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Revamp Your Home Without Breaking the Bank: Garage Conversion for Additional Living Space

As homeowners look to optimize their space, the idea of converting their garage is increasingly popular. This project can expand usable space, but it is important to think through the conversion thoroughly and plan. Many homeowners don’t know where to start when it comes to planning a garage conversion. With the right considerations, the project can be a great investment for homeowners looking to maximize their homes. 

This blog post will discuss the important factors to consider when planning a garage conversion, from budgeting to design. We will guide how to weigh the pros and cons of a garage conversion and the best way to make sure the project is successful. With the right planning and preparation, the garage conversion can be a great way to expand your living space and increase the value of your home.

What is Garage Conversion?

A garage conversion is converting an existing garage into a functional living space, such as an extra bedroom, a home office, or a game room. This can be a great way to add additional living space to your home without having to build an addition. It can also be a cost-effective way to add value to your home. 

The garage conversion process typically includes insulation, drywall, electrical wiring, and sometimes plumbing installation. Depending on the type of space you want, you may consider installing cabinetry, flooring, and other finishing touches. Additionally, depending on the local building codes in your area, you may need to obtain a permit for your garage conversion project.

Pros and Cons of Garage Conversions

When considering a garage conversion, it is important to carefully consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of the project. Here are some of the factors to take into account when evaluating a garage conversion:

1. Cost of Savings

One of the key advantages of converting a garage into a living space is the potential cost savings. It’s typically much more affordable than constructing an entirely new room, depending on the garage’s size and the project’s scope. It can lead to substantial savings in costs related to materials, labor, and permits. 

Additionally, since the garage’s walls, floor, and roof are already in place, much of the structural work required for a new addition is already taken care of.

2. Increased Property Value

Depending on the amount of work you invest in the conversion, you could see a significant jump in the market value of your home. Investing in quality materials, labor, and design features can contribute to your property’s overall value and appeal.

A well-done conversion can make your home more attractive to potential buyers, allowing you to command a higher price for the property. 

3. Building Regulations

When converting a garage into a livable space, many regulations and building codes must be followed to ensure the project is completed safely and meets all applicable standards. This includes building codes that relate to safety and structural integrity, fire safety, plumbing, electrical, heating, and ventilation.

Check with your local building authority about the regulations that apply to your specific project, but most regulations address a few common concerns.

4. Size and Layout Limitations

Depending on the size of your garage, it may not be able to be converted into a suitable space. If you are hoping to turn it into a bedroom or other living area, the space may be too small to comfortably make it into such a room.

The layout of your garage may prohibit you from building a new structure that could be converted into a living space. If this is the case, you may have to decide between having more living space or more garage space, which is often necessary for homeowners with hobbies or other activities requiring lots of space.

5. Structural Integrity

One of the biggest concerns for homeowners who are considering converting their garage into a livable space is the structural integrity of the property’s foundation. If the foundation is unsafe, you may have to spend more money on new foundation components or even tear down the entire garage and start over.

Taking steps to maintain the property’s structural integrity will ensure that the conversion is a success and doesn’t lead to a bigger renovation than originally planned.

Garage Conversion: The Basics

You have an existing garage that you want to convert into a new living space. Your garage already has a concrete slab, a roof, and walls. As a next step, add the following to the garage in order to make it habitable:

  • A CeilingThe ceiling height is an important consideration. To be classified as a habitable space, a room needs to have a minimum ceiling height of 2.4 m (8’).
  • Internal claddingIs your existing garage made of concrete, or is it an older wood structure? If the garage is made of concrete, and you want to convert it into a living space, then a new interior cladding that is weatherproof and fireproof is the best option.
  • FlooringDo you want to renovate the existing concrete slab or install a new floor? The flooring should be durable, resistant to water, and easy to clean.
  • LightingThe existing ceiling height of your garage should allow for sufficient lighting. If not, consider adding recessed lighting in the ceiling.
  • VentilationA ducted heating and cooling system will be required for these spaces, so it is important to ensure the ventilation system works with the current layout of the garage.
  • Heating and CoolingIf you are converting your garage into a living space, you may also want to install a heating and cooling system. The ventilation in the garage will be necessary to properly circulate the air, which in turn makes possible an efficient heating or cooling system.

Garage Conversions: Making them Comfortable

In order to make your garage a comfortable place to live in, there are a few things that are going to be necessary before starting the conversion phase. 

1. Insulate Walls

Garage walls are normally made of drywall, and the insulating value is pretty low. There are insulation kits that can be installed after removing the drywall. This will make your garage comfortable to live in during hot summers or cold winters. You may use conventional fiberglass roll insulation and spray foam insulation for the walls. You can also use fiberglass batts for the ceiling.

2. Elevate the Floor

Sleepers can be used to elevate the floor. These sleepers are made of wood and can be installed on top of existing concrete. This will make your garage more comfortable because you’ll get rid of cold concrete floors, which also helps eliminate moisture problems. Some localities may need floor insulation to be added to the garage floor, but this is not a requirement. You can also use radiant barrier insulation for your garage flooring, which has excellent insulating properties.

3. Install a Floor Covering

A floor covering is still necessary even if you raise the floor with sleepers. This is to ensure that you have a comfortable space to walk in. The most commonly used floor coverings in garages are made from durable materials like ceramic tiles, luxury vinyl plank flooring, engineered wood, or laminate flooring. 

4. You May Install New Drywall or Finish the Existing Drywall

Most garages are typically installed with a non-finish-quality wall. This may cause the drywall to crack and ultimately fall apart. However, If the walls are properly insulated, you may keep your existing drywall but add a few finishing touches. You may paint the walls, install crown gold metal tin drywall, or replace it with new drywall. 

5. Insulate or Replace the Garage Door

There are areas that require the door to be replaced with a quality-made wall. But if you want to keep the garage door, you should take steps to insulate the door. So you should take time to think whether you want to leave the garage door or replace it with a wall.

6. Cover Up Unsightly Areas

Non-load-bearing walls must be added around spaces you wish not to see, like the furnace, water heater, storage, or laundry area.

Types of Garage Conversions 

Converting your garage into additional living space is an excellent way to increase the value of your home. However, it is important to remember that no two garage conversions are the same. Even if the differences seem small, it is important to take them into account before making any decisions.

1. Full Integral single garage conversion

Integral garages are the most common type and one of the most cost-effective options. They are attached to the main walls of your property and are typically accessed via the utility room or the kitchen.

2. Partial garage conversion

The rear of the existing garage is usually converted into the new living space allowing normal usage of the front, dividing both areas by a wall. This is a good option if you need garage storage and are on a tight budget.

3. Double garage conversion

Double garages provide a great opportunity to get more space than a single garage. Many people use half the space for parking and storage, making it a great option for those who need extra space for their vehicles and other belongings.

4. Detached garage conversion

Converting a detached garage into additional living space can be a great way to increase the value of your property; however, it may require more design, insulation, and construction work. Depending on your local regulations, you may need to seek planning permission which could be costly. Despite the additional cost and effort, the potential results can be truly remarkable. Furthermore, if it is close enough, you may be able to install an integrated passageway to enhance accessibility.

Final Thoughts

A garage conversion is a popular way to add extra living space to your home and increase the value of your property. However, following all local regulations, building codes, and standards are important before beginning any project.

While garage conversion will almost always come with an upfront cost, you may be able to recoup those costs by selling your home or potentially increasing its value.

Are you looking for a trusted and reliable garage conversion expert? Cabal Construction can help you! We provide you with a wide range of services, including renovations and extensions. 

Contact us today for more.