How to Convert & Fill a Brick Garage

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Sometimes, a home seems to get smaller and smaller, and no matter how organised you might be, it's difficult to find enough space for your entire family and all their things. If you need additional home space, such as an office, spare bedroom, or recreation room, converting an empty garage might be the ideal solution. Once the potentially hazardous operation of removing the garage door is complete, the opening can be filled, and the interior finished to create a comfortable living area.

Inspect the garage to ensure that no additional demolition is required. Seal any leaks, cracks or crevasses. If moisture is a problem, coat the interior with waterproof primer and paint. Remove any trim from around the garage door opening.

Frame the open wall of the garage, along with any other unfinished walls. Cut a length of 2-by-4 inch treated lumber to the length of the open wall. This is the bottom plate. Screw it in place using concrete screws. Cut a matching length of 2-by-4 (the top plate) and screw it to the ceiling above the bottom plate.

Cut studs to fit between the top and bottom plates. Place the base of the first stud at one end of the wall. Lift it until it catches at the top. Hammer it into place. Attach to the top and bottom plates by driving a nail diagonally through the side of the stud, into the plate. This attachment method is called a "toenail." Repeat this process at the other end.

Measure and mark 18-inch intervals from one end of the wall. Install studs at each of these intervals and toenail them to the top and bottom plates.

Repeat the wall framing process with any remaining unfinished walls.

Nail plywood sheathing over the exterior of the front wall to cover the opening. Staple a plastic membrane over the plywood as a moisture shield.

Scoop a healthy portion of mortar onto a masonry trowel. Spread it across a 6-to-8 inch area on the concrete slab, against the base of the newly-installed front wall. Settle the first brick into the mortar. Continue to lay bricks until you get to the end of the wall. Scoop away excess mortar as you work, with the end of the trowel or a gloved finger. Return to the end you started on, and lay mortar and bricks on top of the first run. Be sure to stagger the bricks, so that no two seams align. Continue laying brick until the front wall is filled.

Route central heating ducts and electricity to the garage while the framing is open.

Cut foam insulation into sections to fit in the spaces between studs. Staple the sections between the studs in order to insulate the garage.

Screw drywall over the exposed studs inside the garage. Work from one end, keeping the drywall square, and attaching it to each wall stud. Cut custom pieces for any heating and electric fixtures.

Use tape to cover seams between drywall sections. Smooth over the tape and screw-heads by using a putty knife to apply drywall mud. Sand the mud smooth once it dries. Sweep up residual drywall dust.

Lay a moisture guard membrane on the floor of the garage. In one corner of the garage, glue a piece of wood laminate flooring along the wall. Lay another piece end to end with the first, ensure that the seam is tight, and glue it down. Continue until the first course is laid. Return to the starting point, and lay a second course in the same fashion. Repeat the process until the floor is covered.

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