If you want an extra room at home, converting the garage is one of the most practical ideas you can consider. Since a garage already has foundations, walls, and roof, converting it into a bedroom, home office, gym, or family room is a lot less expensive, especially as compared to adding a new room at home. However, still, the cost of converting a garage means a lot of money.
The Cost Of A Garage Conversion
The cost of a garage conversion depends on how the project is approached:
DIY garage conversions cost between $2,000 and $10,000.
Professional garage conversions cost $7,000 to $20,000 or more.
DIY conversion includes materials for the whole project and some labor. This can include lighting, carpeting, adding a ceiling and wallboard, plumbing, extending air conditioning systems, and the like. On the other hand, a professional garage conversion involves both labor and materials for the project. This starts from obtaining initial permits, completing electrical and plumbing needs of the garage, and adding the following:
- closet/storage space
- electrical outlets
- heating and air conditioning
- other amenities
Factors Affecting The Cost Of A Garage Conversion
Size of the garage. Of course, the bigger your garage is, the more expensive it usually is to convert because it requires more materials and more labor to complete the project. In fact, some contractors price garage conversion projects per square foot.
Type of conversion. A garage can be converted into almost any kind of room at home. Depending on the kind of conversion you are eyeing, the project can be cheap or expensive. Converting the garage into a home theater is obviously very much expensive, especially if compared to converting it into something as simple as a storage space.
Complete or partial conversion? A garage conversion can either be partial or complete. A partial conversion involves simply weatherproofing the garage or adding flooring, ceiling, lighting, and wallboard. It can also mean installing plumbing or vents for extending the heating and air conditioning into the garage. This will make the garage more functional but basically, it will feel still like a garage. This kind of conversion is cheaper, usually ranging from $200 to $2,000 if done in a DIY manner. On the other hand, a complete conversion can go up to $20,000 or more. This means converting a garage into a fully-usable room such as a bedroom, a home theater, a playroom, and the like.
Materials. Your choice of materials can also affect prices here. Converting the garage area using medium-grade materials will cost less as compared to using high quality pieces in every aspect of the construction.
Amenities. The more amenities you want to add to the new room, the higher the cost of the project will go. For instance, if you want to convert it into a bedroom and you want a full bath, expect the cost to go really high. This is as compared to converting it into a bedroom without a bath. The same principle applies for other room amenities such as a wet bar for an entertainment room.
For DIY projects, getting local permits may be an added cost. Contact your local building agencies regarding permit requirements for garage conversions. If you hire a professional contractor, you can expect them to cover the cost and processing of building permits for you.
In most places, you will be required to update the garage area to meet the current building codes. This can mean installing additional ventilation, insulation, and fire sprinklers. There are even instances when you will be required to replace the parking space that was previously provided by the garage being converted.
Furnishing the garage after the conversion project can mean extra costs as well. This can include the purchase of furniture, accessories, and the like. Hiring an interior decorator can be possible but will definitely be an extra cost as well.
For do-it-yourselfers, a garage conversion project will require them the use of tools. If they don’t have any yet, purchasing tools will be an extra cost.
If you happen to go for an illegal garage conversion, expect a lot more expenses along the way. Local building and parking codes may require you to do expensive upgrades or undo the conversion.
Tips Before You Decide To Convert A Garage
Know what your needs are for the garage conversion. Decide what kind of room you want it to be converted to and how you want to use the room. This way, you can start with a good concrete plan of the project to save you money and time along the way.
Before starting the project, make sure you have a go signal from your local building department. Starting at the right foot is always essential to ensure that the garage conversion project is in accordance with local building codes. After all, not getting a permit and failing inspection can mean more problems along the way.
If you are eyeing for a complete garage conversion, better hire professional contractors for the job. You may go for a DIY garage conversion if you have simple partial conversion projects.
Get price estimates from various contractors in your area. Make sure you pick a contractor with a good price for various services. More importantly, choose a contractor that is licensed and insured to guarantee good services all the time.
Cut Costs On Garage Conversions
It is true that garage conversions can come out really expensive. However, there are some things you can consider to at least cut the costs involved in a garage conversion project. Here are some things you have to keep in mind if you want to save money on a project:
- Start with a strict budget. Decide on the amount of money you can afford for the project before shopping around for materials and contractors. Make sure you stick with the budget so you do not end up overspending.
- Do some tasks yourself. A garage conversion project is often best delegated to professional contractors. However, this does not mean that you have to shoulder the expensive cost of hiring a contractor for this project. If you do some of the tasks yourself, you can save a lot of money in the long run. In fact, the more tasks you do, the more money you can save. Ask the contractor to delegate labor to you. However, make sure you can handle doing the tasks safely and successfully so the money you save will be all worth it.
- Consider buying discounted building materials. A lot of homeowners save money buying building materials on sale long before the actual garage conversion project commenced. Collect building materials on sale and store them until you are ready to start the project at hand.
- Buy the building materials yourself. If it is too late for you to collect discounted building materials, ask the contractor to allow you to buy your own materials. Most contractors will offer buying you construction materials only to realize that despite the convenience, this approach makes the conversion even more expensive in your part. Most contractors get commissions when buying materials and usually, these are passed on to you making the cost of the materials a little more expensive in your part.
- Make the garage conversion as simple as possible. If the room does not truly require additional windows, do not add the luxury. Limit amenities as well to what your budget can afford.
- Get price quotes from different contractors. Do not make the mistake of signing a deal with the first contractor you have met. More often than not, there are various reputable contractors that can offer you the same kind of services for less the price.