Convert Your Garage

Is it a good idea to convert your garage?

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    Many reasons exist for needing an extra room. You may need a home office, a family rec room, more living space, or a home fitness centre. Converting a non-traditional living area into a functional space can give you extra space without moving.

    Basement, attic, and garage conversions are popular home renovations. Like any major home renovation, converting your garage has pros and cons.

    When space is tight, homeowners look for ways to create space. In expensive, close-knit areas, garage conversions abound. In the age of online short-term rentals, a converted garage can help homeowners pay their mortgage while still living in the house.

    Garage conversions are a classic DIY home remodel. With no load-bearing walls in the way, a garage conversion may seem obvious. A garage conversion has some major downsides to consider before starting.

    Check out our range of garage renovations here.

    Benefits of converting a garage to living space

    A garage conversion isn't the only way to gain living space. You could also add on to your garage for more space. When you add on, you lose yard space, which can be a problem if you have a small yard and like to be outside.

    Converting a garage uses existing space. If you have a driveway or dedicated parking spaces, you won't have to worry about parking.

    An existing structure is another benefit of converting your garage. A home addition requires new floors, walls, and everything in between, making it costlier and more complicated. If you're handy, you may be able to convert your garage to living space yourself with a full-fledged addition, but that will add to your costs.

    If space is limited in your neighbourhood, a converted garage may add value. This will help when you sell or need a home equity loan or line of credit.

    Convert Your Garage

    Drawbacks of converting a garage to living space

    Converting a garage increases your living space, but you lose storage space. We're not just talking about tools and sports equipment; we're talking about your car.

    Suppose you don't have a driveway or parking space. If street parking is limited where you live, you shouldn't convert your garage unless you enjoy dealing with tickets and fines.

    Even if you have a driveway or parking spot outside your home, you may miss storing your vehicle indoors, where it's safe from the elements and won't be so cold when you go to start it on 14-degree days. If you have an unfinished basement, that may be a better space to convert so your garage can house your car.

    Adding indoor living space may increase your home's value, but eliminating storage space may decrease it. Before investing in a conversion, consult a real estate agent who knows the area.

    If you have a large yard and can afford to sacrifice some of it, you may want to invest in a home addition instead of a garage.

    Pros and Cons of Garage Conversions

    Converting a garage into liveable space requires significantly more planning than remodelling an existing basement due to the significant drawbacks that come along with the former option. Converting an unusable and dark space in the basement into one that is light-filled and usable is virtually impossible to botch when you are remodelling the basement.

    However, this does not apply to a garage. You can convert the space that was previously used for one or more purposes into living space by converting the space that was previously used for the garage into living space. This can be considered a trade of equal value at best. At worst, you devalue your house.

    In addition, converting a garage requires a lot more work than it might seem like it would. Some homeowners may decide to convert their garages into living space based on the misconception that the project entails little more than installing some new lighting and flooring. To the contrary, converting a garage is an expensive, time-consuming, and extensive project that, while not quite on the same scale as constructing a new addition, is very close to being on that level.

    Zoning and Legal Issues

    Changing vehicle space into habitable, safe, conditioned living space raises legal and zoning issues. When a garage becomes habitable and conditioned, it must undergo legal changes.

    Some municipalities consider whether parking stalls in the garage are being replaced.

    The transformation from a garage to a conditioned space requires the garage to meet technical and legal standards not required when the area only housed vehicles or served as storage. Most municipal building codes require permits for erecting or moving walls, running water supply or drainage, running sewer line, adding windows, and installing a full electrical system.

    Due to the rise of short-term house rentals, many municipalities are scrutinising garage conversions, even if they won't be short-term rentals.

    Easier and Less Expensive Than Moving or Building an Addition

    Converting your garage gives you extra space quickly, discreetly, and affordably. Converting a garage properly can cost tens of thousands of dollars and take weeks. Adding insulation, heating the garage, adjusting the electrical system to handle the extra demand, and adding windows and doors can add up quickly.

