Are you looking for a fun renovation project to work on over the next several weeks? Do you have older children or even parents and are looking for some peace of mind by having them live with you? Perhaps you just feel that you don’t fully utilize your garage space and are looking to turn it an area that could be rented out?
If any of the above sounds like you, you’re in luck. Any garage can be transformed into an apartment or tiny home. While your garage renovation can be completed with minimal outside help and can be done using affordable, recycled resources, there are many things to consider. Read below⎯this guide will be your best friend as you convert your drab and boring garage into your new tiny dream home.
- Before getting started: any good renovation has a well-thought-out plan behind it. You should expect and prepare for obstacles and should have an open mind as changes will probably be required.
- Find your ideal plan: tiny homes have become increasingly popular over the past several years⎯and for good reason! Your new home space could provide you with a space to live more simply, or could be rented out to provide additional income. The internet is bursting with tiny home designs and plans; these are an excellent way to start getting ideas.
- Determine your projected cost: the cost of the entire renovation including furnishing and construction and material costs could be hefty⎯requiring serious thought before knocking down that first wall. That said however, a significant amount of money could be saved by sourcing recycled materials and doing all of the construction yourself.
- Requesting appropriate permission: based upon the area you reside in, you will probably need building permits and will need to ensure that all renovation changes you make will meet any municipal building codes. Don’t skip this step as any work done that doesn’t meet codes will result in serious consequences⎯and means that a lot of time and money will be wasted.
- The renovation process
- Floors: garage floors, while suitable for an industrial look, aren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing and don’t provide comfort over time. They can be stained and sealed to create a floor that looks similar to marble, but most homeowners choose tile floors instead. Carpet and wood flooring are also options, particularly for those who live in colder climates. Just bear in mind that the more durable, insulated flooring types require more complicated installations.
- Walls: if the walls are structurally sound, they can just be reinforced with additional drywall. However, if the walls are in bad condition, or you want to create different rooms, the renovation will become more complicated and may require the help of a professional carpenter.
- Windows: the windows in most garages are minimal, if any. To make the new tiny home look home-y, windows are essential. Skylights are an easy option, and double and triple-paned windows are good choices as they’ll help moderate the temperature better.
- Doors: how do you feel about the garage door? Will privacy be compromised by the large automatic garage door? Unfortunately, many municipal laws require that the garage door remains, so you may have to consider a smaller, more appropriate door for entering/exiting the tiny home.
- Creating a space for year-round use
- Insulation and temperature: you don’t want to spend time transforming your garage only to find that it’s too cold to live in, right? Proper insulation is essential to keep the new home warm. If the garage is attached to the house, it can be connected to the main heating and cooling system and space heaters and window units can be incorporated to keep the tiny house comfortable all year.
- Plumbing and electricity: establishing utilities for the tiny house can be quite an expense, and is much easier if they can be connected to the main house. If the garage is detached, plumbing/electrical experts may be required to properly install wires and pipes.
How exciting is it to think that you may have the tiny home of your dreams waiting just behind your Concord garage door? Transforming an underutilized garage into a tiny home is a great way to add living space to your home, provide a home for friends or family, or generate a source of extra income. Just remember to consider these key things before the transformation and you’ll be sure to end up with a new tiny home that may even have you downsizing and moving in to it.
Mike is a building expert who has specialized in garage construction for the past 30 years. He currently writes for My Door Pro and is dedicated to building and constructing garage doors and more for clients to the best possible standard. In his spare time, he enjoys have a coffee at the local cafe.