Are you underutilising your garage, or is it plain old, dark, and spider-infested? It might be time to consider a garage conversion so that you can make better use of all that space! Just think about it. With an excellent garage conversion, you could:
- Clear up the storage clutter;
- Make way for a new office, workshop, or studio;
- And utilise your wasted space properly and even increase the property value.
- Make a wish list: Your first step is to take the time to decide exactly what your goals are. Are you turning your garage into a bedroom, a guest sweet, or an entertainment room? These questions must be addressed to make a plan. Write down everything that you want to have. Include fabric swatches, paint colours, flooring, and anything you want.
- Consult a professional: With a wishlist in hand, talk to a professional. A general contractor can tell you if it is possible and what it will cost to realise your garage vision. Don’t stop there, though. Consult at least two more to get three bids on your project.
- Create a plan: These will have to include finished drawings. If you are going on your own, you will need to find an architect to turn your wishes into a plan. Draw out as much as possible before consulting an architect. Include new walls, outlets, and everything you can think of. Then he will turn this into a plan you can work from.
- Cash In: Once you know what you want and how you want it, you need to pay for it. Examine the plans and total everything you will need. Don’t forget the simple things like nails and rags. Once you have a total, add 20% of that amount to the budget for the things you don’t know.
- File Permits: Plans in hand, money in hand, it is time to see your local building officials. Permits are an important part. As soon as you have a complete plan, could you take it to the building department? Arrange for any necessary permits, and schedule any required inspections before leaving.
- Clean Up Your Act: You are now prepared to begin your preparation. Your first task is to empty the space. This task will be as difficult as you have made it. If your garage has been a dumping ground, blame yourself for the mountains you must move. Everything must go through.
- Get On The Level: Your garage was built lower than the rest of your home, usually barely above grade. The floor will need to be raised above the level of the ground outside to prevent water from coming into the new living space. This usually is accomplished by constructing a subfloor.
- Find A Way In: Consider how people will get into your new space. If you are making a living area, does the current door force people to walk through the laundry room? Is the flow awkward? If so, cut a new door through a wall, or remove a wall completely. Tying your garage into an open concept floor plan is often the best plan.
- Door Number 1: The biggest drawback is the existing garage door. This area is often difficult to work with. Visually it isn't easy to mask this area. The best way to do so is by building the wall and adding a dormer. This takes space and turns it from the garage into a part of the home itself.
- See the Light: Turning it into a living space will require different windows. Additionally, it may require more windows than are currently in place. The existing windows will need to be replaced with egress windows. Egress windows are those at the right height and the right size to allow escape.
- Frame it: With your windows in place, it is time for the meat and potatoes of your remodel. At this stage, you frame the walls, put in your doors, and turn your empty open space into whatever your initial vision was.
- Get Comfortable: Your new space will need to be heated and cooled to be livable. At this stage, you put into place the necessary ducting to do this. If you add this new space to your existing system, tie it into the available ducting. For new installations, put in the necessary ducting and equipment.
- Zap: The necessary wiring must be put into place while the walls are still open. This is almost always done by a professional electrician. The only thing to remember is to ensure this is done while the walls are open.
- Wrap It Up: Once all of your ducting and wiring is completed, you can insulate the exterior walls. The walls will need to be insulated to the proper value according to the code.
- Build the Wall: Now, you get to make the garage look like a room. Getting drywall up is one of the most rewarding stages visually. It is at this point that your garage begins looking like a new space. Remember that this is also a very dusty stage, be sure to keep your new areas well separated from the old.
- Paint the Town: Your choice of wall covering is now the order of the day. The walls you have completed must be painted or papered, depending on your decision. Doing this before you install the floor gives you a bit of leeway on spilling anything.
- Get Floor’d: The walls are now ready to go. You can put your floor into place. Normally at this stage, you can also take down any plastic walls you had put up to keep dust out of the rest of your home.
- The Big Finish: You are in the home stretch now. Put the trim on walls and doorways and give your space a more finished look. Fixtures go up on walls, and outlet covers are put into place.
- Give it the Once Over, Twice: This is important for those who contract the work and those who do it themselves. Take the time to look over everything that was done. Find any issues that need to be addressed, and make sure they are while everything is still at hand. If you use contractors, make sure they do a walkthrough with you.
- Have A Record: Make sure any inspections are completed and that you keep all documentation. For work that comes with warranties, make sure to put the warranty and all the other documentation. This is a good time to invest in a fire and waterproof safe for these important documents.
Garage conversions are usually not all that complicated or involved, and minimal trades are required. To get you started, here are some of the essential tips for you.
FAQs About Garage Renovation
If your garage floor is stained with oil, grease, and rust, you can easily give it new life with a coat of concrete floor paint. Concrete floor paints are available in oil-based (alkyd) and water-based (latex) forms. Both are formulated to resist stains and dry to a satin, non-slip finish.
Whether you're just adding storage, re-coating the floor, or doing a complete teardown, garage improvements are well worth the investment. Your new and improved garage will give you more storage and flex space. You can make a new hobby or workshop room, a home gym, or give your family more room to spread out.
