When it came to planning the garage extension I hunted high and low on the Internet, searched the library for books, scoured forums, but could not find anything relevant to a garage extension build in Australia.
Our garage extension included removing the old driveway, carport and ceiling, extending the roof structure over and a total roof restoration with new gutters, downpipes, fascias, and tiles, building brick garage walls and laying new ceiling, pouring a concrete floor, electrical work and doors.
We are by no means perfect renovators, we made a few stuff ups along the way but we did manage to stick to our budget and got the build that we wanted.
We have taken our house from this
To this ....
This is a step by step guide of how we built our garage extension:
- Start a project document - either in table format or a spreadsheet to include the item to be done, due date, who is doing it (you Vs professionals) and the cost. Stick it on your fridge and update frequently to keep track of the progress. This ensures you know what is coming up next so you can plan accordingly. Don't be scared but mine was 4 pages long and we are on the last page now. You really need to be organised or you will become a stress head!
- Set a budget - costs can get out of hand and add up fast so you need to see where you are spending money so you can save it when you can by getting your hands dirty and doing the work yourself. This means you can spend money on the things that matter to you, like getting the bricks or lights of your choice. Our budget was $35,000 for this job and because we did a lot of the work ourselves and sourced our own materials we are within budget.
- Contact a few architects and find the right one for the job - ask them to draw plans for your extension to council specifications. Check your local council website for information sheets to help you with the submission. There are home owner building charges based on the cost of the project.
- Submit the plans to council for approval - be prepared for some toing and froing before they give the go ahead (in our case it took 12 months).
- You may need to relocate your power underground - our old power line was attached to the old carport so this had to be removed. We contacted the power company and had this done and organised for an electrician to run the power underground and put in a new electric power box for us.
- Speak to your neighbours on both sides of the fence - tell them about your intention to build. By law you need to put it in writing as well so write them a letter and keep a copy for your records. Be nice and friendly to your neighbours! Afterall they will be putting up with your build for a few months.
- Find a surveyor and have the site surveyed - before any building starts to make sure you are doing it on your land (original plans can be wrong, ours were out by about 40cm along the fence line). Once you have a copy of the site survey plan and it has been pegged properly then you can start the work.
- Once plans are approved you can start the demolition - time to get your hands dirty! Do what you can yourself if you want to save some money Vs Hire in the professions for jobs you don't want to tackle.
- The professionals we found by word of mouth referred by someone, or we saw advertising in our local newspaper, and online on Gumtree. When you get your quotes from trades always ask for a better deal - don't take the first price offer they give you!
- Disconnect any power before you start - if you have lights in the old carport or outside area have these disconnected.
- Old carport floor removal - We found a bobcat driver to rip up and take away the old concrete floor in the carport. This also saved us the cost of having to get a skip bin to remove the rubble.
- Fences - we dug out the old neighboring fence, bushes, etc that were in the way. The fences were asbestos and had to be removed properly wearing protective clothing and wrapped up and taken to a disposal site.
- Ready for brick works - Contact a few bricklayers, get quotes and negotiate a price for the job.
- Pick and order your bricks and have delivered, together with sand, concrete, lime, metal mesh and pins, lintels and T bars for any doorways being built.
- Footings - we did these ourselves by digging out trenches for the concrete footings and held the sides up with formply.
- Order concrete truck to come and pour into the footings - the bricklayer helped us with this because when the concrete is being poured the driver won't help - you need to be ready to go they don’t mess about!
- Bricklayer now ready to start building the walls - built the garage walls, knocked out the old chimney both on the wall in the garage to give us more space and off the roof. This was about 4 days work. Be nice to your tradies! Offer them some lunch and plenty of cold drinks while they're working, you will get a better job if they are happily fed and refreshed.
- Removed the old solar panel on the roof, the old ariel, etc.
- Order skip bin – remove all the brick and rubble, solar, etc. Keep your site cleared daily as best you can to deter people thinking its a building site.
- Once the walls are up it was time for the roof construction to be built to extend across to the new garage walls.
- Contact a few roof carpenters, get quotes and negotiate a price. Decide if you will source materials or get them to include in their price. You will save money doing it yourself but be prepared to run around for the materials and pay for delivery charges for the large pieces of timber etc. In hindsight I would suggest getting the all inclusive price.
- Remove all the old ceiling inside the carport - dispose of, as ours was asbestos it had to be disposed of properly.
- Remove all the old fascias around the house - so the roof work can be done. The gutters and downpipes can come off later.
- If supplying own materials - pick and order all the roof beams etc required. Or if being supplied by roof carpenter make sure you have space for it to be stored close by ie: on your verge.
- At this stage you will have a wooden roof frame with the old exposed beams and no roof tiles - this is not the best job to do in Winter as we did with lots of rain but we were lucky the tarpaulins we secured over the roof structure did the job to keep the wet out. We had 3 unsettling weeks worrying that someone could climb into the roof structure and into the house and there were many sleepless nights until we got those roof tiles on. The joys of renovating!
- Source second hand roof tiles - we found ours in 3 separate pickups over a couple of months of looking on Gumtree. We needed about 200 in total for the extension plus for any breakages and old tiles needing replacing. I suggest you start looking months ahead as it may take some time to find the ones you need. It doesn't matter what colour they are, once painted they will all look the same.
