(Topic ID: 241428)

Detached Garage Gameroom: Fantasy or Feasible?


By Hoopoebird

53 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 29 posts
  • 21 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 45 days ago by rufessor
  • Topic is favorited by 7 Pinsiders

You

Linked Games

No games have been linked to this topic.

    Topic Gallery

    There have been 3 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

    10152379565890716 (resized).jpg
    10152669679560716 (resized).jpg
    20190331_154600 (resized).jpg

    #1 53 days ago

    Okay, Pinside. Help me fantasize here.

    I've always wanted an awesome pinball arcade in my home. When my wife and kids and I bought our house three years ago, I started looking around to see where games might go. But our house is a semi-detached row house in the city, and we still don't have a lot of room. I've spent a lot of mental energy searching for wall space. There's no room downstairs, and there's no room upstairs. Believe me, I've looked.

    I did get a #monopoly a little while ago, my first game in this house, with the guarantee to my wife that I'd put it in the attic. As soon as it was in the door, it was obvious I could never fit it up the attic stairs. Oops. It now sits in the dining room, which is fine with me, but not so fine with my wife. Then someone on Craigslist was selling a decrepit #star-explorer, so now there are 1.5 games in my dining room.

    I have a basement, but the previous owners redid it as a separate suite, and now we use it as an Airbnb. The ceiling is too low for pins anyway.

    So: The one place I could really, truly turn into an arcade is my garage. Is this madness?

    First, a bit about the garage. It's detached from the house (on the other side of the small backyard, facing the alley). It's unfinished, no insulation or drywall or ceiling, and the floor is bare cement. It's a two-car garage with a decently new garage door, a decrepit and barely functional human door, and a single small window. It has no heat, A/C, or other climate control. It does have electricity, but it's not very robust. A friend recently plugged in his hybrid car to charge, and it tripped the circuit breaker.

    My questions:

    1. Excluding the cost of the pins themselves, roughly how much would it cost to finish the garage and make it an arcade? Presumably I'd need to insulate and finish the walls, finish the ceiling, do something (what?) with the floor, paint, add a window A/C unit, ensure the electricity is sufficient, and do something (what?) about heating in the winter. And replace the door and window. Is this, like, a $5000 job, or a $50,000 job? Assume that I'm not overly handy and would need to hire professionals to do pretty much all of this.

    2. Is it a mistake to put a pinball arcade in a garage regardless? Climate control is a must, I assume, but garage doors aren't very good at keeping climate controlled. I live in DC; it can get up to 100 sometimes in the summer, and in the teens in the winter.

    3. Are there zoning laws that would preclude me from doing this with my own garage anyway?

    4. Even if I can control the temperature and humidity, is this level of exposure so detrimental to pins that I'd be an idiot to put nice machines out there?

    Thanks in advance for any advice. I keep thinking about this every time I see the garage, and I want to know whether to push it out of my head because it's too expensive or just a bad idea, or to keep hope alive.

    #2 53 days ago

    Your idea will not be cheap. May I suggest talking to a local bar and putting your Monopoly there so you make money/undo the burden of having a pin in your dining room?

    #3 53 days ago
    Quoted from MeNaCeFiRe:

    Your idea will not be cheap. May I suggest talking to a local bar and putting your Monopoly there so you make money/undo the burden of having a pin in your dining room?

    You really need insurance and an LLC to properly protect yourself. Not cheap either, but less expensive than remodeling.

    Quoted from Hoopoebird:

    Is this, like, a $5000 job, or a $50,000 job?

    Maybe a $15k-$20k job, if you do a bunch of it yourself.

    You'll probably need to hire an electrician to do the electrical work. If the cabling running to the garage isn't sufficient (and it probably isn't rated to run much more than a light bulb and motor), you'll probably need to run new lines to it to support one or several 20a circuits.

    Insulation, sheetrocking, spackling, and painting isn't rocket science, so most reasonably handy people can do that with the proper tools and YouTube training. Labor is expensive, and the project cost would probably go up another $5-$10k if you hire out.

    You'll have to ask your county clerk what permits you'll need. Because you'll need electrical work done, you'll need a permit for at least that, among some of the other improvements.

    Possible, yes. Cheap...eh, not particularly.

    #4 53 days ago

    Not cheap. I just spent 7 months completely redoing my garage - almost exactly like what you are talking about.. from nothing and a buried wire from house for electrical to insulated, new electrical (including new subpanel and ug run to main in house), finished, added a window and replaced another, new door, some paint..etc. I did it all myself with exception of running ug feed which an electrician friend helped with (more I helped him a little). Added thermostat and electric heaters.

    It’s run around $7k somehow. Thats with concrete floors (gonna stain them eventually). Permits will run you an extra $500-$1000 probably. If you need a subpanel in garage (and you probably will if you want multiple circuits) your main would have to have room for the breakers and capacity for it.

