It is recommended that you construct non-load-bearing walls all the way around areas that you do not want to be seen, such as the water heater, the furnace, the laundry area, or the storage space.Should you remove the garage door and replace it with a wall, or should you leave it where it is? In many locations, a wall rather than a door is going to have to be installed. It is recommended that you insulate the garage door if you plan to keep using it. Before you can move forwards with transforming the garage into a living space, you will need to find the answer to this important question.When space is limited, homeowners who already live in cramped quarters may become desperate in their search for ways to create space out of thin air. Converting garages into living space is common in communities that have high housing costs and dense populations of neighbours.
Additionally, in this day and age of online marketplaces for short-term rentals, converting a garage into a living space is one way for homeowners to reduce the cost of their mortgage while continuing to occupy the same home.
It would appear that converting a garage into a living space is the quintessential “do it yourself” home improvement project. A conversion of the garage may appear to be the most logical option given that there are no load-bearing walls or other obstacles in the way, and since the box appears to already exist.
Before moving forwards with this project, you should keep in mind that converting a garage does, in fact, come with a few significant drawbacks.
Should you probably convert your garage into living space when the available living space in your home becomes inadequate to accommodate your needs? That is quite the challenging question!
Converting a garage into a habitable space can be an appealing choice for homeowners who live in homes that are already at or near capacity. It may be an appropriate solution in regions where there is limited opportunity for expansion and where property values are low.
Converting your garage, however, might come with some unwanted consequences. Therefore, give careful consideration to the decision before beginning any work.
Pros And Cons Of Garage Conversions
Because the potential benefits are more than outweighed by the potential drawbacks, converting a garage calls for significantly more careful planning than finishing a basement. Converting an unusable and dark space in the basement into a space that is light-filled, functional, and usable is almost impossible to mess up when remodelling it.
However, this does not apply to a garage. You can convert the space that was previously used for one or more purposes into living space by converting the space that was previously used for the garage into living space. This can be considered a trade of equal value at best. At worst, you depreciate your house.
It is possible that many people would prefer to construct an addition, which would provide more living area but less yard space for outdoor activities. One way to preserve yard space is to expand into the garage. However, many people use their garage as a storage space, and even if you think it would be a good idea to get rid of this extra space, the people who buy your home in the future might have a different opinion.
It is possible to violate local regulations regarding the number of parking spaces that must be provided on-site. Converting a garage almost never results in an increase in the property’s value. The loss of a protected parking space, which is highly valued by many buyers, occurs when a garage is converted into a living space.
In addition, converting a garage requires a lot more work than it might seem like it would. Because the majority of the framework (walls, ceiling, roof, and floor coverings) is already in place, homeowners might decide to convert their garages into living space based on the misconception that the project entails little more than installing a few lights and new flooring.
To the contrary, converting a garage is an expensive, time-consuming, and extensive project that, while not quite on the same scale as building a new addition, is very close to being on that level. Converting a garage into a quality living space can be accomplished on a do-it-yourself basis; however, adding a detached addition to a house is almost never possible without the assistance of a professional.
- There is no loss of yardage.
- Previously constructed structure
- DIY possibility
- A lack of storage space
- Problems with finding parking spaces
- No value gain
Zoning And Legal Issues
Converting a space that was originally intended for vehicles into living quarters that are habitable, safe, and climate controlled raises a number of legal and zoning concerns. When a garage is converted into a habitable and newly conditioned space, it is required to go through a significant transformation in legal status.
The question of whether or not adequate provisions are being made to replace the parking stalls that are being eliminated from the garage is one of the factors that is considered by some municipalities.
The transformation of a garage into a conditioned space necessitates that the garage fulfil certain technical and legal requirements that were not necessary when the area was only used to park vehicles or as a storage space.
In addition to this, the building codes of the majority of municipalities require a variety of permits for the activities that are associated with this conversion. These activities include erecting or moving walls; running water supply or drainage lines; running sewer lines; adding windows; and installing a full electrical system.
Even if the converted space will not be made available on the short-term rental market, many local governments have become more cautious about allowing garage conversions as a result of the proliferation of short-term housing rentals.
Basics Of Converting A Garage Into Living Space
- Windows: Include sufficient window area to allow for the entry of natural light and air. This may mean 5 and a half square feet in some municipalities, or it may refer to a per cent of the overall storage space.
- Ceiling: Keep the ceiling at a minimum height of at least 7 feet and 1/2 inches. If you are also increasing the floor height, it may be difficult to accomplish this task.