    Converting a garage is faster and cheaper than buying a new home or adding on. You don't need to pour a new foundation or build new walls when working with an existing structure. Converting a detached garage won't affect your ability to live in your home during the work. If you have an attached garage, you can remove the wall to create a larger space, but it will disrupt the rest of your home.

    Loss of Storage

    The most significant drawback of converting your garage is the substantial amount of extra storage space that will be eliminated as a result. Not only will you need to locate a new location in which to park your vehicle, but you'll also need to locate a new location in which to store items such as your lawnmower, yard tools, bicycles, and other items that are not typically kept inside the house.

    Obviously, the severity of this drawback is going to be determined by a number of factors, including the amount of belongings you keep in your garage, whether or not you have access to other storage options, and whether or not you mind leaving your vehicle parked in the driveway. It's possible that this won't be too much of an issue for you, especially if you don't keep that much in your garage to begin with or if you have another storage shed in your yard.

    However, if leaving your car parked outside would be a problem for you, converting either your basement or your attic into liveable space might be a better option to investigate.

    Hitch Property Constructions has the biggest range of the garage renovations Melbourne. Check it out here.

    Might Make Your Home Hard to Sell

    Whether you should convert your garage depends on whether you plan to stay or sell. If you have no plans to move soon, converting your garage can add personal enjoyment to your home. If you plan to sell your home and move soon, skip this project.

    A permanently converted garage could be a deal-breaker for many homebuyers who want a place to park their car and store things. If you don't plan to stay in your home long, look for ways to convert the space without making permanent changes. You'll get more space, and it can be turned back into a garage if needed.

    Basics of Converting a Garage to Living Space

    • Windows: Add enough window space to provide for natural light and air. In some municipalities, this means 5 1/2 square feet or a percentage of the total garage space.
    • Ceiling: Maintain at least 7 1/2 feet of minimum ceiling height. This may be not easy to do if you are also raising floor height.
    • Heat: Provide heating to maintain 70 degrees F. Retrofit heating options include extending existing central heating ductwork and installing electric baseboard or fan-driven wall heaters.
    • Light: Add at least one wall-controlled light switch. Per electrical code, garages already have at least one such switch.
    • Outlets: Add or change wall outlets so that they meet minimum spacing standards. Basically, no cord should have to reach farther than 6 feet to reach an outlet.

    How to Make a Garage Conversion a Comfortable Space

    Insulate the Walls

    The walls and ceilings of the majority of garages do not have insulation. In the event that dry wall has already been installed, it will need to be removed before insulation can be put up. When insulating the walls, you can choose to use either traditional fibreglass roll insulation, rock wool, or sprayed foam insulation. Fiberglass batts should be used to cover the ceiling.

    Raise the Floor Height

    Most garages are constructed at a lower level than the house they accompany. Even though it is not required, it is beneficial to your home if the flooring heights are matched by installing sleepers to elevate the floor covering above the concrete garage floor.

    Install Floor Covering

    Even if you decide to raise the floor by adding sleepers, you will still require some sort of floor covering. The installation of luxury vinyl plank flooring, engineered hardwood, laminate flooring, and tile flooring are all popular options for converting garages.

    Install New Drywall or Finish Existing Drywall

    Walls in garages typically do not have a finish quality when they are installed. If the walls are insulated, you can keep the drywall that is already there, but you should upgrade the finish to meet the requirements of a higher standard.

    Replace or Insulate the Garage Door

    Should you remove the garage door and replace it with a wall, or should you leave it where it is? You should consider insulating the door if you decide to keep it. Before you can move forwards with transforming the garage into a living space, you will need to find the answer to this important question.

    Hide Unsightly Areas

    It is recommended that you construct non-load-bearing walls all the way around areas that you do not want to be seen, such as the water heater, the furnace, the laundry area, or the storage space.

    Questions to Ask Before a Garage Makeover

    Ask yourself a few questions to make sure that converting your garage into living space is the most beneficial choice for your house before you start tearing off your garage door.

    When is Converting Garage to a Room a Good Option?