    I got a quote initially on only upgrading the electrical and a new main in house at around $6k alone.

    $20k — yep that’s probably realistic if you hire out and need to UG a new electric feed. maybe more like $25k in the end since these things always tend to go over budget. The thing is — with your temp swings you’re gonna pay a bunch of extra $$$ to keep that climate controlled allthe time to boot. Don’t know how realistic it really is unless you gotta lotta cash to blow.

    #5 52 days ago

    If you aren't doing the work yourself, it will add up quickly. Last year I built a "shed" that is not attached to my house. It isn't a shed, it is basically a house, minus plumbing. Full insulation, drywall, siding, electrical, the whole deal (again minus plumbing). It is 24x36. Total cost doing it myself was just under $40k. The only thing I subbed out was concrete ($7k cash side deal) and electrical ($4k cash side deal).

    I could easily see your cost quickly jumping to $20-30k having others doing the work. As far as heating and cooling go, they will actually be the least of your cost in a project like this. A minisplit (Google it if you don't know what it is) is a great solution for a design like this. They are inexpensive and fairly efficient. Insulation will be critical in a design like this, but not overly challenging.

    As far as legality, I am not sure why there would be any sort of zoning for having a nicer "garage" than everyone else Just make sure you pull permits and have the right people working on the project.

    #6 52 days ago

    Your Prius friend would appreciate a 220v outlet in the garage. Later on you could also use the outlet for some serious tools .

    #7 52 days ago

    For heating and cooling look into a split system. I put one in my garagecade in Vegas. Cost was 1200$ plus install of the electrical. A window unit will not cut it.

    #8 52 days ago

    It can be done with doing some yourself for fairly reasonable money. I have a 24x24 garage that's about 150 feet from the house that I did exactly the same thing. Keep in mind that I'm only using half the garage being a game room. Here's a list of what it cost me to build.

    Divider wall (wood only) $178.00
    Electrical with new 200 amp panel. $346.00
    This includes 3 20amp circuits down 3 different walls
    New ac unit for entire garage. $2476.00
    Got lucky and knew a ac guy to help install. Paid him $500
    Insulation for only the 12x24 side including ceiling insulation. $650
    Sheet rock with mud and paint. $324.00
    New double door. $689
    I didn't keep all receipt but spent about $300 for locks, interior door and lighting.

    Keep in mind that I did most of the work my self which can save a ton of cash. Installed indoor outdoor carpet months later but dont have a receipt for some reason. Good luck

    #9 52 days ago

    I agree about zoning and permits, in general you shouldn't need too much, nothing different than if you were doing remodeling inside your house. However yes anything electrical usually requires a permit. But that does vary depending on your local govt so you have to check your codes. Around here -any- electrical work in the home requires a permit. However, you could do it yourself if you wanted to (city will come and inspect your work). I know in other places, it is also a requirement that only a licensed electrician can touch anything electrical.

    The one thing they do look for is any modification that could possibly turn that garage into a living space, that is, a bedroom. That is where you have to be careful. I think this would be triggered by adding plumbing or a bathroom, which it doesn't sound like you want to do. You gotta check your local codes. Once it becomes defined as a bedroom or living space, then there will be a bunch more codes and rules to comply with, including such things as egress (in case of fire) which includes placement and size of windows and such.

    Sure its gonna cost you. But it all depends how bad you want it and if you can afford it. I have seen lots of threads in the game room forum that include spending a lot more than this just on the game room structure. The pins demand it!

    #10 52 days ago
    Quoted from Gumby510:

    For heating and cooling look into a split system. I put one in my garagecade in Vegas. Cost was 1200$ plus install of the electrical. A window unit will not cut it.

    I wish I would have looked at this before installed a standard split unit.

    #11 52 days ago
    Quoted from Hoopoebird:

    Detached garage game room: fantasy or feasible?

    First of all, you can't be detached about your game room - you need to be fully committed to it!
    And if you want to go with a fantasy theme, then you'll need games like Lord of the Rings or a 1987 Gottlieb Arena.
    Or else go with less popular games in player's condition or worse so their low prices make them feasible to purchase.

    Glad I could help.

    #12 52 days ago

    here in the UK loads of folks have converted their garage into an arcade...

    #13 52 days ago

    If you are in a cold climate, remember the on going cost of heating never ends. The games according to pinball lore will not survive unheated.
    I keep most of my games at a camp in Maine. I remove the backglasses every fall. They seem to do fine.

