When you need more room for your family or want to add on a game room, gym, or even a spare bedroom, converting your garage into a living space may be something you’re considering. There is a lot to plan for with a garage conversion though, with plenty of pros and cons. The project requires a bit more work than refinishing a basement, but it is a less expensive way to add a large amount of room to your home.
Before converting your garage into a living space, we’ll walk you through some tips and things to consider.
The Downsides of a Garage Conversion
There are some cons to trading your garage space for a living space. As a garage, the space can be used for more than just storing vehicles. It can also be used for storage, as a laundry room, or as a work area. And even if you think getting rid of this extra space is a good idea, if you ever plan to sell your home, future homebuyers may not agree.
You’ll also want to think about your vehicles. If you don’t have anywhere else to park them indoors, converting your garage will leave your cars unprotected through heat, sunlight, and storms which can prematurely age them.
Garage conversions can end up being difficult and costly, but they can be done on a do-it-yourself basis. And, if you have alternative space for storage and parking your vehicles, the downsides above may not apply to you at all.
Research Potential Zoning & Legal Issues
Converting your garage into a habitable and safe living space may invoke legal and zoning issues. In some cases, you may need to provide enough off-street parking to replace the lost garage parking stalls.
The transition of the space will also need to meet different technical and legal standards than when it only housed vehicles or was used as a storage area. Finally, most municipalities’ building codes require a range of permits for things like erecting or moving walls, running sewer lines, adding windows, and installing electrical systems.
You’ll want to look into all of this before you decide on your garage conversion project. But, if you’ve taken all the necessary steps and have the green light to get started, here are some of the basics to turning your garage into an extra living space.
How to Convert Your Garage Into Living Space
1. Insulate the Walls/Install New Drywall
Most garage walls and ceilings are not insulated. The drywall, if already installed, will need to be removed so the insulation can be installed. If the walls are insulated, you can keep the existing drywall, and bring the finish up to higher standards.
2. Raise the Floor Height
Garages are often built lower than the house. While it may not be necessary, your home benefits if you match the flooring heights. Floor insulation may not be required, but garage floors are usually concrete slabs, so you’ll probably want insulation added for warmth in the winter.
3. Install Floor Covering
After you raise the floor, you’ll still need something to cover the concrete to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Laminate flooring, engineered wood, tile, and luxury vinyl plank flooring are good options for garage conversions.
4. Hide Unsightly Areas
Think about adding non-load-bearing walls around areas you don’t want to see like the water heater, furnace, laundry area, or storage if they’re still in your garage. Sectioning off areas like this and leaving them unconverted is an easy way to save money too.
5. Have Amega Replace the Garage Door
Some conversions may require that the garage door be replaced with a wall, but if you can keep the garage door, you should have it inspected to see if it should be replaced with a new door that has better insulation to keep the new living space warm in winter and cool in summer. Our team at Amega can help walk you through the options for your new living space and give you the best advice.
Questions about your garage conversion and what it means for your garage door? Give us a call!