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Thread: Anyone ever add a Master Suite over garage or similar?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Fox River Grove, IL
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    6

    Anyone ever add a Master Suite over garage or similar?

    --I posted this over at The Creek and thought I'd tap the knowledge here too. Any advice will be appreciated. I'll be adding pictures and drawings later.

    It has always been our dream to add a master suite (bedroom/bath) over our garage. Wondering if anyone here has had experience with this. Either having it done for you or you actually doing the work. LOTS of questions to be answered of course, but thought I'd throw this out to start.

    We have a 3 bedroom 1.5 bath house with an attic over the garage and family room. Essentially, we want to create livable space over the garage and family room. In this space will be a bedroom and bath. We will need to raise the roof up to be even with the existing upstairs that currently holds the 3 bedrooms and full bath.

    Thanks for any thoughts and information.

    I could do a lot of the interior work (drywall, basic electrical, finish plumbing and trim). Would need architects/builders to do structural/roofing/siding and major HVAC, plumbing and electrical.

    -Linc

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ozarks
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    4,993
    what would you like to know lincoln?
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Fox River Grove, IL
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    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    what would you like to know lincoln?
    I guess where to start. Here is a rambling list...

    1. Rough estimate on cost of having the 'shell' constructed, i.e. putting up walls, raising roof, siding, HVAC, plumbing, electrical. (realizing this can vary, I am in the NW suburbs of Chicago).

    2. Suggestions on how to find a reputable contractor, or if I am the GC, how to best find and work with sub-contractors.

    3. Any gotcha's from DIYers that have done a similar project.

    4. Suggestions from professionals such as yourself as the best way to approach the project.

    5. How to work with an architect.

    Thanks again,
    Linc

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
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    17,470
    another point you need to address is to get in touch with your inspector and ask him the regs in your area..you might not be able to do it at all.. its always better to ask them first then to do it and find out later its not right...
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    I live in Denton, Texas and ranched at Schulenburg, Texas.
    Posts
    116

    A couple thoughts........

    As posted above the engineering of the foundation and also the structure of the walls are the key; then the supporting of the loadbearing walls has to be considered. My daughter wants to do the very same thing over a double garage and when I talked to the builder of the house, his comment was "It is possible but pretty expensive.

    Sit down with the original blueprints if you have them; or generate a set plans as the house is now and then make sketches of what you want. Locate the plumbing you plan to connect to, will your electric panel support the additional service and climb into the attic and study what you want to do.

    Locate a framing contractor and get his imput early on; then, at least consider an architect. If are close to a college with a school of architecture they can be a big help. If you are determined to do it yourself go to the library and look at back issues of FINEWOODWORKING they are great resource.

    Good luck and tell us what you do................Ray Gerdes

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London, Ontario
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    Years ago we had friends who had a "bonus room" put in over their double garage when the house was built. It was always cold in winter. It's not that surprising with that huge unheated space directly underneath. So my one bit of advice is to make sure that the floor of the MBR is very very well insulated.
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
    www.wordsnwood.com ........ facebook.com/wordsnwood

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ozarks
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    lincoln,
    seeing as how you live in the "burbs" you`ll need to retain an architect.
    i would talk to several face to face and not discuss money at this point. let them know what you`d like to hire out and what you`d like to leave unfinished.
    when you`ve found somebody or a couple of somebodies you get along with let them know that you might be interested in retaining their services and ask to speak to some previous clients. it shouldn`t take but one or two past clients to get a feel for the abilities of the architect......next ask the folks(architects) if they have subs or a general contractor they are used to dealing with if they do ask if the clients you have already spoken to used these folks.......
    hopefully you`re getting an idea on how to deal with the trades?
    by using local talent you`ll save yourself lots of headaches from zoning to permit issues. both cook and mchenry counties are sticklers when it comes to permits and inspections and if you decide to use local guys you should have no trouble. if you opt to try and gc the job yourself i`m afraid you might run into unforseen roadblocks.....not to mention most if not all of the reputable subs are already hooked up with generals they like working for.
    given the economy today and the building slump i would expect that most bids will be close so long as you compare apples to apples.
    given what you`ve said so far i`d look for the job to be done to sanded drywall and signed off electrical,plumbing,hvac and of course structure.
    plan on doing all finish work yourself including flooring and doors, don`t skimp on window quality it`s better to have fewer or smaller high quality windows than large or inexpensive ones.
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fox River Grove, IL
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    6

    Thank you very much Tod.

    That really helps a lot - I really appreciate you taking the time to post. That gives me a good course of action.

    Thanks again,
    Linc

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
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    583
    My brother and i looked at doing a studio space over his two car garage. He lives in a spec built suburban home that's probably 20 or 25 years old - two story with a 2 car garage. He was considering either building onto the top of the garage or adding on at grade behind the garage. Building at grade is considerably cheaper, so he went that route.
    In short, the concerns with building above the garage were as follows:
    1) the existing garage structure may need modification to support a floor above it. This could mean foundation work, structural upgrades to the exterior walls, and / or installation of footings and columns within the garage space.
    2) when building a structure, typically the most expensive part of the carcass is horizontal span, especially anything over 12' if you're using wood framing.
    3) if you plan to inhabit the volume currently used by the garage roof trusses, you'll be tearing them off and replacing them - engineered trusses are not easily modified to accomodate living space, nor are they substantial enough to support the load.
    4) working above ground level always has a premium associated with it -the hassle and safety factor.
    5) it may be difficult to incorporate heating and cooling the new space in with your existing system. You might consider using a stand alone unit for the new space.

    In addition to those points, there are other issues to address. Your new box will have 5 cold sides. The only warm wall will be where you graft onto your existing 2nd floor. Insulate, insulate, insulate. You will need to run any plumbing so that it doesn't freeze in the winter. Also, you'll be without your garage for most of the construction phase.
    If you're in an incorporated municipality, you'll likely need a structural engineer to provide calculations, sizes of structural members, a fastener schedule, and structural details. Some municipalities require an architect's seal for such work - whether it's required or not, you might consider working with an architect if the project seems complex. Within reason, you can limit their scope of work to fit your comfort level and budget. Do know, however, that if you hire one, they will assume some professional liability and may insist on providing some services to cover their professional "standard of care" requirements. You can have that discussion frankly with anyone you're thinking about hiring. Whatever you do, clarify their scope of work before signing a contract. There is a wide range of services an architect can provide - design, code compliance, assistance with permitting, cost estimating, bidding and contractor selection, coordination with engineers, construction administration, etc.

    What you're talking about is an ambitios project. I would expect a reasonable construction timeframe would be several months long.

    Find someone you're comfortable with and think you'll enjoy working with.

    Paul Hubbman

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fox River Grove, IL
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    6

    Thanks Paul

    More great info. thanks a lot for your input as well.

    -Linc

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