For most homeowners, a garage is a place to store cars, tools, or act as “everything” for anything not currently in your home. However, with a little imagination and extra preparation, it is possible to turn a garage into a usable space for much more than just storage. And if you’re looking to add some extra living space, turning an underutilized garage into a bonus room is a great option for maximizing your home’s square footage.
While converting your garage into a living space may seem like an easy project for most do-it-yourself homeowners, there are many arduous tasks such as insulating the walls, weatherproofing doors and windows, updating the floor, and other upgrades. to make it a livable space. . Here’s what you need to know to turn your garage into a practical, yet stylish addition.
Start with a plan
Before you get started, make sure you understand the scope of your project, your budget, and the steps you need to take to ensure your renovation meets or exceeds your expectations. First and foremost, making a plan is an essential step for any home renovation. Before you call a contractor or buy insulation to install yourself at the hardware store, come up with a plan to determine:
- How Much Money Should You Spend on Renovating Your Garage?
- How you plan to use the space once the garage renovation is complete
- What amenities you want to include in your bonus space, such as running water or electricity, that may not yet be in place
- Or building permits are required in your region
- A timeline for project completion
- Potential contract resources to assist with planning and implementation
Clean up the space
Before you immediately start finishing a garage, you need to remove all items and find alternative storage options. Even items that you plan to put back in your garage once your renovation is complete will need to be moved temporarily. Depending on how you currently use your garage space, this can be a quick task or take days, so plan your renovation timeline accordingly.
Add insulation to the walls
Most garages are for car storage, of course the primary purpose is to protect from the elements rather than keep the temperature at a comfortable level. However, if you are going to use the area as additional living space, insulate your garage should be a priority to account for temperature variations.
This can be a challenging task, especially for those new to insulation and wall finishing, so hiring a professional contractor can allay any concerns about installation. A professional can identify the best form of insulation for your planned space and ensure that the insulation is installed correctly.
Weatherproof doors and windows
Since temperature control is rarely a priority in standard garages, doors and windows, they generally do not weather in the same way as a house. However, if your completed garage doubles as a workshop or hobby room, weatherproof doors and windows can help you save energy all year round. Plus, if you live in an area with fluctuating temperatures like: Ottawa, ON, it will prevent that uncomfortable stream of icy or humid air from entering the room.
The weatherproofing required for your garage space will depend on current construction — not all garages have windows or additional doors, for example — so a contractor can be a valuable asset in identifying needs and implementing effective plans. This can be as simple as adding extra insulation around openings or as complex as completely replacing doors and windows with more suitable alternatives.
Schedule additional utilities Extra
Most garages, especially attached garages, are wired for electricity to some degree, but generally not in a way that reflects a conventional living space. If you plan to have televisions, video game systems, stereos, or kitchen areas in your completed garage, additional outlets and wiring may be required. This also applies if you plan to add a bathroom, sink, washing machine, or anything else that requires a water pipe.
Running water pipes and improving wiring can be costly, so it’s best to plan ahead before starting the renovation process. These types of tasks are best left to professionals, so you’ll want to include licensed plumbers and electricians in your budget.
Finishing walls and ceilings
Once the insulation is in place, finishing walls and ceilings will help bring the space together. This step transforms your garage from a cold and user-friendly space into something comfortable and pleasant. This usually involves applying a coat of drywall prior to wall or ceiling treatments. A contractor can also be an asset here, making sure your walls and ceilings are in order and prepared for things like a wall mounted TV or hanging lights.
Choose the right type of floor
Most garages have concrete or cement floors, neither of which is ideal for a comfortable living space. As such, you should choose a durable flooring option for your converted garage. This could be linoleum, carpet, hardwood, laminate or tile, depending on your preferences and how you plan your new one. bonus room.
Install smoke detectors
Every living space requires smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors by law. These safety precautions are in place to save lives, so make sure this little detail isn’t overlooked when you complete your renovation.
Adjustments to garage entrances
Whether you choose to leave your garage door intact, seal the entrance, or replace it with a different type of door is up to you, but your choice should reflect the intentions for your new bonus space, as well as climate considerations. Weathering a garage door can be challenging, so homeowners in cold climates may want to consider other alternatives.
However, those who live in places with warmer climates, such as Austin, Texas, can choose to keep a garage door in place for fresh air and the option to connect a patio or outdoor space.
How much does it cost to convert a garage into living space?
If you plan to sell your home with your completed garage, you may want to weigh the cost of your renovation against the resale value of your home. A garage renovation will typically range from $5,955 – $22,800 or more, depending on how many extras you stick on the project.
Does finishing a garage add value to your home?
If you want to enlarge your home value before selling by finishing your garage, you may want to consult with your local broker to determine which home improvements are popular in your area. An experienced real estate agent can use their knowledge and insights about neighborhood market trends to help you make decisions, especially if you live in an area where finished garages are not common. If it turns out that finished garages are unusual for buyers in your area, this could be the push needed to get buyers to prefer your home over others for sale in the area.
Does the garage count towards the square footage of a house?
If you are planning to sell your home, you may not be sure what counts towards your home square meter during the assessment process. Unfinished garages do not count towards the total square footage of a home because they are not habitable spaces. However, if your completed garage meets the requirements of finished walls and floors, climate control and accessibility, it can count towards the total square footage measurement. If you choose to hire a professional to finish your garage, they will obtain the appropriate permits for your project. Keep in mind that building permits are usually issued by the county you live in, so check with your city or municipality in case there are additional requirements.