If you’re not using your garage for its intended purpose, consider turning it into a spare room. Sprucing the place up or even making it a rentable property can be beneficial in several ways. If nothing else, it may increase the value of your home, letting you get a better price for it if you decide to sell it. With that in mind, let’s talk about how to turn a garage into a room cheaply and easily.
Even though reducing the cost is often a priority in a project like this one, it’s important to remember that your budget will influence the longevity of the build, among other things. So if you want to make your garage a space that’s fit to live in, you should consider saving up before going forward with the conversion. But what kind of money should you set aside?
How Much Does It Cost to Turn a Garage Into a Room?
Getting a financial estimate for a garage conversion online is pretty difficult. Some people have done it with a budget of just over a thousand dollars. However, most estimate that the true cost of the project can range from five to twenty thousand dollars. If you determine that you need to install new plumbing, heating, or electrical features, even those numbers may not cover your expenses.
Ultimately, the cost of converting your garage into a room will depend on several different factors. You’ll need to take into account the current state of your garage, including:
- Whether it’s already insulated, waterproofed, etc.
- If it’s an integral part of the house or a separate structure
- If you need to create an access point that allows you to enter from the house
- The electrical, heating, and plumbing setup
- Whether it’s a single or double garage, as well as its total square footage
If the garage is already fully finished, the conversion will be a matter of repainting the walls and installing some flooring. However, if it’s not, a significant portion of your budget will go toward rerouting electrical wires and plumbing as well as insulating the room. So you’ll have to add the cost of finishing the walls and furnishing the space on top of the necessities.
Even so, a simple garage conversion certainly costs less than building a house extension from scratch. Of course, you’ll also have to take into account the time it takes to complete the project. It took nine months to complete the garage conversion in the video, even though the owners had professional crews doing the work. To be fair, the result is a proper house with a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom — so making your single garage into a home office should be easy in comparison.
How to Turn a Garage Into a Room Without Breaking the Bank
When you’re undertaking a home improvement project, you get to choose how comprehensively you want to approach it. Going forward, you’ll see several ways to do each step. So if you’re interested in the cheapest alternative, you can just stick to that — but don’t expect the conversion to be as complete as it would be if you had gone through all the proper channels.
Start by Decluttering and Cleaning the Garage
First things first, you’ll need to clear any clutter you have lying around in your garage. That will allow you to see what you’re working with and start cleaning the walls and floors. After sorting through the items you have stored in the garage and discarding the ones you’re not planning on keeping, clear away any cobwebs. If the floor is made of concrete, you can clean it with a pressure washer or just a regular garden hose.
Once the garage is empty and clean, you’ll be able to decide what you want to do with it. If your garage can only fit one car, but it’s attached to your home, you can knock down the wall that connects it to the house. That’s how many people get a bigger kitchen or dining room.
Alternatively, you could split the garage into several smaller rooms, like a supply closet, a workshop, or another kind of room. Naturally, double garages are easier to convert into a functional room or even an apartment. And if your garage is a separate structure from your house, you could even make it into an accessory dwelling unit — or ADU.
Decide What You Want to Do With the Door
If your garage still has a roll-up door, you’ll have to decide what you want to do with it. You can either:
- Seal the door and add mass to further insulate the surface — you can even cover it with curtains from the inside
- Build a wall just inside the door without removing it, making the garage appear put-together from the inside
- Remove the roll-up door and replace it with a regular one or some large windows
- Remove the door and build a solid wall where it once stood
All four options come with certain benefits and disadvantages. For example, even though the first option is arguably the cheapest and quickest to execute, it’s by no means a permanent solution. On the other hand, while the last option is a more energy-efficient solution, it may rob you of natural light if the windows in the room are on the smaller side.
Now, if you like the idea of installing a wall without removing the door, you might find this video informative. It also shows how to set up wooden studs and fill them with insulation before installing drywall. That’s something you might need to do if your garage walls are unfinished.
Figure Out the Utilities
Once you deal with the main garage door, your extra room will start taking shape. At that point, you may want to bring in some experts to assess the state of your electrical wiring, heating, and plumbing. The way you plan to use the garage once you turn it into a proper room will influence the design of the utilities.
Chances are, you’ll have to extend the heating and utilities from the house and figure out the placement of the electrical outlets. Of course, if you’ve been using your garage as a workshop, you may have the wiring figured out already.
If you don’t need to have plumbing or a water supply in the room, you don’t have to bother extending the utilities to the garage. As for the heating, the cheapest solution to that problem is to simply use an electric appliance. You just need to be careful not to overload the power outlets in the room.
Flesh Out the Ceiling
If you’re lucky, the ceiling in your garage will already be finished. In that case, you’ll just have to repaint the surface and call it a day. However, if you happen to have some money to spare, there are several things you can do to the ceiling.
For one, if you have a single-story garage with a flat roof, you can add skylights. Obviously, that’s not a project many people should attempt on their own, but the results can look stellar. Alternatively, you can make the roof match the rest of the house from the outside and insulate it from the inside.
A middle ground between doing that and just painting the existing ceiling would be to construct a drop ceiling. The pocket of air between the constructed ceiling and the original one should act as insulation. However, you’d have to have some inches to spare in that case.
Insulate the Walls
If your garage is connected to your house, it probably has two or three external walls. Since we tend to focus our insulation on our homes, most people don’t insulate their garage. Yet if you’re going to use the garage as a den or an entertainment area, you’ll want to make sure it’s comfortable to hang out in. Luckily, there are many different kinds of insulation to choose from.
When in doubt, go for batt or blanket insulation. Those products fit neatly into the 16-inch spaces between wooden wall joists. And even if you don’t have those, they’re easy enough to build with 2×4 planks. Once you build the frame and stuff it with insulation, put up your drywall and fix it up with the joint compound before priming and painting the walls.
Of course, if you’re looking to preserve your budget, you should hope that the walls are already insulated. Even if they’re made of concrete blocks, you might be able to get away with not insulating them. After all, the pockets of air inside the blocks should do it for you. In that case, you can just put up some drywall or simply hit the existing walls with a fresh coat of paint.
Finish the Flooring
Most garages have plain, concrete floors for obvious reasons. But if you want to make your garage into a room, there are several ways to upgrade the flooring. Namely, you can use:
- Garage floor mats
- Foam puzzle mats
- Concrete paint
- Acid-based concrete stain
- Vinyl flooring
- Engineered wood flooring
Of course, before applying any kind of flooring, you’ll want to make sure the cement is sealed. After washing the surface, allow it to fully dry before brushing the liquid seal on. When that layer dries, you can install any kind of flooring or cover the cement with rugs and carpets.
Decide What to Do With All That Extra Room!
Once you’ve dealt with all the surfaces in your garage, you can spruce it up a bit. Paint the walls if you haven’t already or apply a peel and stick wallpaper. You can also cover the windows with curtains, get some interesting light fixtures, and bring in the furnishings.
Of course, if your garage is mostly finished, turning it into a room will be an even more streamlined procedure. Just empty it, clean it, and skip right to these finishing touches!