Garage Makeover: When You Should Hire a Pro
Electrical wiring? Knocking out walls? Put down the toolbox and call in outside help.
By: Lisa Frederick
Even if you’re a seasoned DIYer, there are some jobs that are too dangerous, too difficult, or just too easy to get wrong. Yes, your grandfather may have done every one of them when he built his house from scratch back in the day — but that doesn’t mean you should do the same. Here are four tasks for which you absolutely, positively need professional help.
Most building pros consider this the No. 1 no-go for homeowners to handle. Small, simple tasks, such as installing a fan or a garage door opener, are fine for most DIYers. Major wiring, though, is another story. You could receive a nasty shock, start a fire or other serious consequences. Plus, building codes are complicated and evolve over time — this is one area in which you absolutely must have a crystal-clear understanding of the details.
Switching out a faucet on the utility sink? Yes. Going behind the walls to add water lines for a new laundry area? Please, no. Botched plumbing can have a ripple effect that culminates in serious water damage, to the tune of a four- or five-figure repair bill. Pay a plumber and preserve your peace of mind. This goes for gas lines too; you’ll sleep better if you don’t have to worry about gas leakage.
The exception to the always-hire-a-pro rule is if you’re sure (and we mean sure) that the wall isn’t load-bearing. If it is, you’ll eliminate crucial structural support, and your garage will collapse like a house of cards. Likewise, if you have any doubt as to whether the wall contains important electrical or plumbing systems, leave it alone and dial a contractor.
Removing Old Insulation
In older homes (1930s to 1960s), insulation may contain asbestos, and disturbing it can release a flood of hazardous fibers. If you have any doubt at all about your insulation, leave it intact until you can have an asbestos abatement professional come out to evaluate it. It’s impossible to tell solely by sight; testing is the only way to confirm. In addition, old pipes, boilers and more sometimes are wrapped with asbestos tape or blankets.
Know Your Garage Remodel Costs
Deciding to build or remodel a garage is a major decision. And as soon as you make it, there’s one more right on its heels: Can you afford it? Use these 5 tips to help you create a realistic budget and stick to it.
Specialized Garage Systems
Think electrical, plumbing, and insulation are the only systems involved in creating a multi-purpose garage? Think again.
Questionnaire: Prioritize Your Garage Needs
Before you begin your garage makeover, decide exactly how you want the space to look and function.
How to Choose Garage Walls
Garage walls do more than just hold the roof up and keep the elements out. Put yours to work with the perfect material for your needs.
What Not to Store in Your Garage
Garages can’t hold everything. Here’s a list of items you should store elsewhere.
Make the Most of Your Garage Ceiling
Follow these tips to find just the right ceiling strategy for your garage.
Which Garage Flooring is Right for You?
From plain concrete to specialty tiles, the right garage flooring lays the foundation for a well-designed space.
Garage Plumbing Basics
Add water and gas lines, and you’ll instantly boost your garage’s multitasking ability.
Garage Insulation Basics
Adding insulation to a garage is the easiest do-it-yourself job in a renovation or new build.
Garage Wiring Basics
Power up! Garages have their own special electrical needs. Here’s how to plan for and execute them for maximum safety and convenience.
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