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The Ultimate Guide to Turning Calgary Garages Into Livable and Workable Spaces

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When space gets tight, many homeowners look for low-cost remodeling options that provide additional living space. It may surprise you to learn that many homes have living areas hidden behind their garage doors.

The garage is an ideal area for expanding your home. The next time you are dealing with a house full of teenagers, toys all over the floor, or clearing your hobby off the kitchen table for dinner, think about turning your garage into a livable space.

What Kind of Room Can a Garage Become?

There are many options for the use of your garage space as an extension of your home. Some great conversion ideas include:

  • Playroom
  • Studio apartment or in-law suite
  • Bedroom
  • Office
  • Art Studio
  • Family Room
  • Music Room


The only limits you have are your imagination, local restrictions, and your budget.

How to Convert Your Garage Into a Living Space

A garage conversion is one of the quickest and most economical ways to add a living area to your home. You have an open space with the foundation, roof, and walls in place. If the garage is attached to the house, it is easy and ideal.

The first step is to evaluate the area for its problems and possibilities. 

Floor

Most garages have uninsulated concrete flooring. The floor likely slopes toward the driveway to provide drainage. You may need to fill the bottom of the garage door opening with a curb that will prevent water from coming into the converted area. You may want to level the floor during your conversion.

You will need to install durable flooring for aesthetics and warmth, such as a basement floor tile. Flooring designed for use in a basement is durable, immune to moisture, and the bottom of each tile features a nubbed construction to create a drainage plane and provide a barrier between your feet and the cold concrete floor.

Heating and Cooling

Before you begin your remodel, consider whether or not you need to add insulation to the walls, floor, and ceiling.

For heating, consider adding a radiant floor heating system. Installation is easy using the existing concrete slab and provides underfoot warmth.

With an attached garage, you may be able to extend your existing heating and cooling system into the garage. You may need a room air conditioner for the summer months.

Wiring

To use your garage as a living space, you may need additional wiring to provide enough lighting circuits and electrical outlets. Most garages only have a single lighting circuit, so this will likely be necessary. You may also want to lower the electrical outlets closer to the floor, so they are more convenient to use.

What Do You Do With the Garage Doors?

One of the first questions that will arise when doing a conversion is what to do with the garage doors, and of course, the open space their removal creates. You want it to blend beautifully with the house.

It is the perfect opportunity to provide yourself with a beautiful entry area to the conversion that incorporates sliding patio doors or French patio doors. The possibilities are endless in how you frame and create your new entrance. Either way, you will want a secure method of entry into your new living space.

The alternative is to leave the garage door in place but exchange it for something more decorative that lets in light. This also allows you to open the doors and enjoy the beautiful spring, summer, and fall weather while relaxing in your new living space. Here are some excellent conversion garage door ideas:

Custom Wood Doors

Amarr by Design Terry Garage Door

Design your unique door from 10 popular carriage house door styles. This is a perfect look for a country style home looking to convert their garage to a living area. You can combine custom hardware, door design, and windows to create a door unique to your home.

Check out these features for those cold Calgary winters:

  • R-Value 9.0
  • Maintenance; High
  • Safety: Medium
  • Warranty: 1 Year


Manufactured by Amarr®, your door can be stained or painted. You also have the option of adding wind load, a reinforcement for withstanding high-pressure winds. When using your garage as a living space, you will also want to add CFC-free insulation to increase energy efficiency and reduce noise.

Designer’s Choice Steel Garage Door

Amarr® Designer's Choice Steel Garage Door

The Designer’s Choice door offers triple-layer construction and superior insulation, perfect for keeping the interior warm and cozy when using it as a living space. The garage door is low-maintenance, operates quietly, and is energy efficient.

  • R-Value: 13.35 to 19.40
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Safety: Medium
  • Warranty: Lifetime


An ideal feature when using your garage as a living space is the ability to dress up your door with a selection of more than 20 window inserts and glass designs. The inserts include UV inhibitors to resist fading from outside elements.

