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Steps to a Better Garage

Do you remember the last time you redecorated part of your house? Chances are you might have redone the living room or kitchen or bedroom or dining room. Maybe you even did all of these. Chances are also pretty good that the last place you considered remodeling was the garage. Let's face it: The garage just does not have a reputation for being a very glamorous part of your house. Consequently, it sometimes gets shunned like the proverbial redheaded stepchild.

It shouldn't be this way. In truth if you take the right attitude and right approach, you can turn your garage into an attractive asset in your home that, in the future, will even increase its resale value.

Caution: Before you start any major remodeling on your garage, make sure you have made the necessary preparations. For one , this means you should first check with City Hall to find out about any permits you need. Receiving these permits might require having a variety of inspections done, such as for framing, wiring, and of course, a final one when the project is completed. After getting permits, you need to develop and write down your plan for what changes you're going to make and what materials you'll need to buy (i.e., lumber, tools, etc.).

Also, before you begin remodeling the garage, ask yourself some questions. For instance: 1) Are there any pipes or wires under the ground beneath the garage that may affect your modifications? It could be dangerous beginning until you've satisfactorily answered this question. 2) What is the condition of any plumbing, heating or electrical work that you might have in the garage? Does it need to be repaired or updated? Is it work that you can handle yourself, or would it be better if you hired a professional? 3) What do you or will you use the garage for? Is it truly a place only for your car(s), or do you plan to turn it into someone's room or efficiency apartment? Or perhaps it's mostly used as a workshop for yourself. You need to know how it will be used before you begin the remodeling. 4) How many feet of the garage to you plan to have finished? 5) Where will you put the door and window(s)?

Once you have answers to all of these essential questions, you need to have a good set of blueprints for the project. The ideal situation would be to have a professional architect draw them up, however this can be somewhat expensive. If you can't afford a professional, you can draw your own plans (If you feel capable). Another option is to use the Internet. Several web sites sell blueprints for various rooms, including garages, on the Internet.

Next, after you have your blueprints, set aside some time to brainstorm all of the materials you'll need for the project. One trip to Home Depot should get you all your supplies (And in fact, a clerk there might even be able to help make sure your list of needed supplies is complete. . . so feel free to run it by him). So buy everything you need, and rest for the rest of the day. You'll want to start out fresh the next morning. Once you start, you'll want to begin with the framing and footings. After you've completed this portion of the project, don't rush to the next phase. Instead, it's important you get this early stage inspected to make sure no changes are needed. It would be a tragedy to get nearly completed with the project only to find after a later inspection that you need to make drastic changes.

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