Your garage is a lot of wasted room if you don't use it to store your automobile. The basic components of liveable space are already present in a garage, and the rest can be added through a garage conversion. Adding living space and increasing the value of your home can be accomplished through the transformation of a garage into liveable quarters. For more garage renovation inspiration in Australia, check out this helpful resource.
Garage Conversion Basics
You can start to grasp the potential of garage conversions if you imagine your garage as an unfinished house shell. A home shell, similar to your garage, consists of a concrete foundation, walls, and a roof. Now all that's needed to make them liveable is the addition of :
- Paneling used on the inside
- The top limit
- Temperature regulation
Adding more windows, swapping out the garage door for an entry door, and finishing off the wall space around the entrance are all good ways to improve the liveability of your converted garage. You might also try hiding the driveway and painting the garage's façade. It may be as simple as putting in some pavers and a few planters.
Do You Need Planning Permission?
Since you'll be transforming a garage into a living space, local authorities will want you to obtain a building permit. You can find out if your garage is appropriate for conversion and what must be done by consulting with an architect or building designer. Examples of such things could be:
- Changing the structure to achieve a ceiling height of at least 2.4 metres
- Some garage floor coverings require that the concrete slab be watertight, termite-resistant, and absolutely level.
- The walls need to be insulated and sealed properly.
- At least 10% of the total floor area needs to be made up of windows.
- Windows and doors must be placed outside of the 900mm fire rating zone that extends from the property line.
If you don't already have a second garage or a carport, you might not be able to convert your garage without getting approval from your local council.
Popular Garage Conversion Ideas Australia
There are distinct needs for different sorts of rooms, so you should have an idea of what you want to accomplish with the space before you begin converting your garage. Your garage probably uses less power than your bedrooms, rumpus room, and office do combined. You should get in touch with a qualified electrician to arrange this.
If you plan on adding on to your kitchen or bathroom, you'll need to hire an electrician as well as a plumber. Changing a garage into a granny flat is a major undertaking, since you must meet the standards set by your city or town.
The primary distinction between a spare bedroom and a granny flat is the requirement for full self-sufficiency, necessitating the addition of a kitchen and bathroom. It may be necessary to build out an additional space if your current garage lacks the capacity to accommodate your plans.
How Much Does A Garage Conversion Cost?
Depending on the features you choose, a garage conversion might cost anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000, which is still significantly less than the price of building an addition to your home. Depending on how wet the cement floor currently is, you may need to instal drainage in your garage.
Garages need to have a minimum internal height of 2.4 metres in order to be approved by local authorities. Alterations to the roof, as well as the installation of new electrical and plumbing features, can dramatically increase the total price tag. It will still be less than the cost of building an addition to your house or anything comparable.
Things To Consider Before Your Garage Conversion Project
To add space to your house in a creative way, consider transforming your garage. Converting a garage into a habitable area is less of a hassle if the garage is connected to the house. A house addition can include a larger kitchen, a dedicated home office, a spare bedroom, or a dedicated family area. To generate additional income, convert your huge garage into a rental unit.
A garage conversion is a good use of money because it can be used to multiple purposes. However, just like any other type of home renovation, this one requires careful preparation.
An expansion that serves its purpose and looks natural alongside the old building requires careful planning. It also guarantees that your new habitable space or rooms will be at an agreeable temperature. There should be an automobile in your garage. There are a lot of adjustments that need to be made before the area can be used by humans, but they're all worth it in the end.
Does Your Garage Meet Code Requirements?
You must determine if the ceiling height is adequate for human occupancy. After flooring is installed, for instance, the ceiling height in this area must be at least 2.4 metres. Your second most pressing concern should be whether or not your garage is waterproof. When utilised to park a store or car equipment and bicycles, this is frequently unnecessary. Because of the slant of your driveway, water may be pooling in your garage, even if there is a drain or at least a fissure in the concrete to divert the flow.
There is a possibility of rising moisture since the concrete slab in the garage was not put to the same waterproofing standards as the rest of your home. Adding a concrete slab and membrane over the current slab is one option for fixing this.
Think About Your Motivations Before Converting Your Garage
Think about how much room you have, or what the room is used for, so that you can get the most accurate recommendations. Is a studio, cabana, granny flat, or recreation room what you want for your pool area? Maybe the best way to get the extra room you need is to build an addition onto your home or enlarge the first floor. Your standard of living should significantly improve as a result of this. Also, it can be expensive to excavate or remove the garage floor in order to reduce the height so that it complies with the regulations. It is not always possible to raise the roof or ceiling due to structural constraints.