- Heat: Maintain a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit by providing heating. Heating options for retrofitting include extending the ductwork for the central heating system that is already in place, installing electric baseboard heaters, and installing fan-driven wall heaters.
- Light: Include at least one light switch that can be easily controlled. The national electrical code mandates the installation of at least one switch of this type in all garages.
- Outlets: In order to satisfy minimum spacing requirements, wall outlets may need to be moved or replaced. It should not be necessary for a cord to stretch further than six feet in order to reach an outlet.
FAQs About Garage Renovation
Can I Use My Garage As A Living Room?
With the garage, you trade out a space that is usable for one or several things for a space that is usable for just one thing—living space. At best, this becomes a one-for-one trade. At worst, you devalue your house. Additionally, garage conversions are more work than they may appear.
Do You Need Planning Permission To Convert Part Of Your Garage?
Planning permission is not usually required to convert your garage into additional living space for your home, providing the work is internal and does not involve enlarging the building.
How Do I Convert My Garage Into A Temporary Room?
Furnish the garage with necessary items in lightweight, versatile pieces. Use a futon from another room or an air mattress. Use a side table as a nightstand or borrow one from a bedroom within the home. Add a chair and fold-away clothes rod to make the space more comfortable.
Can A Garage Be Used As A Bedroom?
A garage can be turned into a simple bedroom or living space for as little as $5,000, but if you require plumbing for a bathroom or kitchen, the project can cost closer to $25,000.
How Much Does It Cost To Convert A Garage Into A Living Room?
Experts agree that the costs for converting a garage can range from $8,000 to $25,000 or more. Major variables include plumbing and electrical work. Plumbing can quickly become a big expense, depending on what you plan to do in your living space.
How To Make A Garage Conversion A Comfortable Space
Insulate The Walls
The walls and ceilings of the majority of garages do not have insulation. In the event that dry wall has already been installed, it will need to be removed before insulation can be put up. When insulating the walls, you can choose to use traditional fibreglass roll insulation, Rockwool, or spray foam insulation. Fiberglass batts should be used to cover the ceiling.
Raise The Floor Height
Most garages are constructed at a lower level than the house they accompany. Even though it’s not required, it’s beneficial to your home if you match the flooring heights by adding sleepers to elevate the floor covering above the concrete garage floor. This can be done. It’s possible that your area will mandate the installation of floor insulation.
Install Floor Covering
Even if you decide to raise the floor by adding sleepers, you will still require some sort of floor covering. The installation of luxury vinyl plank flooring, engineered hardwood, laminate flooring, and tile flooring are all popular options for converting garages.
Install New Drywall Or Finish Existing Drywall
Walls in garages typically do not have a finish applied to them during installation. If the barricades are insulated, you can maintain the drywall that is already there, but you should upgrade the finish to meet the requirements of a higher standard.
Replace Or Insulate The Garage Door
Should you leave the garage door in place or replace it with a wall? Many areas may require that the door be replaced with a wall. If you can keep the garage door, you should insulate the door. This is one major question you will need to address before converting the garage into a living space.
Hide Unsightly Areas
Non-load-bearing walls should be added around areas you do not wish to see, such as the water heater, furnace, laundry area, or storage.
The Top 5 Things To Consider Before Your Garage Conversion Project
Does A Garage Conversion Add Value?
The majority of real estate professionals are of the opinion that converting your garage into a living area does not result in an increase in the value of your home. This is not always the case; it is determined by the location that you call home. In addition, converting your garage into liveable space is not typically recommended for homeowners who intend to sell their homes within the next three to five years. It can be detrimental to the value of your home if you live in areas in which garages are highly sought after (for instance, in snowy regions).
Researching your immediate area is a recommendation made by Andrew Brown, a real estate consultant with Keller Williams Realty in the state of Massachusetts. Have you noticed that the majority of your neighbours have garages? If this is the case, it indicates that garages are highly sought after in the area, and removing one from your property will have a negative impact on your home’s resale value, in addition to reducing the number of potential buyers.
You will need to take into consideration that removing a garage from your property may result in a decrease in the value of your property as well as your ability to sell it, according to another expert remodelling expert from Fixr.com.
However, if the number of square feet in a home is highly prized in your community, turning your garage into liveable space could boost the value of your property, which would be beneficial to you if you ever decide to sell your home. And if you are living in the house that will be your forever home and you are not concerned about the value of your house, transforming your garage into a living space may be an option for you.
What Are The Costs?
According to most industry professionals, the price tag for converting a garage can run anywhere from $8,000 to $25,000 or even more. Work involving plumbing and electricity are examples of major variables.