    #14 52 days ago

    keep in mind taxes ..... your town will classify the space differently and bump up your taxes quite a bit each year (the cost that keeps taking from you)

    #15 52 days ago
    Quoted from Max_Badazz:

    keep in mind taxes ..... your town will classify the space differently and bump up your taxes quite a bit each year (the cost that keeps taking from you)

    Occasionally! An existing garage shouldn’t add to existing taxes. DC you might need to pull permits but if you’re fast you can do it yourself and they’ll never know

    I don’t use my garage as a gameroom, I use it as a storage and workbench/room and to entertain for parties.

    I dug a trench, kept all the grass clumps to the side, daisy-chained off an existing 20a circuit in the house that has very little load on it (rarely used wall outlets) smacked a new outlet on the side of the house and chained off that, and put in a decent shutoff in the garage so if ever it trips anything it will cut power in the garage and not affect the house circuit. My electrician friend helped me and by the end of the day I emptied a little dirt and patted all the grass back down and you’d never know I dug a 30ft long 2ft deep trench. It blended perfectly!

    Also my garage is anchored by huge 4x4’s and technically doesn’t have a floor or foundation so if the city ever tries to bitch and claim it’s a taxable outbuilding or some nonsense, I can rip it out of the ground fairly simply if I take the right steps and the post I mounted the electrical too is not directly tied to the structure.

    While not exactly ideal for an outdoor garagecade, you could use some of the same ideas I believe. The only issue is really the moisture/humidity and the cold. Those will destroy your nice games. Run a dehumidifier and go with the split system to get both heating and cooling.

    #16 52 days ago

    I have a large single car garage and it was fairly inexpensive IF you do the work yourself.

    Start loading up on contractors and you will go broke in a hurry.

    I insulated, finished the walls in plywood with a two tone white/gray deck paint, ran two 20 amp circuits off the panel with a large number of outlets, insulated garage door and installed a window mounted 8000 BTU a/c unit with a wall sleeve. The a/c unit has no problem keeping it cool during the summer, excellent insulation is the key to hanging on to your heat or cooling for as long as possible. Split system is good advice if you are starting from scratch.

    I think total cost was well under $2000, but the labor was all mine.

    Walls are done in plywood as it was suppose to be a workshop and I wanted durable walls and the ability to remove panels if additional wiring or other modifications are required.

    10152669679560716 (resized).jpg20190331_154600 (resized).jpg

    #17 51 days ago

    I don't like the basic idea behind this thread. I love my pins, but I love my cars, too, and would never give up garage space to pins.

    #18 51 days ago
    Quoted from littlecammi:

    I don't like the basic idea behind this thread. I love my pins, but I love my cars, too, and would never give up garage space to pins.

    I built a bigger box for the cars

    10152379565890716 (resized).jpg
    #19 51 days ago

    If you look at the costs provided above, a rule of thumb is do it yourself, maybe around $18-$20 square foot. Having it done, average of $40-$50 square foot. This is seems to be in line with RSMeans, the industry accepted renovation and new construction cost estimator. Looking at D.C., I thought the adjustment would be higher than the national average, but it was cheaper, with a weighted average of 95.2%. So, do more yourself or lower your finish quality, closer to the lower end, or hire it out, insulated, climate control with good electrical and drywall finishes, closer to the higher amount.

    #20 51 days ago

    As someone who works in Property Management in Washington DC I would say do NOT get a permit. The permit process in DC is very slow and cumbersome, many contractors are willing to work without them. No issues with zoning as your garage is not becoming a domicile and you are not running plumbing to it, if you have an HOA then check with them first. Hire an electrician to connect a new panel and run some outlets. You might be able to do the framing/drywall/insulation but I would hire someone to do it right unless you are experienced. I know some reasonable contractors, if you are interested send me a PM. I think the mini split system is the perfect option for heat/AC in a pinball garage. I would also add a dehumidifier and run it during the summer, these are cheap and easy to set up. I would keep the cement floor and see if you can paint it and seal it, I have seen some really cool garage floor art done in friend's houses and if sealed it really lasts.

    The big question is the garage door. How old is your garage door? Are the seals on the bottom in good shape? If not can they be replaced? Do you have evidence of rodents in the garage? Is it an electric door or manual? Is it secure?

    #21 51 days ago

    (Also I loved your book!)

    #22 51 days ago
    Quoted from LargemouthAss:

    As someone who works in Property Management in Washington DC I would say do NOT get a permit.

    I was hesitant to bring this up but agree 100%. If the exterior of the garage doesn't change and you are just sprucing up the interior no need to kick that dog. Here in CT you will start being taxed for the upgrades as soon as the ink is dry on the paperwork. Half the time they don't bother to look in the garage during assessment every 10 years and you can always fill it to the rafters with empty boxes

    #23 51 days ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    I was hesitant to bring this up but agree 100%. If the exterior of the garage doesn't change and you are just sprucing up the interior no need to kick that dog. Here in CT you will start being taxed for the upgrades as soon as the ink is dry on the paperwork. Half the time they don't bother to look in the garage during assessment every 10 years and you can always fill it to the rafters with empty boxes

    I would typically agree with this as well, if it weren't for the electrical work that needs to be done. While electrical isn't overly difficult, should something happen and the electrical was the cause, and you didn't get a permit, you would most likely be in for a world of hurt (especially from your insurance company).

