Your home’s garage can be a money-draining sieve during the winter months. You can fix it. Are you a handyman that enjoys tooling around? Do not let the cold weather stop you. Do you only use the garage to park the car? The answer to keeping your garage warm is contingent on how you will use it.
Remodel and do the work yourself. You will save tons of money. Questions that need answering, square footage and how much space do you really use? How cold are your winters, bone-rattling or mild? Is the project too big and should you hire a contractor? The biggie, how much to budget for this endeavor?
Other questions and obstacles undoubtedly pop up. As the project progresses write everything down. Planning is a big part of doing a good job the first time. I cannot stress this enough. Plan, and then do more planning. Once you are comfortable with everything. Start shopping.
Let us assume you want to save money and the excitement of remodeling is starting to build. Do not let the neighbors or co-workers talk you out of the project. This is your home and you can do it.
Here are five ideas to help you get started. Let’s get to work.
1. Get out the ole pad and pen. This is the fun part, PLANNING. We will assume the whole garage is being heated (This makes it a lot easier on me). Knowing the square footage, we can determine the BTU’s. This is a really important number. BTU stands for British thermal unit and is the measure of heat output. Knowing the BTU number gives you how much heat you will need to warm those toes in the dead of winter. Plan your project in stages. Do not try to complete this job in one shot, unless you seriously know what you are doing.
2. I am a major penny pincher so we are heading in that direction. It would be very useful if you know how to heat a garage cheaply. Insulation is the single most important part of this project. With good planning and a little help, this part of the project is doable by most novice carpenters. There is plenty of resource material available. Start by heading to your friendly home remodeling store. Talk to any of the salespeople and most times, they are eager to lend a hand. The BTU number will determine the amount of insulation needed and R number. The R number refers to the ability of insulation to block heat. Get this stage right. Too high of an R-value and you have way too much heat. Too low of the R-value and the garage stays cold and your project is busted. Determine the best type and amount of insulation needed for your project. There is everything from fiberglass to blow-in insulation. Windows and the garage door itself are good places to use insulating foam. Do not skimp with this stage. There are literally hundreds of small cracks where heat escapes . Consider each sealed crack as money you save. Do not forget the ceiling—insulated panels may be a good choice.
3. The right tool helps beyond imagination. Most households have a hammer or two lying around. This will not be enough. Tape measures, box cutter, staple gun, and gloves are a few accessories that come to mind. Once again, research and let the remodeling store help.
4. Once the insulation is in place. Start shopping for the heating source best suited for your budget. If money is no object, consider a wall or ceiling mounted solution. Ideas include a ductless heating and cooling system. Forced air units may also be a good option. In-floor heat is another option to consider if a warm floor is mandatory.
5. Versatile cheaper heating solutions include convection, propane, and electric heaters. Ask around and do your research. Too much heat is just as bad as not enough. Portable heat is a smart way to go if the insulation stage is done right. Check out our review of the best garage heaters to find something suitable for your home.
Buzzwords are planning and shopping. There are myriad of products available to help your project go smoothly. Get excited and save a lot of money.
There you have it—a foundation to get that project off the ground!