When you want to create more living space in your home, the first thought might be of an extension. But it is far more economical to instead consider converting your attic, basement, or garage into a functional room. A garage conversion is great for those situations where you want a separate area that will not interfere with the rest of the family, or when you have a relative moving into your home that requires extra space.
A garage conversion can seem simple, but there are several steps that go into successfully turning your garage into a living space. Remember that your garage was made to house vehicles and not people. So there are some very important structural changes you will have to make just to get the garage comfortable for human use.
Elements to Consider
Your garage may have a small amount of power running to it, but does it have circuits able to handle the surge of appliances like a refrigerator? Electricity is one of the biggest considerations you have when doing a garage conversion because many of the other elements of your conversion rely heavily on there being adequate power.
There is a good chance that your garage does not have plumbing or sewer services running to it. If you want your garage conversion to result in a completely separate living space, then you will have to address plumbing and sewerage, which can be tricky issues to resolve.
Cars also don't mind extremes of temperate, neither heat in summer nor cold in winter. But a human occupant certainly will, which means the addition of insulation in the roof or wall is essential. If you want to convert your garage, then you will need to keep comfort and health in mind. If there is no ability to control heat in your garage, then you're looking at serious health issues for whoever is living there. The installation of piping and connection to the sewer mains is a task you will want a very experienced professional for, to ensure the task is done right. You can search for one in your local area at this website.
Preparing For a Garage Conversion
The best way to prepare for your garage conversion is to have a very specific idea of what function you want your garage to have and how you want it to look like when the conversion is over, and then make an action plan. Your action plan will consist of a list of ordered objectives and activities that you will need to do to make the project successful. Some of the more important elements of a garage conversion action list include:
- Installing a heating and cooling system
- Installing plumbing
- Ensuring the windows, walls, and roof energy efficient
- Developing a way to keep the concrete floor warm during the winter
- Finishing processes that will be used to make the garage look like a livable space
Why a Contractor Is a Good Idea for a Garage Conversion
Instead of tackling a garage conversion process yourself, it is advisable to get a contractor involved. Most importantly because many of the tasks needed to convert a garage are beyond the capabilities of most homeowners. Unless you yourself are a professional builder, then there is a good chance that you do not know how to run power or install plumbing.
A contractor can take your idea and turn it into a reality. You should discuss budgeting with your contractor and they will then submit a plan to you that will convert your garage at the price you nominate. A contractor should also be able to complete the project by a strict deadline, ensuring your project doesn't run on unfinished for many years.
A professional contractor has experience in getting the permits necessary for a garage conversion and working with the local utilities to prevent problems during the project. If you are unfamiliar with how to contact or negotiate with your local natural gas utility, then you may dig into a natural gas pipe that can cause a long list of serious problems. A professional contractor can help avoid all of those issues and get your project done efficiently and safely.
Finding the Right Contractor
Converting your garage into a living area can increase the value of your home and give your family more space. If you want the project done properly, then take the time to find a reputable contractor who will be able to complete your project on time and under budget. You can use referral websites to find the reliable general contractors in your area and then request quotes from at least three of those contractors. Make sure that each contractor sends you a set of personal referrals that you can use to find out the quality of the work they do. Do not hire a contractor until you have talked to previous customers to find out if they are satisfied or not.
Each contractor should present their insurance coverage information to you, along with their general contractor's license. If a contractor will not present that information to you, then it is unwise to do business with them, as you will not be insured or legally protected from any faults. In this manner you can find quotes for each individual job from different contractors, or you can try to find a company that specializes in garage conversions and can undertake all the necessary jobs internally, saving you time. One tool for trying to find a garage conversion specialist in your surrounding area exists here.