Here Are The Top Things To Consider:
Maintaining A Nice Indoor Temperature
It may be possible to use your home's current heating and cooling system to heat and cool the garage, as well, if the two are connected. If your home has a good heating and cooling system, this will work. If it isn't an option, think about using artificial cooling and heating instead. Use an air conditioner in your room to keep cool during the heat.
If it gets chilly, turn on a gas or electric baseboard heater. Does the thought of an electric heater make you cringe? Make do with a wood stove fire. A radiant floor heating system can also be installed directly onto an existing concrete floor. Floor, wall, and ceiling insulation is a must before installing any artificial heating or cooling systems. Don't let your electric bill soar because you didn't insulate your garage.
Organising The Electrical Wirings
Expect a rise in electricity consumption when living in a converted garage. If you need help setting up your electrical system, it's best to call in a qualified electrician. If you are not a trained electrician, please hire one. All of us here hope that nothing bad happens.
Organising The Plumbing Lines
A kitchen or bathroom addition necessitates careful planning of the water supply and waste disposal systems. Having a plumber on hand might be useful for this task. A plumber can take care of both the water supply and the drainage system. You won't need to instal plumbing if you just want to use the room as a bedroom or a lounge.
Getting Building Approval
Although it's not difficult to obtain a permit for a garage conversion, you should do it before you get started. In addition, the local government will want to know why and how you intend to build out your garage. Also, you can't live in the garage because it's not even a proper building. Bringing it up to the standards of Australia's Building Code (BCA) is essential if you want to make it a habitable place.
Adding New Windows
There are no windows in the garage. A huge garage door is all they have. Consider installing windows if you plan on using your garage as a living space. The addition of these makes the space feel more like a room and less like a garage. The garage door might be replaced with an insulated wall that features windows that stretch from floor to ceiling or a sliding/stacking door. Replace single-pane windows with double-pane ones to save heating and cooling costs.
Building New Garage Walls
Typical garage walls are made of single-course brickwork, which does not provide the necessary moisture and insulation barriers as specified by the BCA. We suggest building an insulated stud wall inside to fix this problem. Installing walls to divide up a spacious garage is a great option if you need the extra space.
Replacing The Garage Door With A Regular Door
Adding a separate entrance to the garage is a necessary if you intend to use it as a living space. This entrance can either be installed on the side of the garage door or the side of the home. Make room for the additional information somewhere easy to access.
Designing A New Room Layout
After the building is finished, the new layout can be implemented. Get out the house layout and start laying out where everything should go.
Benefits Of Converting A Garage To Living Space
In order to gain living space in your house, you don't have to resort to converting your garage.
If you need more space than your garage can provide, consider building an addition.
However, expansion typically means giving up yard space, which might be an issue if you have a little yard but enjoy spending time outside.
Converting a garage is a great way to make use of unused square footage.
Having a driveway or garage at your house also eliminates the problem of finding a place to park.
The fact that you'll be working with an already-built building is another plus of converting your garage.
Adding on to one's home, on the other hand, sometimes necessitates tearing out existing structures and replacing them with new ones, which can be a time-consuming, expensive endeavour.
If you're handy around the house, you might be able to turn your garage into habitable space on your own, saving you the expense of paying professionals for a traditional addition.
Furthermore, if living space is at a premium in your area, a garage conversion could be a smart investment.
That's fantastic news for when you want to sell the house or take out a loan or line of credit against its equity.
Drawbacks Of Converting A Garage To Living Space
A garage conversion can add a lot of usable square footage to a home, but it can also mean giving up a lot of storage space.
We're not just talking about a place to keep your lawnmower and snowboard; we're talking about a place to keep your car, one of your most prized belongings.
Imagine for a moment that you do not have a driveway or a garage. If parking is scarce where you live, you should probably not convert your garage unless you enjoy the hassle of finding alternate parking and taking the chance of receiving parking penalties.
You may come to long for the option of storing your vehicle indoors, where it is safe from the elements and won't be so unbearably cold when you go to start it up on those 14-degree days, even if you have a driveway or parking spot outside your home that is yours free and clear, if you live in an area prone to cold winters or extended bouts of rain.
If you have an unfinished basement, you could use that instead of the garage, which would then be used just for parking.
