Finding additional living space can be very easy if you have a garage. If you don’t really need the garage, or at least all of the garage, converting it can be a terrific way to add space at minimal cost. The foundation, exterior walls, and roof are already built. The decision to convert this area into living space means you have already saved thousands of dollars on your project. By insulating the walls and ceiling, replacing the garage door with a wall, and upgrading lighting and electrical outlets and heat and air conditioning, the task is actually relatively minor. If you happen to have a two-car garage and only one car, you can cost-effectively erect a wall between the two parts, add a door in that wall, and replace one of the garage doors with a wall.

The decisions you need to make start first with the floor. You can use the existing concrete floor and tile it, or put vinyl, carpet or engineered flooring down. All of these are durable and attractive floors, but vary in costs and none will be warm or have any give. If the rest of your home is on a concrete slab, then having the garage on a slab can make some sense. Tile requires the most labor of these 4 choices. Carpet is likely to be the least expensive. The other choice for the floor is to build up using standard framing so it is level with the rest of the house. This will make this new living space fit in with the rest of the house and offer a warmer room in cold climates. There is an additional expense with this choice – it will likely cost about $1000 just for materials and then several days of labor. Consider using pressure treated lumber unless you will have plenty of ventilation in the crawl space.

Typically, walls are constructed the same as in the rest of the house. You can using the existing garage walls or build new ones to divide the space. Some people choose to remove the garage door and replace it with windows, a sliding glass door or a solid wall. You can also leave the garage door intact and build a wall just inside the garage door, so the home’s appearance remains the same. The ceiling can be a drop ceiling with panels or a standard framed ceiling with drywall. Most garages don’t have the framing in place to support the weight of drywall so if drywall is your choice, make sure you have the right size joists.

Putting in lighting, electrical and plumbing is the same in a garage conversion as in the rest of the house.

Is a garage conversion legal? Many communities say “no”. Some say yes if you have sufficient parking without the garage, and a lot of communities have no rules one way or another.  You can also add on to your garage as you convert it.  To get an instant garage addition estimate, click here.

When it comes to economical home additions – hands down the garage conversion wins. They cost about the same as finishing a basement, but you can avoid the common problems that basement conversions present, which is narrow staircases, low ceiling heights, moisture, and lack of natural light.

Good luck!