A neglected garage is a burden for any homeowner and will likely take away from the aesthetics of your home. However, the extra space can be an essential addition if you are looking to expand your home, allowing you to get an extra room without necessarily building a separate property from the ground up. For steps on how to transform your garage into a room, here are some tips to consider implementing during your conversion.
Get Planning Permission
When looking for ways of how to transform your garage into a room, planning permission can be either work for you or against you. If, for instance, you live in a conservation area or if your home is a listed property, converting your garage may prove tricky. Before beginning any conversion work, make it a point first to visit your local authority. This will allow you to identify if your property has any conditions tied to your building or garage. Conditions are often drafted during a building’s construction and will dictate your house’s usage and any improvements to its external components. If your garage or property comes with these, you will be required to apply to the local authority to have them removed before beginning any work. Apart from your current conversion process, it may also be ideal to factor in aspects such as the need to remortgage or sell the house. With these factors in mind, you can then decide to get a comprehensive lawful development certificate as opposed to permits for only short-term or limited development. Converting a stand-alone garage may also require you to apply for a change of use permit, which is another factor to consider when getting planning permission.
Get Buildings Regulations Approval
Next on our guide of how to transform your garage into a room is getting building regulations. Building regulations act as a guiding mechanism for safety in properties, making them a crucial garage transformation step. To get building regulations approval, visit your local building control department. Inspections on your garage will include fire safety tests, ventilation, and thermal assessment checks.
Get a House Designer
Whether you are looking for a simple conversion or have plans for a grand conversion, it is worth considering experts’ services. These can include garage conversion specialists, designers, and builders. House designers can, for instance, help you figure out the best designs for your new bedroom with functionality in mind, helping you cut down on extra costs, time, and any hassles in the process. Relying on professionals also allows you to get reliable contacts during your transformation process, cutting back on lengthy negotiations and interviews with your construction team. In addition to this, designers can also help you with your building and permit approvals, making for a smooth transition period. Lastly, experts will also come in handy in helping you break down building code regulations on elements such as the number of exits and entrances in your new room, the number of windows, and the height of your ceilings. Where your plans fail to meet these codes, specialists will help you apply for a variance permit based on your current and future construction projections. If, however, finances are a problem and you are stuck on how to transform your garage into a room, you can still develop the designs yourself. Numerous online sources such as Pinterest can help with inspiration tips while offering guidance on your conversion’s dos and don’ts. However, make it a point to purchase appropriate single-point tools, as these will come in handy during your transformation journey.
Install Floor Covering and Raise the Floor Height
The first part of your conversion process will be raising the floor height in your garage since most parking spaces often come with a lower floor level in contrast to other rooms of the home. After this, you will need to install floor covering. Floor covering helps protect your floor from any damage, allowing it to last longer and provide comfort while walking around your new room. It can also act as a decorative element to your converted garage, most notably when using custom garage floors. For added elegance, you can also consider installing bright flooring to help brighten up dull spaces. Some of the most common floor covering types include tiles, luxury vinyl plank, and lamination.
Insulate Your Garage Door
An extra room comes with extra utility bills, a factor that may prove challenging in the long term. To get the benefits of lower utility costs, consider insulating your doors and walls when looking at ways of how to transform your garage into a room. Insulation traps the heat in your new converted space during the winter while preventing the entry of hot air during the hotter moments of the year. The result is regulated indoor conditions that allow you to enjoy lower electricity bills as it generally reduces the amount of energy needed to cool and heat your home.
Consider Plumbing and Wiring
Plumbing and wiring will also be crucial when figuring out how to transform your garage into a room. Before tearing down any walls, conduct an inspection of where your plumbing and wiring are located. This will especially come in handy if you need to install garage door add-ons or need new windows. It will also allow you to prevent any strain that comes with rewiring and installing electric radiators, aspects that will often call for additional mains. Where possible, you can also get a separate consumer unit, especially where your garage requires increased electricity consumption. Take note that stand-alone garages may require you to hire experts to run an underground circuit, as most often lack installed wiring. After this, locate the water outflows to avoid any water damage from bathroom and kitchen conversions. This should also go hand in hand with inspecting your garage for soil outflow for toilet installation.