- Pick and choose your exterior colour scheme early on - this is a big decision on the way your front of the house design will look. You need to decide on the colour and style of your gutters, fascias and downpipes. The paint colour for the roof tiles. The type of bricks, colour render and paint colour and style of garage door. Drive around the neighborhood to see what you like the look of or check out houses on www.realestate.com.au.
- Roof carpenter starts to build new roof construction – approx a week of work. Removed all the old timber beams. We kept the good ones to make something with, took a ute load to my parents farm to use for fence posts etc and left the rest on the verge which people asked to take for firewood.
- Contact a few gutter guys, get quotes and negotiate a price. You will need to pick new gutters, fascias and downpipes in the colours you have chosen. Also think about where you want the downpipes to go so you can have a say in this before they are installed - you might not want one smack bang in the middle of your house, you could opt to have it on the side if its suitable. The fascias will go in as soon as the roof constructions is finished, whereas the gutters and downpipes won't go on until later.
- Once the roof structure is complete - Once the new roof structure is in you need to get the new fascias installed so you can then lay the tiles back on the roof. Get the gutter guys to put on your fascias. As mentioned already the gutters and downpipes can't go on yet until the job is almost complete due to rendering and painting works still to be done, they will get in the way.
- Put roof tiles on - Once the roof structure is up remove the tarpaulins that saved the day and lay the roof tiles over the new roof construction. This is a 2 man job you can do yourself, one to pass the tiles up the ladder and one to lay them row by row section by section.
- Electrical - Decide where you want power points and lights installed and have an electrician do the wiring once the structure is built but before the ceiling goes on. Remember to do inside the garage and outside on the garage pillars, and where you want the switches to be inside the house or in the garage or both on a dual switch. You also need power on the ceiling for the garage doors - get the specs for this from the garage door company.
- Pick your garage doors - visit a few showrooms and pick out your garage door and get a quote. They will come back to do a final measure once the walls and ceiling etc are all in. The doors take approx 4-6 weeks to make from the final measure date.
- In preparation for the roof restoration - we removed all the old eaves around the entire house and disposed of. These were asbestos and had to be disposed of properly. We also removed all the gutters and downpipes and disposed of. A skip bin was ordered for this.
- Render brickwork – we decided to have the inside of the garage, front pillars and front of house rendered. This was so that our old brick house and the new garage extension all blended as one. This turned out to be the best improvement to date it really makes the extension look like part of the house. This was approx 5 days work. You want to render before the eaves etc go on or the cement render will make a mess of your new fittings.
- Paint render to seal it – use an undercoat so you need less top coats of paint. You need to paint the render so that it seals it and it doesn't stain from rain and water etc. You need to paint before the down pipes go on or you'll have a bit of fun trying to get your paint brush behind them!
- Our roof carpenter then put up all new eaves and skirting – cut spaces for where the downpipes are to go back in. It is a good idea to paint the skirting first before it goes on which is what we did. The eaves don't need painting first, as they aren't as hard to paint afterwards.
- Our roof carpenter then put up new ceiling in garage, cutting around new electrics and a man hole – it is such a great idea to put a man hole into the garage ceiling so you can access this side of the roof if need be.
- Insulation - Once the ceiling was in we laid insulation batts. This is a 2 man job you can do yourself, one to unwrap and hand the batts up the ladder and the other to pull them up there and lay them across the roof beams. Take care of any wiring.
- Painting - All the new eaves and inside the garage ceiling got a few coats of white paint. We did this before the floor was laid to avoid paint dripping.
- Concrete floor - We were ready for the concrete floor to be poured and hired a compactor and compacted the ground ourselves. Then ordered a concrete truck and 2 guys to pour the floor. They also had to make steps going out the back of the garage store room and into the laundry area. Don't step on it for at least 48 hours - it takes 3 days to cure completely. A month or so later it can be sealed (although we haven't done this yet).
- The gutter guys came and installed the new gutters and downpipes and after not having any on for almost 3 months they were a welcome sight!
- Electrician - Came back to install the light fittings we had purchased and hook up the power points etc ready for the garage door.
- Garage doors installed - Once the floor was poured and the ceiling was painted we had the garage door company out to do a final measure and quote for the doors. The were installed about 6 weeks later. We had 2 doors installed, a timber look at the front and a metal roller at the back, both electric on remotes.
- Complete roof restoration - the roof restorer spent a few days replacing the damaged tiles, pressure cleaned, and finally spray painted in our chosen colour. Ideally we would have changed the order of this and had the restoration done before we put the shiny new gutters on but we had a 8 week wait for the roof restorer so didn't want to be without gutters for that length of time.
- The next step for us is to have a new driveway laid, lots of retaining walls to hold everything up and a new brick and timber look fence to make a front courtyard around the front of the house. A new letter box and lots of landscaping and gardening to finish it off. I will continue to update this page as those tasks are done.
If you have any questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment. I'm happy to help others on this how the heck are we going to do this journey!
Previous posts about the garage extension can be found here:
[All images my own]