Living Spaces ~ Ultimate Guide to Garage Conversion Cost

Living Spaces Garage Conversion Cost Guide – Having a garage provides homeowners with weather-protected parking and storage space, which is incredibly convenient. However, sometimes the indoor living space is not enough. If you’re in this situation, chances are the benefits of having an additional room outweigh the perks of having a place to park your car. As such, you may be tempted to convert your garage into a brand new living space. It’s a great idea, and even better – as long as you take care of legal issues and stick to building code requirements, it’s completely customizable, and you can do it mostly on your own.

In this article, you’ll find useful information regarding garage conversion, including the costs and elements that would need serious modifications. If you want to learn more, keep on reading!

Zoning and Legal Issues

You’re about to change the way your indoor storage and parking space will be used. For this reason, you need to ensure that you’ve got all the necessary building and conversion permits. The laws may vary depending on your location, but you should reach out to the Zoning Department in your area for more information.

You’ll have to pay a fee to get a building permit. However, it’s necessary to proceed with your project in a way that’s completely legal and follows specific building requirements and codes. Otherwise, you may end up paying a hefty fine or even having to demolish the illegal part of your home.

Essential Elements to Consider During a Garage Conversion

If you want to convert your garage into a living space, you need to take into consideration some factors that influence the functionality of your future home extension. Regardless of the type of room you want to create, make sure you take care of the following aspects:

Doors

We bet that garage door torsion springs are enough to let you in and out of your garage. However, now you want to convert it into a living space. For this reason, consider adding some wall space and replacing your garage door with a traditional model you may see at any house. On the other hand, if you want to keep them, make sure they’re properly insulated.

Windows

Chances are your garage has small windows or is completely dark. Adding windows to a new living space is a great step to make it look more cozy and match the rest of your home. It will also provide you with natural light and improve ventilation.

Flooring

Some garages are built on a slightly lower level than the rest of the house. For optimal comfort, you may consider matching the floor heights of your home and a soon to be new room. To elevate the floor, add sleepers and insulation panels. You can then install floor covering, and there are numerous options for you to choose from. You can decide on tiles, wood, laminate flooring, and many others.

Heating

Every living space should be warm and cozy, and a garage is often the opposite of that. Look into some retrofit heating options, such as extending the central heating system, installing wall heaters, electric baseboard, or underfloor heating. Try to maintain the temperature of at least 70 degrees F for optimal comfort.

Light

Your garage should have one wall-controlled light switch already. However, you may want to add some more, as well as install ceiling lamps to brighten up the room.

Outlets

This step may require more advanced electrical work but it’s necessary to make the room comfortable and accessible. Consider adding more wall outlets that meet minimum spacing standards, which means that the distance between the cord and the nearest outlet shouldn’t be larger than six feet.

Ceiling

Pay attention to the ceiling height, especially if it’s already low. If you want to raise the floor, make sure the ceiling is at least 7 ½ feet high for optimal comfort.

Insulation

A garage is one of the least energy-efficient spaces at your home. To maintain thermal comfort and avoid energy waste, make sure you insulate the walls before you paint them or install new drywall.

Drywall

Chances are your garage has been set up with non-finish-quality walls. Consider installing new drywall to make the room look more inviting and esthetically pleasing. If the walls are insulated already, consider leaving the existing drywall. However, you can finish it to make it look better.

Conversion Costs

Let’s sum up any costs that may emerge upon your garage conversion project. On average, you can expect to pay from approximately $6,000 and $22,000, depending on the size of your garage, the type of room you want to set up, the quality of materials you use, and the amount of professional contracting assistance, if you need any. In the case of low-end and high-end products, the price range may vary drastically, from just under $2,000 up to $50,000.

Now, let’s take a closer look at specific renovation elements and their approximate cost:

  • Permits – from $500 to $1,500.
  • Insulation – $1 per square foot of floor and walls
  • Windows – $1,000 per each additional window
  • Wall framing – $2,000 or more, depending on the size and the number of rooms.
  • Flooring – from $1,500 to $4,500, depending on the product category (carpet, laminate, hardwood, polished concrete) and its standard (low-end vs. high-end).
  • Ducts and vents – between $500 and $2,000.
  • Electrical wiring – $50 to $100 per hour of labor.
  • Outlet installation – between $75 to $500.
  • Wireless network – from $300 to $500.
  • Plumbing – from $300 to $1,800.
  • Adding a bathroom to the existing room – between $15,000 and $25,000.
  • Dumpster rental for waste removal – the average cost per week is $375 for a 12-yard dumpster and $500 for a 30-yard dumpster.
  • Contracted labor – on average, hourly builders will charge you $15 per hour. Contractors may come up with a flat fee that would equal 10% to 20% of the final project cost.

Pros and Cons of Converting Your Garage

As you can see, a garage remodel and conversion project can be both challenging and pricey. As such, you may be wondering if it’s really worth it. We can guarantee that if you seriously need additional living space, you won’t regret your decision. However, you should be aware of the pros and cons of such an investment.

Pros:

  • You gain additional living space. Depending on your needs, you can convert your garage into almost any room and equip it according to your liking.
  • No loss of a yard. You gain an additional room without using any yard space.
  • The structure is already there. You may want to raise the floor, but the walls, ceiling, flooring, and roof are already in place, which is more convenient than building additional parts of the house from scratch.
  • DIY possibilities. If you have great planning, manual, and handyman skills, you can take full control of your project.

Cons:

  • Loss of storage. If you use your garage to store tools, parts, garden equipment, and other items, you’ll have to find another place for all these things.
  • Need to find a new parking space. If it’s your only garage and you use it primarily to park your car, now you’ll have to find a new spot for it.
  • No real value gain. If you want to sell your property, consider leaving the garage as it is. If you convert it to a room, you’re unlikely to increase your property value.

Living Space Conversion Costs

A garage conversion is a huge project that requires lots of planning and effort, not to mention a considerable amount of money. You need to remember to take care of any legal issues and get necessary building permits. Decide on materials and set a budget early on, then stick to it. If you map out your plan thoroughly, you’ll avoid unnecessary costs and take control over the whole process.

If you’re wondering whether you should convert your garage or not, think about your needs. It’s not a cheap investment, and it definitely requires serious work and considerable financial resources. However, if you feel your household will benefit more from an additional living space rather than a parking spot for your car, go for it! The structure is already there, and if you feel confident enough, you can do almost all the work on your own, which will reduce the costs. Good luck!

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