Depending on what you intend to do with your living space, plumbing can very quickly become a significant expense for you. If you want to convert your garage into a fully functional living space where you can cook, take showers, and use the bathroom, you will need to be prepared for the plumbing installation that will be required. Stephany Smith, a certified plumber from said: To cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500,”
Even though the majority of garages now have electrical wiring, it almost certainly needs to be upgraded. “One expense that will be significant is the electrical work needed to add breakers to accommodate your power needs,”
McBroom is an authority on the subject of home improvement. “Typical garages only have one lighting circuit, so you should expect to add at least one more 20-amp circuit for basic living conditions,” says the chief operating officer of ColonyRoofs in Atlanta.
Because a garage door does such a poor job of retaining heat in the winter and letting it escape in the summer, you will need to replace it with a solid wall. This can be done by converting the door into a solid wall. Other things to think about include how to heat and cool the new living space, insulation, walls, floors, and ceilings, as well as safety measures. The prices go up very quickly!
Car, Tool And Equipment Storage
According to McBroom, there is one more thing that needs to be done, and that is to determine where your vehicle, tools, and other equipment will be stored.
If you live in an area where carports offer sufficient protection from the elements, one choice you have for your vehicle (or vehicles) is to construct a carport. In that case, you’ll have to look for an alternative location in the vicinity. Check to see if there are any parking garages that require payment in the area, or enquire with neighbours about the possibility of using their spare garage space.
You have the option of storing your tools and equipment in the basement of your home or constructing a small shed outside. According to Smith, if you already have the plumbing system installed for it, you can use your newly constructed living space in the garage to store the appliances that are currently located in the basement, such as the washer and dryer. That would clear up some room in the cellar for storing the various tools.
Permits And Laws
When converting a garage into a living space, you should make sure to familiarise yourself with the applicable local regulations and permits. There is a high probability that you will require a building permit, the expense of which will range anywhere from $300 to $1,000 depending on the location you currently call home and the approximate cost of the project. “Be prepared to jump through hoops in order to acquire the necessary permits, as certain municipalities are notorious for making it difficult to convert garages into living spaces,”
Brown points out that in addition to obtaining a permit, you will be required to acknowledge the addition of square feet of liveable space to your property. “If you live in an area that has high property taxes, you should give some thought to this because you’ve already just risen the square footage of your property that is subject to taxation,”
Certain densely populated municipalities have ordinances that mandate a minimum number of off-street parking spaces be provided. Getting their approval for the conversion of your garage can be a very difficult process. In addition, if you are a member of a homeowners’ association, the association will need to give its approval before the project can move forwards.
Are There Better Alternatives?
Another thing to think about is whether or not there is a more suitable alternative. One possibility is to construct a new wing onto the existing structure of your home.
According to Brown, “Oftentimes it is more comfortable to add an addition to the home and it allows you to have a better finished product because you know architecturally and code-wise, everything is sound.”
Increasing the size of the garage is yet another possibility. “Adding a room above your garage may be a better option for resale as it gives you the space you need while at the same time allowing you to keep your existing garage,”
Even though the permits you’ll need could be the same, obtaining the addition approved could be a significantly simpler process. This is due to the fact that many municipalities are fine with these kinds of expansions. What’s the catch? It is very possible that the cost will exceed that of converting a garage.
15 Tips On Garage Conversion Into A Living Space
Everyone’s living environment could benefit from just a tad bit more space. When looking in all directions, whether it be an addition in the back, another floor on top, or a finished basement below, one area off to the side gets overlooked very frequently: the garage.
Converting a garage into a living area is one of the less costly ways to add a significant amount of room to your home. Installing a garage is a separate project from converting a garage into a living space. Given that the exterior structure has already been constructed, all that is required to convert it into an indoor space is the construction of walls, flooring, and other components.
Research Zoning First
The project’s success or failure is highly dependent on the legalities involved in transforming a garage into a living space. Because of the surge in popularity of housesharing arrangements, obtaining conversion permits for garages has become more challenging in some communities.
Even if you have no intention of sharing or renting out the space that you created from your converted garage, you will still be required to research the local regulations regarding the conversion of vehicle space into habitable space. It is possible that in certain circumstances, you will be required to provide sufficient off-street parking in order to compensate for the loss of garage parking stalls.
Adjust Financial Expectations
The cost of converting a garage into a fully functional, habitable space that is permitted will never be low. Instead, think of it as a method of constructing an addition that requires fewer resources. A professionally constructed and contractor-driven garage conversion is estimated to cost between $20,000 and $50,000.
