Things to Consider for a Garage Conversions
Because the walls, roof, foundation and often the electrical wiring are already there, garage conversions can be one of the easiest and least expensive ways to add extra space to a home.
An attached garage often makes an ideal family room or the space can be used to create a larger kitchen. In most homes, the new room created by converting the garage blends effortlessly with the rest of the house.
A careful evaluation of the garage and any potential issues is the first step for homeowners planning garage conversions.
Here’s the following points that should be considered:
• Garage Door
The space needs to be filled in somehow once the garage door has been removed, and many homeowners find this part of the process to be something of a problem. Creating an entire new entryway, perhaps by installing a patio door is one obvious solution; ideally your goal should be that any renovations are both functional and matches the rest of the house.
You may need to add a curb to the bottom of the garage door opening to prevent moisture from damaging wall framing and to prevent water from getting in to the converted space. Many garages are sitting on an uninsulated concrete base which slopes towards a drain or towards the garage door and you may need to level the floor.
• Heating and Cooling
The current cooling and heating system can potentially be extended into the converted garage space if your garage is attached to your house. Otherwise a wood stove, portable air conditioning unit, space heater, electric baseboards or a radiant floor heating system may need to be used to heat and cool the space. Before you figure out how the space should be heated and cooled, you should insulate the floor, ceiling and walls.
Your garage may only have a single light circuit and you may need to add at least another 20 amp circuit, especially if you want to use the converted garage space as a new kitchen. You can use an underground conduit to run extra wiring from the house if you plan to use the converted garage as living space.
You should consult with a plumber to see what solutions there might be; for many homeowners, the plumbing can be the biggest challenge of converting their garage. Adding plumbing lines can often be the largest expense associated with the project, although you may be able to convert an attached utility or laundry room into a bathroom.
• Losing Storage and Parking
You may have to think about storing the stuff that was in the garage in your attic or basement, or simply downsizing. To protect your car, you may want to consider building a separate detached garage, or perhaps a carport for protection.
• Blending In
When planning a garage conversion, try to match the building materials, color, and window and door style so that the converted garage really does blend in with the rest of your home and look as if it has always been part of the house.
Garage conversions can be a welcome addition to any home, providing extra space and adding value to a property, and even extra income if converted to living quarters. However, it can be costly especially if you use the services of a professional contractor and it’s important to make sure the job is done properly.