Many homeowners consider garage conversion at some point. It is either because they want an extra guest room, or because the house has become too crowded. Of course, the expansion of the house would be a better solution for a living space, but it doesn’t work at all properties.
How to convert a garage into a bedroom? Whether you need an extra guest room or just a quiet space for yourself, the garage can do the job. The costs of this project will vary depending on the location and the planning, but the remodel will still cost less than an actual expansion.
If it sounds like something you would do, keep reading.
How to convert a garage into a bedroom and what you should know about it
Garages are the first place to look at if you want to add some living space and save on construction costs. This is what you should consider.
Remodel of the garage space is very recommended when:
- The existing garage door can be replaced easily with a patio door, or there is an additional entrance to the house.
- You are not concerned about losing storage space and parking areas. Once the garage conversion project is over, storage in that room will not be possible.
- You need a ‘boomerang’ family room for children who come back home or parents who visit occasionally. Since the garage is either way further from the other rooms, it provides extra privacy.
- You need to gain additional square footage and more living space. An average two-car garage has even 600 square feet.
- You need an extra bedroom for seniors who can’t access the higher flow. If the garage is large, you can create an amazing suite for them with their bathroom.
Garage conversions sound awesome, so what are the disadvantages?
- You will no longer have an indoor and well-protected parking space for your cars.
- Since the cars are parked outside, you will need to wash them more frequently.
- Outdoor parking also increases the risk that someone will break into your car, damage it, or even steal it. It depends on how safe the area is.
- If you live in a cold and snowy area, a converted garage will not be appreciated by prospective buyers. They will need a dedicated and well-insulated spot to park.
- Turning a garage into a room is an expensive investment, and you may not benefit from it as much as you thought. You won’t have a place for your bikes, lawnmowers, or toolkits.
- Plan the budget for converting a garage very carefully. Keep in mind that there might be hidden and unexpected costs, such as structural changes and garage conversion permits.
Do you need garage conversion permits?
Before you invest anything in your garage living space project, check whether it is legal or not.
It depends pretty much on the local building codes and rules on garage remodel. In some states, these rules cover everything from installing a closet to building your bathroom. This comes without saying, but your garage remodel must be in line with the code, as it affects the insurance, taxes, and zoning rules.
More often than not, the code requires you to get a building permit. The costs charged by the building department vary between $300 and $1,000, depending on the location and the estimated costs. Keep in mind that getting a permit won’t be easy .- many municipalities make you jump through hoops until you are finally able to turn a garage into a room.
They will also ask you to sign several papers stating how many square feet you are adding. This all relates to the property taxes you are paying, which are now also going to increase.
Last but not least, spaces that require a permit are also inspected after renovation. Make sure you comply with all zoning requirements and building codes.
Does a garage living space add value to the property?
The shortest answer is it depends. We would recommend you consult homeowners who already turned a double garage into a living space. You can also hire a real estate professional and ask for an estimation. In all instances, keep in mind that a home without a car garage doesn’t have the same value.
Location is not the only decisive factor. Think ahead, and estimate how big the odds are of you selling the place in five years. If that is the plan, you may as well put the new living space project on hold.
As mentioned, in cold and snowy areas everyone needs a car garage, even if there is yard space or enough off-street parking spots. If you go for the living space, after all, you will be losing value.
Give the neighborhood a look. Do all the neighbors keep their cars in garages? If this is the case, it means your house also needs a garage to keep its resell value. It may also lead to a limited buyer pool once you decide to resell.
On the other hand, it may be that you are living in an area where square footage is a bigger concern. In this case, a garage conversion can only boost the property value up, in case you ever decide to resell.
How much does a converted garage cost?
In general, creating new spaces for living from scratch is not cheap. If you reduce the costs, however, the price won’t be such a deal-breaker.
We still encourage you to use the best materials you can, and not to cut on essential costs. The more you invest in the project, the longer the build will last, and the more comfortable you will feel inside.
So, how much should you set aside for these living spaces?
There is a great variation of costs, as it all depends on how big the garage is and which facilities it already offers. If it is a standard one-car garage with the usual square foot, you should plan a budget from $3,000 to $30,000 on average. The more things you need to prepare to enable the living space, the more it will cost you, so check the interior, the walls, and the plumbing.
In some cases, you will need to change the subfloor of the existing space and replace it with hardwood floors. This, however, can give the price some serious boost. The existing structure may not offer the electrical setting you need, and you will be over $40,000 before you know it.
One of the details that raise the price the most, but we don’t count on them in the beginning, is converting a garage door into a solid wall. This high-end cost may surprise you.
