Here we have a selection of garage conversion articles that cover most aspects of the work and questions
required for most homeowners.
- Garage conversions do they add value
Garage conversions are an ever increasing requirement for many homeowners especially those with adjoining or integral garages. It almost seems anti-social these days to have a dedicated brick built space connected to the main dwelling simply to house a car or two.
- Garage conversion average cost
Many homeowners want to try and establish costs of a garage conversion before spending time and money of fees. This can be difficult as the complexity or ease of conversion will pretty much vary from site to site. From my own experiences, some garage conversions are very easy to convert and the average cost of these garage conversions are usually in the £18k to £22k region for a single garage conversion.
- Garage conversion with extension
Many home improvement schemes very rarely simply focus on one area of development. Many house extension schemes may include or combine several elements. A two storey rear extension may also propose a garage conversion. So, when presenting your scheme to the Planning Department should you be showing the total development scheme?
- Garage conversion architect
This question arises more often with smaller, lower end dwellings in less desirable areas than in high value homes in sort after areas. Many home owners on lower family incomes are always trying to save on costs and who can blame them. However, guess where the majority of cowboy builders or poorly finished garage conversion schemes end up - Yep, you guessed it.
- Garage conversion building regulations
All garage conversions are usually considered to be a material alteration which requires a certain level of minimum standards to be met for the change of use into a habitable room. This is controlled and monitored by the Building Regulations which is usually by the Local Council. However, unbeknown to most homeowners, you are able to submit your scheme for Building Regulations approval to a Private Building Inspector not attached to the local Council. These are known as Approved Inspectors.
- Garage conversion cost calculator
Many homeowners think that establishing the costs of building works is a simple matter of tapping in data into a computer or online front end on the web, hitting the return button and hey pesto - there is the price of the works. Many homeowners expect to be able to do this even without the aid of a pre-approved plan or specification.
- Garage conversion company
Specialist garage conversion companies are springing up all over the UK due to the demand from home owners to use a poor quality space already attached to the main dwelling for that all important habitable room space - young growing families are perhaps the main driver in this niche area of residential development.
- Garage conversion door systems
In the quest to simplify systems for a garage conversion together with saving costs, some manufacturers have developed a replacement garage door which is insulated and incorporates windows rather than the costly alternative and more usual method of infilling with masonry walling or stud timber framing.
- Garage conversion DIY
The DIY market within the home improvement arena is up and down like fiddlers elbow. As more and more young families come onto the housing improvement scene it seems that less and less of them are of the more ‘practical persuasion‘. They all seem to be good at pushing a computer mouse but no so adept as pushing a saw.
- Garage conversion design
Most garage conversions are fairly easy to design with regard to the layout. Simply by their siting and size often dictates how they can be used an assimilated into the main dwelling including access. The harder par of the garage conversion design is detailing and specifying the physical method of the upgrade and adaptation works required.
- Garage conversion drawings
No matter what you read I the press or those heavily influenced home and garden publications, anyone can prepare drawings for a garage conversion - you do not need an architect. This statement is, however, somewhat flawed as most homeowners consider anyone who prepares plans and designs for a house extension or garage conversion for example is ‘an architect‘ which is very often the wrong term for the person they are employing.
- Garage conversion estimates
Garage conversion estimates are usually required early on in the inception process if only to establish costing budgets and affordability by the homeowner. Some homeowners approach builders for price estimates on garage conversions whilst others will go straight to a house extension designer or architect for advice.
- Garage conversion examples
Many homeowners seek inspiration for their garage conversion for additional ideas and alternatives prior to engaging their own garage conversion designer or architect. There is a variety of sources out their that can be easily accessed for a homeowners research which are described below.
- Garage conversion floor insulation
Part of most garage conversion works will involve upgrading the existing garage floor construction. Most house extension designers or architects will want to retain the existing garage floor construction unless it is so poor it needs removing and replacing. That means in order to comply with the Building regulations the existing garage floor construction will need to be thermally improved.
