Turn Your Garage Into a Living Space in 5 Steps

Running out of space in the house? If you don’t utilize your garage often, you can turn your garage into a liveable space.

A few weekend projects and your garage will be transformed. Instead of your garage collecting dust, you’ll be able to save when you don’t need to build an addition to your home.

If you’re ready, you’ll find out everything you need to know below about turning your garage into a living space.

Let’s get started!

1. Choose a flooring solution

If your concrete is cracking and chipping away, you’re going to need to repair any damage you may have before moving forward.

That goes for stains and discoloration from oil leaks or spills from DIY projects like wood stain that dried on the concrete.

You can buy pre-made concrete filler at any big box store and fix any cracks you have in a jiffy.

You don’t need to purchase new flooring right away. Consider that you can utilize your pre-existing concrete.

Depending on the condition, it might make sense to epoxy or seal your concrete floor so you can save some cash. Check out Hack My Garage for more about concrete solutions.

Porcelain tile is another overlooked flooring option as well. Many don’t realize it, but properly installed porcelain tile over concrete is the toughest flooring solution out there.

If you can afford it, it’ll definitely liven up the place.

2. Insulate your garage

Before you install any air or heating, you need to insulate your garage. Depending on where you live, you may need to fully insulate your garage to take advantage of any air/heating solutions.

If you live in an area that gets very hot or cold during the summer/winter months, you’re going to need to fully insulate your garage.

Insulating your garage isn’t as hard as it sounds. You’ll need to go to your local hardware store and purchase fibreglass batts.

It’s a good idea to look for pre-sized ones that you can staple to your garage’s walls. If you live in place with extreme temperature, going the extra step and insulating your garage door is also a good idea.

It’s up to you whether you want to keep the rustic look of your garage or install drywall.

It isn’t required, but it will add to the cost of turning your garage into a living space. Once everything is in place, you can paint the walls how you desire.

3. Install heating and air

It’s illegal in most states to connect your garage to your air conditioning system. Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there.

My recommendation would be a window unit. While they aren’t the most aesthetic option out there, they are by far the best bang for buck option.

If you’re thinking about getting a portable air conditioning unit, think again.

They waste a lot of electricity, they don’t work nearly as well as a window unit and they’re big and loud. If you don’t have a window unit, your only option is to install a ductless mini-split.

You may need to hire a professional to install a ductless mini-split as it does require careful planning and cutting a hole in your garage’s wall.

The great thing about them is they are efficient and can heat/cool. Unfortunately, they are costly. You’re looking at around $4-5000 to get a mini-split installed.

But in the end, you won’t need to install a different heating solution!

4. Consider adding windows

Lighting Outlets of a garage

Most garages don’t have any windows. It’s normal as the garage door is supposed to open, but you’re going to want to install a window so that sunlight can come in.

Everyone needs a little sunshine throughout the day, and it’ll help you stay aligned with the natural rhythm of the day.

It may be that your municipality also requires a window installation for the garage to be considered a “liveable space”.

You’re going to want to make sure that your window is 5 ½ square feet of your total garage space.

If you’ve never installed a window in your life, it’s better to leave it to the professionals.

While I always recommend DIY solutions, you’re going to want to leave this one to the pros. Always vet your professional before letting them tear down your wall as you don’t want to have to deal with a half-done job.

5. Lighting, Outlets and Everything else

If you’re unhappy with your garage’s current lighting, there are plenty of options to choose from.

If you’re handy with wiring, you can hang some LED lights from the ceiling. Make sure that they’re on the warmer side of the lighting temperature scale as you want to feel at home and not in a garage!

Most garages should have plenty of outlets, but if yours is not equipped, you’ll have to get an electrician to take care of that for you.

It may also be a good time to ask about hooking up any lighting systems you’ve purchased to help turn your garage into a new liveable space.

If you have any non-load bearing walls you aren’t fond of, you can tear them down.

Although you need to be sure that these walls aren’t load-bearing, otherwise you’ll have a big problem on your hands!

Once you’re done with everything, you can give your garage a nice paint job. Make it your own and enjoy the new space that you’ve created for your home!

Bring in all of your furniture and you’re done!

Final Thoughts

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of converting a garage costs around $12,000. If you do it yourself, you can drastically reduce the cost.

Building a detached space can cost upwards of $50,000 depending on the size.

If you plan out your future garage beforehand, you should be able to tackle most of the projects yourself.

Before you hire anyone, do as much as the work you can yourself to save on the bulk of the cost.

You’ll be happy when you won’t need to give up precious yard space to gain some liveable space. Not only that, your wallet will thank you as well!

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