Having a "bonus room" or room above the garage is a nice addition to your typical home environment. It could be a space to work, relax, or just for solitude. However, you may have found that this room feels extremely hot or as cold as a freezer. Why is this and what can you do about it? Don't worry—we've done the research and found the answers!
One of the main reasons for the room's extreme temperatures is poor insulation. This is because builders don't often insulate that space above the garage. So to solve this, proper insulation is needed.
You may be wondering what to insulate or ventilate, what you should install, and how to make the room better. Keep reading to learn more about the solutions for your bonus room!
Ensure proper insulation
Having proper insulation is vital in reducing heat transfer. This could be done through these methods:
Insulate room floor
Room floor insulation works similarly to other insulations. However, it isn't as thick as those applied to walls and ceilings. There are several different ways to insulate your floor, for instance: using radiant heat floors and rubber surfacing with tiles, hardwood, or carpets.
Insulate garage ceiling
If the garage ceiling hasn't been insulated or the insulation is already old, it's time to improve it. Typically, fiberglass batts are used, although spray foam insulation is more effective. Fiberglass tends to leave gaps while spray foams close the entire ceiling cavity.
Change garage door insulation
Better garage door insulation adds an extra layer of protection and durability. Doing this also keeps your garage at a consistent temperature, thus saving energy and money.
Here's a video explaining more about garage door installation:
Ensure proper ventilation
Having proper ventilation is similar to having well-functioning lungs. The healthier your lungs are, the better you'll be able to breathe. So for your bonus room's better "breathing," the techniques are as follows:
Windows can help reduce heat and improve the quality of airflow. Moreover, in emergencies, they can serve as an exit. There are different window styles that you can choose from, such as double-hung windows, bow or bay windows, and casement windows.
Install ceiling fans
Ceiling fans could be a great way to circulate and cool down the air in your room. They cost less and work well with windows. In addition, they're silent and don't use much electricity. The best ceiling fan trick is to open two windows in the room. This way, the air flows into one and out the other with the ceiling fan creating the air circulation. You can install ceiling fans yourself or hire someone qualified to do the job.
Consider an HVAC system
HVACs are powerful tools for heating and cooling rooms. Ductless mini-split AC could be the best type of AC for your bonus room. According to Energy.gov, mini-splits avoid the energy losses associated with central forced-air system ductworks. These duct losses can account for 30% of energy consumption.
Purchase evaporative or swamp coolers
Evaporative or swamp coolers are similar to ACs in terms of cooling a room. However, they differ in terms of how they operate. Evaporative coolers don't use chemicals while AC does. Evaporative coolers only use water and a fan to work. This process is known as the natural water evaporation process, wherein water evaporates quickly, chilling the air and nearby objects.
Whether you'll use evaporative coolers or AC depends on where you live, how much cooling you need, and the humidity in your area.
Go for the green
Plants are eco-friendly and visually pleasing. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the right tree or shrub along your home's perimeter can lower surface and air temperatures by 2–9 degrees Fahrenheit (1-5 degrees Celcius). So having a plant or two in your room can help keep the heat away!
How much insulation is needed for the bonus room?
Depending on where you live and the room you're insulating, you'll need a different R-value. R-value refers to the resistance to heat flow and insulating power ranging from R-10 to R-49 based on your zone. Zoning varies from 1 to 7, so you must verify the zoning requirements and building code regulations.
The insulation calculation is based on the R-value you want to achieve and the area to cover.
Watch this video about R-values:
Will a dehumidifier cool room above the garage?
Pros and Cons of Dehumidifier
|Reduces humidity amount in the room
|Provides little to no cooling
|Greatly reduces mold and fungi buildup
|Additional energy cost
|Portable units can be set up in any room
Pros and Cons of Air Conditioner
|Reduces heat amount in the room
|Higher energy consumption
|Reduces humidity amount in the room
|Installation and maintenance costs
|Can function as a fan
How can I make the bonus room attractive?
After learning about insulation and proper airflow, you may want your room to be more unique and appealing. A bonus room can be anything you need or want—the possibilities are infinite! So if you're struggling with ideas, we have some suggestions for you.
Guests stay for a short time; a house's impression lasts. Provide comfortable beds, good lighting, and a nightstand full of books that they may enjoy reading. Moreover, your motif could be earth-toned colors as they exude calmness and harmony.
Home or office study
This could be your quiet, productive space to focus more, study, or meet deadlines. For added inspiration, create a modern gallery wall with your family and friends' framed photos, for instance. In addition, you can put a desk and bookshelves for more organization space. Place a plant on the desk or near the window to liven up the room, too.
Nursery or playroom
Make this room into a cozy nursery or playroom. Because children can be playful and imaginative, they can be messy with their toys or books. So having a place of their own will make the house tidier and keep the kids entertained!
Provide adequate lighting, carpets, colorful pillows, and a cabinet for storage. Further, you can opt for unique and eye-catching wallpaper. As a result, your children may not want to leave this room!
Say goodbye to your local gym and reach your fitness goals in your own home. A private home gym is more accessible and can be more comfortable. Additionally, it's open day or night, and playing loud music is allowed (excuse the neighbors).
Put in some dumbbells, a yoga mat, a treadmill, a gym ball, or an exercise bike if you have one. Placing mirrors also help make the space larger and lighter. Furthermore, they are great if you want to see your posture, form, or technique.
Your family may also enjoy having a video or arcade game room for kids and adults alike. Set up your gaming computers, console, comfy couch, floor cushions, and bean bags. In addition, colorful LED or strip lights elevate the room's atmosphere. So you can feel the thrill of gaming and set aside reality temporarily with this modern game room.
Movie and Netflix nights can be even better. Add floating shelves and feel-good couches. You can also use a projector to create that big-screen theater feel. Placing leather couches or oversized floor cushions provide elevated comfort. Dim lights and a quality sound system will complete the cinema ambiance.
A hobby room will be perfect for your passion. From visual arts to music or doing DIY crafts, you can have a space to unleash your creativity.
Use a free-standing bookshelf or cabinets to save space. In addition, an industrial table and comfortable chairs will be great if you plan to do long-term projects. Above all, ensure that the room is well-lit.
In conclusion, methods like floor insulation, installing ceiling fans or AC, or even having plants can help regulate the temperature in your bonus room. Meanwhile, choosing between a dehumidifier and an AC depends on your preference, budget, and needs while the right furniture, good lighting, and theme are some ways to make your room more fun and attractive.
So after doing all the things we mentioned, your bonus room won't just be a "bonus" anymore. It may turn into your favorite room!
If you find this article helpful, check out these posts on windows and garage door insulation: