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diyer101 04-28-2012 12:47 PM

Replacing garage door with wall containing window and/or door
Hey all! This is my first post. My wife and I recently put a bid in on our first house. It's almost 1700 sq ft, 4 bedrooms and 2 baths, built in 1970. In ground pool out back, big tree out front, nice green grass front yard, long driveway, and a storage shed.

If our offer on the home is accepted there are a few things we want to do to the house. The previous owner closed in the 2 car garage and halfway converted it into a sort of living room/family room. A layer of carpet on a bare concrete floor and the garage door is just 'closed' with no opener attached to it. We will want to finish the conversion off right by removing the garage door and replacing it with a wall containing a door and/or window. We are considering either a french door or a double paned sliding glass door with the blinds built between the panes. I don't have specific measurements as of yet, but let's assume the garage door is 16'x8' for discussions sake.

My experience with wood is minimal. I'm more of a car guy, but am pretty handy and with enough research I don't find many tasks beyond my ability. So far, I understand I need a sill and top plate, studs at 16" on-center, cripplers offcenter over/under doors/windows, and offset fire breaks halfway up the wall between the studs. The code for Jacksonville, to my knowledge, requires fire breaks for walls over 8'1" but I figure it couldn't hurt.

So here are my questions:

1.Normally, you'd put a header above your door/window to take the weight of the structure above it whether load bearing or not. Since the header for the garage door will still be in place(the top plate will be fastened to it, in fact) just a few feet above any door/window I install do I still need to use a header for any doors/windows I put in or can I just make a frame of 2x4s and call it a day?

2. This deals with insulation. I looked at a map of the US earlier today and for my area it suggests R19 rating for my wall insulation. Using 2x4's for my studs, I understand that I can use either R13 or R15 in the fiberglass rolls or rigid foam which will range from just under R16 for EPS, around R20 for XPS, or around R25 for Polysio. The question is, using the more expensive product Polysio, would it be worth it considering I have no idea what the rest of the house is done in? Or should I take a light cover off and see what is used behind the rest of the walls and use that?

3. OSB vs. OSB Techshield sheathing. Is it worth it to use OSB Techshield over plain OSB for the exterior sheathing of the walls? I realize this doesn't 'improve' the R rating of the wall, but I understand it can help when radiant energy is hitting the wall.

4. Siding. I understand that I will need to re-do the siding on that particular wall. My options are to match the wall to the house or re-do the entire houses siding(Minus the front face, which is brick). It currently has 6" wood siding on 3 sides. If I do a wall at a time, is doing the entire house too big a job for just me? Also, is concrete siding worth it over wood?

5. To add to the siding question: if I choose to re-do the siding on the entire house would it be beneficial for me to rip off the sheathing as I go along and update the insulation and sheathing to better materials? Have the building materials changed much since 1970?

I want to thank you all in advance for your advice! Look forward to chatting with ya'll.

Daniel Holzman 04-28-2012 12:56 PM

You may want to do a history check on permits for the conversion of the garage to living space prior to purchasing the house. Normally garage conversion to living space requires some special code related work, such as installation of fire rated gyp board if part of the garage remains as garage and part is living space. I couldn't tell from your post if the entire garage was converted to living space.

Assuming the existing garage door header is code compliant, you would not need a separate header for the door beyond the normal interior framing installed in a non-load bearing wall, assuming you don't do anything to the existing header. But do check on the conversion, since installation of a door is going to make it obvious that you have living space rather than a garage, and if there is a complaint from a neighbor, you could wind up in permit difficulties, not to mention back taxes if the house was never reassessed after the space was added.

diyer101 04-28-2012 12:59 PM

The entire garage was converted to living space. How would I go about checking on permits previously run for that address?

GBrackins 04-28-2012 03:21 PM


go to the building department. they will have all the records for your potential purchase. also ask them about insulation requirements. you stated R-19, and I do not know where you are. there was a change in energy conservation that now requires R-20 minimum insulation in most areas of the country. I do not know if your area has adopted the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code or not.

I am not familiar with the techshield osb so I cannot answer on that.

I am a big fan of fiber cement siding. doesn't burn or rot, insects don't like it, resists impacts when installed. Check with your lumber yard, I've found it's usually less expensive than clear cedar clapboard siding. Down side, hard to work with and typically requires special tools and knowledge. Not good for the average DIYer

diyer101 04-28-2012 03:26 PM

Jacksonville, FL. I must have been looking at old code. I'd prefer to have a higher R rating anyway, but I just don't know if its worth it if the rest of the walls in the house are old sub-par stuff.

And again, is it worth it to re-side the entire house and while I do so to update sheathing and insulation? We plan on living in it for 2-3 years before purchasing a new home and turning it into rental property.

CrossWorks 04-30-2012 06:42 AM


Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman (Post 909513)
You may want to do a history check on permits for the conversion of the garage to living space prior to purchasing the house. Normally garage conversion to living space requires some special code related work, such as installation of fire rated gyp board if part of the garage remains as garage and part is living space. I couldn't tell from your post if the entire garage was converted to living space.

But to answer your questions:

  1. I agree it's never to be assumed that the existing header meets code, but if it does, go ahead and frame your door and window as stated.
  2. To achieve a R20 value for your walls, install R15 fiberglass insulation along with a 3/4" foil face insulation sheathing on the inside stud surface which I believe has a R5.0 value. However this will require extension jambs on both your door and window which needs to be figured accordingly.
  3. Just use 1/2" Advantech sheathing which I believe is "wax impregnated" to prevent breakdown that is so popular with OSB. Then use house wrap over your plywood on the outside.
  4. I would re-side only the entire side that is being effected. Unless of course the existing siding throughout has faded and is in poor condition, then doing the entire house can be a consideration. I guess it depends on your budget. The key of course is to find a perfect match if you're going to do just that one side.What type siding is on that garage wall all the moment?
  5. The only time you'd need to replace any sheathing is because of water of insect damage I would think. But if the integrity of the existing sheathing is in tact, then there are products out there other than Typar to improve the insulation value of your home.
  6. One thing that was not ask but should be considered is the flooring surface. I would recommend a sub-floor prior to installing any type flooring and in your case you may want to consider this option: Dry-Core

Gary in WA 05-02-2012 12:01 AM

With the existing header still there, you will be fine with just 2x4 header.
In your FL location, any vapor barrier or vapor retarder as foam board should not be inside on the walls, or only on outside;
What is the existing sheathing? Let-in 1x4 at the corners with Thermoply (cardboard with both sides shiny foil).... or just wood boards horizontally installed underneath the siding. Probably R-9 f.g. batt in the walls now?
The siding at the vehicle door will need to be elevated for the conversion, usually on a 6" high concrete stem wall to meet minimum siding/splash distance, check with the local AHJ.


dinah 11-23-2012 11:37 AM

I've read the other posts and am finding my project to be similar but I still have some questions. Why is it important to use 2x6 studs rather than 2x4. Is this for additional insulation or structure? The driveway is 1.5 inches lower than the slab what do I use to build that up?

joecaption 11-23-2012 11:41 AM

Dinha, please go back and add your own post. Impossible to keep things straight when talking to differant people about 2 differant subjects.

REXAMUS 11-23-2012 07:47 PM

Have you thought about framing the floor in the garage to make it level with the rest of the house?

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