Nowadays, more and more people are jumping on the trend of upgrading their detached garages into living space. Aside from it being popular, it is also a great way to add value to a home. It is less costly than adding a new room with the benefits of having extra space.
Most people convert their detached garages for extra living space to increase property value. Most of these extra living spaces are often rented out, which gives property owners a way to earn returns for their investment.
For others, converting their garages into extra living space gives them an opportunity to care for elderly members of the family. This way, they can keep their family members close and maintain a close relationship while still maintaining their independence. This is also a great opportunity for grandkids to build a close relationship with their grandparents – a win-win for all.
Is Planning Permission Needed?
Because of the Planning Development (PD), unless you need to change the front or add some windows, converting an integral or attached garage may not need a formal planning consent. But in some cases, especially the area you live in, i.e. a conversion area, it is best to consult first with your local authority before the conversion begins.
However, if you are converting your garage into a living space, you will need a clearance from your local authority as part of the Building Regulations. For more notable works, a full Building Regulations application may be required which will mean that you have to submit your plans in advance.
Is It More Expensive?
What most people don’t realize is that converting a detached garage can actually cost more than converting an attached one. That is because detached garages are built on independent space without any utilities such as plumbing and electricity, which will require extra work. The further away from the main house, the higher the cost. Garage conversion prices can differ based on various factors. It also depends on the complexity of the job, the size of space, and the type of room it will be converted into.
After the completion of the paperwork, the build may begin. Your contractor will strip down the garage and you will get a clear view of everything that could add to the costs.
These are some of the most common considerations:
Size and Type of Garage
The size of the garage determines the amount of work and materials needed to convert it into an actual living space. It goes without saying that the bigger the garage, the higher the cost.
Garage sizes vary for different homes. Two of the most common sizes for detached garages are 194 sq. ft. (18 sq. m.) for single garages and 388 sq. ft. (36 sq. m.) for double garages.
A typical garage is several inches below the floor level, with most garages sloping toward the garage door. With all those circumstances, raising the floor height will be needed to allow for insulation over the concrete slab. This will also keep water out of the converted space.
The most common thing to do about the garage door is to replace it by making a wall that matches the rest of the building. What you do with the garage door affects the cost considerably. Retrofitting a garage door with a large bay window will certainly cost much less than having to install a wall with different smaller windows.
Heating and Cooling
The next thing to consider is the heating and cooling of the space. Because the detached garage is far from the house’s main system, you will need to install an independent system. It is also important to add insulation to the walls, floor, and ceiling.
Depending on the location, homeowners may need to install a boiler as a source of heat for colder months and/or an air conditioning system for hotter months. The cost will depend on how extensive the heating and cooling system will be as well as the amount of insulation involved.
Most garages may already have a single lighting circuit. But once they are converted into a large room, they will require a bit more than a single circuit to accommodate all the appliances to be installed. An electrical service upgrade is recommended to accommodate the larger load.
The cost of lighting for the newly converted space will depend on the size of the room, the amount of lighting needed, and the aesthetic you would like to have. Downlights are added as ceiling fixtures and are great at maximizing space and minimizing cost. Meanwhile, wall lighting and spotlighting are great at highlighting different spots and will cost more for multiple fixtures.
With the lack of a water supply, a new plumbing system will need to be installed to the garage to effectively convert it into a separate living space. Most homeowners prefer to source their water supply from the main pipeline of the main house, which costs significantly less than having a new piping system from a new line installed. However, as mentioned before, the further away the garage is from the main house, the more it will cost to install indoor plumbing. Adding an extractor fan for the kitchen and bathroom increases costs considerably and is probably the biggest expense in a garage conversion.
A garage conversion can certainly become a fun DIY project, regardless of how laborious it may turn out to be. One caveat, however, is that doing all the work yourself can pose a significant risk to your health and safety. When it comes to matters such as electricity and plumbing, one wrong move could prove fatal or too costly, which is why it is recommended to leave it to the experts.
How much labor you’re going to pay for will ultimately depend on the amount of work you outsource. Will you be needing bricklayers, glazers, and plasterers? Will you hire painters and decorators? What about planning and wiring?
The next thing to consider is the type of room to build. This will also affect the conversion prices, as it will depend on the type of design and materials that room needs. The most common types of rooms that can be built in the garage conversions are living room, utility room, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom.
The last two options may be more costly, considering the installation of additional pipes. Even adding a sink or toilet can have a major increase in the overall cost of conversion. But some people want their garage to be converted into a tiny home, meaning all the basic rooms that can be found in a regular house will be compressed into one. That will cost more than an average conversion since more materials will be needed to achieve it.
Garage conversion prices can be costly, but is it all worth it?
It is indeed enticing to cut corners on a garage conversion project, but remember that a home is the largest investment a person will make in the course of their life.