A garage conversion can provide unparalleled potential for your home. Not only does it utilise the space available, offering more storage for your home, but they can also substantially increase your home’s value if you are looking to move. As a general rule of thumb, garage conversion specialists can help to enhance the value by up to 10-20%. If your garage is relatively unloved and isn’t used as a safe spot for the car, it might just be the time to look into the services of garage conversion contractors.
A garage conversion is one of the quickest and most cost-effective methods for increasing floor space, without having to move house… You could create a ‘play area’ for your kids, a home office or even a reading room; the possibilities are almost endless with garage conversion ideas. Plus, you don’t need to resort to moving home, so you’ll save on plenty of fees.
Choosing the right contractor
First things first, you need to choose the right garage conversion contractors; and there are plenty to choose. Our garage conversions North East services are one of many, but you must find the right builders for your home. Essentially, do your research before settling for your garage conversion specialists.
A good tip is to check the testimonials on the website. If they have an average score that suggests they are a good investment, then it’s time to ask for a quote. However, be wary of garage conversion contractors that do not offer or share reviews, as they may have something to hide. Likewise, a solid backlog of case studies and experience in the industry will certainly help when looking into garage conversions.
The next step in our garage conversion guide is a thorough assessment. Your garage conversion contractors will ensure the property is surveyed and will assess the existing structure, including the foundations, roof, wall insulation etc. This assessment will also provide the basis for the price of the project, revealing the extent of labour, materials and any other factors. In very rare cases where the garage is suffering severe signs of degradation, they may suggest to knock down and replace as it will be cheaper.
The assessment of your garage will also contribute to the overall design of the conversion. You can begin to consider how you would like to integrate the conversion to the main house, what it will be used for and the overall budget.
For those with a little more budget, it is worth investing in an architect or specialist designer and taking their advice on how best to maximise the space.
Integrated or detached
Garage conversion integration should be very easy – especially if the garage is attached to the home. For instance, you could just knock the connecting wall through to create a larger, more open plan space.
A detached structure can also open up possibilities for your home, lending itself as a separate structure. Perhaps use the space as an annex, guest room or even an office outside of the actual home.
If the works for your garage are, mainly, internal, you might not need planning permission. If most of the work is indoors, excluding changing the door and possibly adding a window, then this may be considered permitted development. Therefore, you do not usually need consent. However, to err on the side of caution, apply for a lawful development certificate and alert your local authority.
It’s worth noting that some modern builds may be restricted when it comes to garage conversions, with some even suggesting the garage must be retained as parking. Before contacting your garage conversion contractors, check your deeds as you may need formal permission.
A full application will, most likely, be necessary if you want to substantially alter the external appearance and make large changes. The best thing you can do is seek advice, either with the local authority or even our garage conversions North East services.
Garage conversions are subject to building regulations as you are changing the functional use of the building. The building regulations apply to ventilation, moisture, proofing, insulation, fireproofing, escape routes and structural soundness. However, some straightforward conversions may be sufficient, such as contacting the local authority to tell them you intend to start work within the next 48 hours.
If you are looking to convert a larger area, we recommend drafting full structural plans for additional peace of mind.
Before work begins, you should have a sound design in mind as to how you would like the garage conversion to look. The most successful and secure conversions are those that form a natural part of the home. Commission scaled drawings of the finished project, indoors and outdoors, but include details on the layout of the furniture and the plug sockets.
When it comes to the exterior, speak to your garage conversion specialists about the brickwork. Ensure the brickwork, materials and windows match or work well with the exterior of the original property to seamlessly blend the two. Likewise, consider that the garage floor is lower than the floor level of your home, so add a step or raise the floor level if possible. Similarly, if you can fit extra windows into the garage, do so. More natural daylight will help to make the space much larger and welcoming.
Pro tip: Don’t restrict yourself with the position of the door and go for what feels right. The door’s positioning will affect how you furnish the room, so consider removing the existing door if needed.
Building regulations require the garage walls, windows, floor and roof to be properly insulated. You need to get this done well, or it could leave you with a very cold, unforgiving room. Integrated garages are, generally, built to the same standard as the home, meaning the walls are properly insulated and may not need changing. Similarly, detached garages may have proper wall insulation. If the exterior walls do not meet insulation requirements, consider a second block wall inside the existing exterior. Roof insulation is also required, and the simplest way to insulate a roof is at loft level. Again, you can speak to your garage conversion specialists with what is required to begin the work.
Damp proofing is also necessary for the walls and floors. As mentioned earlier, integrated garages will, typically, be built to the same standard of the house, meaning they have already undergone a damp proof course. However, you will need to verify this.
The existing concrete floor might well be strong enough for continued domestic use. But, the flooring may need to be levelled, undergo damp proofing and, of course, insulated for the best performance.
As mentioned earlier, garage floors are, generally, lower than the main house. If the ceiling height allows, you could possibly raise the floor level to avoid putting a step into the room.
Doors and windows
Proper ventilation is part of the building regulations for your windows. The windows must comply with the regulations, match your expectations, provide that much-needed ventilation and should also suit the exterior of the main house. You should also not be restricted by the existing door and consider adding another if it enhances the design and layout of your additional room.
If you’re creating a room that does not have an external door, but is attached to the main house, you will need to provide an ‘escape window’.
Heating and electrics
A thorough survey of the plumbing and wiring of the house is recommended for a garage conversion. It’s important to note that rewiring the garage will place additional strain on the household mains, so ensure they are capable. If not, you may need to upgrade the mains which could add subsequent costs.
For those installing a toilet in the garage conversion, locate the main outflows for water and the soil.
As a general rule of thumb, garage conversion costs will increase if the existing structure is not sound. It may even be cheaper to knock down and build from scratch, rather than continuing to spend money on stabilising the building.
Once assessments do begin for the conversion, it’s possible that additional improvements and repairs may be suggested. These will, likely, add more to the costs due to increased labour and materials.
Your garage conversion contractors will speak with you regarding the survey and the quote. However, remember that this is always going to cost significantly less than moving home for additional floor space.
Increase home value
Garage conversions are recommended to increase your home value, and can do so in some cases by up to 30%. However, always check the value of the houses in your area, as homes with garages may be valued higher.