Building a garage laundry room is a great way to make the most of the space in your garage. It’s also better than having a laundry room that’s the size of a closet. Many modern floor plans overlook the need for a generous laundry room. Even if you only use one corner of your garage, you’ll have ample space to work with.
Essential Steps to Convert Your Garage Into a Laundry Room
Step 1: Out with the Old
Nothing attracts “stuff” like an unused garage. Most of us end up using the garage like a storage shed, allowing things to pile up over the years. It’s almost impossible to make the most of any space when there’s too much stuff in the way. It might be tempting to shift everything in one corner so it appears to be out of the way. But the best way to do a professional job is to start with a clean slate.
Now is the perfect time to take control of all that stuff in your garage. You might even plan a garage sale and make some money to go towards your garage conversion! You’ll find things you forgot you had and maybe put some to good use. Get rid of things you don’t want or need. Learn how to organize those items you want to keep and give the entire garage a new appearance. Take advantage of more of the garage’s vertical space and open up the floor.
Step 2: Inspect the Premises
If you haven’t seen the floor and walls of your garage for years, there’s no telling what condition they are in. If finishing the walls and floor aren’t in your plans, you need to make sure there isn’t any structural damage.
Most garages have concrete floors that may or may not have a seal. If there are cracks or chips in the material, you need to repair them. In spite of its strength and durability, concrete is highly susceptible to moisture. It pulls moisture through tiny capillaries from the ground below. Without a good seal, the concrete is also vulnerable to moisture from spills or high humidity settings that accompany laundry room facilities. Make any needed repairs before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: Clean
Once you’re finished, give the garage a thorough cleaning. If it needs a new coat of paint, now’s the time. Even if you plan to add flooring to the concrete floor, add a good sealant to protect it from moisture if needed. If you do, you’ll need to thoroughly clean the floor of dirt and stains prior to the application. If you do the job yourself, be sure to follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions for application, curing, and ventilation.
Step 4: Climate Control
If you plan to spend minimal time in your garage laundry room, you might not have considered the importance of heating and cooling. The fact is that doing laundry produces moisture. That’s why it’s so important to protect the walls and floors from moisture damage.
During cold weather, humidity isn’t usually a factor. In the summer, however, it can cause mold and mildew to grow in your new laundry room. If you don’t have heating and/or air conditioning in your garage, you might want to add them to your project. Have a professional contractor or HVAC company take care of this part of the project. Also, consider installing a dehumidifier, especially if you plan to do laundry during hot weather.
If you plan to spend considerable time in the new laundry room, heating and air conditioning will be essential for comfort as well. On hot days, a garage without treated air is significantly hotter than the rest of your home. The air doesn’t circulate so that air quality isn’t the best either. Climate control is absolutely vital if you want your new laundry room to feel like a part of your home.
Step #5: Find the Best Spot
One of the biggest expenses for the conversion is bringing in electricity and plumbing. The most practical place for your laundry facilities is close to the other facilities in your home. For example, if the kitchen sink is close to the left side of the garage and a bedroom is on the right side, put the appliances closest to the kitchen. That way, the plumbing isn’t such a big job. You also need drainage and a place to run the dryer vent to the outside.
Step #6: Create Your Construction Plans
Draw out plans that include everything you want in your new laundry room. Include room for the washer and dryer, a folding table, shelves for laundry supplies, a rack for hanging, and a rack for those items you can’t hang. Do you need a sink where you can pre-treat stained clothes? What about an ironing board for fast touch-ups? If there’s enough room, you might also want laundry bins for different types of laundry. The best way to come up with a good plan is by looking at pictures of various designs. Make sure you don’t overlook something in your original plan that isn’t easy to add later on.
If you plan to create a combination room of some sort, add the details to the plan. For example, if you want to add a sewing machine table where you can make items and do alterations, they belong in the plan. Having it all on paper makes it easier to identify any problems that you might run into with the actual construction.
Step 7: Consider the Flooring
There are many flooring options available for garages today. Even though your new laundry room might be sharing space with your car, it doesn’t mean you don’t need an upgrade. Decorative paints that have optional pigment flakes, rubber mats, tile, and carpets protect the concrete surface while looking great.
Step #8: Add Light
Don’t wait until you’re trying to scrub that stubborn stain out of your favorite blouse to realize you can’t see what you’re doing. Garages lack windows, more often than not, and usually have little light. Supplemental lighting is a must and there’s lots of options to choose from. Garage LED shop lights are one good option.