- Garage conversion floor plans
Some homeowners are confused by how to incorporate the garage space into the main dwelling when converting the garage. Unless you already have a set of floor plans or the homeowner is good at 3D visualising the existing house layout through walls etc., many struggle to see how the garage floor space can be best assimilated and used as part of the main dwellings living floor space.
- Garage conversion guide
Most house extension designers will have their own ideas and recommendations as a guide to a successful garage conversion. Here are my own top ten tips for a garage conversion guide.
- Garage conversion granny flat
Most garage conversions can be built without the requirement for formal planning permission. This is called permitted development rights or allowances. The use of your garage conversion is not really relevant for this Permitted development so to use a garage conversion as a granny flat is quite acceptable.
- Garage conversion to gym
Most garage conversions that add value are those that are expertly converted for full compliance under Building Regulations for use as a habitable room (bedroom, study, kitchen extension etc.)
- Garage conversion how to do it
Most garage conversions will require some professional design input form a house extension designer or architect in order to prepare the plans and specifications for Planning Permission, Certificate of Lawful Development if PD and the Building Regulations approvals. A homeowner DIY situation for their own garage conversion is not really advisable.
- Garage conversion help and advice
Most homeowners will require help and advice for their proposed garage conversion. This is usually readily available from a local house extension designer or architect. Make sure you interview at least three and select the one that comes over as most pro-active after checking on their credentials, relevant experience and professional qualifications.
- Garage conversion home cinema
Garage conversions make ideal rooms for a home cinema installation. Even the conversion of a single garage space will have ideal proportions for using the converted space as a dedicated home cinema room. A garage conversion for use as a home cinema will require a compliant and council approved conversion to a high standard as the use of the space will be defined as a habitable room.
- Garage conversion ideas images and pictures
Many homeowners seek ideas and inspiration from previous garage conversions before deciding on their own garage conversion scheme. This is a great idea and a few weeks spent researching other peoples ideas and garage conversions can avoid many design and build mistakes.
- Garage conversion insulation
Nearly all compliant garage conversion will require an upgrade of the walls, floor and roof by installing new or extra thermal insulation. Under the Building Regulations garage conversions have to meet modern day U values or thermal performance as for any new build works but there is a slightly lower acceptability level threshold for conversion works if obtaining the required U value is costly or impractical.
- Garage conversion kits
In a nutshell - NO! There really isn’t any ‘one size fits all’ garage conversion kit universally available that a home owner can purchase off the shelf from a DIY store for example.
- Garage conversion keeping existing door
For a formal garage conversion into a habitable room that needs to be compliant through the Councils building regulations approval process the answer is usually NO. The reason why you are unlikely to be able to retain the existing garage door for your garage conversion are three fold.
- Garage conversion for good living space
If they are well designed and not skimped on quality or work required, then yes they make a very good additional living space. However, many homeowners fall into traps that prevent them from having a great space for that garage conversion. Here are the main two reasons why many homeowner fail to achieve the best use of good living space by completing a garage conversion.
- Garage conversion materials
Upgrading any garage for conversion into a habitable room will require the use of new building materials. The main new garage conversion materials a builder will be using will be to do with the thermal upgrades of the floor, walls and ceilings.
- Garage conversion music studio
Yes, without doubt. If the garage conversion is well designed and built well, then a use of a garage conversion for a music room or studio is an ideal one. Provided any garage conversion is built to a high standard then its use can be entirely flexible to meet the needs of each now home owner or can adapt with any growing families needs.
- Garage conversion home office
Yes, but they are not the only solution. I is my opinion that a garage conversion used as a home office or studio is possibly the best location for dedicated work from home environment especially if the home worker or business owner have times when clients or colleagues may come to visit.
- Garage conversion options
The options for a garage conversion comes in two basic formats. One is the defined use of the space currently required by the home owner but will it become a flexible use of space in the future? The second part of the options available to the home owner for garage conversions is what level of conversion works will be required for a robust long term use that creates a highly valued use of space that adds value to the property.
- Garage conversion planning permission
In most cases no although every home owner is advised to have a scheme drawing prepared by a house extension designer or architect and to then apply for a certificate of Lawful development from your Councils Planning Dept. This way you avoid the ambiguities of the situation and you obtain a legally binding document confirming that formal Planning permission will not be required.
