How to Raise a Garage Floor for Living Space

Updated on February 1, 2017

Points to Check Before You Raise the Garage Floor

Wondering how to raise garage floor for living space? First check the building codes and local zoning laws to see if this is permissible. There may be restrictions in height that may be a qualifying factor, as generally garages are built of a height not more than 8 feet. So if you raise the floor, you have to check the minimum height that would be available after you raise the floor. Ensure this is within the building codes. If it is not, see if you are inconvenienced by creating a step between the house and the garage area. While measuring these heights use a level to mark a common datum on the garage walls and base all your measurements of the house floor, the garage floor and the garage roof from there. Quite often garage floors will be sloped and this requires you to be more circumspect. If you think you need to put in a few windows for light, do these works before you do the floor raising, again keeping the sill as per the raised floor. You would also need to decide on how you intend to close the garage door. You can always replace it with an external wall, but using drywall on the inside of the door to match-up the surface to the existing walls could be a solution.

The next thing to do is to check the dampness on the garage floor. Garage floors are normally of almost the same level as driveways and there is every chance the dampness from surrounding areas could get into your garage. If there is a dampness problem, tackle this first with poly or other liners.

How to Raise Garage Floor for Living Space

Normally garage floors are about 8 inches below the general house level. This height can be easily made up with a layer of insulation and some concrete screed. This will leave you sufficient margin for the final floor tiles or other flooring that you propose for your new living space. Raising the garage floor this way is the easiest and fastest way for a DIY project. But if you are planning to have a lot of electrical points or other wiring in the new space, it may require a lot of detailed planning before you lay down the concrete. By the way, the insulation is suggested to keep the temperature in the modified space uniform.

A framed wooden floor is another very simple way how to raise garage floor for living space. This framing also allows you to lay down insulation and any electrical circuits that you may need for the converted space. Give some thought to termite treatment if you are going to use this method. Make sure that the framing laid down gives you a level floor that matches the one in the house. You would need to constantly check the levels to ensure that you have the right height. Once the framing is done, the insulation put in place and the electrical circuits where they should be, cover the entire area with plywood of ¾ inch thickness. If you are planning floor tiles or carpeting over this, you would need to make the necessary adjustments in the height.

Now there you have your garage space converted to a living area and you can move in the furniture or appliances that you had planned for that area. Of course before doing this, you would have to decide whether the walls and ceiling need a coat of paint or wall paper.

Questions & Answers

  • Can you describe the wood flooring frame involved in raising a garage floor? Is it made with 2x4s? What spacing is required?

    You can use 2X4s at a spacing of 15 to 18 inches in both directions. You will then need to cover it with plywood if you are planning a PVC tile or carpet cover. Alternatively, you can use ceramic or other tiles.

  • What type of insulation should be used to raise a garage floor?

    Insulation will depend on your needs. You can use fiberglass batt, or fill up the space between the frames with foam insulation, which is also strong enough to take tiles or other floor material directly.

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