Every parent whose living room is drowning in a sea of toys has probably tried to think of a convenient storage solution at least once or twice. Although you might lack a method for keeping the endless piles of books, blocks, Barbie’s, and balls organized for more than 30 minutes, you might be able to exile them from your living room into a room of their own.
The first step in planning a garage conversion is deciding upon the room's new intended purpose. Do you need a place for teens to hang out at home with friends? Are you dreaming of a large, luxury man cave? Maybe you'd just enjoy an upgraded space to park your cars in winter - one that's fully insulated and climate controlled? Before you decide, keep a few factors in mind:
If you have an existing garage in place, but no walls, floor, ceiling or finishes in place, the cost to finish your garage will be much less expensive than $10,000. Oftentimes, finished a garage entails adding a few beams or drywall. Contractors can install wooden or steal beams for a few thousand dollars. In addition, according to our drywall installation cost guide, you can purchase drywall for at little as $0.30/sf. If you hire a general contractor to install the drywall, expect to pay another $1,000. Overall, the cost to finish a garage should not exceed $5,000.
On the exterior we remove the siding on the front of the garage and installed new hardboard siding that matched the original on the building. Electrically we removed and relocated existing lights and added a ceiling fan as well as recessed lighting. Some additional outlets and network wiring was installed then connected to the home and panel box. The interior was insulated in areas such as the ceiling, stairwell and miscellaneous sections of the walls. We laminated (overlay) the existing sheetrock with 3/8″ wallboard on the sidewalls and stairwell and 1/2″ for the ceiling.
Look for a contractor who specializes in garage remodels - or at least one who has experience remodeling garages. Ask to see pictures of previous jobs such as the before and after garage conversion picture shown here. A good contractor should be able to show you garage conversion designs and you can also get some inspiration from looking online at garage remodeling ideas. Remodeling a garage is different than remodeling other areas of the home, and it helps to have a contractor who understands that.
One of the main ways to succeed on a budget is to be organized and have a good plan. Having a good plan means knowing exactly what you want out of it. This requires you to decide everything from paint colors to trim style before the first nail is driven. Having a well thought out plan means knowing where you are getting materials from, and when they will be delivered. This plan is the bedrock that your budget friendly remodel will rest on.
I stink at drawing. So pencil and paper isn’t an option for me when working to design my perfect garage (which I’ll unveil at some point in the future). Instead, I’ve been using SketchUp Make —a free 3D modeling software program, once owned by Google, that’s been around for almost 20 years now. And while CAD-style programs can be quite intimidating, SketchUp is super-easy to use and has a huge active community made up of all kinds of people—from architects and interior designers to woodworkers and other creators.
If you're planning to maximize the space, add useful features, and otherwise make changes that are likely to appeal to a majority of homeowners, your renovation may end up being a worthwhile investment in your home's resale value. However, the quality of the work matters, especially if you're planning a major change such as converting the garage into a bedroom. Trading your garage space for a poorly insulated "bedroom" with no windows and the garage door intact won't do much to boost resale value.
The extras on a garage often get short attention, but those little details can make a big impact. Take lighting and house numbers: Choices more in step with your garage's style can tie together paint, materials, and more. Use proportion as your guide when selecting fixtures: Low-slung styles such as this garage work better with small to medium fixtures.

Paint manufacturers have recognized these problems and have come to the rescue with new solutions. But a word of advice: If your garage floor sees heavy water leakage, if it's badly cracked or if it's damp and slimy all summer, don't apply any coating. In those cases, you're better off simply keeping it as clean as you can and then calling it quits.
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