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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on July 21st, 2023

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3 ways to Get More Use Out of Your Garage in 2023

Residential | Residential Remodeling

A standard garage often features wasted space that could be put to better use with a well-planned remodel. From garage conversions to additions, there are many ways to transform a garage. Below are some of the most common remodel projects that Connecticut homeowners use to make their space more functional.

If you're hoping to perform a garage upgrade in the coming year, give some thought to these projects before contacting a Connecticut contractor to get started. Knowing your priorities before sitting down with a contractor can make your discussions more productive and will help ensure that your project will yield the results you want. 

1. Conversion to Work or Living Space

Many homeowners keep their cars in the driveway and never use their garage for vehicle storage. For these homeowners, the garage is better used as a living space or workspace, such as a home gym or workshop. Basic conversions are easy to do and take just a couple of weeks to complete. Here's a short list of what your contractor will need to do in order to convert your garage:

  • Finish the walls. Garages often feature unfinished walls and ceilings, with exposed studs and joists and no insulation. Finishing the walls with insulation and sheetrock adds a level of comfort that's appropriate for a living space. 
  • Add trim. It's common for garages to be built without trim around the doors and windows, but a living space like a home gym should have trim to give the space a more homey feel. 
  • Dress up the floor. Depending on what you plan to do with the space, you may want to see your concrete floor better protected with a layer of attractive epoxy. Epoxy comes in many colors and can be matched to the furnishings you plan to install. 
  • Add a circuit. Adding a circuit may be necessary if you're going to use your garage as a workshop. Your contractor can advise you on the electrical requirements to keep your power tools running. 
  • Install electric heat and exhaust. Temperature control makes your garage useable in winter and summer. Install electric baseboard heating to keep the space warm in winter, and an exhaust fan to pump out the warm air in summer. 

2. Upgrade Storage Space

Many people use their garage for storage, but it's common for that storage to be disorganized and messy. Installing durable built-in storage solutions like custom-made shelving and cabinetry can help you keep track of your things, while also keeping your garage tidier overall. Garage storage can be as simple as shelves made from painted 2x4s, or it can be more sophisticated, with drawers and cabinets.

To get the most out of your garage organizational system, start by knowing what you plan to store there. Decluttering in your garage before meeting with a contractor about the job can give you and your contractor a more accurate picture of what will need to be stored there for the long term. Having this information makes it easier to scope the project and install the right storage space for your needs. 

Does your garage lack room for proper storage? Lofted garage storage gives you the space you need to store seasonal items while also providing space on the ground for your car, yard tools, and other items. There are many creative garage storage solutions out there. Be open to systems that store bikes on the walls or ceiling, to clear floor space.  

3. Garage Addition

Is your garage too small to store the right number of vehicles? Or maybe you need more space for the storage of large items like a riding mower? Either way, building an addition to your garage can make the structure more useful to you. This is a good project if you regularly find yourself bumping your bikes and lawnmower when you park the car. You can also benefit from a garage addition if you've got an extra car that needs space for parking. 

Typically, homeowners who need to make more room in their garage will build more space off the back, creating tandem parking or an additional room behind the front. This makes the garage bigger without running the garage over the edge of the property on the side. 

A garage addition project is similar to a home addition, but simpler because garages need less finish work and have less complex structures overall. Construction of this kind of addition takes about 6 to 8 weeks and may require design services, so it's a good idea to work with a design-build contractor. Adding space to a small garage creates value, so this may be a good project if you're thinking about selling your house in a few years. 

Some tips:

  • Choose a contractor with experience building additions.
  • Know what you plan to store in your garage addition, to ensure the addition is sized appropriately.
  • If you're on a deadline, get started well in advance. Home additions generally take a while to complete, and the entire home remodeling process takes longer than it used to due to material shortages and other logistical challenges. 

Get Off on the Right Start - Hire a Pro

Whatever your garage or home remodeling project, be sure to hire a professional that performs quality work. Download Litchfield Builder's guide to hiring a Connecticut contractor. Our guide is free and includes a lot of helpful advice that will come in handy as you proceed with your home remodel. 

How to Choose a Professional Home Remodeling Contractor

About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.