Steps to Finishing Garage DYI - Bayarea Climate

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Nov 27, 2018
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San Lorenzo CA
I finally have a garage to make an art studio in and I want to plant to finish it myself.
First I plan on revamping electrical to put in decent outlets for the work table.

My main questions is whether or not I should install insulation behind drywall or not. And if yes, what kind. I dont like fiberglass because of heath concerns.
The garage is in East Bay, California and the climate is mild. The garage is unheated and has the open vaulted ceiling to the roof rafters.

Should I just throw up and new window and drywall after electrical work, or insulate it beforehand?
should I use any kind of barrier?
What type of drywall should I use? I have no clue about drywall.

Right now it looks like there is old MDF? House is stucco.
thanks guys


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In memory of
Jul 26, 2009
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Nashville, TN
First off :welcome:to House Repair Talk!

Do you have any experience running electrical circuits? Do you plan on having it inspected? What amp service do you have entering the house? Are you planning on adding anything that requires 220 service? Do you have soffits that can be used for ventilation?


Well-Known Member
Jan 8, 2011
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What's the plans for keeping it cool in the summertime?
Here's a general guide on the amount of insulation that should be in the walls and ceiling.
Not sure what your concerns are with fiberglass, it's been used for about 50 years, once it's covered with drywall there's 0 issues, it's the fastest, the cheapest way to do it.
Before doing any wiring I be first checking to see how the wiring that's there now has done, and figuring out exactly how much power I was going to need now and in the future.
I always add double outlets over where I know where a workbench will be.
Outlets should be wired with 12-2, lighting can be 14-2.
All outlets need to be GFI protected.
It's rare that I've ever seen it done right and to code in older sheds or garages.
Without adding a real ceiling it's going to be a real pain to keep cool or warm to say nothing about trying to add lighting
With a blank slate like that I'd be adding 2 X 2's to the studs to build them out for thicker insulation, it will more then pay for itself in savings on cooling cost.
Are the ceiling joist 16" on center?
Ceiling drywall gets done first, should be 4 X 12' X 5/8 sheets, rent a drywall lift, it makes it a whole lot easier.
Fill any gaps around those windows around the framing with low expanding foam.
Walls get done next with 4' X 12' X 1/2 drywall laying horizontal, always start at the top so it sits tight to the ceiling, make sure there's about a 1/2 gap at the bottom from the floor.
To trim out the windows and door your going to need to add jamb extentions, stool, apron, and casing, there's lots of videos on Youtube on how to do it.
PS your likely going to need permits for all this work.
Nov 27, 2018
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San Lorenzo CA
Gotcha. Thanks for the replies. I will have to research permitting. I will have licensed electrician run the new electrical first as I don't touch anything electrical. Thanks for advice on outlets and light planning. There is one vent in the attic wall but the house has no soffit vents. The garage is sealed from attic with old sheetrock p top.

Regarding the Heat in the summer, my vision was to have installed a few manual venting skylights right into roof above that will bring natural light and vent the heat if opened during the summer. It does not get crazy hot where I live though. Also, the concrete slab garage floor with help retain cool.

I want to only drywall both walls and not the open roof rafters - I want to paint those white to have that Vaulted ceiling modern farmhouse / gallery loft look. ( see pic)

I guess I will install insulation because its recommended for both cool and heat insulation...

I posted this to see about insulation, but now realizing that because the walls are really tall, I will have to hire the contractor to install the drywall only. I can joint and paint myself. There's no way I can hang this 4 x 12 by myself or help from handyman, unless im working with tinner 8x4 drywall. Even that is asking for injury as imnot really build for labor...

Heres another pic of the garage, as you can see, the prev. owner reinforced the walls near car door for some reason.. In order to make a perfect gallery wall I will need to drywall over this and then add some lumber to compensate for another part of wall, The plywood is nailed in so it will be a bear to rip it out to see why or to have even and fresh drywall install ...
It is not clear to me if the 2x4 that the lights are mounted on built for lights and storage ,or are they structural. A deck builder I had in there said not structural.
Also thinking of later ripping out garage door and opener rails and put in carriage doors .The rails are ugly and take up wall space.. ( see pic)

My vision for garage is : new electrical , insulation, drywall the walls all the way up, paint the "sheathing"?" and rafters, install skylight, and later replace door to carriage doors.
Now Im realizing that with is a job for contractor vs. dyi.

I wonder if this is the right place to even post this.

thanks for all input


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