raise the entire floor. This can make sense if the existing house floor is already above that of the garage slab. This involves making a traditional framed floor that will be attached to the new walls and existing garage walls. You will install typical joists 16" O.C. but you can go with a lighter duty joist as you can brace the joists anywhere to the slab. After joists are in place, you can insulate and then install a 3/4" T&G subfloor. From there your finish flooring choices are anything that can be installed on top of a typical framed floor.
Other than cost, one downside of the raised floor method is that you have created an area underneath the floor that is too low for human access. However, it makes a perfect mouse environment.
Thanks Jaybee, good stuff.
For the exterior of the window/block, do you just mean something liked a simple sloped block?
This is a detached garage, so no house floor to level to, but I am leaning toward the raised floor since we will likely have plumbing to put under there and could use the opportunity for a drainage grade.
We would put up "Keep Out" signs to prevent a mouse problem.
Depending on your window style, install the window as typical from the outside. There is no reason to recess the window within the block as this will just leave an area to hold water.
If you can find a solution to keep the mice out of the low 'crawl space' between the slab and the framing, let me know. A mouse can fit through a hole the diameter of a pencil - it's impossible to keep them out.
We are planning on converting our garage to living space. One of our biggest questions is what to do with the floor. We were leaning to raising the floor because of the MI weather. I'm not so sure now because of the mouse issue. Thanks for the info, any other suggestions, we were debating adding heated floors. Thanks
You cold always pour a slab on top of the existing slab - this can solve several problems at once. The new slab will be level, the new slab can be raised if you need more height to match up with the house flooring and you can install floor heat directly in the slab.
Once the new slab gets to be 3" thick or more, then bonding to the old slab is not much of an issue, as the new slab is strong enough on it's own. Still, using a bonding agent is a good idea.
Get this professionally poured. the cost of working the concrete is only a small fraction of the project cost - most of your money will be spent on concrete.
Remember to run your plans by your local inspector. As the need for egress sized window units come to mind. If the space includes sleeping provisions, that is. Good luck.
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