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What You Need to Know About Converting Your Garage

If you're thinking about converting your garage into another room or man cave, there are some things you should be aware of. Check this blog out for more!

Converted garage home improvement project

Do you need more living space in your home? Who doesn’t? Many homeowners feel their houses are lacking room at some point, and moving again isn’t always the best solution. While renting a storage unit or adding a backyard shed can solve some space issues, sometimes you just need more room. An extra bedroom, rumpus room, man cave or playroom could make your home feel a lot less cramped.

But building an addition isn’t always affordable. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of an addition is $44,061 in 2019. If you have a garage, converting it into living space may be the way to go. The average cost of a garage conversion is anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000. Here’s what you need to know to convert your garage.

Cheap – And Not So Cheap – Garage Conversion Ideas

Maybe you already know exactly what you want the end result of your garage conversion to be. Perhaps you’re interested in adding living quarters above or converting the whole thing into a studio or one-bedroom apartment that you can rent out to generate some extra income. Or maybe you’re tinkering with the idea of a children’s playroom, a home gym or a home office. Whatever your preferences, you should know that some types of garage conversions are generally less expensive than others.

Typically, any conversion that involves blocking up the garage doors and finishing out the walls, floors and ceiling with insulation, drywall and carpet or other flooring material is going to be on the cheaper end. Think of a bonus room, family room, playroom, game room or man cave.

On the other hand, any conversion project that requires installing additional plumbing, data cables or expensive fixtures will be more costly. A home gym may not be expensive in terms of converting the garage itself, but filling it with exercise machines may drive up the price. Likewise, a home movie theater might be nice, but the chairs and projector screen are going to be pricey. Other more expensive garage conversion ideas include changing the whole space into an accessory dwelling unit for rental, a lounge with a full wet bar, an art studio, a music room, a billiard room or a library.

Finishing Your Garage

Planning a garage conversion requires finding out what you need to do to turn your storage space into living space. You’ll need to add insulation to ensure that your new living area stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If your walls are unfinished, you’ll need to finish them. Drywall, paneling or plywood are the traditional options for finishing a wall, but cheaper materials like shiplap or sheet metal are also available, if you like the look of them. Flooring can be as simple as applying an epoxy-based concrete paint to your concrete floor, or as complex as building out a well-insulated wooden subfloor and installing carpeting. Some other flooring options include tile, vinyl, laminate and wood. Flooring, insulation and even finishing the walls are fairly simple DIY projects, although you may want to hire an electrician to run any additional wiring and install any additional light fixtures, switches and receptacles, or to change existing ones.

Perhaps the largest, and most obvious, concern when converting a garage to living space is removing the garage door. If you want the option to revert your garage back to storage for your car someday, you can use a DIY garage door insulation kit that will allow you to keep the garage door without sacrificing comfort. You can also buy garage door veneers that go over metal garage doors, changing the look of the door itself to match the rest of the décor in your garage conversion. If you’re converting your garage into an apartment, bonus room or other permanent living space, however, you may want to hire a contractor to remove the garage doors entirely and build out the exterior wall to fill the space.

You may be able to use your current HVAC system to heat and cool an attached garage after its conversion. An HVAC technician can tell you whether this is feasible for your system and garage or if you’ll need additional ductwork and vents. If you can’t expand your current HVAC system to cover your new living space in the converted garage, you may need to use space heaters and window A/C units, or install a wood-burning heater or a ductless heating and cooling system.

If your garage doesn’t have any windows, or only has one or two, you may need to add more in order to let in additional natural light. If you’re removing garage doors, you can add windows to this wall fairly easily. When shopping for new windows, you should be careful to buy modern, energy-efficient ones.

Converting your garage into a livable space can increase your home’s square footage significantly for a much lower price than a new addition built from scratch. But you’ll want to make your home is covered. With a home warranty from American Home Shield®, you can protect the new appliances and systems in your extra room. Call today to ask about our comprehensive home warranty plans. 

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