have a room above a garage

Is It Good To Have A Room Above A Garage?

Don’t worry that your detached garage won’t look good with a second story! With the right guidance, you can create an amazing home addition anywhere! Building on top of a detached garage is even better than building on an attached one. 

Since a detached garage is further away from the main house, you will have more freedom in choosing how you use the new second story.

The noise won’t bother anybody, so it’s a perfect space for creating a recording studio for a new podcast or making music. A room on top of a detached garage is also great for starting a small business. You can create an office hub or build a film or photography studio, a sewing room, or a tiny print shop.

A room on top of a detached garage is an amazing space for loosening up and putting worries aside. So another unique idea is creating a special relaxation zone like a sauna room, a private library, or simply an extra bedroom.

The most popular option, though, is renting out the second story. It’s a clever way to make extra income. Plus, you can use the money to upgrade the space even more. However, for families with teenage children, we recommend using the recent addition as a separate apartment for your kids. This way, they will get the freedom all teens crave and learn adult responsibilities simultaneously.

Some homes may be built with a room located in the garage or beside the garage. It is important to realise that homes with attached garages often have a higher level of benzene and other airborne chemicals indoors.


  • Check for any openings or leaks between the garage and the home. If any entry points are detected, seal them properly. If possible, move the room away from the garage.
  • You may choose to install an exhaust fan to ventilate the garage better. This will help limit harmful gases from getting into the home.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector in any bedroom located adjacent to the garage. Ensure adequate ventilation is available, especially in that room, to prevent high levels of carbon monoxide from building up over time.

Bedrooms directly above the garage are safe. Noise from the garage work may disrupt the homeowner in the morning, but there’s no risk of having a bedroom over the garage.

On top of saving space, having a bedroom directly above the garage is private and separate from the main part of the house.

This allows homeowners to seclude their personal belongings from house guests, privacy if they have a guest staying over, and more storage space in the house.

However, there are some concerns that we’re going to cover in the article about having a bedroom above the garage. We detail the different factors affecting your sleep and health, from having a bedroom to a garage.

FAQs About Garage Renovation

Having a bedroom that's directly above the garage is safe. Noise from everyday garage work may disrupt the homeowner in the morning, but there's no risk of having a bedroom over the garage. On top of saving space, having a bedroom directly above the garage is private and separate from the main part of the house.

It's a bonus room, though it isn't over a garage and doesn't have the sloped ceilings. The term Bonus Room is marketing jargon for an upsell. Yes. When we were kids, people built Rec Rooms ... now they build Bonus Rooms. The name gives the idea that it's a freebie, which it isn't.

After all, the average cost of building a room above a garage is $200,000. Compare that $200,000 figure to the $90,000-$120,000 cost of a garage conversion.

A garage apartment is as safe to live in like any other apartment as long as it gets built to code. Fire and building codes exist for a good reason. Garage apartments often get added to an existing garage that was not originally designed as a living space.

The underlying cause is simple: Hot air moves to cooler areas. In the winter, warm air escapes from that room more easily than it escapes from the rest of your home. In summer, the reverse is true. 

Benefits Of Adding A Bonus Room Above Garage

 There are multiple benefits to adding a room above your garage. Here are some of the top decision influencers. 

No Additional Footprint 

The biggest perk of opting for an above-garage addition is that it doesn’t increase a house’s footprint. You can easily add on to the existing structure of your home by building up rather than out. So the size of your lawn and property square footage remains the same.      

Saved Cost 

Another nice thing about building a bonus room over your garage is that when making the necessary structure additions, such as adding new support posts, beams and concrete footings, you don’t have to worry about destroying a finished room below. Since you’re building over the garage, the cost of remodelling the existing space as you add new structural elements is minimal.

Positive Impact On Curb Appeal

Over-the-garage additions have a huge impact on the curb appeal of your home since they usually face the street and tend to be large. Considering the size of a typical two-car garage (24 feet by 24 feet or bigger), installing a finely finished garage bonus room can drastically increase not only the visual appeal but also the resale value of your home. 

A Second Story Will Save Your Backyard

If you choose to build a home addition from the ground up, you will have to compromise the outdoor living space. Luckily, there is another solution! You don’t have to cut off parts of your backyard to build extra usable space. 