- Garage conversion plans
Drawing plans are usually required for all garage conversions - well those embarking on the scheme in the right professional way. Those homeowners attempting to cut corners and costs and willing to expose themselves to complications, extra costs claims and problems later in in the development could, in fact, do away with garage conversion plans.
- Garage conversion prices
Not really. Each garage conversion will have its own extent of works and materials specified by the house extension designer or architect. Therefore trying to generalise on garage conversion prices at today’s levels can be a difficult task.
- Garage conversion pack
The online world has transformed many things from arranging holidays to buying a new car. The examples are endless and forever changing. Everyone expects instant answers or information to solve a particular problem online. This web site and my various articles on house extensions (or garage conversions in particular) is no different in a desire to satisfy those answers.
- Garage conversion quotes
There are only two methods to get a garage conversion quote. One is to approach a garage conversion company offering a design and build form of contract as a ‘one stop shop’ approach or to employ your own house extension designer or architect to prepare their own design and work schedules and specifications in order to go out to tender and obtain at least 3 prices from selected local builders.
- Garage conversion questions
It has been my experience that most home extensions including garage conversions are very rarely initially considered by the homeowner as part of a whim. Simply for something to do. They always seem to result from a specific defined need of the household.
- Garage conversion rules
All garage conversions into habitable rooms are deemed to be a change of use and require formal Building Regulations approval. This is a set of rules or requirements that the new building works must conform to. All experienced house extension designers will understand these requirements and design a scheme that would comply.
- Garage conversion bed room
Many homeowners want the garage conversion for use as a ground floor bedroom - usually for a defined family member such as a granny or additional child. This is a great use that meets that particular families needs but it is probably undesirable for future homeowners looking to purchase the property as many do not consider ground floor space as a suitable location for that extra bedroom - it’s a culture / status thing.
- Garage conversion specialists
Yes, but only if you are willing to lose a little bit of the control. Most garage conversion specialists need a firm commitment from you on price and engagement early on before spending too much time with you on what is essentially a ‘speculative punt.’
- Garage conversion step by step guide
Homeowners who are seeking a ‘step by step’ guide to completing a garage conversion are usually the ones also considering doing a DIY garage conversion themselves which I am fully against and elsewhere in this garage conversion set of articles I explain clearly why - based on 25 years experience.
- Garage conversion to kitchen
It is amazing to find that many garage conversions are actually part of forming a much larger kitchen extension and this is a great way of economically adding that one main feature that every home owner desires these days - the large combined family kitchen and eating area - the number one tick sheet item.
- Garage conversion to toilet or wc
Just about 50% of all the garage conversions I personally complete will have a requirement from the homeowner for the addition of a ground floor cloaks area containing a toilet wc or combined with a shower room. If the existing property does not already have a ground floor WC at least then this is a very worthwhile addition.
- Garage conversion to utility room
As with forming a new toilet or wc, utility rooms are another popular choice for many homeowners seeking a garage conversion. It seems that there is a regular or near standard form of estate type house design layout where the integral garage regularly backs onto the main kitchen.
- Garage conversion ventilation
All rooms within a dwelling need to be ventilated and the requirement varies upon the type of use for each room. A garage conversion simply used as a room (bedroom, study, dining etc), simply requires trickle background ventilation. These are adjustable vents usually within the window frames.
- Garage conversion vapour barrier
Most garage conversions will require thermal upgrading of the floor, walls and roof which will also incorporate the use of a vapour barrier. These insulation levels are fairly high compared to previous times and as the warmth within a room increases, its ability to hold higher levels of water vapour also rises. As the warm moisture laden air passes through the garage conversions building fabric unchecked there is a possibility of interstitial condensation forming within the insulation or other material causing long term damage.
- Garage conversion how to do it yourself
If you have read any of my other articles within this garage conversion section of the web site you will know that I do not recommend this approach at all. This is because I have surveyed many previous garage conversions as a DIY project by the previous homeowner for the new purchasers that have had to be condemned or are simply not up to standard.