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Should You Convert Your Garage Into a Living Space?

Is your home getting a bit cramped? Does your house seem to be shrinking as your family grows?

It’s a pretty common occurrence. When a family first moves into a home it initially seems roomy and spacious. But time has a way of changing that. Families grow – if not in number, then in size. Or both. And the increasing accumulation of ‘stuff’ also tends to make the home feel smaller as the years roll by.

Solving the problem by moving into a larger home can be troublesome and traumatic. And that solution to the problem is financially unattainable for many families.

But there are other solutions to the problem.

Options for Super-Sizing a Home

One option for increasing the size of a home is quite simple: Just build an attached extension. That’s a way to add lots of space, and that space can be customized in any way you choose.

But there’s a problem with that option for increasing living space: it’s stupid expensive! Going that route for bumping-up breathing room is financially unattainable for many families.

Most homes have options for increasing the living space without building a new extension to the home – options that are more financially friendly. One option that’s commonly considered is converting the garage into living space.


Should You Do It?

If you’re looking to increase your home’s living space, your garage offers some obvious benefits:

  • The basic structure – walls, foundation, roof – are already in place. That dramatically reduces the cost in comparison to building an add-on structure.
  • It’s a nice chunk of space. A typical 2-car garage offers about 600 square feet of space.
  • You don’t have to give up any of your yard. An add-on structure, of course, will require that you give up some of your outdoor space.

But as with most things in life, the benefits are accompanied by some negatives.

The bad news about garage conversions begins with the obvious fact that your car(s) will have to live outside. That exposes your car to deterioration from the elements, and to greater risk of theft and vandalism. It also means that you’ll have to trudge through snow or scamper through rain every time you leave or arrive home during bad weather.

And while less expensive than building a new addition to your home, you can still expect to spend lots of money on a garage conversion. That’s because of the specialized tasks required to convert a garage into living space, including:

  • Installing a new floor over the concrete slab
  • Adding insulation to the walls and ceiling
  • Providing heating and cooling by either tapping into the home’s system or installing independent heating and cooling systems
  • Replacing the garage door with an insulated wall
  • Possibly adding windows and doors

Those costs can all mount up to a considerable total. In general, most garage conversions will cost in the range of $20,000 to $50,000. And if you want to also install a bathroom, that can increase the costs by as much as 50%.

A Better Option…

Another option to consider is remodeling your basement to increase your home’s living space. A basement remodel offers several potential advantages over a garage conversion.

basement remodeling

Basement remodeling tends to be far more cost efficient than a garage conversion, since much less structural work is required. A basement remodel also offers far more space than the typical garage, providing as much as a 100% increase in living space in a single-story home.

And of course, remodeling your basement instead of your garage also means that your car will get to keep its home.

Not every home is equipped with a basement, though. So for many homeowners, the garage is a logical place to look for increasing a home’s living space. Even if a full-blown garage conversion isn’t in the cards, you can create a surprising amount of extra space just by having your garage professionally cleaned and organized.

After all, when you’re cramped for space, every little bit of extra breathing room helps!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015 at 3:45 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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