Converting your garage into living space could be the best way to create an additional bedroom or studio apartment for your teen or parent who moves in with you. If you don't need the room for storage or for parking your car, then converting the space is a good way to make use of all that room that goes wasted and it helps your family spread out more. Here are some things you'll probably need to do.
Learn City Codes
You'll need a permit to convert your garage and there will be codes to follow regarding what you can and can't do. The builder you hire will help you keep in compliance with the codes. However, the first thing you want to find out is if you have to modify your property for additional parking. Your city may balk at the idea of granting a permit if it means your car has to park on the street. You may be required to extend your driveway or create additional parking space somewhere on your property.
Add Insulation And Heat
To get the space ready for renovating, you'll need to add insulation. If your garage walls aren't finished, you won't be limited in your choices. Spray foam could be ideal since it will cover the walls to create an insulated barrier that also acts as a sound barrier. Choosing the right heating and air conditioning may take some planning with your contractor. You could add ducts that connect the garage to your home's HVAC, but that might affect how well your HVAC keeps the rest of your house cool or warm. You may need to install a window AC or a floor heater. A small heat pump that sits outdoors could be a good solution too since it provides both heat and chilled air and can be operated independently of the rest of the house.
Add Electrical Outlets And Plumbing
If the room will only be a bedroom, then you may not care about adding extra outlets and plumbing. If you're turning it into a studio apartment where your parent has privacy and a separate living space, then putting in a bathroom and electrical outlets to support a small refrigerator and range would be a good idea if the garage is large enough. Even if you don't want to add outlets, you might be required to do so to comply with local codes that require a certain number of outlets in a living space.
Since your garage is probably just a concrete slab now, you'll need new flooring and you have several options. If the space is for an elderly parent, you may want carpeting for comfort and to cushion falls. Another option to consider is radiant heating flooring. This flooring comes with tubing attached to the back that allows hot water to flow under the floor. This keeps the floor warm in winter and provides excellent additional heat to ensure your parent stays warm.
Once the basics are installed in your garage, you are free to design the interior and turn it into a comfortable living space that rivals any room in your house. Work with a builder experienced in garage conversions and who can anticipate your needs and any problems that arise. Once you start the project, things will come up you hadn't planned on so working with a professional for guidance is a big help.