There are many reasons to transform a garage into a living space. Perhaps you have an older child who needs more privacy. You may want to accommodate a relative or friend in need. Or you may want to convert it into a home office or extra living room, have a space to entertain guests occasionally, or even rent out the space to supplement your income.

In any case, converting a garage into a living space is a challenging task. We’re talking major renovations! However, with our few tips, you’ll be able to see things more clearly and be better prepared for the work ahead.

10 Essential Steps for Success

  1. Get the proper permits

    As with all major renovations, you must obtain the appropriate building permits (French website) before starting work on your garage. Regulations and local building codes vary from city to city, so checking with your local municipality is essential.

  2. Identify your goals

    Even if your garage is huge, you probably won’t be able to do everything. You’ll need to decide precisely what you will use your garage for. If you want to rent out your garage as a complete home, you’ll need to consider installing a bathroom, a kitchenette, and probably some new divisions. If you only want a bedroom, you’ll still need to consider several factors.

    Do you want direct access from outside, or is an entrance from inside the house sufficient? Will the room be used every day or only occasionally? Do you want to keep the garage door or add a wall?

  3. Evaluate your budget

    Once you know what you want, it’s easier to identify the work you’ll need to do. If you’re thinking about renting the space, make sure the investment is worth it. Make your budget as precise as possible to avoid surprises. You don’t want to end up with an unfinished, unusable garage.

  4. Insulation

    Garage insulation is the most crucial step. Summer or winter, if your garage isn’t insulated, the new room won’t be comfortable. You can install new insulation from the interior or the exterior. Generally speaking, interior insulation will be more comfortable, but you’ll lose space.

  5. Install a heat pump

    A heat pump is a versatile and highly efficient solution for heating and cooling your new space. With a heat pump, your new home will be warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Depending on your home and installations, you may be able to use either a new unit or an existing one.

  6. Electrical planning

    You must plan for electricity (French website) when converting your garage into a home. Think about the number of outlets you’ll need, their voltage and location.

    For example, if you plan to install a kitchenette, you’ll need outlets for a coffee machine, kettle, and perhaps a toaster. You’ll also want sockets in a relaxation area or next to the bed. Remember to manage the electrical aspect of your project quickly to save yourself headaches.

  7. Think about water

    Do you need a bathroom? Would a simple tap be enough, or do you need a complete bathroom with a shower? If you only have one bathroom in your home, you should have at least one toilet and sink in your new room. Consider carefully who your renovation project will serve and how often they will use it. Evaluate your needs and ask a professional to help you with the work and details.

  8. Set up the garage exterior

    An old, yellowed garage door isn’t attractive to paying visitors or your friends staying for the weekend. You have several choices.

    You could opt for a paned garage door to be opened during the summer. Or you could create a new wall with windows. You may want to repaint the exterior or redo the siding. Of course, this also depends on your budget and your goal.

  9. Add storage

    A garage conversion project will undoubtedly require a major clean-out of your belongings. After all, many people use their garages as storage space. If, even after you’ve cleaned out, you still have items you don’t want to get rid of, you’ll need to think of an additional storage solution. For example, it could be a shed or an extra storage unit.

  10. Camouflage what can’t be removed

    The garage often houses things that can’t be removed, such as essential pipes or a furnace. To make the room more pleasant, consider camouflaging these elements. Depending on your taste and budget, this can be a wooden compartment or curtains. However, ensure that your camouflage solution does not block access to these elements and that it is safe.

  11. Redo the floors

    Garage floors are rarely attractive, let alone comfortable. This is one of the first things you’ll need to think about. You’ll likely have to raise the floor, as garage floors are often lower than those in the house. If you want the new room to feel like an integral part of your home, you’ll need to think about this.

    There are several options for the appearance of the floor. Epoxy is a smart choice, which you can complement with carpeting. It all depends on how you intend to use the room.

Finally, if you want to turn your garage into a home, you’ll quickly realize you have many decisions to make, both in general planning and the final aesthetic details. We won’t tell you what colour to choose for your walls, but we can help you with heating and air-conditioning systems. So don’t hesitate to contact us.

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