A garage renovation that transforms it into an additional room gives homeowners more space when they have limited options for expansion outside or their house doesn’t have a basement.
Most often homeowners are looking at a plan to convert a garage into a bedroom or rec room. Conversely, you might just want to upgrade your storage or workspace. Whatever the case, many contractors now specialize in garage conversions and can help you bring your vision to life.
Garage upgrades tend to improve your resale value as well, provided they’re not too specific. A hobby room dedicated to your favorite college team will make you very happy, but might limit your resale options more than a living suite would.
Keep in mind you’ll have to make a significant investment to accomplish this. A garage remodel costs an average of $11,000. Most jobs cost between $6,000 and $21,000, and a big-ticket upgrade such as an in-law suite will probably cost even more.
You can also consider hiring a dedicated garage organizer if you want to make the best use of the space for traditional garage tasks such as hobbies, tool storage or car maintenance.
What affects garage remodeling cost?
The cost to convert a garage relies heavily on your intentions for the area. Size of the garage, age of the house and the remodel purpose will all affect the final cost.
A typical conversion includes adding insulation inside the drywall, rewiring, bringing the floor level to the rest of the house and protecting the floor from moisture using either a moisture barrier or ceramic tile flooring. Ask your contractor about the ability of your HVAC system to handle another room. You might have to install a separate system.
You will also need to decide if you want any sort of plumbing run into the new room and if you want to add a crawl space above the garage or other storage options. There’s also the garage door to consider. It can be left intact or converted into a wall.
Talk to your contractor about your city’s building codes before starting the project. Municipal codes regulate anything from electrical outlet placement to window and door requirements. And often, garages are originally built to different codes from living areas. If you’re converting a garage to living space, you’ll need to meet numerous requirements to pull it off.
Incidentally, all these changes might get in the way of actually keeping a car in there. But if you use up all the space and you still want to protect your car from the elements, the addition of a carport would take up minimal space on your driveway.
10 items in your garage you can toss right now
Broken or duplicate tools
You probably don’t need five hammers, and that broken drill is just collecting dust on a shelf. Take stock of your tool collection, and consolidate so you don’t have an overflowing toolbox (or too many bulky bins filled with tools).
Chances are you have no use for that old clunky computer printer and fax machine from the early ’90s. “If it’s in the garage, there’s a 90% chance that your old CPU is not worth the time it would take you to bring it back up to speed for day-to-day use,” says organizing and storing expert Emma Gordon of Clutter.com. “It’s better to find a recycling program that can take it off your hands.”
Old newspapers, magazines and catalogs
“You’re not going to read these again,” says Gordon. “If they’ve been banished from the house to the garage, they need to go.” If you can’t part with all of them, allow yourself to keep a few special editions or issues. Donate or recycle the rest.
Plastic planter trays
“It’s tempting to keep the trays after popping our spring blooms,” says Gordon. “Unless you’re a regular gardener, there’s no reason to keep these trays after transplanting. Clear them out so you don’t have to deal with spiders or other garage critters that will make a home in them.”
Old paint cans
Face it: You’re not going to use that hideous color of paint anywhere in your house. If you think you might need to touch up any of the rooms in your house, figure out which can of paint goes with which room, and label it with the room (dining room) and color (linen white). Remember that you can’t throw away full (or partially full) paint cans, so you’ll either need to find a hazardous-waste collection site or pour clean kitty litter in the can to dry up any remaining paint before disposing of the kitty litter and paint, and recycling the can.
Unused DIY project materials
While you’re clearing cans from old home-improvement projects, toss out old materials from DIY projects. “Almost every garage in America has a flimsy aluminum paint tray coated in house paint, with a matching roller in a crumpled grocery bag,” Gordon says. “As homeowners, we like to think we’re going to get more than one use out of our paint brushes, trays and other DIY tools, but it’s more likely we’ll forget and buy these items again anyway. The only reason to save otherwise disposable DIY tools would be if you have a project in mind that you plan to tackle soon.”
Old sports equipment
“Toss out balls if they don’t hold air anymore,” says Gordon. Same goes for broken tennis rackets, skis, helmets and more. If one of your kids no longer plays a sport, donate the used gear to a thrift store that accepts sports equipment.
Old shoes and clothes
“I promise you won’t miss the clothes and shoes you’re storing in the garage,” says Gordon. “These are the items that you don’t even have in your weekly outfit rotation, and if they haven’t been kept in an airtight container, they will require a lot of laundering to nix the garage fumes and dust.”
Sadly, your beloved tape collection is now obsolete. “Remember the static or flipping over to the ‘B-side’? Compared to streaming services, these outdated forms of entertainment require a lot of fussing,” says Gordon. “Make a quick list of the albums and movies you consider staples for your household, and plan to purchase in digital format.”
Bring that old chair you’ve been meaning to reupholster for years, or those old and outdated holiday decorations, to the thrift store or a donation center. If you can’t imagine placing them back inside your house anytime soon, you should say goodbye to those pieces.