5 Mistakes to Avoid When Remodeling Your Garage


Garage remodels can be serious undertakings. They’re not good projects for casual home carpenters, as it requires serious expertise to complete a full remodel safely and efficiently.

Underestimating the difficulty of garage remodeling is just one of the most common mistakes homeowners make when they plan garage remodels. Read on to find out about the top five mistakes to avoid, even when working with an experienced contractor in Springfield, IL.

1. Failing to Clarify Goals

Every property owner has a slightly different set of goals regarding their garage remodels. The best way to accomplish those goals is to be clear about them from the beginning. Some of the most common remodeling goals include:

  • Increasing energy efficiency
  • Enhancing curb appeal
  • Adding storage space
  • Installing additional utilities or features
  • Creating a functional workspace

Decide what primary purpose the remodeled garage will serve and convey that to the contractor. He or she should be able to recommend specific upgrades that will help to accomplish the client’s unique goals.

Having a list of well-defined goals can also make it easier to establish a reasonable budget. If a homeowner can’t afford to make 100% of the renovations required to create the perfect garage, he or she can at least prioritize the ones that will be most useful.

It’s always worth discussing both budget concerns and financing options with the garage remodeling company, as well. These industry experts are pros at helping clients accomplish their goals while staying comfortably within their budgets.

2. Skipping Garage Waterproofing

A custom garage should be treated as an investment. After putting a bunch of time, money, and effort into remodeling, it would be a shame to see that new or newly remodeled garage destroyed by water damage.

There are plenty of ways to waterproof a garage. Contractors often use waterproof paint, floor coatings, and durable roofing to make sure the building envelope can withstand even serious inclement weather.

Homeowners should never try to cut corners by skipping waterproofing, as it will only lead to more expensive repairs and a shorter usable lifespan later down the line. Without adequate waterproofing, the roof could start to leak, the foundation could wind up cracked, and homeowners could find themselves facing substantial material losses due to water damage. Take the time and spend the money to create a solid building envelope that will prevent water from getting in from the very beginning.

3. Underestimating Electrical Needs

When performing a garage remodel, some homeowners tend to focus primarily on aesthetic improvements. That’s a mistake. It makes far more sense to prioritize functional upgrades like improving the electrical system, especially if the garage will be used for more than just storing cars and household tools.

Having a plan in place before starting the remodel is essential. If the newly remodeled garage will be housing large appliances like washers and dryers or electric heaters, it will need 220-volt outlets. If it will be used as a shop, homeowners should make sure they request extra outlets to accommodate power tools and lighting.

When in doubt, it’s always best to install extra outlets during the remodel. There are few things more annoying than starting a project in a garage workshop but finding that there’s not enough light to work after dark or there aren’t enough places to plug in power tools. Plan to install new wiring and outlets before the garage remodeling contractors finish the walls to keep the costs low.

4. Using the Garage to Create Living Space

Remodeling a garage may be cheaper than constructing a home addition, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good solution for creating extra living space. The problem is, even if the family loves it, it will be harder to find a buyer if the garage isn’t used for its intended purpose. Homebuyers specifically look for garage parking and storage space when they’re checking listings, and they’re willing to pay an average of 12% more for a home that has garage parking.

While it’s unwise to turn the entire garage into a functional living space, adding more storage for household goods is never a bad idea. Most modern families use at least a portion of their garages to store seasonal decorations and tools, boxes of belongings, and other goods.

Homeowners should see remodeling as an opportunity to improve their storage situations by installing cabinets, shelves, and other storage solutions. If the garage will also house vehicles and/or a workspace, try making use of walls to leave more room on the ground. Just make sure to purchase high-quality cabinets or shelves that will withstand both heavy use and the test of time.

5. Buying Cheap Materials and Fixtures

Homeowners are often tempted to cut corners on garage remodels by purchasing cheap cabinets, shelving, and other fixtures. It’s never a good idea to take this route because cheap materials show their deficiencies quickly. Cabinets start to sag, doors won’t close smoothly, wood will degrade, and fixtures made from inferior metals will rust faster.

Buying flimsy, cheap cabinets and other fixtures may save homeowners a little money while they’re performing their renovations, but it will cost them in the long run. High-quality fixtures will look better, function seamlessly, and last for far longer.

Just like interior fixtures, cheap doors, windows, and other building materials will also decrease the useful lifespan of the garage. They can also lead to higher rates of heat transfer, reducing the building’s energy efficiency and sending the family’s monthly heating and cooling bills skyrocketing. It’s worth spending the extra money on high-quality doors and windows and insulating the entire garage to improve efficiency year-round.

Find All the Garage Services Homeowners Need

Whether Illinois homeowners are looking to have their existing garages remodeled or they want to build a whole new garage, they can trust Midwest Garage Builders to help them avoid common mistakes. These fully licensed and insured experts have two decades of experience in the industry and offer the best prices around. They also offer a five-year warranty, so don’t be afraid to call (217) 381-7870 to discuss options today.