How Much Does Garage Conversion Cost?
Converting a garage into additional living space costs an average of $15,017. A more accurate estimate of a garage conversion cost depends on several factors, but this project typically falls within a range of $5,719 to $24,316.
- A garage conversion has a typical cost range of $5,719 to $24,316, and a national average cost of $15,017.
- There are several factors that can affect the total cost, including the size and type of garage, the type of conversion, the scope of the project, and the cost of labor and permits.
- A garage conversion is an easy and affordable way to add more livable square footage to a home, and will likely increase the home’s value.
- The average homeowner likely doesn’t have the skills required to convert a garage on their own—it’s an extensive project that is typically best left to a professional contractor.
Converting a garage into usable living space is one of the best ways to boost a home’s value while giving a family more room to grow. Some garages require quite an overhaul to reach their full potential, but some garages are only a few finishing touches away from being a bedroom, home gym, office, or second living room for weekend movie nights.
How much does a garage conversion cost? According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, garage conversion costs between $5,719 and $24,316, with a national average cost of $15,017. The total cost depends on a variety of factors. For example, a garage’s size heavily influences how much it will cost to convert the space. Conversion type, project scope, and even geographic location all play a role in determining how much it will cost to take a garage from concrete to comfort.
This guide will cover information about estimating garage conversion cost, whether a homeowner can take on some or all of a garage conversion job, and tips for ensuring the project stays on schedule and on budget.
Factors in Calculating Garage Conversion Cost
Homeowners will need to consider multiple factors when estimating garage conversion costs. The size of a garage plays a large role in how much it will cost to convert, along with the conversion type and project scope. The following considerations offer insight into how different factors influence garage renovation cost.
Garage Size and Type
Garage size and type play an important role in the cost to renovate a garage. If a homeowner is looking for single-car garage conversion ideas, they’re likely dealing with a space of around 240 square feet. On average, a 1-car garage costs $59 per square foot to finish fully.
When it comes to 2-car garages, the price isn’t double. This is because only the width of the space is expanded while the length remains the same. When converting a garage that holds two cars into usable living space, homeowners can expect to pay around $86 per square foot.
Homeowners embark on a garage-to-room conversion for different reasons. The type of space they’re looking for greatly influences the final cost. For example, converting a garage into a simple bedroom costs around $15,000, while a bedroom and bathroom combination conversion costs closer to $25,000. This is because of the extra framing and plumbing the bathroom addition requires.
An office or entertainment area is less expensive, costing between $5,000 and $7,500. This is because both of these spaces typically require just a bit of insulation, electrical work, and some cosmetic updates.
The most expensive type of garage conversion is a kitchen. While it’s possible to install a small kitchen for around $6,000, gourmet kitchens can cost as much as $50,000 for the plumbing, appliances, cabinetry, and finishing materials.
Some garage conversions require only a couple of coats of paint, a new type of garage flooring, and some new furniture. Others require new plans drawn out by an architect, heavy machinery, and a team of contractors. While both are examples of garage conversions, they fall on opposite ends of the price range.
Generally speaking, a garage conversion that doesn’t involve building or moving walls will be less expensive than the cost to extend garage space or create new rooms in an open space. Adding electrical, plumbing, or HVAC will also result in additional costs.
While not a perfect metric to rely on, a project’s timeline can provide insight into cost. The longer the job, the more complicated the job scope, and the higher the price will be. Similarly, a partial garage conversion is likely to be less expensive than a full- or half-garage conversion.
Homeowners can expect labor rates to make up approximately 10 percent to 20 percent of the overall garage conversion cost. This means that if a conversion project is expected to cost $10,000, the labor cost will be roughly $1,000 to $2,000.
With labor making up a potential fifth of an entire conversion cost, it’s recommended that homeowners reach out to several vendors and get multiple quotes for a project.
Just because a contractor is the least expensive doesn’t mean they’re not suitable for the job, but neither does the most expensive guarantee a quality result. Homeowners may want to focus on finding a contractor that offers the best value or offers the most experience and knowledge for their project type for a fair price.
When it comes to an average cost, garage conversions can be broken down by location. The difference in pricing comes down to permit pulling, along with local labor costs and fluctuations in material prices.
For example, the average converting garage into living space cost varies by state as follows:
|State||Average Garage Conversion Cost|
A permit is official approval for a home to undergo new construction or a remodeling project. A permit is almost always required for a garage conversion to ensure the project follows all relevant regulations and meets current codes.
