5 Factors to Consider When Converting a Garage into a Living Space

Converting your garage into a den or a living room has become a popular trend and building authorities are making it easier to get permits to accommodate it. Basically, this type of conversion is for people who don’t have enough room for a full-scale extension on their property. Its main benefits include reduced construction work, less structural additions, and the convenience of already having 4 standing walls and a roof to work with.

You can convert your garage to meet your need for expanded living space. It’s up to you if you want to remodel the already built structure of your garage or to transform it completely by repositioning it. However, repositioning the walls or even just increasing ceiling height would add considerably to the overall cost of your extension. You’ll also face the added drawback of changing your existing exterior.

You need to begin the process of transformation with concrete planning and a substantial assessment of dos and don’ts. Evaluation based on the facts will land you a flawless, affordable, and seamlessly renovated space. Consider all the problematic scenarios it could bring to the table later on. And, before you convert your garage, make sure there’s enough space to park your vehicle off the road.

Garage can be transformed into plenty of new designs because of its flexibility. The important thing here is to ask yourself: does your remodeled space blend well with the rest of the house and does it easily adapt to required changes?

Here is a detailed analysis of what to consider before you give up your garage:

Will it add value
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Will it add value

1. Will it add value to my property?

A garage is more important to some than others. Converting it into a living space might cost you an indoor car parking or storage area. So it’s important to ask before you hop into garage remodeling, whether it will add value to your house. It may be that there is ample parking space or a possibility of adding a car port in the compound to replace it. Or, other buildings in the area have also converted their garage into living space making it a safe move.

Anyhow, the perceived value of your garage conversion also depends upon the climate condition of where you are. In areas where the climate is mostly mild, you can manage parking outside, so it’s a great way to make your house spacious. Whereas, contrary to this, in areas where the climate is usually cold, this idea is irrational. Nobody loves to remove heaps of snow before going to work almost every day. It’s a draining job.

Before drawing any conclusions, however, you should note that you can always opt for a metal carport for vehicles, these are quick to assemble and cheap to build even on a limited amount of space.

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Garage as a Living Space

2. Does it need to meet any legalities?

The garage is already a part of your house, you might not require any development permit for its remodeling. But checking with local building authorities could save any unforeseen eventualities.  Make sure its renovation planning complies with the legal requirements of building codes of your state before getting started.

 

3. Basics of conversion

When it comes to garage conversion, you might think it doesn’t require much professional or architectural work. But in fact, it is still important to consult professional building experts to fulfill the basic requirements. After all, you are going to convert a storage area into a living space!

Here are some basics you should include in your plan:

A. Windows: Adding 3 to 4 regular-sized windows to your garage will ensure proper ventilation because garages usually have no windows. In addition, a large-sized window that opens in the backyard lawn can improve the scenic connections between the indoor and outdoor space.

B. Ceiling: It is mandatory to maintain a particular ceiling height as per the municipalities’ building code. Garage ceilings are generally lower than normal house ceilings and are uninsulated. You will require to readjust its height and ensure proper insulation to prevent heat loss during winters.

C. Flooring: Garage floors are built lower than the house floor level, so they need to be leveled. You can add a wooden subfloor on the concrete garage floor to level it with the rest of the house. Frost heaving in winters could be problematic, precautionary measures should be taken to avoid it while flooring. And finally, layering it with epoxy, hardwood, tiles or carpet will add a fancy touch to its finishing.

D. Electric Wiring: More often than not, garages don’t have extensive electric wiring except what is sufficient for a light bulb or so. Habitat transformation will call for upgraded wiring. You would most likely need to install additional wiring for hanging lamps, pendant lights or ceiling bulbs to provide enough lighting to the room. 

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Electric Fittings and HVAC for Your Garage Conversion

E. Heating and Cooling: Garages are dark and neutral. You’ll be required to install HVAC in them, if your home has central air conditioning. If not, then you’ll need to consider separate air conditioning and heating units when converting it to a living place.

F. Walls and Ceiling Insulation: Garage walls are usually uninsulated, which is why you need air-sealing to prevent heat wastage. You can use the same insulation which is used on the rest of your house, but a better option will be a higher possible R-value insulation.  Among popular insulation, choices could be Rock walls, fiberglass, cellulose, and rigid foam insulations.

G. Garage door: Proper insulation is prime to maintain a pleasant indoor temperature. If the garage door has a metal frame, then it’ll definitely affect the indoor atmosphere. That’s because metal is an active conductor of heat and will definitely add to the rising or drop in temperatures of your garage interior. In any case, replacing the door with a large-sized insulated window or sliding door is always a better option, but if you need outside access, then consider matching the rest of the doors/door materials used throughout your home.

4. The layout of the garage

The layout of the garage is marginally different from what’s called a normal room. The garage is far from a perfect square; often longer with a shorter, narrower, width. On that account, it is important to see if it fits your needs or otherwise.

A two-car garage space or three-car garage space could be ideal to renovate it into a living or extended family room. If it’s not spacious you should consider choosing smart accessories to furnish it. Pocket-doors, minimalist window coverings, and compact furniture are all good choices in this regard. Since the structure of the garage is already built, you’ll need to get creative about working with the pre-existing space.

Adding Utilities and Kitchen into a Garage Conversion
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Adding Utilities and Kitchen into a Garage Conversion

5. Budget

An estimated breakdown of the cost could be part of effective planning and will help in budgeting. The actual cost might vary a bit, but you will have your major expenses covered within your budget.

The rough cost estimation is around $5,000 to $30,000 including all basics, depending upon your interior choice, and selection of material quality, furnishing, decorating, contractors’ fee, laborers’ fee, and consultancy fee.

If you want to build an adjacent washroom, then you’ll have to invest in additional plumbing costs. If you are thinking of a new utilities or a fancy kitchen then a gas line, proper heating system, cooling ducts, and exhausting will need to be included. Ultimately, these will add up to the rest of the expenses for your garage conversion.

BONUS: Garage remodelling ideas

The layout of the garage makes it flexible and open to different types of garage conversions. The type you will choose is going to reveal why you want to transform your garage and how it will be beneficial. Therefore, only a well-planned idea can make your dream come true. Choose wisely. Think before you take the leap. Have a look at a few awesome ideas of garage conversion that are practical and creative at the same time, you might be dreaming of:

A kitchen extension

Kitchen in Garage Conversion
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Kitchen in Garage Conversion

Large family room

Large Family Room from Garage Conversion
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Large Family Room from Garage Conversion

Formal dining area

Formal Dining Room in Garage Conversion
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Formal Dining Room in Garage Conversion

Guest Suite

Guest Suite from Garage Conversion
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Guest Suite from Garage Conversion

Movie hangout spot

Home Theater from Garage Conversion
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Home Theater from Garage Conversion

Art and craft studio

Art and Craft Studio from Garage Conversion
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Art and Craft Studio from Garage Conversion

Through garage remodeling, you can make a perfect, dedicated, and self-contained space for your work. From abrilliant gaming room for kids with toy storage to a separate fun hang-out space for teenagers, the sky is your limit.So roll up with your favourite idea and make it a reality!

Edited by Samuel J. Tan