Want a nicer garage floor and walls?
If you’ve considered converting your garage into an alternative use space, the first step is deciding on a purpose. Once that’s out of the way, then you need to find a great garage door to match and insulated it, for your new function.
The next thing to consider is how to spruce up the walls and floors to make the new space inviting.
Concrete Restoration Options
If your garage floor is concrete, it might not look great in its current condition, but there’s good news, concrete is easy to spruce up to give a fantastic look without extensive costs.
In fact, through the use of acids, dyes, and other decorative effects, concrete can be either made to look like natural rock or a very stylish and hip flooring.
Your old car parking space is now a fully integrated part of your domestic life, and kids of all ages (yes, including adults) love to hang out in this new environment.
Garages are actually (as any DIY enthusiast will tell you) a great place to ‘get away’ from the rest of the household and spend some time alone or chilling out with friends.
The flooring will depend on your personal taste but should match your purpose. Unlike walls, floors are exceptionally purpose orientated. Just think about how often you need to clean floors versus walls, and you will get what I mean. Choices are wood, laminate wood, tiles (ceramic, stone, vinyl), PVC covering (linoleum, etc.), carpet, or concrete.
Natural Concrete, or Cover
If you enjoy both the smooth and natural feel of concrete, and the easy cleaning, it is well worth investing in a professional concrete finish. It is also possible to do it yourself, and there is a great deal of information available while spending a bit more on a professionally polished floor can have a stunning appearance and is the ultimate in look, wear, and use.
Covering up concrete with linoleum is a relatively cheap option, and choosing a funky pattern can provide a retro or art deco look. Linoleum, often called ‘lino’ for short is surprisingly durable and a very cheap cover option, which is coming back in fashion due to more upmarket ranges.
Tiles are a popular choice but come at a cost as they are rather expensive to install. While easy to clean, and available in a range of colors and styles, ceramic tiles can crack easily if not installed properly. Stone tiles can provide a great natural look and are incredibly durable. However, they are porous and must be sealed properly. They also don’t take well to grease, which may seep through the sealer. Stone tiles come in honed or rough finishes.
If you can’t decide between concrete and tiles, a flagstone effect is a great alternative. In a flagstone floor, tiles or (stone, ceramic, or a mosaic) are used to create a border for a concrete flagstone area. The tiles form a grid around areas, which are then filled and finished with smooth concrete, plain or colored. The advantage of this technique, if you do need to redo concrete, is the small sections can be finished very smoothly and are less likely to crack than a large section.
Wood overlays or laminate wood coverings that look like solid wood floors can be very aesthetic and feel good underfoot. They are less well forgiving than concrete or tiles for heavy use areas but can be great in a social space.
Acid Etching for Concrete Floors
For an artistic look that can help hide or accentuate repairs effectively, acid etching can be a great solution. Acid etching should be completed after filling, cleaning and lightly sanding or grinding floors. Although rough concrete once acid treated can look very stylish in an industrial way. It is all up to your tastes.
The acid etching effect has a sort of artistic, rustic, mottled effect, one that can enhance a cottage or naturally focused environment. This is where you can get very creative or if you are not creative minded, bring in an artist and go for it.
Concrete dyes can have a similar effect and are just as easy to apply it depends on the look you are interested in.
There are so many different looks and finishes are available, take a quick look on Google and let your imagination run wild.
A floor paint can be a very smooth, durable, and aesthetically pleasing look. We often think of painted concrete as a warehouse look, but with an unlimited range of colors available in floor paint, or even work with a pattern, this effect can look stunning, and is one of the lowest costs options while still providing a very durable and pleasing finish.
With a little extra effort, your ‘domestic’ garage could be the envy of the neighborhood.
Grind or Polish
Where you want a more natural look, grinding or polishing the existing floor can have stunning results. The difference between grinding and polishing is the fineness of the sanding applied.
Grinding takes the floor to a smooth looking, but still porous finish, with the final finish, using around 80 to 150 grit. It does require sealing with a polyurethane or epoxy stone sealer once the desired finish is complete.
Grinding is a method that lends to DIY quite easily, although it requires some research as, if done wrong, you may not end up with the desired finish, or the sealer may lift. While using a hand grinder is possible, it’s generally easier to hire a purpose-built machine from a hire tool company.
Polishing is far more labor-intensive than grinding so will be a more expensive option for contracting.
Polishing applies a 1500 grit finish, which can actually be used with just a polishing compound and does not need a sealer.
While grinding may be done by DIY-ers, polishing has a little more risk if you’re not really experienced in working with power tools since as the finish becomes smoother, the sanding application needs to be far more evenly controlled.