    #24 51 days ago

    I agree with pretty much everything forceflow said.
    I think the most cost you will have will be in the electrical.
    I did my electrical last year, I went from 150amp to 200 amp on my house which needed done and then had them go ahead and run it to the garage. They installed a sub panel in the garage and it is now 220V. So I can run my heater in the winter and ac in the summer. As well as compressor, sander, radio!
    I would say look into the cost, do some measuring and see how much material you will need.
    Have a electrician come by and shoot you a bid, most will do free bids.
    Is it worth it, Depends on if the wife will make you sleep out there when you buy your first NIB!

    #25 51 days ago

    If you don’t want to spend all that much money I would think you could get an electrician run an underground line to your garage and put in some electrical outlets and probably get it done for around $2000. Replace the door and get a window air-conditioner and a decent space heater and move the monopoly out there. You would at least have the start of a game room. Who needs sheet rock to play pinball

    #26 48 days ago

    Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions! I really appreciate it. It seems like the big issue is climate control--no point putting nice pins out in variable weather that will degrade them, and climate control means heat, AC, and insulation. Plus the electric is a must. Maybe I'll start watching some YouTube vids to see how much of this I can do on my own. Then it's a matter of convincing my wife.

    #27 46 days ago

    You can do it all w/ YouTube vids!! But I’d get someone who knows what they are doing for electrical. Everything else, you can totally do it.

    #28 45 days ago

    Absolutely get a mini-split AC/heat system.

    One thing I’d consider splurging on is closed-cell spray foam insulation. Much higher R value per inch so your HVAC doesn’t run as hard, better moisture barrier so your dehumidifier doesn’t run 24/7 all summer, better noise barrier in case the games bug your neighbors. Costs more upfront, worth it in the long haul. Fringe benefit, it improves structural rigidity to prevent racking (or worse) in high winds.

    An even cheaper bang-for-your-buck splurge is a three-layer insulated garage door. That upgrade alone prevented freezing pipes above our attached garage. Regular single-layer steel garage doors are basically just a wind barrier; metal is a conductor.

    #29 45 days ago

    I am assuming this is a new idea and a new endeavor and you dont have any real experience doing this work. . . .

    If you are going to do this yourself and you are turning to you tube to do so (this is fine and a good idea), just remember that good tools are not cheap. And cheap tools make it really hard to do good work.

    So budget a couple thousand for tools. A good drill (cordless) that has enough power to run continuously for a while is 300 and nice one can be quite a bit more- want a decent chop saw to get consistent cuts- you can spend 600-800 and thats not buying super high end (Festool etc).

    Many many years ago I decided to do what your contemplating. I paid myself- aways buying high quality tools and not paying contractors. After some practice your work will be every bit that of a contractor-

    Just be prepared- if this is really new to you, its going to go slow as shit and you will rip out more than one part and redo. Thats fine!

    Also- be careful. If you buy quality tools they have a lot of power behind them and can cause horrid injuries very quickly (blink of an eye). Work super carefully.

    Enjoy!

    Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
    $ 48.00
    Cabinet - Other
    ModFather Pinball Mods
    $ 89.95
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    Super Skill Shot Shop
    $ 11.95
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    ULEKstore
    $ 12.99
    Eproms
    Matt's Basement Arcade
    $ 68.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    PinWorlds
    $ 4,800.00
    Pinball Machine
    Great American Pinball
    $ 69.99
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    $ 35.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    3D MODS
    From: $ 5,799.00
    Pinball Machine
    Flip N Out Pinball
    From: $ 75.00
    Magazines/books
    The Flipper Room
    $ 7,700.00
    Gameroom - Decorations
    The Flipper Room
    $ 14.99
    Electronics
    PinballElectronics.com
    $ 29.99
    Cabinet - Sound/Speakers
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    $ 24.95
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    The MOD Couple
    From: $ 9.99
    Eproms
    Matt's Basement Arcade
    From: $ 5.00
    Cabinet - Other
    Rock Custom Pinball
    $ 11.95
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    ULEKstore
    $ 279.95
    $ 10.95
    $ 5.00
    Playfield - Decals
    Doc's Pinball Shop
    $ 299.00
    Displays
    Boston Pinball Company
    From: $ 19.50
    Apparel - Unisex
    ArcadeMade
    $ 69.99
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    Lighted Pinball Mods

    Hey there! Got a moment?

    Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside