DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Framing and Foundation > Expanding Garage INTO house (axing 'Den')




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Old 09-28-2011, 09:43 PM  
texaopian
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Default Expanding Garage INTO house (axing 'Den')

I've just been offered to buy my first home (a two story 4/2 3400 sq/ft demo home from a near bankrupt builder). It's an exclusive deal at a great price. The only downside is that it currently has a one car garage - which when you're used to parking 2 cars in the garage + having a small work area/storage, it blows. There isn't access to the backyard from any street. Sadly, it's on a tight lot, so there isn't room to expand the garage out to the side (or have a driveway 'around the side of the house'. So no backyard garage. Driving around the neighborhood, and seeing the 'same' house over and over with a 2 car garage, I went online and checked floor plans offered by this builder. I discovered that the same house is offered with a 2 car garage (using 2 single external doors). In my house, instead of a odd 'lower family room' at the front of the house, I'd like to expand the garage into this space. The house is huge. I can afford to lose the 300-400 sq/ft. Its seems easier said than done. I've worked out most of this in my head, on paper, etc. There isn't much help online (most want to turn their garage into living space or build a new one).

In my head, most of the issues are solved except these four (from 'easiest' to 'deal-breakers'):

  1. Demoing old garage/internal wall (2 story house - Load Bearing? Transferring load to new Internal Wall[s])
    • Requires a Structural Engineer to look at it
      1. Demoing an internal wall on the bottom floor of a two story house.
      2. Load bearing? Transferring load to new internal wall.
  2. Cutting an opening for a new garage door (2 story house)
    • Requires a Structural Engineer to look at it
    • Demoing an external wall on the bottom floor of a two story house.
    • Load bearing? Transferring load across the opening.
  3. Pouring 'New' Driveway
    • Issue: The water meter and sewer access pipe (for unclogging the line) would be in the middle of the 2nd driveway.
    • Question: Can I just put these in a box flush with the driveway?
  4. Difference in foundation height between garage & room floor.
    • The garage floor is about 2 inches lower than the inside floor.
    • If I can, I'm considering leaving it at two levels.
      • Considering either light shaving/sanding to give floor a slope for drainage OR
      • Using one of the garage flooring kits to accomplish the same thing.
    • If I have to match heights:
      • Fill in the garage floor to raise the height to match
      • Otherwise, this project is DOA (not going to jackhammer old floor)
    • In either case (if I need to) give garage new 'lip' to prevent spills.

#2, 3, and 4 scare the life out of me. #2 because that is one BIG hole in an outside wall. #3 trying to work around existing pipes (frugally). and #4 because it is the stealthy deal breaker to the whole thing.

Anybody do anything like this (or even parts?) or can tell me if any of this is possible? I'm thinking I could DIY this for about 6-10k on the whole affair. I can frame walls, hang sheet rock, install garage doors, even pour concrete... but cutting into outside walls, respecting loads, garage foundation questions, etc.. its a tad overwhelming.

Thanks,
IJ


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Old 09-29-2011, 10:33 PM  
nealtw
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In most cases, all of this can be done. Your engineer will tell you what has to be done, whether you can replace walls with beams and what size to use and how to support them. Your city inspectors will tell you how to solve the floor problem. In the north we would be concerned about frost for the water meter. The first question is for the city, will they allow this change.



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Old 09-29-2011, 11:02 PM  
texaopian
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Originally Posted by nealtw View Post
In most cases, all of this can be done. Your engineer will tell you what has to be done, whether you can replace walls with beams and what size to use and how to support them. Your city inspectors will tell you how to solve the floor problem. In the north we would be concerned about frost for the water meter. The first question is for the city, will they allow this change.
Thanks for the info. This house happens to be outside the city limits and doesn't require inspections/code to do the work - not that I plan on doing shoddy work, but this might make things a little easier... I think.
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Old 09-30-2011, 12:14 AM  
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The city would still be good to talk to, they can explain way things should be done one way better than another and fire prevention and so on!

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Old 09-30-2011, 12:58 AM  
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Texa,

A few thoughts:

1. Placing your new concrete drive on top of the sewer/water lines is a bad idea. Most codes don't allow it (and I suspect the County you live in does have building code requirements, or perhaps they delegate them to the State), and it will cost you more if/when the lines ever require replacement.

2. Unless you already have one picked out, shopping for a qualified engineer can be a challenge. Stay away from the youngsters with no practical, field experience. Desk jockeys can crunch the numbers, but often don't see the logical side of things in the real world. And many don't have working familiarity with building materials.

3. With proper bracing and correctly-sized members (and procedures), any load-bearing wall can be moved or relocated. Successfully blending what's needed with what's practical/economical is the trick.

4. Have you considered adding the garage space you want by going through the rear of the garage, full-width of the present garage (if that wall is exterior, facing the backyard)? You could make the new space large enough for storing a second vehicle as well as allowing a decent workshop space right next to it--essentially building a double garage in the backyard, attached to the house. Throw a gable roof on it, framed with rafters, and you'll gain a ton of attic space for storage.

5. I'm guessing your house is built on a concrete slab, yes? If so, and if you do go the route you've discussed (converting living space to garage space), it's quite simple to pour a thin-bonded concrete overlay on top of the existing garage floor to match the house floor's grade. I've done dozens of them, but mine were all on concrete bridge decks, where they have to resist 70 mph, 80,000 lb. moving loads. You'd also have to pour a short transition in the driveway, to match the new floor grade.

Don't be intimidated by the big picture, but rather take one step at a time. You sound logical and talented enough to successfully take on and complete the project. Hint--make scale drawings of the structural changes you think are needed--using them to explain things to your engineer will help a lot. My Texas P.E. license is inactive (too expensive to keep active), otherwise I'd offer my services.

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Old 11-06-2011, 01:43 AM  
texaopian
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OK, I'm thinking that I'm going to run into issues with the internal wall between the garage and the den. It could be load bearing. If it is, I might need to find a creative way to brace it (as its located 2 - 3 feet into the middle of the new garage door.

Here's the current layout - measurements are approximate. Light blue/grey is the top floor.

http://i44.tinypic.com/2j4eu4p.jpg

I think that wall might be load bearing because there is a wall directly above it (master bedroom wall). I'm getting an engineer to look at it next week but I'm trying to come up with a Plan B, C, D, etc. Plan B is below.

http://i41.tinypic.com/15gqsy1.jpg

The down side to this is how much space that this takes up for the walkway (inside the house)

I was hoping that I could do something like this below (my Plan A)

http://i43.tinypic.com/2rolxlw.jpg

IF I had to provide a replacement support for a load bearing wall, could I 'cross brace' it with something over the openings like this?

http://i40.tinypic.com/i43a1f.jpg

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Old 11-07-2011, 02:18 AM  
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Best way to replace most load-bearing walls is to use a properly-sized beam supported on columns, bearing on adequate footings.

Wait to see what the engineer says.

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Old 11-08-2011, 08:14 AM  
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Your beam will have to go where the wall is, I think floor joist land on it. How deep are the footing in this area, You will be putting alot of weight on the foundation between the two doors.



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