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Stinkin’ Garages…

So, yesterday I extolled the virtues of the open carport and the detached garage. What happens if you can’t do anything but an attached garage? I’m talking to a client who owns a lakefront house that wants to add a garage during their remodel and there is no way to do a detached garage on their site. They could do a carport, but it just doesn’t work for their lifestyle. He’s my inside secrets for doing a garage the right way! First, you need to ensure that the house/garage connection is fully sealed and air tight. You want your house’s air to have no connection to those garage chemicals/fumes. Don’t just rely on caulking you outlet covers either. You really need to use spray foam on any common walls or ceilings from the garage to the house. The photos show a house I did last year where we did just that. Be careful about the details because most garages share attic space or truss space and those need sealed with foam too. I have my sheet rock guys install drywall on one side of the common wall so the foam guys have a backer to spray against. Similarly, I have my framer install plywood between any truss bays so the foam will seal that area above the walls too. (bottom photo above)
Lastly, you’ll want some kind of mechanical ventilation in that garage too (top photo above). I use a Panasonic bath fan to depressurize the garage and exhaust any car fumes from pulling in your Harley every night. That fan can either run continuously or it’s linked to a Leviton motion sensor switch that turns it on for 60 minutes when motion is detected. You may still have some minor air leakage between your house/garage (assuming you have a door into the garage), but your indoor air quality will be better than 99.8% of the houses in America. Just good building science here! -Matt Risinger