01 Apr How to turn your garage into a perfect living space
With house prices on the rise and the amount needed to get on the property ladder increasing, we’re seeing more and more young people staying at home longer. Since 1996, the number of 20-34 year olds living at home has increased by 669,000 (25%), showing a strong decrease in the average number of people flying the nest. The idea of a full family home is now a much more common route in modern living.
Additionally, there is a move toward a ‘granny annex’ over the cost of a nursing home. According to The Telegraph, England’s average nursing home cost per year has risen to £27,404, up from £25,953 in 2011, with the average pensioner income now just £13,208, and that’s not even for the top homes! As well as this, 237,000 university students in the UK are still living at home with parents, up 50% in 10 years. So where is all this needed space going to come from?
What is the perfect solution to not only keep you as a couple happy with your current living arrangement but also keep your family happy, save money and increase the profitability of your home? Turning your garage into a lavish living area! Well-designed and well-structured garage conversions not only save on costs of upscaling but in the long run increase your profit when it comes to selling, by having an additional living space.
How do I Create one?
So, to cover the basics, what should the garage conversion include? First things first, make sure that you are providing enough space and facilities for your nearest and dearest to live in independently and not be cramped, we all know what our parents are like when they are frustrated! The standard of the conversion should match that of the main house. In other words, make sure you are providing them with the following facilities:
- Living area
- Kitchen or cooking space
The best thing with garage conversions is due to the nature of their design, the vast majority of garages will not need any alteration within the structure, and if you are lucky enough to have a double garage, this can be easily converted into a 2 level complex living area.
Below are some simple steps to make the most out of your garage conversion:
The design of garages is generally longer and thinner, rather than the usually preferred square rooms. A great way to even out the floor space, as well as splitting the living space is to consider using a studwork wall partition. Make sure you plan out your space first, then incorporate these easy to build walls within your home. A step by step guide on how to build these walls is available here.
Insulation and Damp Proofing
Damp proofing and insulation will be a necessity within your garage conversion to ensure the living space is safe and secure. Due to the importance of this phase, if you do not have a sufficient amount of knowledge on damp proofing and insulation, I would recommend going to your nearest home depot and making the enquiry just to be on the safe side.
Plumbing, Heating and Wiring
Just as essential as the previous phase, the plumbing and wiring of your garage conversion must be up to scratch. Especially if you are thinking of creating a self-contained living space, including a bathroom and a kitchen. If you are planning on re-wiring the conversion independently, check out this guide to rewiring. In terms of the plumbing and heating, this is generally seen as a more complex job, and again if you are not in the trade yourself or know anyone that is, I would recommend searching for industry specialists and getting a quote.
Flooring is generally an easier process and most likely will not require vast amounts of expenditure. The original garage floor will be sufficiently strong and only require additional damp proofing and insulation. The easiest route to go down would be to incorporate a timber floor built over the existing concrete. A gap of around 150mm between the joints and floor will be required, as well as damp proofing underneath the timber and between the joints. A guide to installing a wooden floor within your garage can be found here.
The garage conversion will require ample ventilation via windows and doors. In order to meet building regulations, a window must be 1/20 of the floor space and have trickle vents. The door must also provide a valid escape route in terms of fire regulation, so take this into account when designing your new living area.
Permissions and Council Tax
When building a garage conversion, there are usually no permission requirements if you are not altering the base structure of the internal house. However, it is always worth reading into what permissions you may need just to be on the safe side.
If any of the following factors relate to you, it would definitely be worthwhile getting in touch with your local authority or council to double check whether or not you’re planning can go ahead:
- If you live in a conservation area
- If you live in a listed building
- If you own a standalone garage
- If you live in a new housing development
A minor downside to creating a self-contained living space is that your new guest may be classed as a separate dwelling, meaning a separate council tax payment is required. However, if this is the case, you should contact your local council tax office and explain the situation, they may be more lenient given the circumstances.
Now for the fun part. Decorating your new garage will be the main aesthetic process. Make sure you know what your loved one likes, as well as the necessities they require. Check out blogs and sites such as Pinterest for inspiration on designing the perfect décor for your nearest and dearest.