Garages are great spaces to convert to other uses and add additional living space to a home. They are typically open areas with exposed wiring and no existing plumbing, which makes the space easy to convert into almost any kind of new use. A consistent complication for all garage conversions will be the removal and replacement of the garage door. Cost estimates can range from around $2,000 for a conversion to a simple room such as a rec room or bedroom, to as much as $20,000 for a garage-to-kitchen conversion.
One of the simplest do-it-yourself garage conversions is to make the space over into a recreation room for the kids. If the floor is concrete, clean it thoroughly and paint it with a non-skid paint made especially for concrete. In cold climates, you'll want to install a simple heating system such as a freestanding gas unit and insulate the walls. Choose a wall covering that fits your do-it-yourself skills, from something simple like plywood to more complicated installations such as drywall. Bring in some comfy furniture like futon couches and bean bag chairs. If the room is already wired for electricity, plug in some game machines, a television, a stereo, and some lighting. Let the kids decorate the walls, and you have a rec room.
Perhaps you need a better space for the family to gather. For this type of room, you may want to install a plywood sub-flooring over the concrete and cover it with wall-to-wall carpeting. Depending on the size of the garage space, create areas where different family members can be doing different things but still be together. For instance, a television area with seating for the whole family can take up one corner while a computer station can be set up in another corner that has been adequately wired with several grounded outlets. A large table can be used for many things--family game night, a sewing project, a model-building project or a homework area. Installation of T-111 plywood wall treatment and dropped ceilings are fairly simple do-it-yourself projects. For climates that need heating, before beginning the remodel, consider having a professional install radiant floor heating--a nice choice for a family room where people may choose to lounge on the floor playing cards or watching television.
Converting a garage to a bedroom is another relatively simple do-it-yourself project. An existing garage will typically already have sufficient electrical supply to meet the needs of a bedroom. The most complex problem will be heating or cooling the space, but these days the choices of self-standing gas heaters and window or self-standing air conditioners can probably solve even that problem with little complication. You will likely want to install sub-flooring and carpeting as well as more windows. Skylight installation is for the more advanced do-it-yourselfer, but skylights are nice for their ability to add light without sacrificing privacy. Depending on which rooms are adjacent to the garage, you may want to consider installing soundproofing in the wall between the new bedroom and the main house.
Kitchens are the most expensive remodeling project most homeowners ever face. Choosing to convert garage space into a kitchen can be especially beneficial if the garage is connected to the house. How much of a garage-to-kitchen conversion you can do yourself will depend on the level of your skills. First, you will need to think through a new traffic pattern. From there, you can decide the placement of appliances. Most garages do not have many windows, so once you decide where everything is going you can plan window installation. Pre-built kitchen islands can add dimension as well as handy storage and work space. Plumbing for sinks and refrigerators with ice machines, electrical supply for major appliances and recessed lighting will be the most complex projects facing a do-it-yourselfer in a garage-to-kitchen conversion.
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