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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well the Patio Project was just so much fun, not, we are ready to start working on the garage renovation project.

Details.
We have a breezeway and a single car garage attached to the house off the kitchen. It is about 850 Sq/Ft. We want to turn that into a Master Bedroom with a Master Bath and possibly a small den. Since the house is only a 2 bedroom we can only handle guest a min amount of guest.

Question- The house and garage are on a concrete slab. The garage part is 7.5 inches lower than the house. Should I build a wooden floor to raise it to the height of the house or do something like re-bar and concrete on top of the existing concrete?

I will have more questions as the project goes on and you all have great input but this is just the beginning of the design phase.

Thanks
 

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7.5 inches lower is only the size of a step. Most steps are 7"x11". I'd make a step as it is the cheapest way to go. Put wood on top of the cement and then carpet or make it hardwood floor. :dunno:
 

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The first thing to do is measure the height of the garage from floor to ceiling joists. Then do your math. If you have 8' and build your floor up, you are going to end up with some low ceilings. Garages are sometimes built taller so that might not be an issue but you want to know and think about it before doing anything.
 

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I'm with Keith, if the floor is in good shape just cover it with carpet or law down wood flooring,, Carpeting will make the floor seem warmer than hardwood. One way or another you will cover the floor so why pay for floor joists and plywood when you have an existing floor? Put the money into something else needed. You'll also save a ton of time. If the cement floor is all yucked up and cracked maybe then you decide if you want to raise the floor.. One step is nothing.. unless there is a disability you didn't mention.. Have fun with your project.
 

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I can sympathize with Arvada. I just built my house three and half years ago and made it a No Step entry through out. I would not do it any other way. I say do it right the first time, it will not take that much effort, that step would always annoy me. Some 2x6s and some spacers maybe some in-floor heat. :thumbup1gif:
 

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I can sympathize with Arvada. I just built my house three and half years ago and made it a No Step entry through out. I would not do it any other way. I say do it right the first time, it will not take that much effort, that step would always annoy me. Some 2x6s and some spacers maybe some in-floor heat. :thumbup1gif:
Too late, it's already built.
I like split or bi level houses.

Arvada, Is water run-in an issue?
 

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Too late, it's already built.
I like split or bi level houses.

Arvada, Is water run-in an issue?
His renovation can be done right the first time. Try and keep up here will ya. :mocking:

Let me know what you think of your multi-level house in 20 more years. :thumbup1gif:
 

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His renovation can be done right the first time. Try and keep up here will ya. :mocking:

Let me know what you think of your multi-level house in 20 more years. :thumbup1gif:
I'll be dead. :lol:
I don't have one, I just like them. I like the fact that space is divided without walls.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the responses. The step might be a problem. My wife is recovering from a stroke. Although she is making a fantastic recovery walking and steps are hard right now. Since we will be adding a master bathroom putting in a raised floor would hide all the plumbing for the sewer drains to the septic. Domestic water will come from the attic as will the power. The garage concrete is in great shape and from the as-built drawings it is 7" thick if I remember correctly. Nice that I have the actual permitted drawing set from the original guy that built the place. He built the s**t out of this place. He did a good job and the bones are good. Unfortunately the later owners did not maintain it very well. They did not know how to take care of a vacation home in the Sierras. Left one winter and turned the heat off but did not turn the water off and drain the pipes. You all know what happened next. Correct, I bought a new house cause they had to gut it and replace everything and I mean everything.

I will have to check the ceiling height. Thanks for that note.
 

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Thanks for all the responses. The step might be a problem. My wife is recovering from a stroke. Although she is making a fantastic recovery walking and steps are hard right now. Since we will be adding a master bathroom putting in a raised floor would hide all the plumbing for the sewer drains to the septic. Domestic water will come from the attic as will the power. The garage concrete is in great shape and from the as-built drawings it is 7" thick if I remember correctly. Nice that I have the actual permitted drawing set from the original guy that built the place. He built the s**t out of this place. He did a good job and the bones are good. Unfortunately the later owners did not maintain it very well. They did not know how to take care of a vacation home in the Sierras. Left one winter and turned the heat off but did not turn the water off and drain the pipes. You all know what happened next. Correct, I bought a new house cause they had to gut it and replace everything and I mean everything.

I will have to check the ceiling height. Thanks for that note.
This is why I mentioned the disability.. You do not need a step no matter if it's even one with a disability. Lots of people are now installing ADA ramps in their own homes, so we see a lot of this type of construction. You seem to already have this thought out so go with your first thoughts, they are usually the correct ones just like a test; take your first answer and go with it. Just make sure you protect the bottom/sides of the joists against the cement, (PT or asphalt based paper) never a good idea to lay KD wood on a cement floor, nor insulation, you never know if the cement will get wet and rot your wood never mind grow Mold.... It's important to seal the opening where your garage door lives, cement has capillary action with water..
 