Another thing to think about is that while expanding your home's living area indoors could raise its value, eliminating unused room for storage might have the reverse impact.
Talk to an experienced real estate agent in the region and have them handle the conversion for you if you have doubts about its viability.
If you have a sizable yard and can afford to give up a section of it, you could find it more cost-effective to invest in a house addition rather than renovate your garage.
Challenges Of Converting A Garage To Living Space
Assume for a moment that you have carefully considered the merits of turning your garage into an indoor living space. As such, you should check with your municipality to ensure that your plans won't run afoul of any zoning regulations. There is a good chance that you will need to pay for building permits before you can get started. If you haven't already, it's a good idea to get in touch with your city's planning and zoning division to find out the specifics of the procedure in your area. To make sure your garage conversion satisfies local building codes, you'll also need to research what standards of construction you must adhere to. Think about these things:
- Height of ceilings: Local governments may have minimum requirements (and you should, too, for your personal comfort).
- When discussing electrical components, the quantity and spacing of available outlets is of primary importance.
- It's possible that you'll need to put windows in that area, so you should prepare for their presence.
Keep in mind that you want your new home to be a place where you enjoy spending time, therefore you should plan for certain additional expenses, such as:
And finally, you'll have to choose whether or not to keep your current garage door or to replace it with a wall. It's unfortunate that the electronic door opener will need to be kept if you decide to keep the door.
What Will You Use Your Converted Garage For?
If you're planning on converting your garage into something else, you should probably have a plan in place before you get started. Would you be working from home? We need a family room. What, you have an extra bedroom? If you're working with a limited budget, it's especially important to think about how the new room will be used. Plan the garage's placement in relation to the rest of your home's layout. If it's located just off the kitchen, for instance, you generally shouldn't designate it as an office, since you'll want to find a more secluded spot to get work done.
Is A Garage Conversion Right For You?
If you need more living space inside, converting your garage can be the answer. The resale value of your home can rise as a result. However, you might want to consider other choices for expanding your living quarters, such as building an addition or, if you already have one, finishing the basement, before making such a commitment. Space is gained without the loss of a garage, protecting both your automobile and your sanity.
Think of your garage as an incomplete home shell; with some more insulation, windows, panelling, and ventilation, it may become a habitable room. Your local government may require you to acquire their permission to convert your garage into anything other than a garage or carport if you don't already have a second garage or carport. Converting your garage into usable living space is one clever option for expanding your home. It's not easy to convert a garage into a granny apartment because you have to adhere to the building codes of your municipality. A lot of changes must be made before people can move in there.
How big is your garage, exactly? What kind of space are we talking about here? A studio, cabana, granny flat, or leisure room? Adding square footage to your home by expanding the first floor is the finest option. The garage isn't even code-compliant, so you can't call it home. It is crucial that it be brought up to the requirements of Australia's Building Code (BCA).
It could be helpful to have an electrician on hand, but having a plumber on call could be much more handy. Converting a garage into living space has the potential to increase a home's floor area dramatically, but it may need relocating or eliminating storage facilities. In areas where parking is at a premium, converting your garage may not be worth the trouble unless you relish the prospect of parking tickets. If you want to turn your garage into an indoor living space, you need first find out if doing so is against the zoning restrictions in your area. If you have doubts about the conversion's viability, you should consult with a seasoned real estate agent in the area and have them handle it for you.
One should make preparations in advance if one is to convert a garage into another use. Think about how the garage will fit into the overall design of your property. You probably shouldn't use it as an office if it's right next to the kitchen.
- A garage already contains the structural elements necessary to be used as liveable space; the rest can be added during the conversion process.
- Turning a garage into habitable space is a great way to expand your living quarters and add value to your home.
- Think of your garage as an incomplete home shell, and you'll start to get a sense of the potential of garage conversions.
- A building permit will likely be required by your municipality because you intend to convert a garage into habitable space.
- Consult with an architect or building designer to find out if your garage is suitable for conversion and what has to be done.
- You may need permission from the local government in order to convert your garage if you don't already have a second garage or a carport.
- Hiring both an electrician and a plumber is essential if you intend to expand your existing kitchen or bathroom.
- It's not easy to convert a garage into a granny apartment because you have to adhere to the building codes of your municipality.
- In order to be considered a granny apartment, rather than just a spare bedroom, a full kitchen and bathroom are needed.
- The average cost of a garage conversion is around $30,000, but this is still much less than the cost of constructing an addition to your house.
