If you're looking to add extra living space to your home, converting your garage can be a good solution. Garages can be turned into playrooms, mother/father-in-law quarters, media rooms, extra bedrooms, and so much more. But, before you begin this type of home remodel, there are several things you'll want to consider to ensure the project goes smoothly.
1. Assess your garage for potential issues. Most garages are not designed with living space in mind. Because of this, you may need to take a look at the electrical, insulation, egress to and from the main house, as well as the walls and floors to make sure there are no structural issues like buckling, leaks or cracks, subsidence, or sloping.
2. Make sure you are allowed to have a garage conversion. It's not uncommon for homes within homeowners associations to have rules within their CC&Rs that prohibit certain home modifications. Avoid a headache and look into this ahead of time if your home is part of an HOA. Aside from HOA governance, your home might also be subject to certain zoning restrictions. Checking with your city or county's planning department can help you determine if a garage conversion is permissible and if permits are required.
3. Plan out how you will want to use the converted garage. Because of the time, expense, and often permits that are involved with a garage conversion, it's important to plan out how you are going to use the space. This will mean hiring an architect or contractor to draw up floor plans that can be submitted with permit applications. Also, knowing what the space can be used for will be helpful when you go to sell your home. For instance, planning ahead for a bedroom can add more value in the eyes of a buyer than perhaps a man cave or other general use space.
4. Have a realistic budget. Most homeowners don't generally have a sense of the expense involved with a garage conversion. Typically budgets are underestimated since the garage is an already existing structure. However, there are still items that can significantly impact your budget if you don't plan for them up front. These expenses include items like waterproofing, insulation, laying a new floor, running electrical or plumbing, adding windows, and then the finishing touches like cabinetry, fixtures, wall finishing, hardwood or carpet, etc.
Many homeowners choose to tackle a garage conversion on their own. However, it is a good idea to involve a general contractor who has experience in this type of project and who knows the current building codes.
If you choose to hire a contractor, look for someone who routinely performs the type of work you want to have done. A handyman might have relevant construction skills, but might not be aware of the required building codes or have the labor force to get the garage conversion done in a timely manner.
Lastly, depending on your garage conversion, you may also need to hire an engineer. Working with a general contractor will make sure the proper professionals are involved with the project so everything is built properly and to code.
If you live in the Eugene-Springfield area, please give the team at Fort Rock Construction a call at 541-767-1611. Our general contractor team has been helping homeowners with new construction and home remodels since 2001.
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