There are some drawbacks to consider before converting a garage into living space:
The wiring for the new living space could not be sufficient to pass code. Consult with the city building department and a contractor before making any changes. Building permits will most definitely need to be pulled for a garage conversion. Check for insulation in the exterior walls of the existing garage. You can cut out a small hole in the sheetrock to see if there is in fact insulation on the exterior walls. If there is not insulation in the walls or attic, it will be probably be required by code. Converting a garage can be a great way to add square footage to your home, but it could not appeal to everyone when it comes time to sell your home. For some home buyers, a garage is an absolute must. Air conditioning will also need to be addressed.
Most garages in the San Antonio area are in the area of 20′-0″ x 20′-0″ or 400 square feet. A good rule of thumb when determining how many tons you will need for cool a home is 400-500 square feet per ton. (example: for a 20′-0″ x 20′-0″ new garage conversion, you will need to add a 1 ton air conditioner.) Other possibilities are window units or portable air conditioners know also as Mini-Split Air Conditioners. Plumbing will also need to be considered. If you are planning on adding a restroom or sink, then you will require new plumbing. If a utility room is nearby, you might be able to tap into existing water lines. A plumber will be needed to locate any existing sewer lines. Chipping concrete to get to an existing sewer line is an option, but can add cost. Locating an exterior sewer line could save money, but also add additional cost, depending on the length of the run and if there is rock in the ground.
The biggest question facing most garage conversions is what to do about the garage door. Once the door is removed, the resulting space needs to be filled in so that it both blends in with the rest of the house. In some cases, we have left the garage door and secured so that it not operable any more. Check with your Home Owner’s Association to see what the requirements are when making changes to the front exterior of your house.
Rhino Design Build often consults with many clients in San Antonio that are considering converting their garage into living space. The front of the house is obviously the first thing you see, so you want to use the same building materials as the rest of the house. If you choose to remove the garage doors, you can replace them with a set of French doors or windows. You may choose to leave the garage doors and have them secured from the inside while framing a new wall to conceal them from the inside.
Thank you for visiting the Rhino Design Build website. We look forward to working with you on your next Garage Conversion. Call us today to schedule your appointment at 210-413-8789.