- If you're looking for a unique approach to expand your living quarters, think about repurposing your garage.
- Having an attached garage makes the process of transforming it into a liveable space much easier.
- Make some extra money by turning that enormous garage into a studio apartment.
- There needs to be at least 2.4 metres of headroom when flooring is put in.
- Your garage's water resistance should be your second priority.
- Since the concrete floor in the garage was not subjected to the same waterproofing regulations as the rest of your property, rising moisture is a risk.
- One solution would be to cover the current slab with a concrete one and a membrane.
- Building an addition onto your house or expanding the first floor could be the greatest solution to your space problem.
- It may also be costly to excavate or remove the garage floor in order to lower the structure's height to code compliance.
- Due to structural limitations, raising the roof or ceiling is not always an option.
- It will function properly if your house has a good HVAC system.
- Keep cool by turning on the air conditioning in your room.
- If you already have a concrete floor, you may put in a radiant floor heating system without ripping up the surface.
- The services of a licenced electrician should be sought out if you need assistance with the installation of any kind of electrical equipment.
- A plumber is qualified to fix both the water supply and the sewage system.
- Permitting your garage conversion is not difficult, but it should be done beforehand.
- Furthermore, the local authorities will enquire as to the purpose and method of your garage expansion.
- Replace Old Windows with New Ones In the garage, there are no glass panes to be seen outside.
- If you want to convert your garage into a habitable place, you might want to think about getting some windows.
- The Garage Door Will Be Changed Out For A Common Door If you plan on turning the garage into a living space, you'll need to instal a private entrance.
- You can avoid transforming your garage into habitable space by looking at other options.
- Add on to your garage if you need more living space than it now provides.
- As an example of wasted space, a garage can be transformed into useful living space.
- The hassle of looking for parking is also gone if you have a garage or driveway at your home.
- The fact that the structure is already up and running is another advantage of transforming your garage.
- It's also possible that converting your garage into liveable space is a good idea if housing is expensive where you live.
- Consequences of Using a Garage as a Living Quarters Converting a garage into liveable space can increase a home's overall square footage, but it may necessitate relocating or eliminating storage facilities.
- Let's pretend for a second that you don't have a garage or driveway.
- Your garage could be converted into dedicated parking space if you have an unfinished basement.
- While adding square footage to your home's living quarters is one strategy for increasing its value, removing unwanted space from your storage areas could have the opposite effect.
- If you have doubts about the conversion's viability, you should consult with a seasoned real estate agent in the area and have them handle it for you.
- Converting a garage into habitable space presents a number of challenges. Let's pretend for a second that converting your garage into an indoor living space is something you've given serious thought to.
- Your plans should not conflict with any local zoning laws, so be sure to double-check with the appropriate municipal authorities.
- It's likely that you'll have to shell out cash for building permits before breaking ground.
- Get in touch with the city's planning and zoning department if you haven't already to learn about the particulars of the process in your region.
- You will also need to investigate what construction requirements you must comply to in order to make sure your garage conversion complies with local building codes.
- You should get ready for the possibility of windows being installed there.
- Don't forget that you want your new house to be a place where you want to spend time, therefore you should budget for things like: Aesthetics Heating Flooring Insulation Last but not least, decide whether you want to keep your current garage door or have a wall put up in its place.
- You should probably have a strategy in place before you begin transforming your garage into something different.
- Thinking about the room's intended use is especially crucial if resources are restricted.
Frequently Asked Questions About Garage Conversion
Converting a garage into a usable room, such as a bedroom or a study, is a great way to use the space better and add value to your house. Planning permission for a garage conversion is not usually required, subject to certain conditions, but a building control application will be necessary.
Luxury vinyl flooring should also be considered a good flooring option for garage conversions. It is adaptable and can very easily mimic the look of any material, pattern or colour used on the walls.
Garage conversion building regulations apply to Fire safety: escape routes and fireproofing must be put in place. Ventilation: moisture proofing and good ventilation are essential. Thermal performance: floor, wall and loft insulation is required.
The requirement is for a 30min Fire door (FD30) fitted with self-closer and intumescent strips and appropriate fire-rated ironmongery. The floor must also step down 100mm into the garage or make provision for the garage floor to slope away from the house.
Ideas for fun uses for your garage conversion include:
- Home cinema.
- Games room.
- Snug or den.
- Library/reading room.
- Craft/hobby workshop.
- Gaming room.
- Home gym.