A Garage Conversion: Adding Value to Your Home

Need More Space? Consider a Garage Conversion

A garage conversion can add an extra 300 to 500 square feet of living space to a home. But until recently, legal restrictions have halted garage-building enthusiasts in the San Francisco Bay Area—or forced them to circumvent legal channels when building Accessory Building Units (ADUs), or “granny flats,” your everyday garage apartment.

But in 2014, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to make formerly illegal in-law units legally part of the housing market and to make converting garages or “granny units” into living space much easier. And other bay area cities have fallen suit, or are in the process of doing so.

For a homeowner, a garage conversion has an immediate upside: The price to transform a garage and create an income-generating rental, or add comfort, is often worth it; additionally, when it’s time to sell, a San Francisco garage conversion will typically recoup 50% or more of its costs.

What Are My Options?

From art studio and home gym to rental unit and home office, the options are seemingly endless for converting a garage into a comfortable live and/or work space,

Like all remodels, though, a garage conversion can be a complex endeavor so plan carefully and hire a licensed professional to do the work. Some homeowners may opt for an opulent master suite; others will be happy with a functional office space; still others may desire a more basic multi-purpose room. So let practicality and intended use be your twin guides.

What are some of the essentials for a creating a garage remodel? Once permitting and planning are completed, here are some conversation starters to have with your contractor:

  • The Door. It’ll have a more industrial look if you leave it and need to be well insulated. Or remove it and add a solid wall or a window wall for more light.
  • Chances are you’ll need to add wiring or electrical outlets, especially to create a comfortable live-work space.
  • Heating and Cooling. Compare the price of installing central heating from the main house versus using smaller space heaters and an AC-window unit.
  • Insulation. Proper insulation is essential to maintain warmth in winter months and cooler temperatures during the summer.
  • Electrical, Plumbing and More. You will need to complete and strengthen the framing, and connect the plumbing. Drywall may also be needed to finish the walls and ceiling.
  • Preparing the Floor. A garage floor is often a concreate slab, which is often sloped and lower than the rest of a home. Raise it by adding a polyethylene sheet, and fill in cracks with epoxy.
  • Floor Coverings. A multi-colored epoxy seal can provide an industrial flair; or ceramic tile or vinyl offers a warmer aesthetic; engineered hardwood or carpeting, though more expensive, creates a fine balance of elegance, comfort and style.

Cleaning Rain Gutters

Man Cleaning Gutters

How to Clean Rain Gutters:

  1. Don a pair of gloves, position ladder near gutter, climb and pull debris and place in bag or bin
  2. Clean area carefully around downspouts as this is where most clogs occur
  3. If clog exists, run hose up into spout and blast water. If problems persist, run a pumber’s snake down it, or take it off gutter and check inside.
  4. Look for any holes, rust, dents or sags, loose hangers and fix as necessary
  5. Then flush from the roof top with high-powered hose and check for standing water
  6. If standing water exists, bend hanger slightly or take down hanger and readjust and test again until no standing water remains
  7. Gutter extensions can be used to move water away from the home

Moisture Control for Your Home

Foundation With WiresWinter storms hit the Bay Area in December with near- freezing temperatures and a great deal of rain.  And although 2015 has been rain-free so far, forecasts predict precipitation in February and beyond.

Rain this time of year is not such a bad thing. Our drought-stricken landscape and shallow waterways — our lakes, reservoirs and streams — could desperately use it. But when rain arrives unexpectedly, it’s often not a good thing, at least not for your home! Is your comfy dwelling ready for some unwanted moisture? Hopefully it is. And if not, there is still time to minimize the potential damage caused by heavy rains. In fact, making some simple home repairs today can help mitigate the need for expensive repairs later on.

A Dry Foundation?
A roof channels water way from the foundation as a way to protect it from exposure. But if standing water exists near the foundation this may signal a problem. Something called hydrostatic pressure could be taking place, in other words, a build up of pressure on the foundation that can lead to cracks and even damage a retaining wall. So what can you do?

Roof Fascia and Soffit: Why They Matter
The fascia is the horizontal board that runs along the roof line and acts as trim or a finished edge. It protects the roof and the home’s interior by preventing water from entering it. The gutters are also attached to the fascia.

The soffit is the exposed surface beneath a roof’s overhang. It ventilates anddraws heat and moisture away from the home. The soffit can be easily damaged by excess moisture. A water- saturated soffit causes rotting, splitting, and gaps in which animals can nest and cause further damage.

Gutter Awareness
Preventing serious foundation issues may be a simple as checking and maintaining your rain gutters. Your home’s gutters play a major role in maintaining a healthy home. For instance, when there is standing water near a home’s foundation the problem is typically

Clogged Gutter

Place gutter cleaning at the top of your home improvement list this year. Gutter need to be cleaned twice a year. Indeed well-maintained gutters have essential benefits:

  • Prevent water damage to the home by eliminating sagging, bending, and leaking
  • Eliminate a nesting area for animals
  • Stop the destruction of the landscape
  • Maintain the value and beauty of your home

Ice on roof and guttersA clogged gutter can also lead to what’s called an ice dam, which is when melted snow freezes on a roof’s overhang, trapping water under shingles and other roofing layers; this can result in leaks through roof deck joints and nail holes.

Ice-Dam Solution: A drip-edge (an L-shaped piece of metal) should be installed to prevent ice dams. The drip-edge is simply nailed to the decking below the fascia board. Once installed, a drip-edge will deflect water away and prevents it from going up and under the shingles.