Hillcrest Steel Garage Door

Amarr Hillcrest Steel Garage Door

The Amarr Hillcrest Collection features more than 100 carriage house designs, all made from durable, low-maintenance steel. You can select from a traditional door style or carriage house to fit the style of your home.  These garage doors offer great value and convenience:

  • R-Value 9.05
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Safety: Medium
  • Warranty: Lifetime


You can select your choice colour for your conversion living area and then add windows and decorative hardware. There are more than 20 window insert options and glass designs that feature UV inhibitors.

Classica Steel Garage Door

Amarr Classica Steel Garage Door

From a distance, the Classica door appears to be made of wood, but you realize it is low-maintenance steel as you approach. This is an excellent choice for adding a classy look to your home with modern convenience.

  • R-Value: 6.64 to 13.35
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Safety: High
  • Warranty: Lifetime


This door is ideal if you have small children. The center and end hinges are patented and feature unique pinch protection sections to enhance safety. This feature reduces the risk of hand and finger injuries. The vertical and authentic-style carriage house door designs offer windows of a larger size to allow more natural light into the garage.

NWD Modern Tech Steel Garage Door

NWD MODERN TECH™ STEEL GARAGE DOOR

You can’t go wrong with a steel garage door that provides you with the attractive features of aluminum and the strength of steel. This door is manufactured with a 24-gauge steel face with a 2” thick R10.4 expanded polystyrene core. This results in a door that is energy efficient and extremely strong.

The door is available in four finishes:  Brushed Nickel, Bright White, Dark Bronze, and Black Satin, backed on polyester enamel. It uses a tongue and groove joint section with a flexible vinyl joint seal.

  • R-Value 10.4
  • 2” thick high density
  • Bottom weather seal: adjustable aluminum retainer with a U-shape loop type vinyl
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty


This door is available with a wide range of options, and with 15 window designs to select from is an excellent choice when you convert your garage into a living space.

Oak Summit Steel Garage Door

Raised Panel Mahogany Garage Door

This is the most affordable carriage house door available in the Amarr line. There are more than 70 designs to select from and offers these features;

  • R-Value 6.48 to 6.64
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Safety: High
  • Warranty: 15 years to a lifetime


You have the option of selecting from traditional or carriage house designs and can add windows and decorative hardware. Windows are an excellent option when using your garage as a living space.

Reducing the risk of finger and hand injuries, this door comes with the exclusive and patented Safe Guard System that consists of pinch-protection sections and safety bottom brackets. 

Carriage Court Steel Garage Door

Amarr Carriage Court Steel Garage Door

The Carriage Court Steel garage door is crafted from a composite overlay trim insulated with steel-backed sections. The door reduces outside noise and is energy efficient.

  • R-Value 6.48
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Safety: Medium
  • Warranty: Lifetime


The 1-3/8” steel section and 5/8” thick composite overlay trim this door is built from includes a coped edge design made from thermoplastic polymer and reclaimed wood fiber. This material is resistant to fungal growth, decay and resists rot.

The arched or rectangular windows have 24” top sections and 5/8” thick decorative window grills providing plenty of natural light. You have the option of upgrading your window design to double-strength, obscure or insulated glass.

Heritage Carriage House Steel Garage Door

AMARR® HERITAGE™ - CARRIAGE HOUSE STEEL GARAGE DOOR

The Heritage Carriage House garage door is built in both carriage-house and traditional styles. Constructed with heavy 24-gauge, durable steel, and featuring the SafeGuard system and low maintenance, this door is an ideal selection whether using your garage in the traditional manner or as a home living conversion.

  • R-Value: 6.64 to 9.05
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Safety: High
  • Warranty: Lifetime


The door is designed entirely to your liking. You may select from the classic collection of Heritage, Lincoln, Olympus, or Stratford. You may then select a panel design of flush, ribbed, long, or short. Mosaic Window Options allow you to choose your windows’ quantity and location to create a unique look.

Check Out the Options Today

If you need additional living space, we invite you to check out the entry door and garage door options available at Express Garage Door Services. We offer garage door specials, free estimates, and lifetime warranties.

It doesn’t matter whether you are looking to upgrade your existing doors or convert your garage to a living space; we have the doors to fill your needs. We are licensed, bonded, and insured on our sales and installation and provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Start planning your project today. The first step is checking out your entry options at Express Garage Door Services. Decide what you like and request a free quote.

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