If you want an additional bedroom, a guest suite, a home office or studio, converting your garage into living space may be a good solution. A double-garage conversion will yield around 600 square feet of living space, and typically costs about half as much as adding a new room to a house.
What Does a Garage Conversion Involve?
Regardless of the intended use, transforming a garage into living space requires a number of well-planned, professionally executed steps, including:
A renovation plan that ensures compliance with all local building codes and regulations;
Raising the floor to accommodate insulation over the concrete slab;
Insulating the floor, walls and ceiling for temperature and humidity control;
Installing a heating and cooling system, or tying it to the main house's system;
Proper plumbing, electrical wiring and tech-ready installations;
Providing access to the main house, if desired; an outside door, or both;
Replacing garage door with an insulated stud wall
New windows or skylight, if possible, for natural lighting.
Inclusion in the main house security system.
Other Important Elements of a Successful Garage Conversion
Good rapport and communication with your contractor. Once your plan is firmed up, make sure your contractor is on the same page.
Stick to your budget -- but don't skimp on quality. Overdoing a renovation, compared to others in your area, can reduce your return on investment when you resell. However, high-quality workmanship, design and finishes, bring higher return on investment at resale time.
Include all the features you truly want so you can fully enjoy the benefits of your new space – greater convenience and efficiency, less scheduling and driving, more family time, etc.
Downside Aspects of a Garage Conversion
Obviously, converting your garage means giving up an enclosed parking area for your vehicle(s), as well as a significant amount of storage space.
You'll need an alternative parking option with, hopefully, only a little inconvenience, like having to wash the car(s) more often. Erecting a structure, such as sail shades over a driveway can help reduce intense sun and other weather-related impacts on your vehicle(s).
Some cities require a certain number of off-street parking spots for each residence. If that is the case for your area, you'll need to find a parking option elsewhere, in order to legally convert your garage.
You may have to find new storage solutions, such as a backyard shed, for tools, equipment or other items currently being stored in your garage.
Take the time to consider all the factors and all of your options before deciding on a firm plan and budget for your garage conversion – do the research, consult with contractors and an interior designer about the layout, features and finishes, and get estimates.
According to real estate experts, if your garage conversion is properly permitted, and high-quality design features and finishes are used, the ultimate resale of your home is likely to return 80% of the cost of the conversion.