A garage conversion is probably the smartest way to extend your living space. If the garage is attached to your home, it’s easier to convert it into a room. You can build a home office, extend your kitchen, create an extra bedroom or family room – the possibilities are endless.
If you have a large garage, you can even turn it into a second dwelling and rent it out to get an extra income.
Functional in a number of ways, a garage conversion is a worthy investment.
However, like any other home remodeling project, it’s crucial to plan your garage conversion properly. Here are the key things to consider before converting your garage into a room.
With everything taken into consideration, the garage conversion cost is often cheaper than adding an extra room onto your house, as there are no heavy construction or foundational changes involved.
Based on the building codes in your location, any addition to your home might require an expensive foundation to be built. If the garage is already up-to-code, it’s easier to bypass these expenses.
The money saved from dealing with these additional costs can be applied to your interior design, electricity, plumbing, and finishing touches to build a new, comfortable living room.
Is the garage attached to your home? If so, you can extend your existing heating/cooling system into an extra space. If not, consider an independent system.
For instance, you can supply heat via gas space heaters or electric baseboards wood stoves. A room air conditioner can handle warm weather easily. Don’t forget to add insulation to the ceiling, walls, and floor before choosing what you’ll be cooling or heating the space with.
Radiant floor heating systems are a great option – you can install one easily on your existing concrete slab.
If you are planning to turn your garage into a room that requires plumbing, it might get a bit tricky.
As you know, supplying water to your garage is hassle-free, but drainage can be problematic. Talk to a plumber to figure out what your best options are. Also, keep in mind that additional plumbing lines are almost always the most noteworthy expense in garage conversion projects.
Ultimately, the room doesn’t necessarily require plumbing – it’s just a viable option for those considering a ”Granny flat”.
If you wish to increase the electrical usage in your converted space, consider adding at least one 20-amp circuit.
While most garages have single lighting circuits, rooms require more electrical service compared to that. It will take a few extra circuits if you want to use appliances in your converted space.
Remember, if you’re turning a separated garage into a living room, you can fish extra wiring from your house through the underground conduit.
Make sure to consult a professional for further assistance and to avoid any accidents.
Your garage should be structurally fit and safe to turn into a room. You can do this by hiring an expert remodeler to examine your entire house. If it’s not structurally sound, no worries. You can still transform it into whatever you want – it’ll just require a little more work.
Usually, garage walls are single course brickwork which might not match building regulations for insulation and moisture. You can fix this issue by incorporating an interior insulated stud wall. You can accommodate insulation on the inside comfortably.
In addition, you can add partitions to make an extra room or two by installing sliding/folding walls or curtains.
Measure the ceiling height of your garage and see how it compares with your main room’s ceiling height. This is by no means a deal-breaker but will ensure what needs to be done in order to turn the garage into a functional room.
Windows and Doors
Installing windows will make your new space feel less like a garage conversion and more like an actual room. If the garage is facing your garden, replace one wall with a folding sliding door or a floor-to-ceiling window to make it look more spacious.
It’s possible that your garage door might need a replacement too, which basically means you’ll require new foundations. But there are several options to choose from. For instance, you can have lintels set below the ground level that’ll bear on the existing foundations.
Focus on why you’re converting your garage into a living space in the first place. It will help you determine the right floor plan for your new room.
For instance, consider the accent point you already have to the garage and check if any separate access points will make it easier for you. When organizing a floor plan, consider your room’s measurements to decide where to place your furniture and other items. If you wish to use a part of the new room for storage, this step should be taken into consideration.
Project Essentials – At a Glance
Regardless of what you’re planning to do with your garage space, a garage transformation project requires some key preliminary steps to be taken. Let’s check them out:
- Creating a renovation project plan – consult a professional to make sure your new space acts in accordance with the local regulations and codes;
- Laying plumbing pipes to prevent water penetration;
- Raising the floor to enable insulation over the concrete floor slab;
- Fully insulating the ceiling, the walls, and the floor for ideal humidity and temperature control;
- Ensuring proper plumbing and electrical wiring;
- Installing a cooling and heating system, tying it to your home’s main installation or setting up a new one;
- Adding some extra windows;
- Replacing the garage door;
- Designing in-house access to your new room through knocking down a partition wall and setting up an open floor plan, or by simply adding a door between the old garage and your main house;
- And finally, the new room should have the same security system as all the other rooms in your home.
Tips for Converting Your Garage Space For Aging Family
- Look up universal design – the composition and design of a room that can be used, understood and accessed to the highest extent possible by everyone no matter the age, size, or disability
- Eliminate thresholds. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to cross thresholds even 1/2″ high when using a walker
- Make doorways a little wider to support wheelchairs
- Keep the floor color and countertop color in high contrast
- Avoid shiny high-gloss surfaces
When you need more living space, garage conversions can be an extremely cost-effective option. It’s time to park your car on the drive, clean up your garage, and consider the tips mentioned above to add value to your home.