Raise Garage Floor
The level of the house flooring can be as much as 18 inches lower than the level of the garage floor. Raise the floor of the converted garage to the same level as the floor of the house using a raised or sleeper system. Doing so will improve safety and help the space feel more like an extension of the house.
Hide Functional Areas
The water heater, the furnace, the laundry room, and many other household functions likely all reside in your garage. Conceal these services by constructing closets or interior walls so that you don’t have to deal with the mess and expense of moving them.
Widen Access Door
By making the door that connects the house and the converted garage larger, you can encourage traffic flow between the two locations. If the footprint of the house allows for it, you can create the impression of a more open floor plan by having the width of the door doubled by running a greater beam across the header.
Create Covered Parking
Are you crazy about your car? You will shudder in horror when you see it sitting in the open driveway exposed to the snow, rain, sun, and pine sap. Create shelter for your automobiles by constructing a carport. Be sure to provide an external power source for electric vehicles if you have them.
Improve Exterior Appeal
When converting a garage, it’s easy to get caught up in the visuals on the inside and forget about how the new structure will look from the outside. Working with an architect has a number of benefits, one of which is that this trained professional will assist you in making the garage conversion blend in with the rest of the home’s exterior. This may require making significant alterations to the fascia of the house so that it is compatible with the wall that is used to cover the garage door opening.
Install Insulated Garage Door
Another way to camouflage the garage conversion is to go the opposite direction: leave the garage door in place. One benefit is that you can occasionally raise the garage door to open up the living space to the outside. If you go this route, replace your current garage door with an insulated garage door.
Create Driveway Separation
There is nothing that screams “garage conversion” quite like a driveway that terminates in an empty wall. Adjust the length of the driveway so that it terminates in front of the garage if you plan to get rid of the garage door.
You can make a planting bed for shrubs or flowers by removing the last few feet of concrete or brick and breaking it up into smaller pieces. This little divider is all that’s needed to make a clear distinction between both the driveway and the garage from an aesthetic standpoint.
Build Supplemental Storage
When people move into a garage, stuff moves out. Much of the plentiful storage you counted on with the garage will go away. As a replacement, build a dry storage shed on a concrete slab for safe storage. Or move large items to an off-site rental storage facility.
Projects That Make Your Garage More Liveable
Even if a complete conversion of your garage is beyond your financial or time constraints, there are still steps you can take to make the space more hospitable. Make a place for people to congregate, such as an outdoor pub, wine bar, workshop, or even just a general hangout spot, for their friends and neighbours.
Although these smaller projects do not result in fully habitable garage space, their construction is simpler and less expensive than that of larger ones, which is their primary advantage.
Create Activity Zones
When you have a two- or three-car garage, you have the option of separating one of the parking spaces from the others by installing a wall, a movable room divider, or a curtain. You could turn this room into a home gym, a yoga studio, or an office.
Install Epoxy Coating Or Floor Mats
The floors in garages are often unsightly, as they tend to crack and become stained with grease and oil. By applying a clear epoxy sealant to the garage floor, you can improve both the appearance and the general atmosphere of your garage in just a few hours. There is also the possibility of installing ridged, interlocking garage floor tiles, which is recommended in particular for garage surfaces that are too oily for epoxy coating.
Build Open-Air Wine Bar Or Pub
While maintaining the space for parking vehicles, you could instal a bar or some casual seating to one side of the garage. In these more relaxed areas, you might find vintage arcade games, beer taps, wine coolers, coolers filled with wine, or even just coolers filled with wine.
Add Wi-Fi Or Ethernet Cable
A screen is an essential component of any good garage hangout space, whether it’s for watching movies, watching sports on Sunday afternoon, or playing video games with friends. Installing a Wi-Fi signal booster will help improve the quality of the signal in the garage. Alternately, you could run an additional Ethernet cable all the way through to the garage so that you could directly wire your devices connected to the internet.
Add Basic Drywall
Sometimes the walls of garages are constructed without any insulation or drywall at all. Even if you don’t plan on turning the garage into a living space, you should still drywall it over and add insulation to keep the temperature in the space comfortable. Simply hanging the drywall is all that is required; it does not require finishing, sanding, or painting.
If you’re looking for a way to widen your home without shelling out the cash for a full-scale addition, able to convert your garage into living space will typically add about 600 square feet (assuming it’s a two-car garage). This is a good option to consider.
The upbeat news is that your costs will be lower than they would be if you built an addition. The unfortunate news is that it’s possible that your car will be damaged, and your neighbours might not like the idea.