A Guide to Adding a Second Story to Your Detached Garage

Do you need some extra living space? If you have a detached garage, you may consider adding a second story to it.

A room above the garage offers privacy and tends to be a more cost-effective solution for increasing square footage than adding a room on ground level. In fact, in some cases, due to the size of the lot or zoning laws, it’s the only way to add onto your home.

Here’s what the Creative Door Services™ team can tell you about this exciting home renovation option.


Why Build A Room Above The Garage?

A room above the garage is a great option for a family member who would appreciate the extra privacy and independence, whether it be an elderly parent who is moving in with you or your twenty-something.

By the same token, it’s a great location for a guest room. You could offer your visitors a private guest house or even rent out the space.

Some choose to put an office above their garage. This is especially practical if you work from home. It gives you a private, quiet space to work and allows you to create separation between your work and home life.


Before You Build: Some Important Considerations

Building a room above your garage is a major project. There are a couple things you’ll want to keep in mind.

First and foremost, you need to check with your local government to find out if you’re allowed to put a second story on your garage and which permits you’ll need.

Your next step is to hire a qualified contractor and/or an architect. These professionals will be able to tell you whether your garage walls can support a second story, and they will be in charge of turning your vision into a reality.

Tips for DIY work

If you’re planning to DIY this project, here are a few important tips.

  • Ensure it meets fire safety codes and requirements
    One of the most important considerations is to protect your new room against fire. This means ensuring that the building materials meet fire regulations. In most jurisdictions, Type X or Type C drywall is required on the walls and ceiling of both the garage and the room above it. In addition, penetrations in the drywall for electrical outlets and other applications must be tightly sealed. If you have any doubts on this point, consult with a contractor or another building professional.
  • Improve the insulation
    If you have an attic or an unfinished room above your garage, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to beef up your insulation before you can turn it into a comfortable living space. As most garages are unheated, the rooms above them tend to get cold, even when they have a good heating system. Given this, you’ll want to install a layer of quality insulation in the ceiling of the garage or the floor of the room above the garage. Spray foam insulation is the best option since, unlike fibreglass batts, because it doesn’t allow cold air to seep through.

    Another option is heating your garage, thereby eliminating the transfer of cold air to the second story. For more tips on insulating the room above your garage, read our comprehensive article on this topic.
  • Hush your garage door opener
    Old chain drive garage door openers can make a racket, and this could really cramp the style of the upstairs occupant, whether that be the visitors in their guest suite or your spouse in their private home office. If your garage door opener is on the noisier side, it may be time to make the switch to a quiet belt drive garage door opener.

    At Creative Door™, we carry a wide range of dependable, quiet garage door openers from Genie and LiftMaster. For extra security, choose a model with myQ technology, which allows you to control and monitor your garage door from your smartphone, no matter where you are. Read our in-depth article about myQ to learn more.
  • Consider a new garage door
    If your garage door is getting on in years, this may be a good time to replace it. A new garage door with good insulation will help keep your heating costs down. Plus, you can choose one that goes better with your new structure, whether it be a classic wood garage door to give a homey feel to a guest house, or a modern glass garage door to give a stylish look to a two-level apartment.

If you can’t build a room above your detached garage, you have options. If you don’t use your garage to park your car, consider converting the garage itself into a living space. Read our list of creative garage door conversions that should give you some inspiration.


Superior Garage Door Products and Services In Western Canada

If you need a new garage door or opener to complete your renovation, turn to the team at Creative Door™. We offer a large selection of quality brand-name products and provide dependable installation and maintenance services. Contact us to get more information.

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Don't close the door on this great opportunity.