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Converting Your Garage

By: Rachel Collier - Updated: 11 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Converting Your Garage

Garage conversions are becoming more and more common as we find better use for a space which, more often than not, is a dumping ground for stuff we no longer want. Homes are being built smaller these days, putting a real premium on space for families to grow. Converting a garage is a great option for you if you don’t want to move or extend your property. Read our basic guide to getting started.

First Things First

Before you start work on converting your garage it’s essential that you give your local planning team a call to check your plans won’t need permission. Garages vary in size and future uses vary in scope, but often it’s not a case of obtaining planning permission so much as compliance with Buildings Regulations. Insulation should be your main priority and it’s a good idea to seek professional advice to make sure your conversion passes muster. As with any renovation project, getting advice before you begin will also avoid costly mistakes and wasted time.

Getting Started

Before work begins it’s essential to make sure your garage is fit for purpose as a conversion project. A structural engineer should be able to tell you if the existing structure is safe, and also let you know any limitations that might necessitate a change of design. At this stage you’ll also be able to ask about the changes that will be required to walls and roofing to provide adequate insulation and damp proofing.

Financial Matters

Make sure you do your homework on costs and set your budget accordingly. Gather a few quotes, ideally from tradesmen who have worked on similar projects in your area. If you plan to do the work yourself, take advice from a surveyor and a friendly builder so that you know exactly what you’ll be committing yourself to. A conversion of a single garage is likely to cost up to £40,000, depending on the scope of your project.

Expert Advice

Thinking of your garage conversion as a mini new-build helps to work out where you’ll need assistance. A garage conversion is an ambitious project for an amateur due to the range of skills required to complete the work. Project management is a better way to stay as involved as possible whilst benefitting from the expertise of electricians, roofers, and insulation specialists. If you plan to include a new bathroom you’ll also have drainage and plumbing to conquer, so realistically it’s unlikely you’ll possess all the skills needed to make the project a success.

Looking Good

A garage conversion should look like a natural extension of your house, so to achieve this, match up bricks and other features, like windows. Your neighbours will thank you for conforming to the existing style of your home, as will future owners.Being a pretty flexible space, uses for garage conversions vary from new dining rooms to granny annexes. You might even find that converting your garage adds value to your home, but at the very least it will give your family room to expand.

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