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Studio Above Garage anyone?
Old 20th December 2020
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Studio Above Garage anyone?

I’m curious if anyone here has built a studio space above a garage as an addition? Just poking around trying to figure out mainly what I might expect to spend. I work from home now for the foreseeable future and am looking to setup a studio / workspace above the garage. The hope would be able to (eventually) be able to track drums / be loud into the late evening without disturbing neighbors etc.

I have a few contractors lined up to come give me some quotes come January, and I just wanted to see if other people have done anything similar so I can gauge their prices they throw at me.

Also if you’ve done something similar it’d be cool to know how you approached it.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!
Old 21st December 2020
  #2
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Kyle P. Gushue's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Your better off doing the studio on the ground level/slab, otherwise you will need to lay concrete on the elevated deck and add structural reinforcement to it.

Expect to spend 3x to 5x the price of standard construction for a room that size.

Depending on proximity to neighbors you will need walls/floor/ceiling, capable of bringing 115-120db peaks from drums down to the legal limit, usually around 50-60db.

Unless budget is deep, avoid building on the second floor if at all possible.

Please note sound and budget/cost varies widely by location and builder, i gave a Very, very general ballpark.
Old 21st December 2020
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
is there a max height zoning regulation?

low ceilings are the bane of recording drums. so if you go with an 8 foot ceiling, that's going to be lame. if you add 16 feet upward, then you are at three stories, which might not be allowed in your town.

you could build upward, take away the current garage ceiling, and then have something approaching a 16 foot ceiling and still stay within a two-story zoning regulation. but then you would lose your parking spaces. i would select better drums over better parking, but that's only one man's priorities.

you could also leave one car space if you don't mind looking at a car when you track drums. it would make it very convenient to check your mixes in the car!

i would ballpark the work (including partial demolition, crew, general contractor, architectural plans, disposal, electrical, permitting fees, inspections, etc.) at $75,000 (assuming you want hvac, but not a lot of windows). add 10% cost overrun. so $82,500. add more if you want plumbing, especially if there are no water lines already going to the structure.

Last edited by gearstudent; 22nd December 2020 at 12:21 AM..
Old 22nd December 2020 | Show parent
  #4
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Starlight's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent ➡️
... add 10% cost overrun ...
Only 10%. You must be experienced at building studios. My impression for first time studio builds is 50-100% over budget, both in expected cost and also in expected time.
Old 22nd December 2020
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
crew of four working 7 weeks = 28 weeks of labor at $1000 per week = $28,000
general contractor fee: $10,000 (assuming he is working two sites, half day each)
subtract $2000 from crew labor, assuming contractor will cover $2000 of the labor himself
architectural/permitting/inspection fees: $3000
disposal containers: $3000
hvac: $5000
electrical: $3000
construction materials: $20,000

that totals $70,000. $77,000 assuming a 10% cost overrun buffer. if you can't get the cost of the roof into the above, add $5500 to the total cost.

the build i am talking about is tearing off the existing roof and raising the wall line so you have a single floor structure with an approximately 14 to 16-foot ceiling height, where they are making use of the existing floor slab. to minimize sound leakage, the structure will have only a minimal amount of windows, which saves on costs, complexity, and time. there shouldn't be too many surprises with something like that. if you want to add $14k to the buffer instead of $7k, i'm fine with that.

it's not going to be precisely those numbers. for example, drywallers work incredibly fast and cheap, and that is usually outsourced to a separate team rather than the general construction team. so that work would get subtracted out of the general crew cost and would represent a labor cost savings for that part of the work. some of the other numbers might be a bit different depending on the context. $70-75k is very doable. D.H. Horton puts entire starter homes on the market for $300k, and that includes the land.

Last edited by gearstudent; 22nd December 2020 at 01:19 AM..
Old 22nd December 2020
  #6
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Kyle P. Gushue's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
It's not possible to give number based figures with so many unknowns. Ive seen quotes from a well know acoustic designer for 3k just to design the hvac for a 2 car garage studio. Last (30x35) home theater i did it was 12k for the electrical.

Then there's the timing. Studio construction is non standard so the crew will be slow. Plus there are things like sealing the perimeter of the drywall, or adding mass to the existing structure (which the op will need for drums), where you need to let the caulking dry on the ceiling, then do the walls. This slows things down. It wont keep a crew steadily busy. This can increase cost and will increase time frame. Its not typical work where guys slap up frames, and drywall sheets like its a commercial building.

Your estimate is not out of line for standard construction, but studios usually don't adhere to those standards due to all the custom work.

This doesn't mean you can't get guys to hang drywall for 10$ a sheet or diy some wiring, but its not possible to give any numerical values that are applicable to the OP.
Old 22nd December 2020
  #7
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Wow you guys are awesome. Really appreciate all the info here as I begin researching all of this and what the costs might be. Seems pretty on for what I've been looking into just google searching costs. The breakdown is especially helpful.

