Garage Conversion: Choosing Your Garage Door Enclosure

While many homeowners believe a garage conversion means throwing in a little framework and a set of windows, this is not the case. With laws and regulations covering home additions and garage conversions, a homeowner may have to think hard about how they will enclose their garage.

Garages undergoing conversion will be closed in one of two ways. Either a door will be placed within a frameset wall, or a window will be placed within the frame. Each choice has its own set of rules and regulations.

When enclosing a garage with a door, the homeowner will need to make sure the foundation is level with the home. While a framed wall can be set quickly enough, if the foundation is not level with the existing living space foundation, the new space extension will not appear flush with the rest of the home. This is especially important for homeowners choosing a door as a garage enclosure. Without a flush foundation, the door will appear off level, and the garage conversion will look like a garage conversion.

Leveling the foundation is not only essential for hanging a level door, but for attaching siding to a home as well. If the foundation of the garage to be converted is not level with the home’s foundation, the siding will not fit seamlessly from the original section to the newly converted section. Without leveling the foundation, the enclosure will go downhill.

The second choice for enclosing a garage is with a window inset within a wall frame. Many homeowners will choose a bay window for this enclosure, but this may not be a perfect choice. According to home regulations, if a room only has access via another room in the home, a window will need to be placed in the room large enough to be used for escape.

While a bay window is large enough to handle for escape, many bay windows employ a solid middle window with only small windows that open on the sides. These small windows are not large enough for an adult to escape, and therefore, will not meet safety guidelines. No homeowner wants to complete a garage conversion, only to find out they need to tear a wall apart to retrofit an escape window.

Homeowners converting a garage into living space need to choose the door enclosure carefully. Depending upon the assigned use for the area, a door or a window may be used as an enclosure. Doors may need a hiked up foundation, and windows need to be large enough for an adult to escape. Following these simple guidelines will make for a much better result to your home’s garage conversion.