A garage conversion permit costs between $1,000 and $1,500. If a garage conversion project begins without a permit, the job can be shut down, and a homeowner may have to pay hefty fines, so it’s always worth taking the time to make sure that the correct permit has been pulled for a job.
On the other hand, some cities do not allow garage conversions at all. Illegally undertaking this project may provide additional square footage but can drag down the value of a home and cost more in the long run in fines and demolition costs.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Some garage conversions require a few extra steps to get the job done. While not always required, the following components may come into play for homeowners calculating garage conversion cost.
Window and Door Installation
If a garage doesn’t have windows, it will likely need to have at least one installed to meet building code requirements. Adding window panels to the garage door can be affordable for some conversions, and adding panels to a garage door costs between $400 and $1,000.
Adding windows to garage walls can be more difficult, but it’s not impossible. For every window added to a garage wall, homeowners can expect to pay about $1,000.
The cost of replacing a garage door can be an affordable approach to updating the aesthetics of a garage. But during a conversion, most garage doors are removed, and standard interior or exterior doors are added. These doors cost between $475 and $1,600 each.
Most garages are not insulated, making this a crucial and often required step of the conversion process. A garage can be insulated in several ways, but adding insulation between the wall studs is necessary. If desired, insulated doors can be installed, and insulation can be added beneath the exterior siding.
If price is a concern, homeowners may want to consider using fiberglass batt insulation, which is the least expensive. Loose-fill is a cost-effective insulation option if the garage walls are already finished. In general, garage insulation installation costs between $400 and $1,000.
Standard garage flooring isn’t always ideal for usable living space. Installing new flooring is a common step in a garage conversion. There are many options for homeowners to choose from, all with pros and cons. Different materials also have different price points, which are listed in the table below.
|Flooring Material||Installation Cost Per Square Foot|
For example, vinyl flooring costs $5 per square foot, while carpet and laminate flooring each cost $7 per square foot. Tile flooring is more expensive, costing an average of $13 per square foot. Hardwood flooring is the most expensive; for this traditional look, homeowners can expect to pay up to $14 per square foot.
Plumbing and Electrical Work
The cost of garage conversion can quickly increase once plumbing and electrical work are added to the job scope. However, it’s impossible to convert garage space into a bathroom or kitchen without this additional work.
On average, new plumbing costs around $1,100. The final cost depends on whether pipes already exist in a garage or not. Electrical work is often more affordable, since garages tend to have wires for outlets and lights already. During a conversion, homeowners can expect to pay around $400 to upgrade their garage electrical system.
While the cost of building a new garage often includes HVAC pricing, older garages are rarely hooked up to a home’s existing heating and cooling systems. And depending on the conversion type, adding heating and cooling capabilities to a garage may be required.
The good news is that as long as the garage is attached, it can typically be hooked up to a home’s existing HVAC system. As long as enough power is available to heat or cool the additional space, homeowners can expect to pay around $1,250 to hook up their existing HVAC system to their garage.
Types of Garage Conversions
Not all garage conversions are identical. Some homeowners convert their garage into a primary bedroom, while others create home gyms or even dream kitchens. Materials, labor, and job scope vary greatly among different garage conversions. The following table and subsequent sections show how each type of garage conversion affects the total remodeling price.
|Conversion Type||Average Cost|
|Bathroom||$3,000 to $25,000|
|Bedroom||$15,000 to $25,000|
|Home gym||$3,000 to $10,000|
|Kitchen||$6,000 to $50,000|
|Mudroom||$7,000 to $12,000|
|Utility room||$3,000 to $8,000|
Converting a garage into a basic bedroom is one of the most popular garage conversion projects there is. Job scope typically involves removing the garage door, replacing it with a wall, updating the interior, and installing windows as required by code. A standard bedroom has an average price tag of $15,000. This includes any electrical updates and new framing and drywall for closet space.
Many homeowners who want to use their garage to gain more living space do so for the purpose of moving their primary bedroom. This type of conversion typically involves a bathroom installation. The additional plumbing work and fixtures can push the conversion cost closer to $25,000.
Working from home can be frustrating when the dining room table is the only available space for a desk. A dedicated office space offers multiple benefits. A home office allows someone to be more productive since they’re not being distracted by family members. Being able to work efficiently from home can also save time and money if an employee is able to switch to a hybrid schedule or a remote setup.
