Garage conversion costs can vary wildly depending on the type of conversion you’re looking to do and what you plan to do to your garage. Examples include garage gyms, garage living spaces, workshops, the list goes on.
Garage conversions isn’t a phrase I’d associate with cheap, the thing is, you get what you pay for. Basic garage conversions, for example, just putting in a couple of sofas and a TV won’t break the bank. However, a proper garage conversion with plumbing, insulation, and the rest will cost considerably more but offer a much better experience if that’s what you’re looking for.
With that being said, garage conversions are often much cheaper than a house extension, just follow this article to see if it’s the right financial decision for you. First of all, let’s see why you should convert your garage.
Why Convert your Garage?
Garage conversions can offer many advantages including the following:
• Add value to your house: Your house value will most likely increase if you choose to convert your garage. In many cases, your house value may increase by more than the amount you spent converting your garage, making this a wise investment. The only thing to be wary of here is if you convert your garage to a space that might not be attractive to people looking to buy your house if you move out. For example, if you change your garage into a workshop but the buyers are looking for a normal garage, it may put them off, just something to consider.
• Garage conversions are very versatile: For whatever reason you might want another room in your house, a garage can offer that to you as long as you’re willing to use your garage space for it. The great thing is, you can use the space for whatever you want, I know some people who started working at home during the pandemic and so they converted their garage into a home office because they found it was quieter and therefore a better working environment. The same goes for any other space such as a gym or living space, you can create your own personal space or an extra family space, the options are almost endless.
• It’s cheaper than a house extension: Garage conversions, if done efficiently, can cost as little as $5000. That’s much cheaper than getting a house extension, which usually costs tens of thousands of dollars, it’s a no-brainer.
Now we’ve taken a look at why garage conversions can be a good idea for your house, let’s see which type of garage conversion is right for you. There’s no point converting your garage unless you know what you’re going to convert it into, here are some ideas coming up.
Types of Garage Conversion
The types of garage conversion are practically endless and depend on what you want for your house. Each different type will incur different garage conversion costs, here are the main types of garage conversion and the cost of equipment for each of them.
When it comes to garage gym conversion, make sure you have enough space for all the equipment you’ll need, strong flooring that will support a lot of weight, and gym mats to protect said floor. Garage gym equipment will cost:
Flooring: Gym mats and floor tiles will cost you around $20-$50 and $50-$100 respectively.
Squat rack: Basic model can be around $500, but if you’re looking for a squat rack with cables included, it can cost upwards of $3000-$5000.
Free weights: A whole dumbbell set up weights up to and including 10kgs will cost you upwards of $1000. However, I’d recommend buying the weights you know you’ll use.
Cardio Machine: This will depend on the type of machine you’re purchasing; you can usually get a high-quality cardio machine for under $1000. Cross-trainers are usually more expensive.
Bench: You can expect to find a good quality one for just $300 or less.
Garage Living Space
A garage living space is a broad conversion, for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume you want another longue. If that’s the case, you’ll need furniture such as a sofa, coffee table, TV stand etc.
All of this together will cost you at least $500 if you buy it second-hand but that’s just the start. Including a TV, installing plumbing and electrics, and heating, this will cost a fair bit more. Luckily for you, I’ve got posts on the best garage heaters and LED-lights so you can ensure you’re getting value for your money.
That being said, this type of conversion will still cost you several thousand and will cost extra for plumbing depending on the size of your garage, but more on that later.
Garage Working Space/Office
This is one of the cheaper types of garage conversion as the main equipment you’ll need is a desk and chair. One thing I can definitely recommend is a Wi-Fi connector, this will ensure that your connection will remain secure even if you are far away from your router which is likely to be the case if you’re in your garage.
That being said, desks can be expensive, a decent desk, office chair, and extra monitor can easily reach the $1,000 mark but you can easily keep the cost down to around the $300-$500 if you buy more basic equipment that will still do the job.
Finally, if you need another room in the house to sleep in, a garage bedroom could be a good option if it is well insulated. The basic furniture is obviously a bed and lampstand, but let’s face it, most of us like to have a TV in our room which will of course increase the cost.
The furniture will therefore cost anywhere from $1,000 upwards, but that doesn’t consider the insulation, ventilation, plumbing, heating etc. therefore, the cost can quickly escalate. I will now go on to describe the incurring costs of creating an actual living/functional space and not just the furniture.
Garage Conversion Costs
Now considering the insulation, ventilation, plumbing, electrics, heating, and lighting. These aspects are needed for any garage conversion, and you’ll therefore need to consider these costs even before you decide which type of garage conversion is viable for you.
The cost of insulating your garage depends on the size of your garage and the type of insulation you use. Insulation doesn’t cost a fortune with most estimates putting it at 50 cents to $1.25 per square foot.