By building a second story on top of the garage, you will get to keep your garden’s original look and expand square footage simultaneously. There is no denying it: it’s the ideal solution for every family!

Remember that the backyard is an essential part of curb appeal. Preserving its appeal will have a big impact on future buyers and will secure a higher price for your property. Plus, maximising outdoor space is especially important now, after spending over two years in lockdowns.

Difficulties Of Adding A Bonus Room Above Garage 

As with any home addition, there are inevitably some complexities and challenges to adding a bonus room above your garage. Here are three to be aware of. 

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Seamless Design 

Since the above-garage additions are so sizable, it’s all the more important that the bonus room seamlessly blends with the exterior facade of your home.

This is especially difficult since, many times, the exterior finish of the garage and main house may be more than 20+ years old, and your bonus room addition will, of course, be brand new. Finding siding, shingles, brick, stone or other material to match the existing home can be challenging.

A few strategies, according to This Old House, that can help your bonus room addition appear seamless are: “making sure features such as gables and windows are harmonious with the house’s style, adding facade details, like trim, to break up expanses of siding, and, if possible, scheduling the project in tandem with an exterior upgrade, like repainting or re-siding.”

Possible Restrictions 

Another potential issue with building above your garage is running into restrictions. Before you move forward with any planning, check with the city or local jurisdiction to see if they have any height restrictions for a detached garage. Some local jurisdictions may require additional parking built on-site, or if the garage is closer than five feet to the property line, many codes will not allow you to build windows or doors.

Building A Stiff Floor 

Due to the size of standard garages, the long, open spans of space can make it difficult to build a stiff floor that supports the people and rooms above without interfering with the car space below. The floor needs to be sturdy enough so it complies with any codes, does not bounce, and doesn’t interfere with any functionality in the garage (such as the garage door opening).

Cost Of Adding A Bonus Room Above The Garage 

With any home renovation, cost and budget are some of the first questions every homeowner has.

There are many factors to take into account when estimating approximate costs. Probably the biggest factor when determining the cost of your renovation is the size of your bonus room. Construction costs are estimated by the square foot, so the larger the room is, the more it will cost.

Another significant factor is the scope of work that needs to be done in that space. Since you’re building a brand new room on top of the garage, the space may require extra insulation or wiring that an addition in a different part of the home might not.  

Aside from the cost of the space are the costs of the materials used to complete the renovation and the people who do the work. The great news about materials is that, in today’s day and age, it’s easier than ever to find cost-efficient materials, many of which emulate a higher dollar option. For example, engineered plank vinyl is significantly less expensive than true hardwood but achieves almost the same look. 

When it comes to personnel, this is an area where you do not want to skimp. Depending on the level of work that needs to be done, you can certainly handle some elements on your own – such as laying down manufactured flooring or installing drywall. 

But for significant structural and design changes, you will want to work with a contractor and architect to ensure your addition turns out exactly the way you envision.

Average Cost Of Adding A Bonus Room Above A Garage

 For all the reasons mentioned above, the cost of finishing a bonus room above your garage can vary. According to Salter Spiral Stair, “the approximate cost of finishing the bonus room over your garage is approximately $35 per square foot. This is calculated from standard costs for all different finishing pieces, such as the insulation, flooring, and wiring.

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Step-By-Step Guide – How To Add Bonus Room Above A Garage

Here is a loose step-by-step breakdown of how to add a bonus room above a garage in your home.

Think From The Outside-In

 When you are starting to envision your dream addition, sometimes it helps to think from the outside in. Since over-garage additions are so visible and usually of significant size, start with what you want it to look like from the outside and work backwards on how that might affect the structure. As mentioned earlier, the design of your bonus room will need to be seamless with the facade of the rest of your home’s exterior.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for where to start with your bonus room above the garage, there’s no shortage of styles or aesthetics. You could go for a more contemporary design or opt for traditional, like this additional design over a three-car garage in this Minneapolis home.

Verify The Structure 

Once you have an idea of what you might want, you can think about your home’s structure and how to build on it. This means an engineer will need to verify that the garage’s existing framing and foundation can bear the weight of an addition.

