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Thread: Garage Conversion

  1. #1

    Default Garage Conversion

    We're looking at buying a 980 SF house in Seattle that has an attached 520 SF garage that we'd probably convert to living space. It currently only has a stacked washer and dryer that drains into a sink. How hard/expensive would it be to add a half bath (the other bathroom is on the other side of the house) and put in a proper washer and dryer? We would also like to cut a door from the living room into the garage area, but that would mean moving the electrical panel on the garage side - is that even possible? Any info appreciated!

    Thanks!

    Chris

  2. #2
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    I'll tell you as much as i know, and let others take it from there.

    If you know what a vent is, you are getting close to the answers you are asking for. The second word is easy; it's "drain". Once you know where your building's drain is, draw it out and post it. Also, the vent in the roof is usually directly above where it is in the building, so draw that in or tell us.

    How they plumbed your garage is anybody's guess until you tell use what drains are there and where they go (connect to) before going out of the building.

    It's easy once you start with drains and vents in a floor layout. Then, it is possible for someone to tell you how to connect the plumbing in between, no matter how many fixtures you want all together in one space. It may be "hard" or it may be easy, to do. A toilet needs a big drain, but before you conclude that it will be "hard" wait and listen to feedback.

    About the electrical panel: you can turn it 90 degrees so it now is in a new wall perpendicular to the one it now is in. This can be done without "moving it" so much that it needs new wiring.

    david

  3. #3

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    Since we don't own it yet, i have no idea about the plumbing, beside having seen the sink and the stacked washer with a hose going into the sink. This is the link to the City website showing the side sewers, for what it's worth. Another question after having seen that - is it normal to have the sewer running through the yard like that?

    http://web1.seattle.gov/dpd/sidesewe...8,,25TH,AVE,NE

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    As long as the sewer has the minimum slope and no humps to collect stuff, it doesn't matter how it is run although, the fewer changes in direction, the better.

    One thing to consider on a garage is that the floor is often sloped. This may or may not be a concern, but things could roll off the table if you don't compensate when installing a finished floor.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by price914
    ... garage ... has a stacked washer and dryer that drains into a sink. How hard/expensive would it be to add a half bath (the other bathroom is on the other side of the house) and put in a proper washer and dryer?
    Does the house have a basement, or is it also on a slab like the garage? And if it does have a basement, is the basement finished or all open at the ceiling and walls? You would likely not have too much trouble adding a bathroom sink and maybe even a tub or shower, but the level of difficulty for adding a sewage line would/could be dependent upon a variety of things.

    Quote Originally Posted by price914
    We would also like to cut a door from the living room into the garage area ...
    Would that be your only option -- is the living room the only garage-adjacent area? Give some careful thought to the matter of various footwear coming in from the garage and directly onto the living room floor as well as to the broader matter of living-room layout (furniture placings) and traffic. Also, would there be a coat closet and shoe/boot/slipper area nearby or available?

    Quote Originally Posted by price914
    ... moving the electrical panel on the garage side ...
    That could get fairly involved. Along with considering a different location for the new door, I would first be sure of everything else related to that desired door.

  6. #6

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    No basement. The garage has a concrete floor, so I'm guessing we'd have to dig up part of it for the toilet drain. The sewer is about 3 feet below and maybe 10-15 away out in the yard.

    As for the door between rooms, I'm not too worried about shoes, etc. since the garage would become the family/great room. The kitchen is also adjacent but I'd like that door to go to the portion of the garage that would become the utility room (although this too would connect to the family room ideally). Entry from the living room makes the most sense flow and use-wise.

    Chris

  7. #7
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by price914
    No basement. The garage has a concrete floor, so I'm guessing we'd have to dig up part of it for the toilet drain. The sewer is about 3 feet below and maybe 10-15 away out in the yard.
    So far, so good ... and what is above? That existing sink is likely plumbed with 1-1/2" pipe and hopefully already has a vent, but the real plumbers here will likely report to you that along with an upgrade for 2" drain lines, you will need at least a 2" toilet-line vent going up and on out through the roof.

    Quote Originally Posted by price914
    As for the door between rooms, I'm not too worried about shoes, etc. since the garage would become the family/great room.
    Ah yes, you had said that! I forgot.

    Quote Originally Posted by price914
    Entry from the living room makes the most sense flow and use-wise.
    The real electricians here could give you some thoughts about what it might take for a pro to move that breaker panel, but I can imagine that anything beyond merely turning it sideways such as David has mentioned would leave you with the increased difficulty of extending (via junction boxes) or replacing wires that would then be too short.

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default remodel

    The questions you need to ask, and the answers to them are not those that can be answered by us. You need someone local who can go to the property and visually ascertain what can be done and what it would cost. In addition, have you checked to see if that area requires that there be a garage on the properly.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by hj
    The questions you need to ask, and the answers to them are not those that can be answered by us. You need someone local who can go to the property and visually ascertain what can be done and what it would cost. In addition, have you checked to see if that area requires that there be a garage on the properly.
    Thank you all for answering our questions. Just wanted some input to see if what we were thinking about was even an option. We do have someone coming out to look at the garage tomorrow morning and hopefully we can get a little more info. As for the garage being removed, there is room for 2 cars in the driveway which is what I believe Seattle likes. There are several other houses in the neighborhood that have done this conversion. Thank you all again.

  10. #10

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    Good luck with your conversion.

    Just an FYI...if your local ordinances are similar to ours here in Southern California such a conversion in most likely not permitted. There's a host of code requirements that make a garage structure conversion to livable space unfeasible.

    Also if your local ordinance requires you to have a garage…bootlegging your existing garage is not a good idea. All it takes it one nasty neighbor to submit a complaint to the local Planning and Safety department and bingo…you need to demo immediately. Just something to check into (or know) before you start. Good luck either way.

  11. #11

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    There are a ton of places with converted garages, so I know there must not be a requirement to have a garage. Whether or not they actually got a permit is another story. I will check into it.

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