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Making a Garage into Living Area (concrete stain mainly, but other ideas too)


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This summer we're building a detached garage and closing in our current garage for living area. The builder of our home did have this project in mind when he built, since the garage is heated and cooled, the walls are finished (though will be in need of drywall repair and paint) and the door opening is sized for a triple window.


We plan on installing the windows after ripping out the current garage doors, and basically refinishing the floor with a concrete stain or something similar. Since the hot water heater is in a cubbyhole adjoining the area, we don't want to do wood/laminate/carpet that could be damaged if it has trouble. Tile doesn't interest me in the least. I like the look of stained concrete.


Anyone done this?




We're hoping to eventually put in a woodstove or rocket heater in this area, so that will help with the coldness factor.

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Our current living room was the attached garage before the house fire. When we rebuilt the house we had the floor built up to make it level with the rest of the house and provide us with a subfloor so we could have the same flooring throughout the upstairs, hardwood. Doing it that way is my first choice, my second choice would be to go with the vinyl plank flooring like we did in our basement. Of the available options that work on concrete, it was the best choice for us. We actually started putting a finish on the concrete basement floor(paper bag finish to be exact) and it looked really neat BUT we had color issues with areas that were done at different times, with the size and open floor plan it was impossible to do at once and  we also figured out that finished concrete is just as cold as straight up concrete. I wouldn't mind that in a business where I wear shoes anyway but at home I didn't find it very inviting (of course if we lived in a hot climate that would be different)

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We stained concrete in a basement.  We put on a topping of quickrete that wasn't the right one (slow-setting - bad because it's not meant to be a top layer though that isn't how it's advertised; we should have used the fast-setting but we were afraid it would be too hard to work with).


But the big mistake was following instructions to clean the concrete with TSP first.  The TSP prevented the stain from sinking in.  I got most of the TSP out of the floor in the guest bedroom, so that one looks as intended, but the stain adhered very unevenly in the rest of the basement.  So my advice, no TSP!!! Just skip that step.  Other than that, sure, go for it!


Also, cover lower half of walls with plastic or they will get spotted with stain.  We used a "coffee" color, can't remember the brand.


ETA, our floor has radiant heating (under/in the concrete).  I might be worried about a cold floor, but that depends on your climate.

Edited by wapiti
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