August 28, 2015

Avoid These 3 Common Mistakes When Converting Your Garage to a Living Space

Avoid These 3 Common Mistakes When Converting Your Garage to a Living Space

Renovations can be a lot of fun…until they’re not!

Turning your garage into a living space can be a creative and even ingenious solution to a lack of additional space. Millions of people have done it, and whether they’re creating a guest room, a playroom, or any other living space, they all seem to make it look easy.

But before you pick up a sledgehammer and start going to work on your garage to turn it into a living room, office, or guest room, take a moment to inform yourself of a few big mistakes to avoid.

1. Don’t Skip the Permit

If you’re remodeling your garage to turn it into an apartment or mother‑in‑law suite, you absolutely must go through the proper permitting procedures and make sure that you do the job right the first time around.

You might think that because the space is small and you own your house that you won’t have to ask permission to do the work, but you’d be wrong. Legally speaking, you’re basically constructing a new building within your home, and you do need to get the go ahead from local authorities.

Those authorities will need to know how the space in your garage is going to be used and whether or not you’ll be doing any external construction, as well. When you submit your plans for your remodeling job, they’ll go over them to ensure that they are safe and up to code. Then they’ll approve and permit your job, and you can move forward, knowing that your remodeling plans will comply with all local regulations.

2. Trying to "Wing It" With No Plan

If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. Basically, if you only give a little bit of thought to the basics of how you want your converted garage living space to look, you’re going to create a lot of problems for whoever has to live there. Detailed planning can avoid all of those problems.

Start by drawing a general schematic of where everything in the space will go. As you do, keep in mind that you may need to install new outlets, insulation, plumbing, lighting, heating and cooling, windows, and other details, as well.

In addition to all of the details of the space, itself, you should also spend some time planning how you’ll store your vehicles now that you won’t have a garage anymore. Parking on the street can be problematic, so be sure that you have a solid plan.

3. Put the Hammer Down – DIY Isn’t Always the Answer

You might think that you’re going to save a lot of money and learn a lot about construction and home repair if you do everything yourself, but stop right there. Are you really qualified to reroute plumbing and drainage? Are you going to be able to wire the space so that it’s up to code?

Just because you’re remodeling a space that’s typically smaller than other rooms in the house, that doesn’t mean that you have the knowledge, skills, and tools to do it right. Treat this project like any other home renovation project and be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot do. Then do your homework and find contractors to give you a few quotes.

You’ll want to go with a contractor who has both experience and a good track record who’s willing to work with you throughout the whole process. When you find a contractor you can really work with, you’ll feel fully confident in the job and you’ll know what’s going on with it from beginning to end.

The Right Door for Your Newly Converted Living Space

When you begin your renovation, you’ll probably start with the garage door, as you’ll want to give the space a more attractive look and better energy efficiency, too. At Middlesex Door Systems, we carry and install GARAGA garage doors, one of the very finest names in the industry, and we’ll be happy to help you find the best door for your space.

View all of the residential garage doors available, or design your own with our online tool, and you’ll be on your way to creating a great living space!

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