    Converting your garage into a habitable space is something to think about if you want to increase the amount of living space in your home but don't want to start from scratch.

    Is a Permit Required to Convert a Garage?

    Because you are altering how the space will be utilised, you will most likely be required to obtain building permits, although the specifics of this requirement can vary depending on where you live. Contact the Zoning Department of your city for more information on how to apply for permits to convert garages into living space. When applying for a permit, it is possible that you will be required to work with an architect to provide a proposed floor plan.

    Obtaining the necessary permits will ensure that your plans comply with all of the applicable local ordinances and building codes for living spaces. The minimum number of windows that must be present in a room, the number of exits and entrances, the height of the ceiling, the number of outlets, and possibly even more aspects are sometimes mandated by local building codes. If you are unable to fulfil any of these requirements, you may be eligible to submit a request for a waiver, depending on the nature of the problem.

    The cost of obtaining a permit for a garage conversion can vary, but it is typically in the range of $1,000 and $1,500 on average. If you need to apply for a variance, you should plan on spending more money.

    Be aware that some city ordinances and homeowner associations may require a certain amount of covered parking, which could prevent you from converting your garage. These requirements could come from the city itself.

    If your space requires a permit, it will also require an inspection once the renovation is complete to ensure that you have complied with all of the requirements imposed by the zoning code and the building code.

    What Type of Room Can a Garage Become?

    Your project allows for an unlimited amount of personalisation. You are free to convert your remodelled garage into any kind of living space you want as long as you adhere to the requirements of the building code. When you try to build an independent living space, such as an apartment, you might run into more challenges than when you try to convert your garage into a single room. This is because the zoning of your property will determine how many challenges you face.

    Does Converting a Garage Add Value to Your Home?

    Your property value will increase if you convert your garage into a usable living space while obtaining the necessary permits and adhering to all building codes. The value of the property is determined not only by the quality of the conversion but also by the kind of room that is constructed.

    In most cases, you can anticipate your home's value to increase by approximately eighty percent of the total cost of the project.

    Looking for Melbourne garage renovations? Look no further. Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.

    How Much Does a DIY Garage Conversion Cost?

    According to HomeAdvisor, the price range for converting a garage ranges anywhere from $6,000 to $19,000 on average.

    The overall cost will be determined by the size of your garage, the kind of room you are constructing, and the amount of assistance from professional contractors that you require. The conversion of a garage into a simple bedroom or living space can be accomplished for as little as $5,000; however, if plumbing is required for a bathroom or kitchen, the cost of the project could approach $25,000.

    Converting your garage into habitable space could provide you with the additional interior square footage you've been looking for. Additionally, this may result in an increase in the value of your home when it comes time to sell it. However, before you go that route, you might want to consider looking into other options for gaining living space, such as finishing a basement if you already have one or constructing an addition to your home if you already have one. You will acquire additional space in this manner, without having to relocate your cherished automobile.

    FAQs About Garage

    A garage conversion could add up to 20 per cent to the value of your home, while you'll gain valuable extra living space that's less prone to planning complications. So if the cost of the project is less than the extra value added to your property, this works out as a cost-effective way to add more space.

    Garage conversion ideas include:

    • Playroom.
    • Studio Apartment or In-law Suite.
    • Bedroom.
    • Art studio.
    • Office.
    • Family room.

    It is important to note that regardless of whether or not your garage conversion requires planning permission or not, you will definitely need to submit scaled architectural drawings to your local authority.

    In general, garage conversions are seen as a pretty quick job to do – as long as the existing garage building is in good structural condition. You can expect a standard, single garage conversion to take roughly 3 – 6 weeks. That's the time it will take to turn it from a garage into a livable space.

    Building regulations for garage conversions

    • Be structurally sound.
    • Have a damp-proof course.
    • Include wall, floor and loft insulation so it is energy efficient.
    • Have had all electrics safety tested.
    • Be moisture proofed, with good ventilation.
    • Have been fire-proofed and have escape routes.
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