Garage Remodel Project

Hello everyone…

As I posted to Marty’s Birth thread, I do not typically participate in the various forums. Maybe I should change that?? Anyway, I like this forum (especially the construction board), and thought that I could add something.

First, a little background. Mostly, I am a turner, but do like to do a lot of home improvement projects and some flat work. I have been working out of my garage (small area consisting of about 10’ X 14’) mostly doing turning. Well, that space just went away… My wife and I decided that we needed a spare bedroom and another bathroom (we have twin daughters and only one and a half baths). So, my garage has turned into this new space. The final layout only changed by adding a window in the bedroom.

Our primary goal was to make sure that the bathroom was accessible from the main floor of the house (our house is a front to back split level with no bathroom on the ground floor) so that my MIL could come over (she is disabled). I use Sketch Up at work, so that is where is started. We went through many iterations, but this is the layout that seemed to work best.

Like I said, I have done a lot of home improvement projects since we purchased this house (about 9 years ago), but other than upgrading the electric incoming service panel, this is the first time I had to go to the township for a permit. Not a fun process. First, they strongly suggested that I get an architect (practically told me that the project plan would not be approved without it) this added quite a bit to the budget.. Once I did that and submitted the application, I decided to check about a week and a half later. They shooed me away, then I checked again a week later. It seems that they actually filed my application away as a completed project and asked me to check two days later. Finally, they were approved then. Once that was complete, my wife insisted that I get a plumber (another unexpected and quite excessive hit to the budget).


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Finally, I was free to start. I started by removing the garage door and installing a double 36” out swing door. My focus here was to maintain the outside look to the house (the neighborhood is about 50 years old, and all of the houses are basically the same). Let me tell you, installing a 6’ pre-hung door with hinges on both sides is tough by yourself… Then, I removed the door going to the family room (lower level of the house). After that, I was able to start framing the floor. I used 2X8 floor joist. The span is only 10’.

Once the floor was framed and insulated, the plumber could start. He had the rough plumbing done in a day and a half, and I was able to get the inspection done then. I also asked for a floor framing inspection to ensure that all was well and remove the possibility of any problems with the code official. They came out and all was well. I put the sheeting on the floor and started framing… just a little more than a weekend (I had a little trouble getting the ceiling joist beneath the roof framing (collar ties)). I really thought this phase would go quicker (but then again, I under estimated my time on all aspects of the job).

After the framing was complete, I got the plumber back in to clean up a few things and I was able to start with the electrical rough. I also had a lot of clean up of my own to do, so I took pretty much the entire weekend. I called for electrical rough on Monday and they came out on Wednesday. In the meantime, since my brother is currently out of work, I hired him to frame in my window openings and the passage way to the living room. We did not cut the openings yet though. Once the electrical was complete, I was able to get the framing inspection done. That went well, but it was a Friday afternoon and I wanted to hang drywall over the weekend. I had to make an arrangement with the inspector to hang the drywall everywhere that they could inspect the insulation from the other side. I installed the insulation that day hoping that the inspector could make it out anyway, but he did not. This left part of the ceiling and the outside walls for the following week.

I hung as much sheetrock as I could on Saturday and started taping it on Sunday. I got the insulation inspection on Monday morning and finished hanging the rock that night. Then, I taped throughout the week and finished on the weekend.

This put me on the Thanksgiving weekend. My wife made me take Thanksgiving Day off, but I was able to paint on that Wednesday (bathroom, ceilings, and bedroom).

Thanksgiving Friday was bathroom wall tile. Because of the pattern that we chose, this took all day (was a real pain as well). Saturday, I did the tile floor and Sunday, I grouted both. I had a little trouble with the floor grout. It seems that the tile (unglazed) was difficult to clean. I scrubbed a lot (about 3 hours), but still have a lot of grout in the tile. I have some acid cleaner that I still have to use (any suggestions?).

I ended taking the Monday off from “real work” to install the windows and wood flooring. The flooring is 3/8 laminate, and I chose to nail it down. It went very quick, and I think it looks great.

Tuesday night was paint in the hallway and closet and the plumber came to do the finish work. The toilet tank was defective, and when the plumber filled it with water, it all ran out at the tank-to-bowl connection. He called me and I ran to get another one. All was finished fine, and the plumbing inspection passed during the week.

The following weekend was trim and final painting. I also hung the light fixtures and finished the electrical. That inspection did not pass though. I needed to add a GFI outlet in the storage area and clean up some existing wiring (previous owner). Re-inspection is scheduled for this afternoon (keep your fingers crossed.

Anyway, the final building inspection was this morning. It passed…. Tomorrow is the fire inspection. I hope to be moving a bed and other furniture this weekend…

Thanks for listening, and I would appreciate suggestions, and other comments (even criticisms). And by the way, look for a new shop thread soon. I am hoping to start on that after the holidays.

Just some pictures with a shot of my floor tile issue.


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Marty Walsh

Southern Georgia

Thanks for sharing your trials and tribulations dealing with the whole permit process. I'm really glad I'm waaaaay out in the boonies and didn't have to deal with any inspections on my shop. Although, everything is so far BEYOND code, I know I would pass! ;)

Sounds like your build process went well, aside from the grout-in-the-tile. Sorry I can't help with that, as I've never used unglazed tile.

My only criticism, you might want to add a few more pictures of the whole project (we love pictures) :rolleyes: .

Oh, and we'll certainly be watching (and looking to help) with your shop project. We just LOVE those! :thumb:

Thanks for sharing...and good luck on the fire and final inspections...
- Marty -

randy street

Elgin, IL
but still have a lot of grout in the tile. I have some acid cleaner that I still have to use (any suggestions?).


Before you use the acid cleaner try scrubbing the area with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water. At you local borg store they should have some sponges that are yellow with a white scrub surface on one side. Scrub with the white side. If the 50/50 doesnt work, up the vinegar percentage.

Let us know how it turns out.



Frank Pellow

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
I found your project quite interesting James. I think that you have accomplished a lot in a short time and, from what I can see of the few photos that you posted, it looks good.

I have only used glazed tile, so can't help you there. I hope that the acid cleaner works and that your electrical inspection passes. Boy, you sure have a LOT of inspections! I had a few when I built my shop building a couple of years ago but certainly not as many a you have had already.

Will your shop be a seperate building?

Thanks. Yes, I like the shop threads as well. I followed yours at SMC (as well as Frank's a couple of years ago) and can not wait to get started with mine. The inspections were a hassle, but I decided early not to let that bother me. All in all, it was not too bad.

Thanks Frank. Yes, the process seemed to move along good for me. The date on the permit was September 27th and I have my last inspection today. Without the inspection process, I think I could have been done about a month sooner. I will try to post a few more photos over the weekend.

As for my shop, it will be a dedicated building. Unfortunately, my property is very small, so the shop will be very small as well. All of my tools are in a shed that is 8'X12', and the new shop will replace that shed (same location). Right now, I am thinking that the building will only be 14'X16', but I am trying to make it 16'X20'... we shall see. I am thinking that it will be built on piers similar to Marty's shop. Maybe I will start the thread today to get you guys helping?