Garage conversions vary in cost depending on the specifications of your garage space. However, Santander estimates that the average garage conversion costs approximately $6,300, including plastering and decoration. We would expect a garage conversion to cost between $5,000-and $10,000.
For larger areas of pitting and spalling, we recommend using a 100% epoxy concrete patch with a sand aggregate. The silica sand is mixed with the epoxy to act as a filler. Legacy Industrial's 5-Ton Epoxy Patch Kit is a good example of this.
Epoxy garage floors are a great DIY project you can do to spruce up your home. Epoxy will make your floors look nice, clean up easily, and give your garage a finished look. Over the years, I've epoxied about ten garages for friends and family.
Garage Conversions: Things To Be Considered
For many of us, lighting is an afterthought. Various big things and excitements make us forget that attention to tiny details makes the whole thing work, and perfect lighting does the same. Each room fulfils multiple purposes, and you should do lighting accordingly.
Are you converting your garage into a living room or home office? A combination of bright and dimmed lights will be practical and aesthetic. Cozy and warm lighting is perfect for a bedroom.
Regardless of the room type, we’d suggest keeping at least one large enough (around 10% of the floor area) clutter-free window to let the sunshine in.
Modifying Garage Doors
Want to add your garage to your living space? It would be best to give the room its door for convenient access and efficiency. A garage door doesn’t need complete transformation if you plan to convert the garage into a home gym, playroom, or storeroom. A bit of polishing, colouring, or upgrading will be enough.
If you convert the garage into a room, like a bedroom, kitchen, or home office, you shall convert the garage door accordingly. Garage conversion specialists can help you come up with excellent garage door ideas.
Quick Tip: Some garages are long and narrow, which is not aesthetically perfect for converting the garage into a room. Consider building a block wall or stud and transforming it into two rooms.
Maintaining a consistent room temperature is essential for both comfort and health. Proper climate and temperature control systems can clean up foul odours, living organisms, and other pollutants.
Due to the oceanic climate, Melbourne experiences changeable weather conditions. We’d suggest ensuring as much natural airflow as possible during the hot summer season. Keeping at least one window and two vents can serve the purpose perfectly. You can also use filters to purify the air inflow.
Consider using innovative technologies, like smart air conditioners, to make life a lot easier by pre-cooling and pre-heating the room as per your preferences. They are much more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly too.
Proper insulation can preserve the room temperature for a more extended period.
Quick Tip: Don’t forget to maintain the tools regularly to enjoy optimal air quality and comfort
Electrical Wirings And Plumbing Lines
Converting a garage into other rooms, like the living room, bedroom or kitchen, etc., will increase electricity consumption. Proper wiring and outlet placement are necessary to maintain aesthetics and optimal security.
Suppose you are converting your garage into a kitchen or bathroom. In that case, proper plumbing is necessary to ensure water flow and drainage. Consider hiring a professional plumber to hand over much hassle.
Unless you are a professional electrician, we’d never suggest DIY electrical works. Let the experts do the project perfectly.
Re-Decorating The Walls And Ceilings
Usually, garage walls and ceilings are not built following BCA standards. That’s why they are prone to moisture and have insufficient insulation power. Improve the wall and ceiling construction by adding insulation and painting them with waterproof colours.
Based on the purpose of garage conversion, the colour and design patterns of the walls and ceilings can vary a lot. Wall decorations are also great for hiding minor mistakes and wires.
Quick Tip: Garage floors are usually lower than your home floor. Don’t want to use stairs? Consider raising the floor level during the floor plan, and don’t forget to ensure enough ceiling height.
It would be best to inform your local council before converting the garage into a habitable place. Getting council approval is not that hard as long as you fulfil the requirements, like 2.5 meters of minimum ceiling height, waterproof and insulated concrete slab and walls, and windows covering 10% of the floor area.
Moreover, while converting the garage into a room, you will have to comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) to ensure maximum safety and avoid any problems while selling the property.
Five Cool Ways To Remodel Your Garage
Many homes offer multiple garages or sheds for vehicle storage and other needs. Homeowners may find, though, that extra garage space isn’t needed or being utilised. When your home offers excess garage space, turn that unused area into the more livable square footage.
Here are five cool ways to remodel your garage.
A Rental Space
Depending on the size of your garage, you may be able to turn that space into a separate apartment that can be used for rental income (or even an Airbnb). It would be best to investigate building codes in your area, though, and you may need to secure multiple permits for those renovations.
If you’re interested in turning the space into a rentable apartment or vacation digs, you’ll probably want to incorporate a kitchenette, bathroom and sitting area. Otherwise, guests or renters may be forced to use those amenities in your home!
A Game Room
Transform your garage into a massive rec space for entertaining. If you’re renovating an attached garage, this renovation could incorporate a game room for pool tables, arcade games or an air hockey table. Or use the added space to create another living area for family gatherings.
A Fitness Centre Or Yoga Studio
Are fitness or health goals at the top of your New Year’s resolutions? Create a personal fitness centre out of that unused garage space! Use the area for all your workout and weight training equipment, or create a pilates or yoga studio.
Do your children dance? You could add a ballet barre for at-home practice and instruction.