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I would keep it level with the existing floor level The foundation may need to be upgraded to meet the requirements for living space. The septic system may have to be upgraded for the addition of a new bedroom unless it is labeled sewing room, library, den, hobby room or other. Bathrooms do not kick in septic upgrades, only bedrooms. Energy calcs will be required for converting the space to living space.Plans may have to be engineered depending on local requirements. Natural light heating and ventilation are concerns. No door can open from a garage directly into a bedroom. Firewall from house to garage may be necessary. Lots to deal with. Contractor or design professional is a must if you feel at all intimated by the rules and regulations. Good luck or just build it and ask for forgiveness later.:laugh:

And one more thing as my friend Colombo would say, School fees may have to be paid if the conversion is over 500 square feet. Check with the building dept for details.
 

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sleepers on the floor to level and raise to existing. The garage floor should be pitched towards the garage door and that can be as much as 3". Might need footer under garage door opening to keep from frost heave. Also by extending the " foundation" across this area you will eliminate the water intrusion from exterior and allow for proper drainage on exterior. Now with sleepers you can put down 6 mil poly over existing floor and insulate the floor. Yes, this could evoke issues with the septic area....adding an additional bedroom. But then you can change an existing room into a study/office/library/etc. to eliminate this problem with the local building dept. .
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have already investigated the septic and the HVAC. I have a 4 ton which should be OK for up to 2500 sf. All in will be just under that.

The septic is 1200 gal. I think that covers a 3 bedroom. The question I have heard is "Is the leach field big enough?". I have a map of it but I do not have the size handy. It is 3 fairly long pipes though.
 

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I have already investigated the septic and the HVAC. I have a 4 ton which should be OK for up to 2500 sf. All in will be just under that.

The septic is 1200 gal. I think that covers a 3 bedroom. The question I have heard is "Is the leach field big enough?". I have a map of it but I do not have the size handy. It is 3 fairly long pipes though.
Contact your health dept and they will give you the skinny on your plans .
 

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Contact your health dept and they will give you the skinny on your plans .
I didn't want to get involved in his building and BOH department issues, glad a couple of you did.. Very helpful but I figured he would be told what he needed to do when he approached the respectful departments.. He only asked about a step. I have been to many court "invitations" and the less said the better sometimes! To bad that's so drilled into my head by attorneys. But you and others mentioned just about everything he will need to deal with, but one never knows what his departments will say.. Mark you know what I am saying because one town near me has pages and pages of crap to fill out while in my three towns we deal with essential information and keep paperwork to a bare minimum. Some people just go overboard with info and make up their own rules and codes too.. Ya no one does that and I 'm sure you see the same thing.
I hope the garage does have a frost wall under the door, (I don't remember where he is from if he even needs frost protection) can't see why it wouldn't if the entire garage foundation is protected? he did say it was built like a brick........... I wish him good luck with his project like I say to everyone who leaves my office.... That's smiling anyway... Lots of good advice and help here....
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Jeff. I have started conversations with a LOCAL General Contractor with a good reputation. I have asked him to take care of everything including the drawings, design (with the wife's input of course), building departments, health department and any other departments required. Since he is local and been building for over 40 years in my area he will have the knowledge and contacts to get this done the right way.

I do appreciate everyone's help and great information.

When we get started I will start sending pictures. Cuz I know you all love pictures and so do I. It will be a while yet though.
 

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For me , I would put 2x6 or 2x8 floor joist ,engineered floor joist and keep the floor level through out the house.
With wife recovering from a stroke, plus wanting to put a bathroom ,,easiest way to do the plumbing. Even if you loose a little height for ceiling ,no big loss.
Our house has 7'6" height to ceilings been way since new. We built it that way, yes once or twice it would have been nice to have 8' ceilings.

:dunno::dunno::munch:
 

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Thanks Jeff. I have started conversations with a LOCAL General Contractor with a good reputation. I have asked him to take care of everything including the drawings, design (with the wife's input of course), building departments, health department and any other departments required. Since he is local and been building for over 40 years in my area he will have the knowledge and contacts to get this done the right way.

I do appreciate everyone's help and great information.

When we get started I will start sending pictures. Cuz I know you all love pictures and so do I. It will be a while yet though.
Sounds like you are on the right track, good luck. I would always tell the home owner to go to CSLB.org and run a check on the contractors license number to make sure if it is current and to see if there has been any disciplinary actions on it and to see if his workers compensation insurance is up to date. All of these verifications may save you some grief down the road.:thumbup1gif:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Sounds like you are on the right track, good luck. I would always tell the home owner to go to CSLB.org and run a check on the contractors license number to make sure if it is current and to see if there has been any disciplinary actions on it and to see if his workers compensation insurance is up to date. All of these verifications may save you some grief down the road.:thumbup1gif:
Yep, agreed. plus get references. I know people that he has completed work for recently in my area and his license is up to date and clear.

I am a Facility Manager for about 10 million sq ft of class A office space but things are different with residential and working in the mountains as opposed to a major metro area. Some contractors can be very flaky.

Thanks
 
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