If you’re looking to expand the size of your home or add on to your living space, remodeling garage to a room may be the best and most logical way to do it.
It can be cost effective to convert your garage to living space since the walls are already in place. But there are some things you should consider before you jump in and start tearing down your garage door opener and tool racks.
Most attached garages join the home itself near or adjacent to the kitchen or via a short hallway, possibly also near a partial or full bathroom or a laundry or mud room. You should determine how you plan to use the newly acquired living space you will create in your former garage area and how this will flow with the rest of the home.
Will it be a family room or dining space? Will you need to reroute anything within the home to create a better traffic flow or more attractive layout? If it will be a bedroom, will you be happy with the bedroom door opening right into the kitchen?
If it will be a home office space, will it provide opportunities so potential clients can enter directly from an outside door without having to enter your home? Are there advantages or disadvantages to reconfiguring your garage space into a specific type of living space?
Every home layout is different and your family’s needs are different but consider them and all of your options carefully as you plan this project before you start making any changes. If you don’t plan to live in your home long-term, also consider how your new home layout could affect the marketability of your home.
Finally, consider whether the garage space you will utilize for new living space will become one large room or multiple smaller rooms and how you will organize that living area for traffic flow and accessibility.
It may be necessary to reconfigure or reallocate the purpose of some of the rooms in your existing living space as you expand the size of your home overall by converting the garage to living space.
Another step to take before remodeling garage to a room is to check with your local building inspector, find out the municipal building codes for your area, and find out what changes may be necessary from a logistical standpoint to make the transition.
For instance, the stud placement for exterior walls in a home construction and a garage construction may differ. If the studs in the exterior garage walls are too far apart for a residential construction, you may need to reinforce the walls by adding additional studs.
You will also need to consider how you will construct the new walls you will need when you remove any overhead garage doors.
You will probably need a building permit from your local municipality before you begin remodeling garage to a room. It’s always a good idea to fully understand what you’re getting into before you start rather than finding out there is a huge problem or an unexpected expense to get your building project up to code after you’ve already begun demolition.
Carefully assess the existing availability of heat, electricity, and plumbing to the garage space and contrast what is there with your needs for the space when it is converted to a living area. Many garages are unheated or they are heated with heaters that are not suitable for living spaces.
Consider how you will run ductwork from your existing furnace (and/or air conditioning unit) into the new living space to heat or cool the area properly. Also consider whether your existing units can adequately heat or cool the additional square footage without taxing your system.
Next consider any needs for electricity and plumbing in the new living spaces. Many garages have lots of outlets, but often they are located higher on the wall than they might be in a living space and will need to be dropped down closer to the floor.
Consider the code for living spaces. The outlets may need to be spaced at specific intervals. Then consider plumbing. Will you be incorporating a bathroom or even a wet bar with sink into your new space? How and where will you run your plumbing most effectively?
Your existing garage may or may not be finished, but even a finished garage could have inadequate insulation in the walls or ceiling to create an energy-efficient living space. Examine the existing insulation and plan to insulate sufficiently during the early stage of this project. Follow the recommendations for the R-factor for insulating in your area of the country.
Examine the existing garage floor carefully, as well. Is it level? Or will it need to be leveled? Is it cracked or uneven? Consider how you will repair or adjust for this.
Most garage floors are unheated concrete slabs. If your new living space will be a play and recreation room, perhaps painting the concrete slab and throwing down some area rugs will suffice for your needs.
If you are creating a bedroom, a dining area, or a family room, you may need to install a sub-floor and/or floor coverings. If the existing slab is less than ideal, certain floor coverings may be more appealing (i.e., forgiving) than others that require a completely flat, smooth surface.
Most garage spaces have very few windows. When you turn your garage into a living area, chances are you will need to add some windows. Consider the size and kind of windows you’ll need and factor them into your budget.
You’ll also need to buy additional 2x4’s to create the headers and supports necessary to frame in the new windows properly and according to code. Likewise if you will need any new doors.
There are many other additional things to consider if you plan to convert a garage to living space like getting exterior siding or covering to match or coordinate with the rest of the home, re-landscaping outside so you don’t have a concrete slab abutting your new home space, and more.
Doing your research, finding out the building codes that will apply to your project, getting estimates for any parts of the project you can’t do yourself, and budgeting carefully for your project (remodeling garage to a room) can help ensure its success even before you begin.
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