• Michael Bukowski

Everything You Need to Know Before Engaging in Garage Conversion | Beginner’s Guide 2020

Updated: Jan 23

When you are considering having some extra space in your home, a garage conversion is the best option that you can settle for. A garage remodel provides the homeowner with the opportunity to have their homes designed according to their unique needs, especially when you work with an expert garage conversion architect.

Converting a garage to a habitable room may involve several activities such as insulating the walls, raising the floor level, improving ventilation, introduction of heating - cooling system, and insertion of doors and windows amongst other activities. Before you get started with a garage conversion, there are some important things to be considered such as;

Key Decisions improving comfort of Living and Lifestyle

When looking for an extra room in your home, garage conversion is one of the options to consider. However, you should take time and find out if it’s the best option based on the situation and the activity you need the room for.

You should find out if the new room will require additional entrance or if you should consider blending a new wall into the exterior of your home so that the converted garage doesn’t end up looking like it was once a garage. You can get insight from a professional architect who understands garage conversion well.

You should also check on the heating and cooling systems of the room and if it’s factored in the overall budget for the work. Accessibility of plumbing work is another key thing to consider as you ascertain whether garage conversion is the best option especially if you intend to add a bathroom into the room.

When you are converting your garage into a room, it means that you are permanently eliminating the parking and storage space that you might have available. Such should be taken into consideration and alternative storage and parking considered.

Planning Permission/ Permitted Development Certificate

Before you convert garage into a habitable room, you should take time and find out if building permits will be required.

Permits are normally considered as a way of ensuring that the plans meet the building codes and ordinances that are set for living spaces.

Though planning permission is not usually required, providing the work is internal and does not involve enlarging the building.

But if you intend to convert a garage into a separate self-contained unit e.g. a house or a flat, then planning permission will be required no matter what work is involved. You should discuss such proposals with the local planning authority to ensure any work you do is lawful.

It is important to note that sometimes permitted development rights have been removed from some properties concerning garage conversions, you should consider it seriously if you live in a conservation area or on a new housing development area.

Working with an expert architect for a proposed floor plan when seeking direction on whether a permit is necessary or not also can be a great idea to start with. Hiring a professional will also help you in many other ways such as saving space, utilize the full potential of the development and improve the quality of the converted living space and the most important thing is finish the work without any kind of hassle or abortive work on construction site.

Cost-Effective Analysis

Converting a garage is a cost-effective and less invasive way that will add value to your house. Anything which improves your property or creates additional living space will add value. However, there is a point where expenditure can exceed the increase in value, and this is why projects such as a garage conversion need to be planned, managed, and controlled. Don't add to cost if it does not add to value.

According to the 2018 Hiscox Report, adding an extra room will add 11% on to a property.

On the other hand, you also need to assess the positive impact a garage conversion can have on your family life. This is something that may not have monetary value but will greatly improve your life.

Quick Conversion process

Garage conversion can take a lot of time and effort if it’s not done by a professional or a skilled person in this matter. It can be time-consuming as well as very frustrating for a person.

It May Require more complex construction works

Most garage floors are lower than the rest of the ground floor, therefore it is strongly recommended that a damp-proof membrane is installed. You will also need to upgrade floor insulation, include a new Damp Proof Membrane (DPM) and consider underfloor heating as well as a new screed or floor decking to make the floor level with the rest of the house. When sharing the garage wall with a neighbor, sound insulation must be considered as well. For quality garage conversion, consider working with a reputable firm such as Atelier 41 Architects as we have in place a team of expert architects that can execute garage conversion tasks effectively. Normally to improve the thermal insulation of the external walls of the converted garage the company uses internal dry lining e.g. insulated plasterboard from British Gypsum or Knauf fixed on dot & dab or on battens with DPC . If the existing floor is too thin and not suitable as a loadbearing floor, a new suspended timber floor is usually proposed above it or the floor can be removed and replaced with a new insulated concrete slab depending on your budget.

Identify the type of room that garage conversion can become

When considering garage conversion, it’s important to note that your room is completely customizable. As long as you follow the planning and building control requirements; you can easily create any type of living space. Garage can be converted into a playroom, bedroom, gym, family room, office, and more.

Other considerations of Garage Conversion,

· The garage door is easily replaceable

· Plumbing is accessible.

· Adequate parking space.

· You will need somewhere to store everything that is currently in your garage!

· Make doorways sufficiently wide to provide accessibility for wheelchair users

Frequently Asked Questions about Garage Conversion,

1. How long does it take to convert a garage?

A single-car garage conversion can take anywhere from one to a few months depending on the scale and scope of the conversion. If multiple tradespeople from different firms are contracted, make sure they and their materials will be available when they're needed during the conversion.

2. Is garage conversion a good idea?

People usually convert their garage for increasing storage space. Even if you think getting rid of this extra space is a good idea, future owners of your home may disagree.

3. Can I convert half of my garage?

There are many benefits in choosing a garage conversion. And the main one being that it's fairly cheap to do. If you're lucky and have a double garage, you can even convert half the space and keep some space to park your car. As a result, it will still benefit you with a new room.

4. Does garage conversion increase council tax?

No. Converting your garage space won't affect the rate of council tax you have to pay.

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