Beginner’s Guide to Garage Conversions

What are you using your garage for? It could be worth reevaluating your garage if it has become a storage room, or a junk yard for an old exercise bike, rather than a place to park the car.

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A garage conversion is the fastest and most cost-effective way to add floor space. A typical scheme for creating a playroom or office at home can be completed in less than a week.

You won’t have to move to find a home that fits your family’s needs. This will save you money on stamp duty, solicitors, and other fees. It won’t take up any garden amenities, unlike a traditional home extension.

Garage conversions in glasgow can increase the value of your home. Virgin Money estimates that you can get a return of around 10%-20% by undertaking a well-planned project that improves the usability and functionality of your home.

Designing your space

Before any garage conversion can be completed, it is important to assess the existing structure. This includes the foundations and roof.

This will help you determine the amount of work required to create comfortable living environments. It may be more cost-effective to tear down the building and replace it if it is in a particularly poor condition.

The right outcome will depend on how big the scheme is, how it will be used and integrated into the property and your budget.

Working with an architect for higher-end projects could be a great way to maximize your garage’s potential and create a space that flows naturally into the home.

Another option is to hire a company that specializes in garage conversions.

These results can be amazing, even if they are not as avant-garde as you might think. Many will also take your scheme through building control and planning as part of their fees. Their experience on the ground can ensure a smooth project with a predictable budget.

Work begins, and the original structure is altered to make it a living space.

It doesn’t matter if the garage is attached or integrated, it should be easy to integrate into the main accommodation. To join a zone you could cut through it, such as to enlarge a hallway or create a kitchen-diner that is front-to-back.

Separated structures, however, can be used for segregated purposes such as an annex, quiet home office, or other uses. A single garage can provide around 15m2 of space. This is more than enough to house a playroom or separate drawing room, guest bedroom, or an accessible downstairs shower and toilet.

A double garage is approximately 30m2. It offers more flexibility. You could have a larger living room, an ensuite bedroom, a large kitchen-diner, or an annex.

You could also keep one parking space and erect a fire-rated and insulated partition to divide it, then use the remainder for habitation.

Permission to plan

Many garage conversions, especially those that are attached or integral, require a lot of work. The only exception is the addition of windows or changing the frontage.

This development is likely to be permitted (PD), and will not usually require formal planning permission.

Some cases, like in conservation areas where PD rights may not be applicable, could result in the removal of PD rights. Before you start, make sure to check with your local authority. A lawful development certificate can be applied for to give you peace of mind.

Modern buildings may have restrictive covenants that require the garage be used as parking. If this is the case, check the deeds. A formal permit is required to modify the detached garage’s use.

Even if PD rights have been lost, you may still be able pursue a scheme. However, you will need to create suitable drawings and apply to householder planning consent. This will cost you PS234, plus any fees for design.

If you plan to make significant changes to the exterior appearance of the building, such as adding new windows or using new materials, a full application will be required. You will also need to obtain listed building consent if you live in a listed structure, and party wall agreements for any adjacent neighbours.

Building regulations

Garage conversions are subject to Building Regulations because they involve a change in use.

Simple schemes may be able to be completed using the building notice route. This allows you or your contractor to notify the local authority 48 hours before your work begins.

For more complicated projects, it may be advantageous to have complete structural plans drawn. You can rest assured that the building control has reviewed the drawings and verified that the conversion is in compliance with the regulations.

Your building inspector or control officer will also be looking at structural safety.

Key works

Before work can begin, it is essential that the roof and walls are sound and watertight. The majority of the work will be done inside the garage.

You will begin by removing the main structure. This will give you the best view of what lies ahead, including any unexpected issues (such as a patchy foundation or hidden problems in the walls) that could increase costs.

These are the most important considerations.

Floor slab

A concrete floor may be strong enough for general domestic use. It may be necessary to level it (use a self-levelling liquid screed), to dampproof the floor with a suitable membrane (lapping into walls’ DPC), and to insulate to ensure adequate thermal performance.

Garage floors are generally lower than main house floors, so it might be possible to combine all of these and still have a threshold that is not stepped between them.

Filling the door

Most people replace the garage door with conventional brickwork that matches the rest of the building.

The design stage assessment should determine if the foundations are capable of supporting the new loads. If you have the space and planning permission, windows or a glass access door can be added to increase daylight in your new space. This may reduce the load.

You can have some fun with the design, if your budget allows.

Insulation for walls

Integrated garages are often built to the same standards as the main home, so they may not require any renovations.

Garages with single-skin construction can be attached or detached. This is done by building stud walls using timbers that are deep enough to absorb sufficient insulation.

Cavity walls can be insulated to preserve the interior floor space.

You will need to build a fully-insulated interior dividing wall to protect your parking space from fire damage for 30-minutes if you are doing a partial conversion.

You can do this in blockwork or you can switch to wood studwork lined by pink fireline plasterboard on your garage side.

Roof insulation

Loft level is the best place to insulate garage roofs. A pitched covering should contain 270mm mineral wool. 100mm between the joists and the top.

Warm roofs that are insulated to the rafter level are possible. This allows for rooflights to be used to bring in natural light.

To prevent condensation, flat roofs should be fitted with rigid insulation between the ceiling joists and below them. You can preserve floor to ceiling height by using slim multifoil (or polyisocyanurate), products.

Windows & doors

You must specify fenestration that meets the requirements of the whole-unit U values (1.6 W/m2K windows, 1.8 doors), meet your security expectations, provide adequate ventilation, and fit the style of the home.

You can save money by sticking with standard-sized units.

You can incorporate casements, sashes or doorsets by drilling a hole in the wall. Then add lintels as needed. This is also true for openings between the garage and main house.

A reinforcing beam of steel may be required for larger spans that allow for a more open feel. These types of calculations may need to be done by a structural engineer.

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