Step #9: Buy the Right Washer & Dryer
If a new washer and dryer are part of the plan, you need to make the right choice for your space and your needs. There are many more options out there today than there were a few years ago. One of the first things you’ll notice is the wide range of top-loading and front-loading washers offered today. Front-loading models use less water and energy, and they usually handle larger loads. But high efficiency top-loading machines do the same. Since these machines lack the traditional center agitator, they have more space for clothes.
The standard top-loading machine costs less to purchase, but they use more water and energy to operate. Although a traditional machine might seem like the most cost-effective option at first, it could cost you a lot more to use over the long haul.
Large capacity washers hold significantly more laundry than regular capacity. That makes them ideal for large families or anyone who washes large items like comforters. If you typically have small loads, then a regular capacity machine is best. Larger machines cost more to operate, meaning that you use more water and energy than you really may need.
If you limit your garage laundry room to one corner, you might need to keep your options even smaller. Compact or pre-stacked washers and dryers take advantage of vertical space. This option limits you to doing smaller loads of laundry, however. This is something you should consider while making your construction plan.
Although washers and dryers are usually made to match, they are sold separately. That means you have the option to buy the right appliance for your needs. A matched set might look better, but the most important thing is getting the best use from your new laundry room.
Step #10: Don’t Forget the Garage Door
Only needing a portion of available space is one of the advantages of adding a garage laundry room. It’s also a good reason not to remove the door from the room! Even if you no longer use the space to store a vehicle, the same might not be true for future owners. Instead, add a new, well-insulated garage door that matches the exterior of the house.
Garage Conversion Vs Adding a Room
Garage conversions are gaining in popularity in San Diego for several reasons. For one, the permitting process is much easier than it was in the past. The state passed bill #1069 last year, making garage conversions faster and more efficient. In contrast, getting permits to add a room that alters the structure of the home is a lengthier process.
Homeowners typically use garage conversions to accomplish one of two things. Many use the space to add an extra bedroom or family room. When their needs change, it’s a lot easier to convert the garage than to add an extra room. It’s also a lot more cost-effective. The structure for the room is already there. Depending on what type of room you convert to and the size of the project, you can save about half by converting the garage instead of building new. It also adds to the value of your home in case you want to sell it later.
The other reason for garage conversions is for supplemental income. Turning a large garage into a rental apartment provides homeowners with a passive source of income. It also helps renters on a budget find living space at a reasonable cost. Bill #1069 also extends to many standalone garages, giving rentals the added benefit of privacy from the main home.
If you are considering a garage laundry room, it’s probably for your own convenience. There’s a lot more to doing laundry than simply putting clothes into the washer and dryer and then taking them out again. Having a nice space can make this household chore a lot easier.
With a garage, the conversion requires less construction than what you’d need for other types of rooms. There’s minimal furnishing you have to buy, too. The biggest investment is a new washer and dryer, unless you plan to use the ones you have. The number and variety of shelves, racks, and cabinets you install depends on your preferences.
One of the great things about converting your garage into a laundry room is that it’s up to you how much of the space you take up. Any upgrade to what you have now might be an improvement. Maybe you need a lot more options to care for and store a lot of clothes. Or you could be tired of lugging loads of laundry up and down the basement stairs. In any case, your conversion can be confined to a small area or take up the entire garage. If you want to work around your car, you can do that and leave room for (almost!) anything else you want to put inside.
Your happiness with the results begins with planning, planning, and more planning. The more thought you put into the preparation and design, the more likely you are to get results you’re happy with. Careful planning also helps you save money by making the most cost-effective choices. The space in your garage is a valuable asset. Make sure you use it to advantage.
Homeowners often overlook the importance of insulating their garage, especially the garage door. Insulation helps slow the movement of thermal energy, keeping your heat in and drafts out in the winter, or the hot summer air out in the warmer months. Older garage doors often lack the proper insulation to minimize air flow. An older door also takes away from the outer appearance of the house. Adding a new, energy-efficient garage door is a lot more practical and cost-effective than replacing it with a wall. This is another area of the conversion that you should leave to the professionals.
Contact Coastal Garage Doors for all of your garage door needs. Let us help you pick the perfect garage door to complement your new garage laundry room. Ask us for a complimentary quote over the phone or set up an in-person consultation to determine your needs!