Things to Consider Before Converting a Garage into Living Space

Converting your garage can be a fantastically affordable way to gain more space and help make your home into one that you can continue living in, even if your family is expanding. Alternatively, you can earn some additional income by renting the converted space out. Whatever you want to gain from converting your garage into living space, and whoever will be benefitting from it, there are several things you’ll need to carefully consider before you begin the project:

Does your garage conversion require a permit?

Compliance with local building codes is essential if you want to avoid penalties and keep you and your property safe, and before embarking on converting your garage to living space, you’ll need to check zoning and building codes with the relevant building authority in your area. If you plan on working with a professional contractor for the project, they will be able to check this for you and apply for any permits that may be required.

What will it cost you to heat and cool your garage conversion?

Remember that most garages aren’t set up for heating and cooling like the rest of your home, and you’ll need to think not only about the cost of wiring and insulating your garage conversion, but the cost of your additional energy bills for heating and cooling the space.

Will you be adding sinks, toilets and showers?

If so, you’ll need to work with a qualified plumber to install these, and you might need new outlets or light fixtures, too, which will require help from an electrician. Your electrician will need to understand the current electrical infrastructure of your home, and if your garage is detached, it might be possible to run extra wiring from your home to the garage via an underground conduit.

Where will you park your vehicle(s)?

If you currently use your garage for storing your car in, is there somewhere else safe that you can park it once the space has been converted? If you don’t have a driveway, you might have to park it (or them) in the street, and you’ll also lose storage space for other items of equipment, such as lawnmowers and BBQs.

What is the current condition of your garage?

You might like the idea of converting your garage into a livable space for you and your family to enjoy, or even for a tenant to rent, but you’ll need to carefully consider whether it’s conducive to being converted in its current state. If your garage has concrete floors, for example, it may need to be excavated as these are generally not suitable for domestic use. The amount of natural light available in the space is another consideration, and you may need to have windows (or extra windows) installed. The amount of existing drywall and exposed wires will also need to be thought carefully about, and you might need to have new walls built.

Garage conversions are increasing in popularity and can be a relatively simple and affordable way to create more living space, but failure to address the above considerations before work gets underway, can result in disappointment and extra expense.

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