Unused home gym equipment, old toys, boxes of papers, and other odds and ends; are these things familiar? You must have a garage! As cars are getting bigger and bigger and home space is getting smaller and smaller, making a garage a storage room is a total waste of space. If you can park in the street, then it is a perfect time to convert your garage to a room!
If your family is getting bigger, why not turn it into an extra bedroom, or another lounge? It could also be a library, a family room, a larger kitchen or a children’s playroom. Also, if you are working at home or own a business and paying for an office space, your garage might be the perfect home office you’ve been waiting for. Of course, with any home adjustments, you have to prepare for the costs, time, and effort. If you are planning to revamp your garage, here are a few things to consider.
Can Your Garage Be Converted?
Before anything else, determine what you want exactly with your garage. Then, determine if you need permits. You need to contact your property developer and clarify any clauses in the contracts concerning property changes. Some may allow internal changes but restrict external conversions. Also, check with the local authority for the required building permits. Some require proper compliance with building regulations, such as drainage and insulation. Most states will send a building inspector after the work is completed and adjust your property tax information. Remember, always process all papers required. A quick Google search and a call to the proper authorities will prevent future headaches. If you have the time, consider free consultation of the experts, such as your developer or your city’s engineer.
Temperature, Electricity, and Water
Since garages were designed for cars and not seen as a “habitable” place, electric installations, heating and cooling systems and plumbing may not be installed at all. This means stripping the whole garage and laying the necessary groundwork. At this point, you should ask the help of an expert. There are also experts who can assess your garage for free. They can determine if the current furnace running in the house is enough to accommodate the additional space. After all, you want to use the space regularly; freezing in winter and toasting in summer will render your new room useless. Again, you have to consult the local authority if permits are needed for such installations. An HVAC specialist should be able to help you out with the paperwork.
Electricity is relatively easier; however, this still depends on how your garage will be used. Plumbing, on the other hand, is a little bit tricky, especially if you want to tie it up with the existing system. Hire a plumber endorsed by your developer to assess your space.
Walls, Ceilings, and Openings
A garage is one of the main targets of burglars, so it’s important to protect and check your garage’s security. Well, the first step in converting your garage space is to decide its purpose and how this relates to your whole house. If you are allowed to alter its exterior, you will have more freedom expressing your creativity.
Typically, garage floors are sloped and lower that the rest of the house. It is highly suggested that you install a new floor structure. Again, this depends on the purpose of the space. If you intend to make it an extension of the living room, then it should be the same as the one installed in the main room or at least a complement. One option is to build up a wood framed floor aligned with the floor of the main house.
The walls and ceiling should follow suit. This depends heavily on the A/C and temperature system you are installing. On the other hand, the large opening of most garages can be complicated. If the garage will serve as another room, this can be closed or converted into a more stylish vertical opening, depending on your preference, and serve as a new wall. However, if it is an extension, it is better to take advantage of the open space to let the air and the light in. Large windows or doors are ideal. Large folding-glass doors or windows can provide amazing aesthetics while adding functionality.
Now comes the fun part. Be warned, though, before starting to work on your garage: You should have the design laid out already. This means deciding on furniture, appliances and other installations for the new space. It will be difficult to strip the walls and the floor again because you just realized you need another electric outlet in one corner. If you can spend a little, hire an interior designer, who can maximize the use of the space. If not, there are multitudes of inspirations available online. You can also use free apps to lay out the space and see what it will look like. If you intend the new room to serve as personal space, then lighting will mainly come from artificial sources. If it’s a communal room, then natural lighting is the way to go. Keep in mind that you have to take your time in choosing and shopping for the elements of the room. There are usually more affordable options that can save you a lot.
With all things considered, you should always consider the advice of the experts. As mentioned, there are free services available from your local authority, developer, or even contractors. This is essential if you are planning to do the hard work yourself. Also, have a clear-cut budget and schedule to avoid overspending time and money.