I guess I should probably back it up a bit and throw a few more details out. Currently I've been working out of my basement, but many factors this year have made things increasingly difficult. Mainly my wife now also works at home full time... just above where I've been setup for the past few years. I've contemplated isolating the basement from the rest of the house, but it just doesn't seem do-able. The current ceiling down here is only 7ft which I think is the minimum for code... So, I've been looking into the garage as a possible option. We also have two small kids so night time is usually pretty quiet around here. My income is mostly sourced from doing composing and sound design projects for commercials and web videos, as well as some graphic design work. All freelance stuff. I'm a drummer too so that's where wanting a space I can practice / record live without bothering people comes in.

SO that said, I guess priority for me is mainly to have decent work space I can compose and mix in. The isolation for drums and high DB kind of stuff is probably secondary, at least for now with my current budget. If I could build out a space where at least during the day I can track drums or crank some guitars I'd be pretty happy. Neighbors aren't really too big an issue. It's more about getting out of the basement and upgrading what I currently work in. I have a good deal of sound treatment (mostly GIK acoustics bass traps and the like)

I've got about 20-30k budgeted so far, so it seems like I might need to look into securing some more funds if I'm really gonna do things right. BUT given that, is there a 20-30k option? Maybe something more like cutting dormers into the existing roof of the garage?

Thanks for all the input y'all. Really helpful!
Old 22nd December 2020 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Kyle P. Gushue's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmichael84 ➡️
Wow you guys are awesome. Really appreciate all the info here as I begin researching all of this and what the costs might be. Seems pretty on for what I've been looking into just google searching costs. The breakdown is especially helpful.

I guess I should probably back it up a bit and throw a few more details out. Currently I've been working out of my basement, but many factors this year have made things increasingly difficult. Mainly my wife now also works at home full time... just above where I've been setup for the past few years. I've contemplated isolating the basement from the rest of the house, but it just doesn't seem do-able. The current ceiling down here is only 7ft which I think is the minimum for code... So, I've been looking into the garage as a possible option. We also have two small kids so night time is usually pretty quiet around here. My income is mostly sourced from doing composing and sound design projects for commercials and web videos, as well as some graphic design work. All freelance stuff. I'm a drummer too so that's where wanting a space I can practice / record live without bothering people comes in.

SO that said, I guess priority for me is mainly to have decent work space I can compose and mix in. The isolation for drums and high DB kind of stuff is probably secondary, at least for now with my current budget. If I could build out a space where at least during the day I can track drums or crank some guitars I'd be pretty happy. Neighbors aren't really too big an issue. It's more about getting out of the basement and upgrading what I currently work in. I have a good deal of sound treatment (mostly GIK acoustics bass traps and the like)

I've got about 20-30k budgeted so far, so it seems like I might need to look into securing some more funds if I'm really gonna do things right. BUT given that, is there a 20-30k option? Maybe something more like cutting dormers into the existing roof of the garage?

Thanks for all the input y'all. Really helpful!
Some questions for ya...

What is your location?

how big is the garage?

Is the studio for both mixing and tracking?

Is the studio using a single room for both tracking and mixing?

Are you doing any of the project DIY?

What is the sound ordinance for your location? ie what is the legal db limit and at what times?

How is the garage currently constructed?

Is there an existing electrical service to the garage? If so how many Amps, and how many breakers at the sub panel?

Does the 2nd floor exist already on the garage?

What is the garage ceiling height?

Can you build on the ground floor (which is the far easier/cheaper option)?

Is the basement ceiling in fact the minimun code allows?

Are outside noises an issue? Neighbors, planes, trains, large trucks....ect

Have you considered electric drums?

Have you considered a smallish drum booth for isolation instead of an entire studio isolated?

How much gear do you have? ie will you need to add more amperage to the electrical service at the garage (if there is any).

Is having the setup in the garage but non-isolated, and using things like drum replacement, re- amping, DI, amp sims, a possibility? ie using loud stuff during the daytime/non obtrusive times. This can eliminate the (relatively) expensive isolation construction. You just treat the room.

Do you have noisey computers and gear with fans ect that would interfere with your live mics?

Do you need internet in the studio? Wired or wifi?

Will you need windows and/or natural light in the studio?

What is your zoning? Commercial residential both?

If you don't have Rod Gervias, build it like the pros, get it and start reading it yesterday

Some pictures and rough (or nice) drawings can be quite helpful, to get a feel for the construction methods and condition of the garage as is. They don't have to be fancy. Napkin sketches and photos are good enough.

You will find an immense amount of planning and dilligence with details are keys to maximizing succes and minimizing expenses.

Keep in mind that studios don't increase the value of the house much more than a standard built room of the same size. Unless you sell to another musician, it won't be a big selling point.

If you intend on writing this off, and being covered by insurance in case of tragic event, than permits, and inspections are a must.

My approach would be design to your needs and wants, evaluate the cost, and if you need to trim, trim from the fat before your trim from the meat.
Old 22nd December 2020
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks for all these questions and helping me sort out what might be possible!

I’m in metro detroit.
Garage is 24x24. It was built 5 years ago (before we bought the house). I’m not sure about construction details... I’ll have to take some pictures. It’s a pretty basic new construction garage. Sits on concrete slab. Pretty minimal. No center beams coming down and just a few running across what would be the ceiling if that makes sense. There is no existing 2nd floor, just some rafters. There is electrical running out there. Currently 1 15amp circuit. I’d need additional circuits for sure.

I would probably want wired Internet.
I have a loud-ish desktop computer but I have an iso-box that it currently sits in.


Building on the ground floor of the garage, or even adding onto the house isn’t really an option unfortunately.

The design would be probably be just 1 room for tracking & mixing.

Outside noise isn’t really a huge issue, pretty quiet neighborhood where we live. It’s residential zone.

A non-isolated build I think would be ok as far as neighbors. But that would limit loud hours to daytime, which is probably fine for the cost / benefit ratio. The other thought is get the basic room built out now geared toward mixing. Then when I save a bit more maybe build an isolation room for drums down the line keeping the other half of the space for control room / mixing.

As far as gear my setup is pretty minimal. I’m mainly running an ITB setup, but I’ve got a few synths, guitar / bass amps. A decent rack of gear. 2 reel to reel machines with an old Tascam desk. Drums. I currently run everything off a 20amp circuit I installed in the basement. Not sure if the existing 15amp circuit would be enough, but surely if I’m going to add heating cooling (which I’ll need for Michigan winter) I’ll prob need another circuit.

Windows would be cool, even if just minimal.

I’m gonna go order that build it like the pros book! Thanks for that recommend.

My original plan was to do a lot of the finishing work myself with a few friends whom I trust. Hire out the bigger stuff, framing, electrical (at least running from the mains) once it’s out there I can do lighting etc.

Thanks again for all this help.
Old 22nd December 2020 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
docbop's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hauling instruments upstairs is alway a pain and hope the stairs are wide and a big landing at the top for large instrument to turn them to go in the door.

Me I would think about instead of going up I would widen the garage and raise the roof on the existing garage. You get higher ceiling for better sound and more space for control room/office. Zoning reg's are a pain where I lived, but changes like that would be easier to get okayed.
Old 23rd December 2020 | Show parent
  #11
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Kyle P. Gushue's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmichael84 ➡️
Thanks for all these questions and helping me sort out what might be possible!

I’m in metro detroit.
Garage is 24x24. It was built 5 years ago (before we bought the house). I’m not sure about construction details... I’ll have to take some pictures. It’s a pretty basic new construction garage. Sits on concrete slab. Pretty minimal. No center beams coming down and just a few running across what would be the ceiling if that makes sense. There is no existing 2nd floor, just some rafters. There is electrical running out there. Currently 1 15amp circuit. I’d need additional circuits for sure.

I would probably want wired Internet.
I have a loud-ish desktop computer but I have an iso-box that it currently sits in.


Building on the ground floor of the garage, or even adding onto the house isn’t really an option unfortunately.

The design would be probably be just 1 room for tracking & mixing.

Outside noise isn’t really a huge issue, pretty quiet neighborhood where we live. It’s residential zone.

A non-isolated build I think would be ok as far as neighbors. But that would limit loud hours to daytime, which is probably fine for the cost / benefit ratio. The other thought is get the basic room built out now geared toward mixing. Then when I save a bit more maybe build an isolation room for drums down the line keeping the other half of the space for control room / mixing.

As far as gear my setup is pretty minimal. I’m mainly running an ITB setup, but I’ve got a few synths, guitar / bass amps. A decent rack of gear. 2 reel to reel machines with an old Tascam desk. Drums. I currently run everything off a 20amp circuit I installed in the basement. Not sure if the existing 15amp circuit would be enough, but surely if I’m going to add heating cooling (which I’ll need for Michigan winter) I’ll prob need another circuit.

Windows would be cool, even if just minimal.

I’m gonna go order that build it like the pros book! Thanks for that recommend.

My original plan was to do a lot of the finishing work myself with a few friends whom I trust. Hire out the bigger stuff, framing, electrical (at least running from the mains) once it’s out there I can do lighting etc.

Thanks again for all this help.
Some of those old tascam desks sound surprisingly good, with their xformer based pre's. Im a fan of tascam.

I would encourage you to find out if you can spare a few inches of ceiling height in the basement. If you can you can get quite a bit of isolation down there.

