What to Consider Before Converting a Garage Into Living Space

Though garages are typically considered a storage space, they can also serve as additional living space. You can convert the garage into a bedroom to create more space in your home, or you can convert it into a living room to offer guests a place to relax. Before you decide to convert your garage, however, there are several essential things to consider.

Create a hygienic plumbing system

If you want to create (or make use of) your garage just like your home, the main route is installing utilities into your outbuilding. Now that your garage is getting a great place for your boiler, storage, or gain extra space in your home, you need to connect the water supply and amenities the right way.

Extending mains water supply pipes should be your initial benchmark for the garage conversion project. Hiring a certified plumbing professional in your area is the #1 factor for a successful project start. The expert will install two separate sets of pipes allowing the water to flow in and out through them, and help you take out the related permits.

If sleeping, cooking, showering, or laundering is what you plan to use your garage for, be prepared for a high-level job that must comply with the industry minimums for ventilation, energy efficiency, plumbing, and the list goes on. Be wary that skipping this formality could lead to expensive plumbing re-works before you know it. If this happens, expect your insurance company to “ban” your claims if some or all works are not done up to the standard.

Running underground plumbing to your detached garage along with a sink, shower or toilet may cost you a building permit, excavation work, and stress, but the investment is worth that pain down the road. If you want to transform your garage into a completely livable space, be prepared for your plumbing installation to cost you between $1,000 and $2,500. It’s always best to over-budget to cover any unexpected costs.

The plumbing work depends on various factors, but expect to pay $500+ for a straightforward cold-water connection to the mains and plumbing in a sink. Bumps in the planning process are less, though, if the outhouse is already connected to the mains. Refrain from accepting verbal assurance – rust the professionals who give you a written quote, including work specifications, payment milestones, and estimated project duration. Always ask your contractor for an upfront price and final invoice upon finished work to avoid overcharging.

Don’t skip toilet set-up details

Choosing and installing a toilet in a garage with no running water could become a nightmare, especially if you have zero plumbing experience. In this situation, it helps to know that there are free-standing, portable toilets with endless possibilities for installation wherever you wish. These uplifting toilets provide a macerating solution without limits for toilet installation in a garage.

The most significant benefit is you don’t need to dig or destroy your floor to add a toilet in your outhouse. The cons are that you pay a comparatively high price tag (starting at $1,000+ for a Saniflo toilet) but not the nerves, the hassle, and the mess that the extra plumbing for a new toilet costs. You can turn your garage into a fully functional space fast, easily, and without significant construction. The initial investment for a Saniflo toilet is high, but you can save your life savings for a plumber with a basic batch of tools, a friend to help, and a little bit of common sense.

The costs for conventional toilet installation can wildly vary depending on the flooring, plumbing, toilet type, modern extras, and finishes. If you still prefer traditional toilet plumbing, double-check the location of your current water and soil pipe set-up. Keep your garage conversion costs at a low level when you put your fittings as close as possible to the existing pipework.

In a nutshell, the plumber’s installation price is based on labour, time, materials used, whether or not the toilet delivery price is included and VAT. Otherwise, expect to pay approx. $100 per hour for the plumbing efforts.

Plan an area for your appliances

Creating a laundry nook in a garage is a great idea helping you to avoid the daunting noise, heat, and humidity from the in-house appliances.

The reason why installing electrical appliances in the garage – such as washing machines, washer-dryers, dryers, and more – can be challenging is that you need to make a plan for new plumbing. An appliance-friendly garage conversion will cost a bit more because of the additional plumbing you have to handle, but it’ll reduce your daily stress and make your “me” time more enjoyable.

Depending on how many appliances you want to install, carefully plan where to fit the electrical outlet and switches to accommodate all your laundry room needs. Check if your appliances won’t be put at an extra electrical strain. Think of this as an extra safety measure, saving you a headache during the mid of the conversion project. Fitting an electrical outlet and diagnostic won’t cost you more than a $100-hourly rate.

Hooking up a gas stove or water heater is a job that every DIY enthusiast can do with little experience. But if you want to save yourself poor results and the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, resort this task to a Gas Safe specialist. Because it’s dangerous not to take all safety precautions, some local codes may require this task to be carried out by a certified engineer. Heat- and plumbing-safe appliances may cost you an hourly rate ranging from $100 or $150.

Plan your heating

There are tonnes of go-to’s to warm up your garage as the weather cools off. Adding heating to your garage makes it more convenient and livable while also boosting its value.

If you are tight on budget, choose a space heater – they are a versatile heating option that comes in various sizes and price ranges. To create a self-sufficient space, your tradesman should be able to add an infrared heat source, or forced air unit or extend your central heating system in a couple of days. Plus, expect no disruption and stress that inevitably ensue with the central heating extension.

This may come as a bit of a surprise, but for small spaces like garages, electric underfloor heating is an affordable option that doesn’t take extra space. Not only can you set up your heating system to best suit your lifestyle, but you can also enjoy less humidity and a healthier, free-of-dust environment. So you pay less for future renovations.

You can make the most out of your underfloor heating when you combine it with a heat pump that allows the system to cool itself off during the summer days.

Fixing the electrical lining in place is suitable for DIY. But as a safeguard for the future, assign the task to a professional heating engineer. If you would like to have your underfloor heating installed professionally, it’s likely to receive quotes per square meter ($100-$130) or on a daily basis ($350-$400).

Prevent pests from entering the garage

There are several ways you can prevent pests from entering your garage:

  1. Keep the garage door closed: This is the most basic and effective way to prevent pests from entering the garage. Make sure to close the door every time you leave the garage, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  2. Repair any cracks or gaps: Inspect the exterior of your garage for any cracks or gaps, and seal them with caulk or weatherstripping. Pests can enter through even the smallest openings, so it’s important to seal up any potential entry points.
  3. Install door sweeps: Door sweeps are strips of material attached to the bottom of your garage door. They create a seal that prevents pests from crawling under the door.
  4. Use screens: If you have windows in your garage, consider installing screens to keep pests out. Screens can be easily removed for ventilation during hot summer months.
  5. Remove sources of food and water: Pests are attracted to food and water, so make sure to store any food in airtight containers and regularly clean up any spills or crumbs. Keep trash cans sealed and remove standing water from the garage.
  6. Use natural repellents: Several natural repellents can help keep pests away, such as peppermint oil and citrus peels. These can be placed in strategic locations around the garage to deter pests.
  7. Consider using pest control products: If you have a severe pest problem, consider using remedies to help get rid of the pests and prevent them from returning. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these products.
  8. If the pest problem persists, pest control specialists should be able to find the source of the problem and make it disappear.

Final thoughts

As you can see, creating a makeshift office or converting a garage into a living space can save you money and add to your home’s value. There are many advantages to creating a makeshift office or converting a garage into a living space. Still, it’s essential to consider the costs, time requirements, and potential risks before making this decision.