Call it what you want, a “bonus room” or the room over the garage. The bottom line is, in my 20 year experience of getting Atlanta’s homes comfortable for homeowners – if there is a room above the garage, it’s too hot and too cold.
There are a few reasons why these rooms are hot and cold, and I’ve discussed those elsewhere in my blog articles.
In this article, I intend to focus on my 4-step remedy that has been used to bring relief to hundreds of homeowners.
In fact, our process is so successful I’ve often thought about spinning off a separate company that specializes only in providing services to these uncomfortable rooms!
So, what is the magic formula we use to satisfy the expectations of homeowners who are suffering from the rooms located above their garages, that are too hot and too cold?
Four Steps To Get The Temperature In Your Bonus Room More Comfortable
1. Drill and Fill the Garage Ceiling. Regardless of how old or how new your home is, the original insulation found in the floor system between your garage and the room above your garage needs to be improved.
Unless a previous homeowner has ripped out the sheetrock and installed foam insulation, or already performed a drill-and-fill service – we always start with the garage ceiling.
When we drill and fill, we pump (this is important), high-density cellulose insulation into those joist bays. The cellulose insulation is packed in these cavities as tightly as possible – without cracking the sheetrock ceiling.
Each hole is plugged and left for our homeowner to prep and paint.
2. Improve the Kneewall Insulation. No matter what – we must improve the kneewall insulation. Sometimes this requires cutting an access hole in the garage ceiling or the kneewall, so we can climb behind a wall and work.
We use several techniques to improve the insulation of these kneewalls. Bottom line: the wall must be sealed as a 6-sided air barrier and insulation bumped-up as well.
Access doors (scuttle doors) can’t be ignored. We attach insulation to the backside of these doors and install weather strip around the door frame as needed.
3. Improve the Insulation in the Flat Ceiling. We call this area the “tunnel”. Several inches of Applegagte Bora Spray cellulose is installed in the tunnel, to ensure that the ceiling has a strong thermal barrier to protect against the inferno-like temperatures in these tight, restricted spaces.
In older homes, in certain Atlanta neighborhoods, these tunnels are only insulated to R-19. That’s like trying to stay warm on a January night with nothing more than an afgan blanket!
If there is a Supply-air duct in the tunnel, we also cut the straps that suspend that duct in the air, and allow it to lay on the ceiling joists. As will install the high-density cellulose, we bury the duct. Why? Because from June to September it’s hard to get cold air from a warm pipe!
4. Improve the Airflow In the Air Ducts that Serve This Room. Now that the insulation in this room is improved – we shift our focus to the HVAC that is responsible for keeping it comfortable year around.
Is there a Return-air vent? If not, we install one. Is the Supply-air vent sufficient? Last week I was called to a $1.7M custom home. As we walked upstairs, I asked Mr Homeowner, “Which room is most uncomfortable on this level?” Turns out, it wasn’t the room above the garage. But the (uncomfortable) large bedroom had only one Supply-air vent, and no Return-air vent! And I just scratch my bald head in wonder as I think about the reasons an HVAC contractor would cut corners in a beautiful custom home.
Here’s the bottom line: If we do all the insulation improvements and ignore the HVAC – we have discovered that we’re not getting these stubbornly too-hot and too-cold bonus rooms as comfortable as we could have.
So, several years ago we added this fourth step, and address the HVAC for these rooms perched over a garage… and it really is a game changer!
Here’s some Bonus Room Makeover trivia for you:
- Beau & Chris can usually do a complete bonus room makeover in one day.
- Our 2020 average invoice to improve a room above a two-car garage was $3600.
- Improving airflow through the Supply-air and Return-air vents in your room does not interfere with a HVAC warranty.
- You will need to add the cost for painting your garage ceiling, and any kneewalls where we’ve had to cut a new access hole.
You don’t have to suffer with an uncomfortable room above your garage. Employ my 4 steps, and you’ll have a room so comfortable you can use it for your newborn!
Ready for an instant estimate to get your bonus room comfortable? Use our EZ Online Calculator for an instant estimate! Why wait for a phone call? Get your quote here: Bonus Room Estimate