Could you just build a standalone shed type studio on your property? This would be much cheaper than re building the garage.

If you do decide the garage route you could look into pre-fab/modular additions. There are companies who could add a second floor to your garage, and it would usually be faster and cheaper than typical stick buildouts. Then you could handle the "button up" as they call it, and the inner studio shell yourself.

Modifying the garage will probably not cost much, if any less than building a new garage.

2 big considerations are a floor that can support something like 4" of concrete, and the roof that allows for adequate ventilation but is massive (several layers of sheathing). A "hot roof" is typically what its referred to, and you add layers of sheathing to it.

If you do go the drum room/booth route, you can possiblyleave the door open during mixing to take advantage of the extra square footage for mixing.

Glad you got the book on order it will be a great resource.

Cheers!
Old 24th December 2020
  #12
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Hey Kyle, thanks for hanging with me on all this!

I’m with ya on the old Tascam stuff! I’m a big fan. Currently rocking a 58 1/2” machine with an M-50 mixer & an old 388. Amazing and rugged pieces of gear.

Now just for a moment, if I were to entertain the idea of a drum booth, or even just room in a room kind of basement mod... would I be able to get it to a point I could play drums with kids sleeping in the house? I know I’m at code for the ceiling down here, but thinking I could build something maybe that if / when we sell this place could be taken apart? I’ve seen a few of those prefab isolation drum booths and stuff which seem cool but not sure how many DBs I’d be cutting...

Our yard is just too small to build anything else in it, otherwise a little recording shed would definitely be the way to go.

Anyway thanks for all the help! Starting to feel like I’m at least getting my self prepared for talking to a few contractors friends come Jan.
Old 24th December 2020 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Kyle P. Gushue's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmichael84 ➡️
Hey Kyle, thanks for hanging with me on all this!

I’m with ya on the old Tascam stuff! I’m a big fan. Currently rocking a 58 1/2” machine with an M-50 mixer & an old 388. Amazing and rugged pieces of gear.

Now just for a moment, if I were to entertain the idea of a drum booth, or even just room in a room kind of basement mod... would I be able to get it to a point I could play drums with kids sleeping in the house? I know I’m at code for the ceiling down here, but thinking I could build something maybe that if / when we sell this place could be taken apart? I’ve seen a few of those prefab isolation drum booths and stuff which seem cool but not sure how many DBs I’d be cutting...

Our yard is just too small to build anything else in it, otherwise a little recording shed would definitely be the way to go.

Anyway thanks for all the help! Starting to feel like I’m at least getting my self prepared for talking to a few contractors friends come Jan.
Tascam 34 1/4", 424 mk3 portastudio, and mx-8(?) Desktop mixer here!

If you max out the load bearing using common specs 10-15lbs psf dead load, then you could probably get away with drums 24/7 if the kids rooms weren't right above the studio.

Its so tough to say because some of it is subjective as far as how distracting it could be.

At one of the Triad locations, the booths next to the kit bleed some sound audibly, but not thru the mics, but the control room doesn't, they are completely inaudible. Both similar wall construction. I believe its due to the doors on the booth not having equal mass to the walls.

My point is that a room in room with 2x layers of 5/8 each side has given me silence in one case, and not in the other. Not a scientific assessment there, but illustrates that its possible, and kinda walks the line. (One of the booths has 3x layers inside) for guitars or vocals id say its definitely achieve able, drums possibly. It depends on peoples sensitivity to sound, how loud your kit is, and how much mass you can add to the existing house and new booth.

I'll link some test data for assemblies so you can see how things look for various assemblies.
Attached Files
Old 25th December 2020
  #14
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StillCrazy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
ABOVE THE GARAGE

Hey,

I actually have a studio above my garage. 18 by 28.

I am retired now and know how to use just about any space to get good results when recording. I have owned several commercial studios and was successful with them.

I think it all depends on what you will be using it for. Personal use or commercial use.

Mine is for personal use and I get very good results. Good enough that I actually sell music thru out Europe and Asia.

I have 2 rooms. The studio and the control room. I did no special treatment to the floor. The place I actually spent money was the wall dividing the studio, control room and baffles and sound restraints to contain frequency issues. Less than 2k. Of course I did all the work myself but again I have been doing this for myself over a lot of years.

I use an electronic drums kit and supplement the sound with BFD3 and Slate SSD5. I do mic amps and do vocals with good mics. Good instruments also plays a part. Great guitars great amps, good midi keyboads, great speakers for monitoring etc.

If you have any specific questions I would be happy to communicate with you privately.

Best of luck.

David
Old 9th January 2021 | Show parent
  #15
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Hey thanks for the reply David!

You said you spent less than 2k? I’m assuming you already had a loft / upstairs to the garage?
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