Turns out, today’s homeowners want livable garages. The days of dirty, dusty and storage-filled garages have come to an end. This isn’t your grandfather’s garage anymore. Believe it or not, many builders and renovators are transforming garages into useful, comfortable living spaces. In fact, according to this article in the Globe and Mail, “the City of Toronto, building permit data from 2014 showed homeowners had spent almost $30 million on more than 2,400 garage conversion projects. This doesn’t take into account all of the other projects that have taken place since. Or might have been constructed without the appropriate building permits.”
So why are more and more people converting the garage into a livable space?Converting your garage into a livable space is a fantastic opportunity to maximize your home’s square footage. Also, you’ll get valuable use out of the space. Whether it’s to accommodate a growing family or using the space to be better utilized for your lifestyle — garage conversions are all the rage. The trend is especially popular in urban areas where real estate is expensive, and backyards don’t allow for further expansion. Garages are a new-found treasure trove of space. A great option for an extra living room, a home office, home gym, workshop, studio or other need. Also, with the increase in many companies allowing employees to work from home, the garage is the new frontier for gaining a workspace.
Turns out… converting the garage into a livable space is easier than people think.Homeowners who are doing extensive renovations on their homes, find that it makes sense to demolish the garage completely in order to allow construction equipment to gain access to the rear of the house. Afterwards, garages are then rebuilt as part of the overall home renovation project as new living space. And if there’s a room also being built above the former garage such as a loft-style design, then the space is doubled. For homeowners who want to convert their garage but don’t want to invest in a full reconstruction, making a garage into a habitable space requires a number of specific considerations.
Here’s how to get started converting the garage into a livable space:To start, municipal codes often regulate certain aspects ranging from window and door requirements to electrical outlets and plumbing. Keep in mind, renovating a bare-bones area that was intended for cars and storage isn’t a total dream. Special permits that adhere to zoning requirements are required. Every city is different so it’s important to work with an experienced builder who is familiar with the building codes of your area.
Here are some other things to consider about converting the garage into a livable space
- The space needs to be at least eight feet high and have proper ventilation, insulation, heating, lighting, and drywall.
- A strong, insulated wall, with or without windows, needs to be built where the garage door is located.
- The floor needs to be raised above the concrete and covered with a warm, comfortable material.
- Household equipment that may currently exist in or near the garage such as a furnace, hot water tank, laundry appliances or central vacuum needs to be sectioned off if you don’t want the expense of moving them.