Another aspect to be aware of in polishing is avoiding of inhalation and removal of the dust. Masks and preventative outerwear are essential. Lifting this dust from the floor needs industrial grade specialized equipment. Because the dust is so much finer, a dust extraction fitting to the polisher is essential
If the converted garage is going to be used as a TV lounge, recreational area, or bedroom, or if you want to instill some warmth, carpet might be an option.
Or merely apply some stylish rugs over your sealed concrete.
For your comfort, remember that exposed concrete is like stone in the sense that is a cooling surface. For hot environments a concrete floor works well, and is rather soothing, in cooler climes, carpeting or rugs may be preferential.
Won’t somebody think of the cleaning?
It may be rather obvious, but I’m going to point it out anyhow, that it’s easier to clean or replace a rug than it is a carpeted floor.
This has led to the decline of carpets as a flooring option in general, with people preferring to use concrete, tiles, or wood and simply lay rugs over the usage areas which can be easily cleaned or replaced.
However, there is something about the wall to wall carpet that says warmth, and if you get a high protection treatment applied, providing you are not hosting daily kindergarten sessions in your new garage conversion, you should be fine.
Rough Concrete Walls
Rough concrete can be easily fixed up with polymer fillers to create a more smooth looking finish for applying paint.
If you want to apply paint directly to the concrete, a sealer will ensure that the paint does not simply get soaked into the porous concrete and disappear. A sealer will save you money by making sure that each application of paint stays.
A brick wall can be a stylish feature, finishing the wall by merely applying a stone sealer. If the brickwork is rough, a thin layer of concrete can be trowelled over the brick, acting as a sealer, but still allowing the definition of the brick to show through.
The finished brick contour wall can then be painted as normal or for an alternative look consider dye, acid etching, and sealer; the same way floors can be treated.
Tip. When laying the bricks have some applied with the ends facing inwards to break the flow of the brickwork. This can result in an industrial, aged look. A totally hip, loft apartment styled garage.
For wood structures, walls or roofs, where external boards are exposed, simply apply some drywall to clean up the walls, then fill, sand, and paint.
Drywall can often be completed as a DIY project as the skills are not as tricky as hardwood finishing. Simply put in the framework posts and beams, then simply cut the drywall boards to fit. Cost effective piecing together of the wall versus board jigsaw puzzle will, of course, help make the most out of each board and save on costs.
Another option for cladding is contoured insulation board, which both insulates and provides an effective wall finish. Insulation panels can be used to cover rough walls or increase insulation, or as partitioning, the same way drywalling is used. The benefit of insulation panels is they are far easier to connect, a little like wood paneling. Options today provide some very attractive looks
Tongue and groove wood panels also look stunning and are easy to instal.
Tongue and groove cladding is merely fixed over the wall joists with small panel pins, with each plank fitting neatly into the next. Once the wall cladding is complete there is no filling needed, except if there is any significant damage from wood knotting. Usually just a light sand, then apply a wood sealer.
The cheapest option for wood paneling is usually pine or oak. For ambiance, a stain or colored sealer may be used. A mahogany colored sealer will bring out a rich red color, while ebony provides a dark hardwood look.
For a lighter look, a white-wash look can be achieved by a wood sealer with white pigmentation. Some may choose to paint wooden panels, where the grain still looks stunning but provides a lighter boat-house feel.
As it is indoors, the sealer can be applied lighter than would be necessary for an outside wood installation.
Plumbing and electrics
If you are converting the space, have you thought about the plumbing and electrics? These need to be considered before you start your finishing work, obviously right!?
If electrics are not installed or need to be added on to, and walls are near finished in their existing state, then trunking or cable channels can be an option to hide new connections along corners or skirting.
Cover up job
This option can be attractively hidden or converted into a feature, which will prevent the need for chipping out walls. Wide trunking or skirting can help cover new wiring for alarms, home entertainment surround sound, or anything you might want to fit into your new use space.
Adding plumbing can be surprisingly easy, and add considerable value, converting a garage into a self-contained studio living or office space.
A kitchenette and bathroom need only inlet and outlet water connections and for bathrooms, some drywall cladding. This can be fitted for basic use in a space of around 150 square feet (12square meters) where a double garage is typically 600 square feet (50square meters), leaving the remaining three quarters for living or working space.
It’s important to seek the advice of a registered professional plumber or electrician to ensure the work complies with all local codes and regulations.
Making Your Space Work
Whatever you use your garage for asides from being a garage, it’s easier if you decide on a style and work on the walls and floors to match.
There are so many options for your den. You can get really creative and have a lot of fun. Who would have thought all this from a mere garage?
See more tips and information about remodeling on our blog about garage reconstruction.
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