This means that the cost of insulating a two-car garage will cost you anywhere from $338-$845. Other factors come into play as well, such as if you have certain materials in your toolbox needed for the job. The extant to which you insulate your garage is also a massive factor, for example, you may just decide to insulate your garage door, this won’t cost as much as insulating the walls, floor, ceiling, windows, and all the rest.
I would recommend at least insulating your garage door since that’s where most of the warm air is lost. If you’re looking for some great garage door insulation kits, click here.
A cheap method can be just installing a fan, in most cases, this will be enough, and it is very cheap. If you’re looking for more, garage ventilation systems can cost anywhere from $1,000-$10,000.
Personally, unless you’re planning to chain smoke cigars in your garage, a simple fan should be enough and will keep your garage nice and cool. The cost of these are usually only $20, for a ceiling fan, it may be more like $100-$200.
Plumbing and Electrics:
If you need these features for your garage conversion, you must survey your house and garage for plumbing and wiring. However, both Plumbing and Electricity installation are best done by professionals.
The cost for Plumbing can vary depending on if you want a kitchen, bathroom, or both. For this you can expect to pay anywhere between $300 and $1800.
For installing a solid electricity flow to your garage, you can expect to pay around $1000-$1500. Contact your local electrician for their pricing.
With heating you’ve got a few different options at various price points:
Electric underfloor heating: You can expect to spend around $100 per square metre for water systems and half of that for electric. This makes electric systems the much less expensive option especially for areas up to 20 metres squared.
Radiators: This option is only available if your boiler can handle another radiator or two, if it can, expect to pay a few hundred dollars to get them installed.
Electric heaters: Electric heaters can vary massively in price, you can find some for around $20, and that can go up to over $100 very easily.
If you’re looking for some great garage heaters, check out: The Highest Quality Garage Heaters of 2021.
A tip I’d use for garage lighting is to install LED-lights due to their longevity and ease of installation. LED-lights can vary in their price, if you’re looking for the highest performing, longest lasting LED-lights for your garage, click here.
New garage door:
One huge factor when it comes to garage conversion costs is the cost of garage doors as they can cost anywhere from $500 – $5000, depending on the size and materials it is made of. For example, a modern, wooden door may cost more than a basic metallic garage door. A single roller door can cost from $500 to $1250, a double roller door from $1350 to $1850 and a double sectional door may cost between $1400 and 5000.
Installation costs can depend on if you do it yourself or hire someone. You’ll save some money if you do it yourself by spending around $500 on average compared to the double that if you hire someone (rates will vary depending on where you live). It’s more a question of your confidence with DIY and if you want to spend the time doing it.
Depending on the material you use, the flooring for your garage will cost anywhere from $25-$100 per square metre. I’d recommend installing interlocking garage floor tiles if you’re planning on using your garage as a workspace or using your garage as a gym.
How to Save Money on your Garage Conversion
Now we’ve looked at the main costs involved, it’s worth noting how you can save money on your garage conversion.
Knowing exactly what you want for your garage before you start will save you a lot of money. Decide what you’re using the space for and how much space you’ll need. Then make a list of everything you’ll need, how much space it will take up, how you’ll plan to heat and light the room, and if you’ll need extras such as plumbing or electrics.
The last point is important as you’ll want to install plumbing/electrics first to avoid moving heavy furniture around or out of your garage, it will make it quicker and easier for you.
Planning ahead will also help you avoid unnecessary purchases and therefore save you money, create a wish list and stick to it as well as you can.
Do it yourself where you can
A bit of DIY can go a long way when it comes to your wallet (or purse). Hiring a professional may be a better option for you due to time constraints, lack of DIY experience, or just to give you peace of mind. However, if you feel as though you can do it yourself, go for it as you’ll likely save yourself hundreds of dollars.
Doing it yourself doesn’t always mean getting the tools out either, for example, a lot of furniture companies make money from deliveries, pick up your materials yourself if you can to save money.
Invest in long-lasting materials
This one almost goes without saying, however, a garage conversion is a long-term change most of the time and it’s important that it’s reflected in what you buy.
For example, buying LED-lights is a great way to ensure last lasting lighting for your garage. You know the saying, buy wrong, buy twice. Be sure to check out my product recommendations to see what you can get for your garage.
Garage conversions by nature aren’t cheap, but why should they be? At the end of the day you’re upgrading a room in your house, a garage conversion is still much cheaper than a home extension and they’re more flexible too.
Just make sure to decide what you want to use the converted space for, what you’ll need in term of electrics, plumbing, and furniture, create a budget, and you should be good to go. You can find most of the things you need off Amazon. Finding cheap gems will help you keep your garage conversion costs down.
If you’re looking for guidance on how to convert your garage, check out my very first article on this website here.
Thank you for reading this far, please share this if you found it useful, and have fun converting your garage!