And still, this is the cheapest living space you can create by repurposing function areas. If you decide to do the same with your attic or the basement, the project may cost over $100,000.
Another decisive factor is location. In some states and neighborhoods, the price is way higher. It also makes a huge difference whether you live in the metropolitan area or the suburbs.
So far, we have only discussed pricing with no bathroom installation included. If that was your original plan, put $15,000 or even $25,000 on top of the current price.
To make matters a bit better, there are circumstances in the garage that can facilitate the project. For instance, some garages have rooms above and where you don’t need to worry about roofing.
A separate vaulted roof, on the other hand, can cost up to $8,000 which is not included in the original budget.
How does converting a garage work?
If the essence of your project is to add living space or an extra family room, converting a garage makes perfect sense. You will end up with up to 250 square feet of the additional surface.
Better yet, if the garage is this big, you can consider keeping some of the garage walls and providing space for a single car. Garages are usually 9 feet high, which is enough to create any room you want.
If you repurpose a double garage, you will get 575 square feet of new space to use as you wish.
Preparation is key
Now that you have all this information, start planning the master bedroom. Make a list of all possible aspects, including the size, the arrangement, the bathroom or half-bathroom, etc.
You can even list the decorations you need, and estimate the costs based on internet research.
If you do this, it will be easier to communicate your intentions to site planners and constructors, and the project will be complete much sooner. They will advise you on the technical elements, and you can finally settle on a budget.
It is very important to decide in advance whether any electrical or plumbing work will be necessary. Check this information, but let professionals have the last word on the matter. They will ensure that your new living space passes all inspections and gets all permits it needs.
Garage door opening
Next, frame the garage door opening. The garage door will most probably not stay where it is. Therefore, prepare for the possibility to build a wall instead and framing additional doors where you need them.
Image source: R / G Photography
The same concerns apply to the garage floor. Normally, there is no hardwood floor or a protective layer to make the room comfortable and warm.
You will need to consider completely new flooring or maybe hire a licensed electrician to estimate the total cost of heating your new room. What many homeowners do to solve this concern is to adjust the floor height and to ensure extra insulation.
Luckily, most garages already have a finished ceiling. You won’t be expected to do much other than perhaps repaint it and clean it.
If this is not the case, don’t panic. There are still many cost-efficient ways to give the ceiling a makeover, and they don’t even interfere with building codes.
For instance, add skylights instead of traditional roofing. The other option would be to make a roof that matches the rest of the house and then insulate it on the inside. This, of course, will cost a little bit more.
You can secure the drywall with a drill and drywall screws. Since you need to place the screws at about 12 inches each time, make sure you have a ladder and a person who can help you.
Mark the places where you need electrical outlets. You can even cut the outlet holes yourself, using a small drywall knife.
Insulation is essential for your project, as you need to ensure that the new bedroom is comfortable and warm. We recommend blown-in insulation, as it is very cost-effective, and requires minimum construction work.
If the garage is already connected to the house, there are three walls to insulate. In the best of all scenarios, the previous homeowner went the extra mile and insulated the garage already.
Which insulation should you choose?
You can’t go wrong with blanket insulation or batt insulation. Both are made to fit easily between the wooden wall joists and into 16-inches spaces. You can build them yourself with planks, and you can cut the costs significantly.
If you need to warm the floor up, replace it with hardwood floor and raise it for insulation. Laying wood directly on concrete will not help you warm the room up.
Final thoughts on how to convert a garage into a bedroom
Converting a garage and ensuring extra storage footage sounds like an attractive option. Still, there are many things you should consider in advance. First of all, you should know for a fact how repurposing a garage affects the look and value of the house.
You have already informed yourself on how to convert a garage into a bedroom, but additional concerns appear. You need to respect local regulations, find additional storage space, and park your car outside your home at all seasons.
Garages are huge selling points, but so are additional bedrooms. It is you who needs to decide what is better, and this decision relates to location, needs, and lifestyle, among other things.
We had the chance to see how many aspects need to be considered in the project, starting with the garage door and moving to the outlets. The budget of a garage conversion is also not that low, so don’t start the project if you are not sure.
If you enjoyed reading this article about how to convert a garage into a bedroom, you should check out these on how to keep an attic bedroom cool during the summer, how to divide a bedroom into two separate rooms, how to convert an attic into a bedroom, and how to build a small closet in your bedroom.
We also wrote about similar topics like how to add a walk-in closet to your bedroom, how to turn a basement into a bedroom, how to stage a bedroom nicely, how to block out the light from a bedroom window, how to fill the empty space in a bedroom, and how to turn a living room into a bedroom.