Garage Conversions: What You Need To Know

You might have played with the idea of converting your garage into a livable addition to your house.

If you’re not using your garage to store your car anyway,then converting your garage may be a good use of space.

Here are the things you need to know before starting your conversion project:

1. Permits Garage conversions are now legal in California, but you will still need a permit. You’re permit will get approved as long as you fulfill certain requirements: your garage conversion project should be located within one and a half mile of public transit, must not exceed 1,200 square feet or exceed five feet from the property line.

inspectors will come later and make you open up walls again, the city may require you to convert the space back into a garage, and potential buyers may be deterred if they find out that you’re garage was converted without a permit. Permits don’t cost a lot of money compared to the cost or your project, so getting a permit is always worth it.

2. Flooring Usually a garage is built with flat and cry concrete, which is probably not desirable for the converted space. There are many options you can choose from for your new flooring. Tile, whether ceramic or vinyl, is the easiest and most affordable to install. Carpets and hardwood will require more work and also be more expensive. You’ll need a plywood subfloor for both carpets and hardwood floors, which means many more steps are required. Since the hardwood or carpet is installed on top of the plywood, this will result in a raised floor height that needs to be considered before hand.

3. Doors and Windows You can decide if you want to leave the original garage door intact or not, or you could also replace it with a solid or windowed wall, or French doors as a compromise solution. It depends whether you want the space to have more of an industrial feel or not. Also, consider if you want to add windows to let in more natural light. But also consider that windows may lessen the amount of privacy you have.

4. Wall and Insulation Usually, you’ll want your walls within a living space to be insulated and paneled in drywall. If they aren’t there will be a number of ways to address the issue, depending on the material of the existing garage walls. If the exterior is made of cinderblock, you’ll want to place stud framing on the perimeter of the space. The insulation will then go between the studs. The next step is to fasten the drywall to the framing. (For walls with drywall but no insulation, spray-foam insulation can be used with little disruption to the status quo.) Remember to add any electrical wiring that may be needed before you close up the walls. Additionally, you should plan for any closet space at this stage before completing and closing up the walls.

5. Electric The next thing to do is to install electrical outlets and light switches, in addition to any fixtures you want to mount to the wall or hang from the ceiling. You may need to add a circuit to your breaker panel at this stage as well.

6. Heating and Cooling Sometimes, the simplest, and also the least expensive way to add heating and cooling to your garage conversion is by extending the ductwork from the main part of your house. If you don’t have a forced-air heating system, then you can look into adding radiant floor heating, or a mini-split heater or air conditioner. This latter option comes as a wall-mounted unit that draws from a condenser that is outside of the building. Additionally, there is always the option of using a space heater of window air conditioners.

7. Plumbing If you’re planning to add a kitchen, bathroom, wet bar or anything else that needs flowing water, then plumbing will need to be added. This should be considered before putting in the flooring, since sometimes the supply and drain lines need to be set into the concrete slab flooring. If you don’t want to change the concrete slab flooring at all, you could also consider an up-flush system. These use a macerator and pump to take care of waste. Here, the supply and return lines are boxed out along the floor, but they’ll usually get hidden from view once you’ve finished painting and added furniture to your space.

Sources: https://www.seapointe.com/how-do- i-legally- convert-a- garage-to- a-usable- room/ http://goodfellasconstruction.net/blog/la-city- legalizes-garage- conversions/ https://www.bobvila.com/articles/garage-conversion/

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