Put the car in the garage? How very new. Today, while a garage may be on many a home hunter’s wish list, it seems that most of us who have one are not using it for its original purpose.
Research by Admiral Loans prior to the pandemic found that only 33 percent of garage owners actually use the car to store a car – this may be because there is no room for everyone else, as the garage is already full of tools, old furniture and other household accumulation. Add to that the fact that modern cars have grown by a third in the last 55 years, according to the RAC Foundation, which makes it harder to actually fit them in, and it seems clear that the typical garage is little more than a dusty waste of room.
That could change, though, thanks to a national home improvement campaign launched in 2020, with garage conversions being one of the most popular projects.
“Converting a garage into a living space offers a quick and easy way to add square footage to your home without expanding,” says David Westgate of property consultant Andrews. “It could add 10 to 15 percent to the value of your property. And because you’re not starting from scratch, you may not have to spend time and money laying foundations, building walls and a roof.” If the garage is attached to the house, you may not even need a building permit to remodel it.
“It’s not quite easy, though,” Westgate added. ‘If you are going to turn it into a living space, you have to think about light, heating and insulation. Garages are generally dark and cold, so you have to lay pipes and install radiators.’
According to Checkatrade, converting a garage that opens right from the house will cost just £9,000, including insulation, door blocking and basic equipment. But, as architect Michael Schienke points out, it’s not always an easy job. ‘A lot of garages require you to reinforce the roof and redo parts of it that you think are already there but need to be improved. It’s cheaper than rebuilding the space from scratch, but sometimes not that much cheaper either.’
However, invest some time, money and creative thinking, and a previously underutilized space can add a whole new dimension to your home, as the following examples attest.
Do you need a building permit to renovate your garage?
If your garage is an integral part of the house and you don’t plan to enlarge the exterior structure, it’s likely to be within the permitted development scope, so you won’t need planning permission – unless you live in a conservation area or a Grade II listed building, in in which case you probably will.
Either way, the work must meet building codes for the finished room to be considered habitable.
If the garage is a separate structure you may need to apply for planning permission for a change of use – check planningportal.co.uk for advice.
The Best Ways to Convert Your Garage Space in 2022
The garage for the guest room
Budget: £20,000 approx