How to Convert a Garage Into a Living Space
Turning a garage into a living space is a trend that’s fast catching up with homeowners in California. Before you undertake this project, there are several things to keep in mind such as zoning permits, floor plans, utilities, aesthetics, property revaluations, and costs. Without these considerations, the entire project can turn disastrous.
Why go for a renovation at all?
Is the garage sticking out like a sore thumb in your otherwise immaculate home? Would you like an extra room to just sleep-in or rent out? What is the new room going to be? Is it an additional kitchen or an entertainment area? Or is it going to be a cozy library for the kids?
It could also transform into a home office, a big playpen, a guest bedroom, or a rented-out room complete with a separate entrance. Family needs change over time. Property prices are dynamic. If you don’t own a vehicle, the garage automatically looks like a wasted space that has to be cared for like the rest of the house.
It is easy to understand why changing it into a room looks tempting to homeowners.
What are the basic changes that must take place in renovating the garage into an additional room?
Remodeled garages must at least have the following features - windows, lights and ventilation, power outlets, and insulation. Since it is conceived of as a space meant for keeping vehicles, it does not come equipped with livable room luxuries.
It all comes down to 2 things: structural adjustments and comfort levels.
At a bare minimum the room needs to be airy, bright, and well-protected against the elements. Since it will be turned into a living quarter, there have to be provisions to run electrical appliances like TV, fridge, or HVAC systems. Separate arrangements for power supply may need to be made.
Some room plans might require plumbing features. This makes it possible to run a full-fledged kitchenette from there. Also, a bathroom might need to be set up in the long run.
A garage ceiling is usually Higher than home ceilings. Although it would not matter a lot, homeowners generally like to lower the ceiling to maintain a uniform height.
You may decide to pull down existing divides and erect new ones. In order to support free-flowing traffic and give the impression of spaciousness, consider opening up walls and doors that join the main house with the garage.
Another thing to note is that it opens on the curb. Hence security from theft or intrusion is of utmost importance.
Also, there’s a danger of road traffic. It’s best to get the strength of the structure checked. Things undergo wear and tear over time. Too much strain can result in a collapse.
Often remodeled garages still look like old carport owing to a lack of planning.
An extra room almost always needs fresh paint. The same goes for the floor. Garage floors do not have the most eye-pleasing designs. But a livable room must.
If you are changing it into a decent habitat, you may just need to redo the floor. Whether you bring in wooden floorboards or lay on marble slabs, it will depend on your budget or local licensing needs. You may or may not be able to add height to the garage depending upon your neighborhood laws.
Beyond that, decorate it just the way you like. Pull up a sofa, throw on some cushions, and raise the curtains. This is the new room of your dreams, an extension of your dream home.
New Storage and the Driveway
Now that the garage storage is gone, you have to hunt for spaces to stuff your mess into. Where are you going to move heavy machinery like the lawnmower and gardening tools?
Unless you want to create unsightly spots in the new area, you need to shift the load somewhere else.
Is your driveway blocked with snow in winter? Exiting or entering the room could be a regular chore. Plus, leaving the car out for prolonged periods of time can reduce the shelf life of its parts and lay it bare for scratches and dents.
And is it even okay to leave your car outside? A garage is the true home of your beloved vehicle. Some municipalities allow you to park the car outside on the road. Some don’t.
It is especially true in densely populated localities. Check with your licensing authorities before making plans. Or discuss with us. We have turned several garages into living spaces and are aware of the local laws. We can guide you so you can get the best results.
Property listing sites speak highly of homes that come equipped with safe garages. True, a home with a garage carries a higher price tag than one without it. However, garage removal need not devalue your house in the real estate market.
If done with all the papers in place, the new living area will bring a new dimension to your land. While licensing requirement means stringent checks, tons of paperwork, and running around to meet legal formalities, it is a one-time hassle. In the long-run, an extra and secure room makes sense financially too.
Before embarking on a renovation project, calculate the average cost. It will change in the course of the project and most likely go up than down. It depends upon a lot of variables like the size of the garage, the type of room it's being turned into, the facilities you are including, the availability of the material in your area, and the degree of professional help you are willing to get.
While professional help will cost extra, it will bring down your overall costs since there will be fewer mistakes and running around for legal and paperwork.
Also, keep in mind that costs vary by zones. Call us and we can help you determine the cost in your zone. We work within client budget and space restraints so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Things to Keep in mind
This is not a little weekend project to keep life interesting. It's best to rope in the experts to help you guide along with the steps. Our garage conversion team works closely with you to understand your needs. We don’t dish out fancy plans that are outside your budget and preferences. Our understanding of local laws enables our clients to start on renovation work smoothly. Get in touch with us to know more about our garage remodeling projects. Contact us for a quote or schedule a site visit