Convert Your Garage to Living Space or Not?

Convert Your Garage to Living Space or Not?

If you’ve considered converting your garage to living space, there could be great advantages, but there are some trade-offs as well.

What do you use it for now?

Most people use their garage for their car(s). Converting it to living space puts those cars out in the weather. It could also create a risk of break-ins if the area is prone to criminal behavior. A carport may take care of the major concern of exposure to the elements.

You’ll need to check your covenants and restrictions, as some HOAs do not allow outdoor car parking overnight for long periods. If you keep a boat in your garage, it’s likely that restrictions may preclude leaving it outdoors permanently.

If your garage resembles the image in this article, you can definitely make better use of the space. Store this stuff in the attic, basement, or rent a storage space or have a garage sale. Conversion of the space to conditioned living area will add to your home’s value.

Is it a Convert or Add-On Decision?

If you’re in need of extra space or moving, you may be considering adding space to your home. The cost of a full addition would likely significantly exceed that of a garage conversion. That’s whether a bathroom is part of the space or not.

If the location of the garage in relation to the rest of the home works for your use of the conversion, that’s great. However, it may not be at the end of the home that is convenient for your activity room or extra bedroom. If its location in the future floorplan works, then it could be a good decision to convert budget-wise.

Is it the Right Size for What You Want?

The typical two-car garage is around 400 to 450 square feet in size. Is this the size you envision for the use you want to make of the space? If you need to, could you add a few more square feet to the front side when you build that wall?

If you want to use it for entertaining, and it happens to be off the kitchen as many garages are, it could be the perfect space for entertaining coupled with cooking; this is extremely popular. If it’s not on the same level as the connected house area, will this present a problem for any of the residents?

Have You Considered Everything Involved?

There could be more involved in the conversion than you may envision, including:

  • You may need to raise the floor level for insulation over the concrete slab
  • If you want an open floor plan, you’ll need to open up the wall between the home and the garage.
  • Fully insulating walls and ceiling
  • You may need to upgrade the electrical service for the space.
  • Will your current heating and cooling system be enough to add this space, or will an add-on unit be required?
  • You’ll need to replace the garage door with a wall and probably door and windows.

Set up a budget for the conversion including any or all these items.

Conversion of your garage to living area can be an excellent decision, but consider all of your options and trade-offs; then have fun in your new space.