Bonus room above garage is a common home renovation practice and a great why to create some extra space. While it maximizes living space, it can creates an uncomfortable room if not insulated properly with special considerations. Homeowners have been calling Green Attic to solve this problem. Here are the three most common.
Common Problems With Bonus Rooms Above Garages
Drafty Bonus Room
During the winter, when the rooms over a garage are heated, they can be drafty around the baseboards and trim in winter because the heat is escaping to the attic and the lost air pressure from heat rising creates a sucking effect from the garage to replace lost heat above.
This cold air intake is often mistaken for “ drafty windows”, and is not to be confused with cold air coming into the room from the window trim. Cold air comes into the window trim and baseboards, as shown in this photo using a flir thermal imager to identify air leaks.
Solution: This can also be improved with a thermal barrier using dense packed cellulose on the garage ceiling to reduce air pockets in the garage ceiling / bedroom floor by air leakage reduction using high powered cellulose dense packed to capacity between framing.
Difficult To Cool Bonus Room
During the summer when rooms over the garage are cooled by air conditioning, they can’t cool down enough, because the cooler air is being siphoned down into the garage through gaps in the pressure barrier of the room over the garage.
Reverse Stack Effect. This air conditioning is being leaked at the bottom of the room through seams, while heat from the attic is coming down to the drywall of the room over the garage making the room impossible to cool to the desired temperature.
Solution: This can also be improved with a thermal barrier using dense packed cellulose on the attic floor over the bedroom ceiling to significantly shield the drywall from heat.
Bonus Rooms Are Noisier
Rooms over the garage are louder. A bedroom over the garage is more likely to absorb sound from the garage door opener system and garage door, so if one family member leaves the house earlier, they make the occupant in the room over the garage door. Noise and vibration are much too noticeable. Smoke, fumes, and noise are common complaints to occupants above the garage ceiling.
Solution: This can also be improved with a thermal barrier using dense packed cellulose for sound vibration absorption and noise reduction.
Green Attic Solution : Bonus Rooms Over The Garage Need More Insulation
The solution to reducing drafts in the winter and shielding against heat in the summer is a well insulated attic. Boosting R-Value with cellulose insulation in the attic protects in both seasons. Attics are where insulation pays off the most.
Once the attic has been air sealed and insulated properly, the room over the garage will be much more comfortable. The final step is to insulate the bedroom floor from the garage side.
Holes are drilled into the drywall of the garage ceiling and a hose is inserted into the gap to fill the stud cavity to maximum capacity with loose fill blown in cellulose insulation.
Pro Tip: Ventilation is crucial to the summer attic heat, check to make sure your power fan is still working. If the attic is not pulling fresh air from the intake to replace the hot attic air out and away from the living space, it will be difficult to rely entirely on the R-value of insulation, particularly loose fill fiberglass insulation, which performs poorly as a heat barrier in the summer. Make sure there is a power fan to move air through the attic, either solar or electrically powered. This room being built over the garage will need special consideration for cooling in the summer and heating in the winter. Cold outdoor air is drawn into the bedroom over the garage through seams, gaps and cracks in the framing connecting the two spaces. One is conditioned, one is neutral ( unconditioned).
The insulation installers will staple netting to the garage ceiling before drywall, or drill holes in the drywall to fill the garage ceiling with cellulose insulation.
Once the studs are filled to capacity, the holes are patched, sanded and ready to be painted. The room over the garage has been insulated thereby reducing heat escape in the winter through the cold floor, and cool air escaping to the garage ceiling in the summer. There are several types of insulation used to insulation the garage. In retrofitting homes around Chicago, cellulose insulation densely packed between the garage ceiling and the bedroom over the garage floor makes the most sense. Some insulation is flammable and must be covered with at least ½ inch of gypsum wallboard for fire protection. So, keeping the drywall in place and filling the stud cavities with cellulose is the perfect solution.
Considerations When Building a Bonus Room Above Garage
When building a bonus room above a garage, there are a few important things to keep in mind to make sure the space is safe and useful. Some of the most crucial things to keep in mind are as follows:
- Safety and structural integrity: When building a bonus room over a garage, one of the most important things to think about is whether the structure can handle the extra living space. This could mean strengthening the foundation, adding additional support beams, or strengthening the garage’s ceiling or walls. In addition, it is essential to make certain that the space satisfies all relevant safety requirements, including fire safety and adequate ventilation.
- Insulation and HVAC: Compared to other areas of the house, bonus rooms above a garage may be more susceptible to noise and temperature fluctuations. To prevent heat loss or gain and to reduce noise transfer between the garage and bonus room, it is essential to ensure that the space is properly insulated. To ensure that the space is comfortable throughout the year, it may also be necessary to extend the existing system or install separate heating and cooling systems.
- Soundproofing and flooring: When building a bonus room over a garage, the flooring and soundproofing that will be used are another important consideration. Because the concrete floors of garages can be cold and noisy, it may be necessary to add insulation or subflooring to increase comfort and reduce noise transfer. To cut down on noise transfer between the garage and bonus room, it’s also important to think about soundproofing.
You can help make your bonus room over the garage safe, useful, and comfortable by keeping these things in mind. It’s critical to partner with a skilled contractor who has built similar spaces before and can guide you through any structural or safety issues.
Design Ideas and Inspiration for Bonus Rooms Over a Garage
There are a lot of design ideas and inspirations to choose from when building a bonus room over a garage to make it both functional and stylish. The following are some well-liked designs for bonus rooms above garages:
- Studio or office at home: A home office or studio is a popular choice for bonus rooms over a garage because more people are working from home than ever before. With custom cabinetry, built-in desks, and a lot of natural light, this kind of space can be designed to be comfortable and inspiring to work in.
- Teenage Retreat or Guest Apartment: The creation of a guest suite or a retreat for teenagers is another popular design option for bonus rooms above a garage. This kind of room can have a bedroom, a bathroom, and a living area so that guests or teenagers can unwind in privacy and comfort.
- Home theater or game room: A game room or home theater could also be built in a bonus room above a garage. A sound system, a large-screen TV or projector, and comfortable seating can all be included in this kind of space to make it a fun and entertaining place for friends and family.
- Yoga or fitness studio: A bonus room above a garage can be the ideal location for creating a private workout or yoga space for people who are passionate about fitness or yoga. To create a tranquil and motivating workout area, this type of space can be designed with custom flooring, mirrors, and sound systems.
You can design a bonus room over a garage that is both functional and stylish by looking at these design concepts and examples. Working with a skilled contractor who can help you create a space that is both safe and structurally sound while also meeting your specific requirements and preferences is essential. Click here for more bonus room above garage ideas.
Do you need helping keeping your Chicago bonus room hot or cold? Contact Green Attic today to get a free estimate.