Install a Fire Escape Route
Depending on the type of garage conversions you undertake, you may also need to install a fire escape route. For guidance on this, first, consider the following elements. If your garage is attached to your property and can be accessed by a hallway door, there is no need to install a fire escape route. If, however, your garage can only be accessed through another room on your property, it means that your converted garage room lacks a safe getaway. For this, you will need to install an escape route. This can be a window or door. But even with this, adjoining rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms, or en suite rooms do not need an alternate escape route.
Reinforce Your Foundations
Garages used for parking only require a secure frame for protection, an aspect that may not sit well when using this space as a living area. Converted garages need a better foundation to support additional weight, meaning reinforcing your garage is another additional step to consider during your transformation process. Before blocking your garage door with an infill wall or adding an entrance door, make it a point to inspect the foundation. Garage foundations continued beyond the garage door opening, and concrete slabs are indicators of secure foundations. This may require professional help, with a local builder or designer being good examples to use. Based on their advice, you can go ahead with your wall construction, with the alternative being to make any adjustments as required.
Garage Conversions Ideas
Garages can be converted into various types of room, with the most common options being:
- Art studios
- Office spaces
- Wood shops
- Children’s playroom
- Studio apartments
- Home bars
What to Consider Before Converting Your Garage into a New Room
Now that you have all the steps of how to transform your garage into a room, here are some factors to keep in mind during your conversion process.
Converting a garage may not require the same amount of money as constructing a house, but it will still need significant funds. Garage conversions can range from $6,000 to $21,000, a figure that will likely change based on the type of room you get. For conversions requiring only the basics such as insulation, adding windows, getting permits, and flooring, costs will fall on the lower side. This also gets cheaper when you do most of the work yourself. However, bathroom and kitchen conversions will come with higher costs due to the installation of sewer and utility systems. Custom conversions that require seating areas and bar stools for home bars will also drive costs up significantly.
Do You Have Enough Parking?
While converting your garage may seem like a smart decision for the short term, you may also want to consider if parking your car outside will be worth it. While looking at ways of how to transform your garage into a room, keep in mind the weather conditions in your area. If you reside in winter-prone regions, parking your car outside defeats the purpose of a garage conversion, as it will generally mean de-icing every time you want to drive to work. In addition to this, you may also have incurred more costs every time you visit auto dealers due to weather damage. If, however, you live in mild climates or are willing to forfeit your car, then you can go ahead with your conversion.
Size is another crucial factor to consider when researching how to transform your garage into a room. Before making any plans, first, measure out your garage space. Next, decide the type of room that would work well with your space. For this, you can outline elements that you may be missing in your home, any add-ons that you would like, and future usage of the space. Next, consider how best you can maximize your space based on your projected vision. Here, you can consider the type of doors to use if using your garage as a bedroom or the types of cabinets to use.
Consider the Type of Ceiling and Floor
Your new room will act as an extension of your existing property and generally rely on your home’s existing elements for its design. This means factoring in the type of ceiling, appliances, and furniture during your conversion. For an ideal and airy feel, you can consider drop ceilings that often go well with most spaces, ensuring your room blends seamlessly with the rest of the house. Raising your ceiling will also come in handy in the future, as most properties fetch higher prices due to higher ceilings. For the floors, consider whether to stick with a lower ground surface or get a raised one. The latter makes for the best choice, as it will allow your room to blend with the rest of the house, appearing as a continuous transition rather than a new addition.
Consider Light Sources
Whether you want your converted room to work as an office for your addiction counseling work or function as a family living area, the light will be an essential factor to consider. Garages often lack proper light sources, with their only source being open garage doors. Due to this, most legal requirements require living spaces have at least one window, meaning identifying the most appropriate wall to tear into for natural light. If getting natural light proves challenging, consider extra wiring and outlets for lighting fixtures.
Do You Need Additional Utilities?
To gauge your need for utilities, first establish if your garage transformation falls under a straightforward conversion or addition. The former will only require you to run new electrical and plumbing lines, while the latter calls for the application of new permits. Rooms such as kitchens, for instance, also come with additional utilities such as gas lines, making it expensive to convert as opposed to gym transformations. Others such as bedrooms and home care living spaces will also call for additional heating and cooling systems since most garages do not have functioning HVAC systems.
If you are looking for the ultimate guide on how to transform your garage into a room, the above steps will be essential in helping you achieve your dream conversion. Whether you need professionals to help you out or prefer taking it one day at a time, remember to stick to the proper legal guidelines for a successful conversion.