If you’re looking to enlarge your home without making a full-scale addition, you are not alone. 85% of the homes in this nation built before 1980 could do with some improvement. When the family needs change, it necessitates the need for extra space. And instead of adding another structure or moving out, a practical solution is to convert the garage into a livable space. It is cheaper, especially if you live in a place where real estate is expensive. With several upgrades, your garage can be comfortable enough for whatever you want to use it for. Here is a guide on how to go about it.

1. Check Zoning and Permits Needed Before You Start

Zoning rules can stop your garage conversion project. In some areas, changing the garage into a livable space is a huge deal. Speak to a local contractor and find out what rules apply to your location. House sharing has grown in popularity, making it difficult to obtain garage conversion permits in some places. Even if your end goal is not to rent out the garage, check what rules apply and what permits you will need.

2. Factor in Heating and Insulation

Because a garage is not meant to be a livable space, you will find that most lack insulation and heating. But now that you plan to convert it, you will need to add heating and insulation. Garages are usually made of concrete blocks, meaning they are always cold. You can choose to give the room its own heating source, but this requires upgrading your electrical system to support the extra demand. The other alternative is extending the existing heat system into the garage. According to the EIA, more than 87% of U.S. homes have air conditioning. Extending is a matter of bringing in an HVAC tech and seeing if the idea is practical.

3. Raise the Garage Floor

The garage floor tends to be lower than the main house’s flooring. You will need to raise it with a sleeper system to be on the same level as the main house. Before doing this, ensure you lay down all the electrical circuits and insulation needed for the converted space.

4. Repair or Replace the Garage Door

If you are trying to keep the conversion cost down, you can repair the garage door instead of getting a new one. However, repairs only make sense if the issues are minor, like peeling paint. You may also need to replace certain components like torsion springs if the current ones are old and worn out. On average, a garage door torsion spring should last about nine to 10 years. After that, it will not support the garage door as needed. If yours has aged, get another one. In other cases, you may need to replace the door. If you don’t have an insulated garage door, you will need a replacement. An uninsulated garage door will lead to heat loss, ultimately increasing your energy bill.

5. Boost the Exterior Appeal

As much as you are focusing on the interior, do not ignore how the garage will look outside. One advantage of hiring an architect is that they don’t just focus on the interior visuals. They also ensure that the exterior of the garage blends in with the rest of the house. This is particularly important in cases where you have replaced the garage door with a wall. You will need to ensure that the wall matches the rest of the house to maintain your home’s curb appeal.

6. Build Additional Storage

Most people use their garages as storage spaces. Converting a garage into a livable space means you are left without a storage unit. You may have to build a shed around your property to act as a storage facility.

These are just some of the ways you can turn your garage into a living space. Before starting this project, ensure the conversion will improve your quality of life and not lower the value of your property.