For the foundation, a contractor will need to dig several holes to check its depth and condition along the garage’s perimeter. If the foundation isn’t supportive enough, it will need to be bolstered or replaced, which can be expensive. 

Check Against Safety Codes

 Safety concerns and regulations should be addressed early in your bonus room-planning process. For example, the building code requires 5/8-inch-thick fire-rated drywall, known as Type X, on the garage ceiling and walls when an addition is put on above. This drywall helps to protect the framing against the possibility of fire. In addition, penetrations in the drywall, for electrical conduit and the like, must be sealed tightly.


The walls are always one of the most important parts of finishing any room, and the same goes for a bonus room above the garage. The walls create the frame that you can then build on top of for the rest of your bonus room’s design. 

The first thing you will want to ensure that your space is properly insulated.

In addition to standard, safety-mandated insulation, you may want to consider installing additional insulation in your above-garage addition to help keep the area more comfortable. Otherwise, your addition takes on a drafty quality, or you will waste money on heating and cooling the space.  

After you’ve installed insulation in the walls of your bonus room, you’ll want to hang drywall as the base of any other wall treatments you may want to apply over it. This “gives your bonus room a finished look and brings it into the same design style as your main home’s interior” (Salter Spiral Stair).

To finish your walls, paint is the most common, most affordable choice, but if you want to make your space truly unique, a custom finish, like wallpaper, decals, or even material like shiplap, can make all the difference.


When it comes to the floors of your bonus room above the garage, there are a few factors you’ll need to consider. First, most above-garage additions have basic frames not originally built for heavy foot traffic and regular use. So, the first thing you’ll want is to reinforce your floor joists.

 Once the floor joists are reinforced, you will need to add insulation. This will help with noise control as well as temperature control. You can also add another layer of noise insulation to your garage loft by opting for carpet as your floor material. If you choose carpet, you will need to install subflooring underneath it, which will also help with support.

 Hardwood flooring won’t be as sound efficient, but it can be a more cost-efficient option, with lots of materials to choose from.

Think About Plumbing & Utilities

Especially if you want to add a bathroom to your above-garage addition, you will need to consider plumbing and utilities.

 Extending plumbing pipes and drains to a new bathroom or even a laundry room above a garage can be challenging. Especially if your home’s existing wastewater drain is located a substantial distance from your addition, you can expect significant renovation costs.

 Another noteworthy fact for planning a bathroom in your bonus room is that any pipes will need to stay in heated areas and not in exterior walls, where they would be susceptible to extreme cold or heat. Your contractor can certainly help you plan for this.

 Your contractor can also help you with planning electrical needs. Your garage might be on your current power grid, but you will still need additional wiring to allow for more lighting and electronics that you may put in your bonus room.

Work With Available Space & Access

This reminder may seem obvious, but working with your existing space and framework will save you headaches. Rule out impossible plans early on – if you have a single car garage, squeezing in two bedrooms and a bathroom in your “bonus room” is probably off the table.

 Most two-car garages are about 400 square feet, so you should have enough room for a nice sleeping room and a bathroom and closet or sizeable living space. 

Creating Access Points 

Once you’ve gone through all the time, cost and effort to create a beautiful bonus room above your garage, you’ll want a safe and equally beautiful way to access your space, namely, through a staircase.

Interior Access 

If you plan to install your bonus room stairs inside your garage, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t take up a lot of space. You want to leave as much space available as possible.

 Probably the most space-efficient option is a ladder, which is a very common loft stair design. Ladders are also nice since they can be moved around as needed. However, if you are turning your above-garage room into an in-law suite or another room that will be frequently accessed, a ladder probably isn’t your best option.

Another common option is the traditional straight staircases. This option is very stable and easy to use, but it takes up the most space.

The more trendy option in recent years and a happy medium between a ladder and a straight staircase is the spiral staircase. This design takes up a small circle in the corner of your garage, leaving the maximum amount of space on both floors.

Exterior Access

To maximise the interior space in your bonus room and garage, you can also choose an outdoor access staircase. When it comes to exterior access, you can opt for a traditional outdoor staircase which is traditionally sealed wood, or a variation of a spiral staircase. 

Both options will carry a more casual look and feel, so you should take that into account with the desired aesthetic of your bonus room addition.  

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