If you need an extra room but can't afford to sell your home or buy another one, a carport conversion may be the right answer. This type of do-it-yourself project requires that you do your homework before you start; there are considerations that may make this project more of a headache than it's worth. County ordinances or homeowners associations can instantly stop you from building with license or permit issues or rules against overnight parking in a driveway.
Consult your local county office. Learn the rules on using subcontractors and what the legal requirements are for an addition to your home. Some areas do not allow unlicensed contractors to work on homes. Even if your best friend is a whizz at carpentry and has been for decades, you may not be permitted to hire him.
Consult your homeowner's association, if you have one. The association's rules are legally binding, and failure to comply can result in fines. Some HOA communities, for instance, do not allow you to leave your vehicle on the driveway all night. Get permission before you begin.
Calculate the cost of the project. Include labour charges for workers of about £9 per hour each. Have more than three contractors give you an estimate. Figure about 30 per cent of the estimates as being their markup and subtract that from the total.
Inspect the foundation of your home to see if the carport is on it or if it is simply sitting on a concrete pad. Many county ordinances require that all rooms in a home sit on the foundation; if your carport is on a concrete pad, you will have to pour an addition to the foundation.
Tear up the concrete pad and remove the rubble. Hammer chisels can be used to accomplish this.
Build up the dirt in the carport area and pack it in tightly. This will reduce the amount of concrete you will need for the new foundation.
Soak the dirt with a generous portion of Triazicide commercial insecticide. About 236ml per 2 gallons of water will do. Some counties will require that you hire a licensed professional to do this before you begin any foundation work.
Spread a layer of 8mm black plastic over the dirt mound. Lay the concrete mesh and frame out the foundation area with rebar and 2-by-4s. Have a professional pour the cement and top it off for you. Wait for the foundation to dry overnight.
Frame the walls using the 2-by-4s. Cut the lumber to fit lengthwise across the open area of the carport and use a hammer drill to secure them to the foundation. Repeat this procedure with 2-by-4s on the ceiling of the carport.
Measure the prehung door frame. If your carport already had a door leading into the home, you may skip this step. If not, choose the location of the door and mark off the length, width and height of the door frame. When following the instructions in Step 3 leave the area of the door frame open and use 2 studs on the left and 2 on the right secured together with carpenter screws. This will give the door frame added strength.
Measure and mark a point every 16 inches along the top and bottom of frame. Measure the 2-by-4s to fit in between the top and bottom frame. Secure these studs, top and bottom, with a nail gun or power screwdriver and 3-inch carpenter's screws. Repeat until the side walls are completely framed out.
Fasten treated plywood to the exterior of the frame and coat with an exterior spray to protect it from rot and damage.
Cut and insert layers of insulation in between the studs, then use a staple gun to secure the insulation to the frame.
Turn off the electrical power to the carport area and locate the closest electrical socket to the new room.
Remove the cover from the outlet using a screwdriver and disconnect the wires from the box. Connect new electrical wiring to it, red wire attached to red wire and black to black; the copper ground wires should be tied together within each additional outlet box you install in the new room. Attach the new electrical boxes to the studs in the interior of the room.
Cut and hang the drywall into place over the studs and secure with drywall screws. Use drywall tape and drywall plaster or mud to seal the seams, where the pieces of drywall meet. Spray the interior walls with a drywall gun to give the walls a finished look.
Things you need
- Pressure-treated 2-by-4 lumber and plywood
- Concrete mesh
- Power screwdriver
- Triazicide commercial insecticide
- Chop saw
- Circular saw
- Electrical wires and boxes
- Drywall tape
- Ceiling sprayer