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darfield 04-17-2011 07:28 AM

Where do I start?????
I want to convert a detached garage into a studio apartment. Basically it will need to be stripped down to just the frame and slab and then rebuilt. Where can I find step by step instructions? The garage is the only building on this lot; the house that was there burned down. The fire destroyed all the wiring going to the garage, and it has no plumbing. I don't have a huge budget, so I want to do as much as I can myself. Can someone point me in the right direction? Basically all I want is one room, a sleeping loft and add a bathroom. The garage is 18X20.

Willie T 04-17-2011 07:36 AM

Got a sledge hammer and a big crow bar? Oh yeah... a wheel barrow, too.

oh'mike 04-17-2011 07:42 AM

You have to start with a plan that your building department will approve-

First start by reading the code book----most garages (many anyway) can not be converted into a house because the foundation allowed for a garage will not be strong enough for a house.

After you find out if the structure will pass--then you need plans drawn up---By yourself or a draftsman or architect.----Good luck----mike----

tcleve4911 04-17-2011 08:01 AM

Okay let's get you started......

There's 2 phases of construction
1.) Rough-in.
This is when you make all your structural changes. (moving doors and windows, framing walls etc.
Electrical, plumbing and HVAC get set to be buried behind the wall coverings.
2.) Finish
Insulation, wall coverings, trim, flooring, paint, light fixtures, appliances, bath fixtures, cabinets, and more paint....any not necessarily in that order.

Draw a floor plan of what you have in mind. Very important....You need to convey your idea to others.

Do you need permits?...they'll need a copy.

Find out where the septic or city drain line goes.
Where is your water line?

Get a couple of plumbing & electrical contractors to look and what will be needed to make your studio. They'll need a copy of your plans.
They will guide you as to what you need to do for rough-in.

Having some of this basic knowledge will speed up the process as the contractors ask you questions.

You can start by cleaning the place completely out.
Remove all the stuff stuck between the stud bays and ceiling joists.
Remove the interior wall & ceiling coverings...if any.

Make a clean workplace.
Contractors will treat your project with more respect if they're not clamoring over piles of debris.

Change out any doors and windows at this time.
You can even start framing your partition walls for your bathroom.
Make your "wet walls" 2x6 to allow for fat pipes.
Don't put any of your plumbing on exterior walls.

If it has overhead doors and you're going to change them, start by shopping for your new windows and doors.
Remove the doors (carefully) and frame for windows or doors or whatever goes into the old openings.

Whew ...I'm tired...where's the beer fridge going?:laughing:

Hope this helps.:thumbsup:

darfield 04-17-2011 08:14 AM

Thank you for all of your information. I had a dumpster delivered, bought a hammer and a crowbar, so I'm off to a good start. I live in a small town (less than 200) so I don't know if I need any permits, but I know everything has to meet building codes. Thank you, no beer fridge yet but I have a cooler in mind.

tcleve4911 04-17-2011 08:23 AM


Originally Posted by darfield (Post 631037)
I live in a small town (less than 200) so I don't know if I need any permits, but I know everything has to meet building codes.

Call the town and ask.

Hammer & a crowbar, huh?
Just starting out?.......

Willie T 04-17-2011 08:58 AM

I agree completely with having a plan, and covering all of the legal bases.

Once that is covered and all your demo is done, you will likely want to address the basic level of the floor. Since this is a garage, there is a good probability that the floor has a serious sloping 'runoff'. It can easily be as much as 2" overall.

This (if it exists) really needs to be leveled out before you do anything else.

tcleve4911 04-17-2011 09:25 AM

....or it could be a great way to clean the man cave......

Tile and water proof everything, open up the garage doors, bring in the power washer and hose 'er down....:laughing:

Willie T 04-17-2011 09:46 AM

I had a car I cleaned that way. All vinyl interior, floors included. I cut holes in the floor rubber right over the drain holes and let fly with the garden hose every week or so.

vsheetz 04-17-2011 01:23 PM

I once lived in a small town in Georgia (126 people). I build a 16x28 workshop/garage. The permit process consisted of the town costable coming over and my showing him where the building would be located and verbally outlining to him what I intended to do - and his providing a verbal thumbs up. :thumbsup:

Even if your permitting process is this simple, you really should double check just to be sure no surprises later.

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