Have you ever driven by a house and noticed that the garage is no longer a garage? Personally, nothing bugs me more about a house, than seeing someone do a garage conversion. I understand that there are a plethora of reasons why someone would need to take that space and turn it into another bedroom or living area, but for my personal taste, it just takes away from the house…not to mention, it rarely if ever adds value to the house.
This is usually do to the fact that people (and insurance companies) place a big value on a protected garage space, that is eliminated when you convert it. Still, if you are in the need of the extra space, a garage conversion is going to be a more cost effective route, then building an addition would be. However, you can’t just take the garage door down, slap up ome drywall and call it done.
If you are wanting this space to be like the other spaces in the house, it is going to take some work. Have you ever noticed how cold your garage is in the winter? It is because it is rarely insulated like the rest of the house, and it is equipped with ductwork to allow for heat and ac. Even more is required for a garage conversion depending on where in the country you live.
If you live in California, or any other hotspot for seismic activity (earthquakes), you are required to have any additions or conversions done with seismic retrofitting. According to The California Earthquake Authority
Earthquake retrofitting (seismically retrofitting) a house is done to prevent displacement from the structure’s concrete foundation. This makes a building safer and less likely to suffer damage during an earthquake.
When you are choosing to do a garage conversion, you need to factor this cost into the budget, in addtion to the costs laid out by Real Homes and their Ultimate Guide to Garage Conversions.
Seismic retrofitting is a smart move, for more reasons than just following the regulations. Not only does it improve the homes ability to keep the family safe in the event of an earthquake, but it will reduce the cost of repairs in the event of an earthquake, and it has the potential to lower your insurance rates if you live in an earthquake hotspot.
If you are doing a garage conversion, making the garage as well insulated, safe, and secure as the rest of the house is essential. You can’t cut corners and expect it to be efficient by any means. Whether the conversion is meant to be a bedroom, a living space, a new kitchen, a master suite, or even a man cave, doing it right the first time will save you money in the longrun.
So, do your research, make your budget, plan your design, and don’t cut corners…you will thank yourself later AND be happier with the conversion.