A Home Theatre
Home theatres are becoming the desired amenity in many new homes. An unused garage offers the perfect space for designing a large personal theatre. Add a massive television, wire the space for a digital surround sound system, and design tiered seating like a real movie theatre.
Home theatres are perfect for family movie night gatherings, but the massive screens are the ideal viewing spot for the Super Bowl or other sporting event telecasts.
A Home Office
Working from home and telecommuting have become a new normal in the corporate world. If you’re a business owner or if your job allows you to keep a home office, renovate an old garage into a deluxe office space.
The square footage can provide ample room to incorporate a meeting area for clients and a large space for everyday work. You may even want to add a kitchenette or bathroom, too. Design the space for your personal business needs.
What You Should Know Before You Renovate
Before you make any decisions on transforming your garage into a separate living space, look at your budget and see how much you can afford to spend on those renovations. Loans may be necessary to cover the costs, and you need to understand how much funding you can secure.
A home equity line of credit could be another option, but remember that when securing a HELOC, you are borrowing against the equity of your home. If you need to sell in a hurry, what you owe on a HELOC could mean that you make much less on the sale of your home or make nothing at all. You also could owe money at closing if the house sells for less.
No matter what renovations you undertake, you always need to research codes, ordinances and permit needs for your city or town. Your homeowner’s association (HOA) also may have specific guidelines that limit rental properties in the neighbourhood. In a story about HOAs, Bankrate highlighted a case that involved a homeowner who was fined for trying to rent his property.
Never commence construction or renovation work until you have all the legal details worked out and you fully understand the guidelines and limitations in your area. HOAs have been known to take legal action when by-laws are violated, so homeowners must exercise due diligence.
Will Renovations Increase The Value Of My Home?
Many homeowners wonder if adding additional living space increases the value of their homes. This depends on the price comparisons in the area and other factors, too. Typically, adding extra square footage will boost the price and value of your home.
However, if you renovate a garage, other factors may come into play. If the garage was the only space in the home for vehicle storage, this could be a concern to future buyers. Most buyers want to cover protection for their cars. If your home has another garage or covered space to protect vehicles, this isn’t an issue.
In real estate, though, extensive renovations can turn a home into the neighbourhood's ‘white elephant.’ A home that’s considered a ‘white elephant’ stands out from others in the neighbourhood regarding size, structure or price. REALTORS use past sale prices in the neighbourhood as comparables to help establish a fair market price, but a white elephant home does not fit into those comparables.
If your home has been renovated in a way that makes it much larger or too different from the neighbouring homes, setting a value or sale price may be difficult. Renovating your home to include a massive home theatre in a neighbourhood where homes are much smaller and have more basic layouts and amenities may not be worth the investment. Why? Buyers will be concerned about paying too much money for a home in an area where the resale value is traditionally much lower.
The lesson? Research homes in your neighbourhood before you think about a massive renovation project. Determine if that added space will provide value to your home. Otherwise, your home may stick out like a white elephant.
The Most Popular Garage Renovation Ideas
If you have a parking spot outside your home, you’re probably wondering whether it’s a good idea to convert your garage. For many people, it can be a great way to add some additional space to your home, and it’s a lot cheaper than converting a loft or adding an extension.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most popular garage renovation options for homeowners, suitable for both single and double use garages!
Additional Reception Room
You can easily turn a garage into an additional reception room by replacing the original garage door with an expensive sliding option and revamping the interior.
You may need to look into adding insulation, and you’ll most likely need to decorate and add some new flooring, but the result can be a quiet space that’s separate from the rest of the house.
This is an especially good renovation choice for families with children as it can give the adults a place to relax away from the mountain of kids’ toys most of us tend to collect!
Would you love to be able to pursue your passion for art but often find yourself lacking the space that you need? If you’re sick of having to lay protective materials down every time you get your paintbrushes out, converting your garage into an art studio may be the ideal solution.
Think about adding some skylights to your garage to provide you with the natural light you’ll need, and then set the room up exactly how you want it. Remember to leave room for storage, in addition to a quiet and peaceful place to relax, work on your pottery, and paint.
Lots of homeowners want to be able to invite guests over and offer them a place to stay. However, unless you have the room inside your house for a guest bedroom, it’s likely they end up on an uncomfortable sofa bed or sharing with one of your kids. A simple solution is to convert your garage into a small guest bedroom.
This can be done similarly to the reception room, though you may want to fully block up the garage door and add a secret door along the side of the garage. If you have a double-use garage, you may also be able to add an en-suite. This is sure to provide the ultimate in guest comfort.
Finally, if you want a space that’s purely dedicated to your children and their toys, consider renovating your garage and turning it into a kid’s playroom. You could paint an entire wall with chalkboard paint and enable your kids to scribble and draw on it however they see fit.
Add a fluffy carpet and a nice large rug to ensure comfort and create storage spaces for their toys. To make things even further, you could also soundproof the space so that no matter how loudly they play, it won’t disturb the neighbours. Your kids will be as excited by their new room as you are!
If you’re considering renovating your garage, it’s always best to speak to a contractor and explain your ideas. They will be able to ensure the job is done correctly and adheres to legal requirements.