Many people would probably be surprised if you told them that you kept your car in your garage. Modern vehicles are often too big to fit comfortably into garages, and many people use these spaces for storage instead.
If you don’t use your garage to store your car, you may want to consider making it into a more useful space. A garage conversion can add real value to your property and can give you some valuable extra living space without having to move into a bigger home.
Advantages of converting
Converting a garage that is attached to your property is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways of adding some valuable living space to your home.
The fact that the structure already exists means a fair amount of the building cost has already been covered. As long as the garage is in a good state of repair, the cost of improving the walls and insulation will be far less than building an extension without the existing structure to work with.
Planning and designing your conversion
The internal space of most garages is usually a bit thinner and longer than many people would choose for room dimensions. This is not a major problem because you can easily work on a design that incorporates a more natural and pleasing shape by using stud or block walling to create divisions where required. For example, if you want to convert the garage into a bedroom, you could create an additional room within the shell that could be used as a bathroom or shower room.
Some garages lack insulation, however almost all garages lack any serious climate control. You can discuss your options with a professional heating and cooling repair company. A wall unit or split air-conditioned may be all you need.
Decide upon how you want to use the space and then get someone to help you with the design and planning. Once you have done this, you can submit the necessary applications to your local council.
If you don’t need to alter the structure of the building, you are unlikely to require planning permission. The change of use from a garage to a room fit for habitation will simply be a case of complying with building regulations.
The standard process for converting your garage involves delivering a building notice to your local council. However, you are strongly advised to check with your local planning office and talk through your plans with an officer so that you can be certain of the requirements.
If your garage is not attached to your property, you may have to apply for a change of use. Building regulations cover aspects such as ventilation, insulation, fire safety and structural soundness. Your design plans need to take all of these things into account and satisfy the required standards in that respect.
If you are dividing up your garage with a series of partitions to create separate rooms, building regulations will apply to all of these newly created spaces. The building inspector will carry out a visual check of the work before giving a certificate of completion.
Your existing garage will almost certainly have a concrete floor that is sufficiently strong enough to meet building regulation requirements. However, you may have to improve the damp proofing and insulation levels.
A concrete floor is not going to be very comfortable or attractive if you are planning on creating a bedroom or other living space. You could incorporate a damp proof membrane and finish it off with a screed of sufficient depth.
You could also put in a raised timber floor, and this will completely transform the look and feel of the space. There are a number of flooring options open to you, and it is best to discuss these at the planning and design stage so you know what you need and how it will work.
Consider a garage conversion
There are plenty of good reasons to consider converting your garage to a living space. The next time you are about to store another box in your garage, take a moment to think about how easily you could turn this wasted space into an attractive living space instead.
Ted D. Hernandez works as a home renovation contractor. He enjoys sharing his experiences in the field. A father of five, he likes to research and write about ways to make life better for big and small families alike. His posts can be found mainly on DIY and home improvement blog sites.