We’ve got a double garage but are going to fill in one side with a wall, door and window so we can use it for the boiler room. How easy is this to do?
You can turn a garage door into a normal door by removing the garage door, filling in the wall with a frame, then building in your normal-sized door frame and door. You can add a window frame and new window at this stage too. The process is simple but will take some DIY skill or expert help.
Let’s explore how to turn your garage door into a normal door in greater detail, and discover how you can fill in the space with a wall, position and build your new smaller door – and also how to add that window in if you need to…
How Do You Turn Your Garage Door Into a Normal Door? (Action Steps)
Turning your garage door into a normal, entry door is a two-stage process. First, you have to remove the garage door, then you’re basically building a new wall, starting with the frame.
This short film from Down to Earth Woodworks takes you through how to remove a garage door. He’s converting a garage with an up-and-over door into a shop unit.
Here’s how he does it.
- Remove the sidings. This is the doorframe on the outside of the garage. You’ll need a claw hammer, brute force, goggles, and gloves. Be careful with any sharp metal flashings
- Clamp the garage door in its open (up) position, then remove the rest of the flashings and trim
- Remove the door by carefully taking off the clamps. If your door is in a single piece, this is definitely a multi-person job!
- You’re now ready to frame the new opening to create a wall and door space
Pro Trade Craft shows you how to build a wall in an old garage door opening.
- Check the ground leading up to the new door isn’t sloping towards the building (fairly common in garages but not ideal for other spaces). You may need to level this
- Frame the space, using pressure-treated framing for the outside frame and regular framing in between
- Fix sheathing to the frame (make sure the lower sheathing is pressure treated)
- Install the door at this point (we’ll come back to door fixing shortly)
- Run a bead of sealant under the door sill and the sheathing
- Bed metal flashing into the sealant under the door
- Add base flashing to the bottom of the sheathing on either side of the door. Use sealant to fix it to the door flashing. Seal it to the wall with flashing tape
- Install a waterproof layer over the sheathing, like drainage mat, with a few inches of bug screen at the base. Work from the bottom upwards, overlapping the mats
- Add trim around the sides of the new wall
- Install the siding, leaving a gap at the top. At the top, install a plank of wood, then fix another strip of bug screen to this. Finish with the trim (you can leave a small air gap here, about a quarter inch)
Now, the guys at Pro Trade Craft assume you know how to hang a door. If you haven’t done this before, watch this film from the Handyman. He shows you how to frame a doorway and install a door.
How Much Does It Cost to Brick Up a Garage Door? (and Add a Normal Door)
Generally speaking, allow $10 per square foot and upwards to brick up a space. It could even be as much as $30 if you go for quality materials and hire a pro. The sheath and siding approach we looked at earlier keeps the conversion towards the lower end, and it’s an easier DIY project than using bricks.
The average exterior door costs about $500, so the total cost of the door part (with all materials and labor) can be around a thousand dollars on top of the brickwork or sheathing.
However, if you gain a new usable space from this project, then it’s worth the time and money.
Do I Need a Permit to Change My Garage Door to a Normal Door?
This really depends on how you intend to use the garage once you’ve changed the doors. Of course, if a car can no longer fit through the door, it’s not really a garage anymore, so it’s automatically a change of use.
Whether this needs a permit or not depends on two things: where you live, because different states and counties have different viewpoints on this, and two, whether you’re converting the garage into “habitable space”.
The best starting point is a chat with your local authority, you’ll be able to tell you whether the work requires a permit. You can contact them for an informal chat, and it’s actually really helpful to have the planners on board from the start of the project.
You may also need to speak with the homeowners’ association (HOA) if you have one, as this will change the appearance of your property. HOAs can have very strict rules and regulations about altering the looks of houses within their designation.
To find out more about converting a garage, read our blog on garage accommodation.
Can I Remove My Garage Door and Replace It With a Window?
Again, because this signifies change of use and will affect the look of your home, speak with the local planning authority and HOA before you get the hammer out.
But yes, as a job it’s perfectly feasible, and it’s the same process as we outlined above. Door out, frame in, window in, wall in. We’ll take a closer look at how you frame a window in a few moments.
Just remember that you’re losing an external access point when you replace a garage door with a window. Will this affect how you use the space, and do you need to add another exterior doorway elsewhere to make up for this?
How Much Does It Cost to Put a Window in a Garage?
This isn’t a very helpful answer; however, when we looked into this, the cost of installing a window into a garage costs between $1,000 and $5,000.
There are a lot of variables: size and type of window, whether you need a lintel, what the walls are made from and so on. Installing a window into the new framework created by removing the garage door is actually one of the more cost-effective options.
Can I Replace My Garage Door With a Window and a Normal Sized Door?
If you’ve removed a decent-size garage door (anything built after the 1980s!) you should have the space for a door and a window. It’s basically the same principle as installing a door, except the framework is a bit trickier.
This is a really handy short film about how to make a frame that fits a window and door.
For a garage-specific installation, watch how the Depreys closed in their garage door opening and fitted a smart new window in its place. Here’s how to install a window in an old garage opening.
- Remove the garage door as we outlined above
- Check that the ground doesn’t slope towards the garage, as it might need levelling
- Bolt and seal a piece of pressure-treated timber to the floor of the new opening
- Mark out spacings for the framing onto this piece of wood, working out exactly how far along your window (and in our case, door as well) needs to go
- Insert the side and header framings, then start to install the other framings
- Fit the window-specific framings: the sill (under the window), the header (above), the trims (either side) and the cripples (the vertical framing underneath the sill)
- You’re now ready to install the window and the door into the framing (see how this is done from our earlier film)
- Fix the plywood sheathing and sealant as we saw in the Pro Trade Craft film
- You’re good to go
Now, as we mentioned earlier, in some districts all this garage building work might need a permit. In fact, given that you’re changing the use of the garage and the look of the building, it’s pretty likely that you will. Speak with your local planning team, your neighbors, and your HOA before you start work.
You can now use the former garage space for all sorts of things (again, subject to permission). With its own front door, it becomes a handy studio for the teenagers or an annexe for aging parents. If you run a business from home, you now have a separate space with its own entry, so clients can visit you at home without going through your living space.
It might also add value to your room: speak with your local realtor to find out how a garage conversion can help increase the value of a property, or improve its “saleability”. Read our article about what types of conversion add extra square footage to your home. Again, get in touch with the planning authority before you get too carried away with schemes for a home gym or extra sitting room. 🙂