Garages aren't just for cars or storage. We all know a garage can be used for extra usable space such as a recreation area, man-cave, or home office but pulling this off may seem overwhelming. After all, the garage is typically not clean and certainly not comfortable in hot or cold weather. Overcoming the challenges and reclaiming your garage can be a worthwhile investment.
Clean and organize your garage:
If you want to reclaim your garage, the first step is cleaning up and organizing it. We have previously written on this topic with some useful tips and photos, here. This phase may seem tough, but it can be completed in a weekend.
Once you have completed the cleaning and organization step, you should be set for most of the year. The real challenge comes in the heat of summer and the cold of the winter. There are a number of steps you can take to counter these forces of nature and reclaim your space.
Install an insulated garage door:
We have blogged about the benefits of an insulated garage door a number of times, such as here. Working with a reputable garage door company will make this process smooth and easy. A professional installation will gain you a quality insulated door that seals well and operates smoothly.
In a recent test in the heat of summer, we compared the temperate on the outside surface and inside surface of an insulated Hormann 4200 garage door. The results were impressive: 96 degrees on the outside surface with the inside surface only 87.6 degrees, compared to the adjacent inside garage wall at 93.3 degrees. That is almost a 9% decrease in temperature from the outside of the garage door to the inside of the garage door.
Insulate the garage attic space:
One of the biggest culprits for allowing heat into your garage space is the ceiling. If you have garage attic space, consider blown insulation. This can be a DIY job with equipment loan from your local home improvement store or can be done by a pro for a relatively affordable price in about an hour or two.
Insulate the garage walls:
Insulating garage walls can be a big benefit, but can also be a tedious job if you have drywall in your garage. Without drywall, insulation can be a DIY job. With drywall, you'll need professional assistance to fill the walls with insulation while retaining the drywall. There are a few methods for this, but best left to your local insulation pro.
Install HVAC in the garage:
Adding air conditioning and heat to your garage can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. If you have a window in your garage, you could install a window unit for AC. If you have the funds, you could have a "min split" system installed which is basically a micro version of the whole-home AC system you already have. Another alternative is a portable AC unit (on wheels) which vents through the wall using a dryer vent connection or through a window with provided venting kit (if you have a window opening).
Some portable AC units include heaters, as do many mini split units. If you're solution for AC doesn't include heat, you can purchase a portable electric heater for a few hundred dollars.
Install a garage door screen:
For enhanced usage during the summer, consider add a walk-through garage door screen. While this isn't a temperature control motivated enhancement, it is a great improvement to a garage from which you often come and go. More info available here.