If you’re looking to expand the square footage of your home, you may be considering an addition over your garage. Building an addition over an existing garage is a cost-effective way to achieve additional living space for much less than it would cost to start from the ground up. A new addition above your garage can also boost your home’s curb appeal and its overall value when you go to sell your home later on. However, before embarking on your project, I recommend that you consider the benefits, drawbacks, and legal requirements of such an addition.
Check Building Codes
One of the first things you’ll want to do before starting your addition is check your local building and zoning laws. Building codes are in place to protect the homeowner, as well as those living nearby, against potential dangers of an unsafe structure. Regardless of how large the new addition will be, you will need to obtain a building permit. Failure to do so can result in high fines and a possible legal action.
Assess the Structure
Structure is amongst the most important aspects of building a new addition to your home. Before you can begin building the new addition, you will need to hire an engineer or inspector to determine whether or not the garage’s existing foundation can bear the weight of a second story addition. Additional support beams may be needed to support the existing floor joists and a large header may need to be installed above the garage door.
Meet Fire Safety Regulations
Like any room in your home, the new addition should meet strict fire safety regulations. Most building codes require the use of 5/8-inch thick fire-rated drywall, otherwise known as Type X drywall. This specialized drywall must be used on the walls and ceilings to help protect the structure in the event of a fire. Check with your local building and zoning department to ensure that the new addition meets all fire safety requirements.
Building codes require the use of an insulation surpassing an R-30 rating between the garage ceiling and the new addition’s floor. Remember that it’s most cost-effective to install the insulation during construction rather than retrofit it later on. While insulating the new addition, you may also want to consider insulating your garage if it’s not already insulated. Insulating the garage below the new addition will help keep the room warmer.
Ask About Increases
After adding a new addition to your home, you may be met with some undesirable financial increases. While adding a new room above the garage increases the square footage of your home, it may also increase your home insurance rate as well as your property taxes. Consult with your insurance agent and a tax professional before starting on the project to get an estimate of the rate increase. Some insurance companies may offer you a discount if your meet certain building regulations.