If you belong to a family or large household looking to expand living spaces within your crowded home, converting the garage into a bedroom is a viable option. In fact, a garage conversion is relatively common in places where real estate is pricey, since it is a good alternative to finding a bigger home or lot to fit the household in.
It is important to note that the costs of converting garages to bedrooms vary, and it certainly isn’t for everyone. If you’re considering converting your garage into a bedroom, read on to learn about the important factors you need to take into account before ripping out your garage doors.
Do you want a garage conversion?
Just as compared to room conversions, which were previously discussed in an article published here on S3DA Design, it is even expensive to add entirely new sections of your house than garage conversions. Since your garage has walls, a roof, and flooring, you can easily maintain the conversion instead of building a new room from the beginning to the end.
There are many factors to consider when performing a garage conversion and the major one amongst them is the location where you will put your car. Therefore, if you have an additional parking space and your aim is to only convert a single garage area in a home with two, then that would be better. But, people who do not have the money to embark on this conversion should look for other places to park their cars.
We do not recommend this option as it can cause environmental exposure problems.
Based on the place where you are living, this can create overheating under unfavorable sunny climatic conditions or it could be buried under the deep snow. Furthermore, some city customs mandate you to change your garage to a different off-street parking area.
Another consideration would be the rest of the stuff that you have stored in the garage. Most garages act as storage spaces for gardening tools and old appliances. By converting your garage, you are essentially evicting these items and will need to find other places to store them – or throw them away entirely.
Last but not least, you also need to assess the effect of your garage conversion on the value of your home. The change in real estate value will vary depending on your location. But if you live in a neighborhood where every home has a garage, then removing your garage entirely will definitely be unfavorable. Talk to your household and see if losing the space for your car and garage stuff, as well as slashing some dollars off your home’s real estate value, is a fair trade for an extra bedroom. If it is, then it’s time to start planning for your garage conversion project.
The costs of garage conversion
Depending on the size of your garage and the amount of redesign work, the costs can vary. It’s safe to say, however, that it will cost roughly half of what a home extension would.
When estimating the cost, consider what it takes to make garage spaces truly livable. This includes new walls, polished flooring, windows, insulation, and heating and cooling systems. The price depends on the design process and construction and whether or not your new bedroom will come with its own bathroom.
Dealing with the legalities
Aside from financial considerations, some legal issues must also be worked out. California-based attorney explains that garage conversions resulting in new bedrooms need to comply with specific technical and legal standards that garages are not subject to. For instance, most local building codes have set rules on how much window space must be allotted for livable areas. They also cover minimum ceiling heights, heating requirements, lighting considerations, and minimum spacing standards for outlets. Ensure that you get the proper building permits at your city or municipal hall before starting any construction work to avoid any legal trouble.
When you’re making home improvements that involve the stability of a building you need a structural engineer and architect. These professionals will provide structural drawings, calculations, architectural drawings which will be approved by the city.
Insulation and damp proofing
Once you meet all the aforementioned factors, the real work begins with insulation and damp proofing.
For starters, the garage roof will almost always need upgrading to ensure that it has proper insulation and is watertight. It’s best to use new tiles and materials that match those of your existing roof. Because converting a flat roof for a pitched one can make the conversion less obvious from an outsider’s point of view.
As for your garage floors, these are usually lower than the floor level of the rest of the house. Therefore, you should raise them appropriately as long as the ceiling allows for it. Ask your original building contractor whether your garage’s concrete flooring had been cast over a damp-proof membrane. This way you can ensure that your floors remain dry.
It’s best to protect the concrete floor with polythene or paint-on damp-proof membrane. You should do this before laying down your insulation, which garage floors do not have by default. Try using chipboard sheets or rolled-out multi-foil laminate insulation to keep your floors from getting too chilly. From there, you can set your choice of the finished flooring.
Plumbing and wiring
Another thing you need to build into your garage-turned-bedroom is the wiring and plumbing. You need this especially if you’re looking to add a bathroom. Start with a thorough survey of the power lines and pipes in the house and garage. Pay special attention to those that lie in between walls that you might need to pierce for doorways and windows.
Make sure to consult with professionals before making any changes. It is advisable to equip the new bedroom with its own miniature circuit breaker. Also, add at least one new 20-amp circuit to handle all electric needs. If you have a detached garage, the wiring is still possible by running it through an underground conduit. If you can, future-proof your converted garage by preparing plenty of electrical points and even a phone point. This helps future occupants that might need them.
Windows should be energy-efficient and double-glazed to keep the cold out. Make sure they comply with your local fire safety regulations. Also, whenever possible, match the existing windows of your home to camouflage the conversion.
For walls that face the garden or backyard, you can install floor-to-ceiling windows. This brings even more light in and makes the space feel much larger and airy. In the wall where your garage door used to be, you can also place windows on the new wall.
Heating and cooling
After the above steps, what remains to do is to make your new room inviting for its new owner. A comfy bed is a great start, and so is a dresser or wardrobe. Make sure to include new drapes or curtains for privacy, as well as rugs to keep the area cozy.
As for color, Leesa details how certain hues evoke specific feelings, and the color associations can be used to create the kind of environment the owner wants. For instance, people consider blue to be calming. Therefore, it can help the occupant relax with its ties to water, sky, trustworthiness, and stability. Green, on the other hand, communicates freshness, health, and new beginnings. This is another excellent choice for a new conversion from a garage to a bedroom.
Final Note on Garage Conversion
To create a more cohesive look for your interiors, ensure that the décor in your new bedroom – from flooring type to lights – more or less matches the existing look of the adjoining hallway or room.
Garage conversions, while not for everyone, can be rewarding for those who plan well and pay attention to detail. If you have any questions or other tips you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment!