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Planning a Garage Conversion? Here’s What You Need to Know

If your family just had a new member or you’re planning to have an extra guest room, you’ll need more living space. For extra space, you can convert your garage into another room. This can be an attractive option and wouldn’t even cost a lot. In most cases, garage conversion costs about half of what will go into building a room from scratch.


However, don’t just go tearing the garage doors down. There are many things you need to keep in mind before beginning.


The basics of garage conversions

The garage is an area that was not initially meant to be a habitable place. There needs to be some careful planning that will make it worth living. A few things that we do while converting the garage into a living space are:


  • Installing moisture barriers and insulation under the ground, and raise the floor for it

  • Insulating the floors, ceiling, and walls

  • Enabling cooling and heating – this can be done by using the existing system of the house or by installing new systems

  • Installing new outlets to ensure that the new system can handle the extra electrical load

  • Removing garage doors and installing insulated stud walls instead

  • Installing exterior door and windows​​

If you plan to use the garage as a studio apartment, you will need a bathroom and a kitchenette as well. This means you’ll have to install a septic system and use water lines.


Once you’ve understood the basics, it’s time to plan a course of action. Make sure you ask yourself some questions that will help you find the right way for a garage conversion. Since every family has different requirements, these questions will help customize the garage conversion according to your specific needs.


1. What are the zoning laws I need to consider?

Before you start planning the remodeling process, you need to keep the local zoning laws in mind. There are certain laws about cooling and heating installation, parking guidelines, and a lot more. There are also restrictions on the number of people who can live in a studio apartment. To find the laws that apply to your city, you need to visit the building department or check it online on the website of your city.


Keep in mind that there will be some permits that you’ll have to obtain before you convert your garage. To get your plan approved, you’ll need to submit the plan to the local government authorities and then visit the city hall where the plan will get checked and approved. If you’ve hired a contractor for the remodel, talk to them if they can get it approved for you. We make sure our clients’ plans are approved and permits are acquired before we begin.


2. Will this garage conversion affect my home value?

If you live in the right neighborhood, garage conversion can increase your home value. In the wrong neighborhood, it can decrease your home value. If you live in an area where a garage is necessary, it will become difficult for you to sell your home. If all homes in your neighborhood have a garage, then getting rid of yours will probably be a bad idea. To get a more accurate assessment, you can hire a professional contractor and they will let you know if it will increase or decrease your home value.


3. Where will I park my car?

Do you have extra space to park your car? Because once the garage is gone, you’ll need a place to park the car. If there’s no place, can you park on the street? If it snows heavily where you live, you will have to dig out your car from the snow all winter. Will that be possible for you?


4. Will I have enough space for storage?

We all treat our garages as extra storerooms. When you convert it into a room or a studio apartment, that storage space will vanish. Before you convert, you’ll need to get rid of the things you don’t need. For that, you can rent a roll-off dumpster. It will be needed anyway to get rid of the construction debris. If you rent a dumpster early on to get rid of your junk, it will only make things easier and quicker.


However, don’t throw it all. There might be some stuff you’ll need. Store it in an alternate location. It could be your attic, basement, or any other place. This process will clean things up for you and get the space more organized.


5. Will the space continue looking like a garage?

There are many things you can do to make sure that the new space looks like it’s a part of the main house. Some of those things are:


  • Rerouting the driveway so it doesn’t end up in a wall

  • Raising the floor of the garage so that the heights of your main home and added space are the same

  • Adding extra windows

  • Soundproofing the area

  • Adding specific architectural features that would match the main house


Alternatives to garage conversion

If you think converting the garage will reduce your home value or it won’t work because of some other reasons, there are many other options you can try.


Basement remodel

Since you’ll keep the existing structure, it will save you money. But keep in mind that basement is a bigger storage space than your garage so converting it will mean giving up the area that was being used to store your stuff.


A room above the garage

Instead of converting the garage into a room, you can keep the garage and build a room over it. This will be more expensive than the former but it will allow you to keep the parking space as well as all the storage area.


Before you select the right model for your garage, talk to a professional contractor to find out the best way to enhance your space. They will be able to suggest you an idea that is safe, efficient, and increases the value of your home.


Planning for garage conversion or remodeling? Just call us and let us know. We can share our garage conversion project guides and discuss the plan with you. 888-675-1229


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