Working from home is easier with a home office, making this a common garage conversion type. It’s also affordable since it doesn’t typically involve plumbing or extra drywall for multiple rooms. On average, a home office conversion costs $5,000.
For a growing family, converting a garage into additional living space is a wise choice. The space can be used as needed, either for family game night or additional space for reading, homework, or relaxing. The space can also be used for entertaining. Another common use for a garage living space conversion is a second living room, and playrooms are also common.
When converting a garage into extra living space, safety is the number one concern. A conversion will often require new windows or a door upgrade to ensure the space has proper escape routes in the event of an emergency. So even if the space only requires an updated floor or fresh coat of paint, a living space or entertaining area conversion costs an average of $7,500.
A garage conversion can be a surprising way to achieve dream kitchen status. Converting a garage into a kitchen can be completed in a short amount of time, causing minimal disruption to day-to-day family life. Depending on the home’s layout, an existing kitchen can be spread out into a garage space or, if not adjacent, used for something completely different once the new kitchen in the garage space has been completed.
However, kitchen conversions can be expensive. There’s plumbing and electrical work to consider, plus the installation of several new appliances. Kitchens also tend to house expensive materials, like granite countertops. Homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $6,000 to $50,000 depending on layout, features, and finishes.
Adding a bathroom to a home can greatly improve its value. If the existing bathroom in a home is on the smaller side, converting part of the garage space into a bathroom may be a good way for a homeowner to get the bathroom of their dreams without major layout changes.
There is a wide range in pricing for a garage-to-bathroom conversion. Simple bathrooms with the bare basics and minimal aesthetics can be as low as $3,000. But once homeowners start to consider features like a large clawfoot tub, double sinks, or even a sauna, prices can reach as high as $25,000.
A utility room can also be referred to as a laundry room. It typically has a washer, dryer, and utility sink. Since most garages are not plumbed for a utility room and don’t have the necessary drains and hookups, the cost to convert a garage into a utility room is mainly based on plumbing and wiring costs.
On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $3,000 and $8,000 for a utility room conversion. However, there may be an opportunity to save on this type of conversion since utility rooms can be left partially unfinished without losing functionality.
Gym memberships can be expensive, so for the homeowner who loves to work out but hates the commute and crowds, a garage-to-gym conversion makes sense. The total cost of this project will depend on how comfortable and luxurious the gym design is. For example, adding heating, cooling, and insulation to the space will cost more than simply adding the bare basics to the space.
Equipment costs should also be considered when determining the conversion budget of a garage gym. On average, though, homeowners can expect to pay between $3,000 and $10,000 for a home gym in their garage.
Mudrooms make it easier to keep a home clean and minimize messes. Adding this type of livable space is an easy addition to a home that also increases its value. Mudrooms are designed to house outdoor clothing, dirty shoes, and pet supplies. Essentially, mudrooms are secondary entrances that are quite popular with today’s homeowners.
When they’re kept quite basic, a mudroom can be an affordable addition. An inexpensive mudroom conversion costs around $7,000. But for heating, cooling, insulation, and a new standard entry door, a mudroom conversion can cost as much as $12,000.
A common trend is to combine a utility room and a mudroom, though this won’t save on the costs. Since the same plumbing and electrical work will be required, homeowners can expect to pay the same amount for a utility room conversion plus the aesthetic costs of a mudroom.
Whether it will be used for occasional guests, live-in in-laws, or a vacation rental property, a guest suite is an investment conversion. On average, homeowners can expect to pay around $22,000 for this type of project.
A guest suite conversion typically involves installing a bathroom, a separate door, a kitchen, and other features (like heating and air conditioning) that would allow someone to live comfortably. For homeowners considering a guest suite conversion, it may be smarter to try to save on materials rather than cutting out crucial components.
While it’s a large investment up front, guest suite conversions offer great ROI (return on investment) potential. They can be rented out in the short term or boost a home’s value in the long term.
Benefits of a Garage Conversion
Converting a garage isn’t without rewards. The following examples are just some of the benefits homeowners enjoy after completing a garage conversion project.
Increased Square Footage
In what may be the most obvious benefit, a garage conversion offers additional square footage that can be used as desired by a homeowner and their family.
The space may help benefit family relationships. A garage converted into a bedroom can allow siblings to have their own space or make room for grandparents who need assistance without giving up their independence.
Increased square footage can also make a home feel more comfortable and luxurious. With additional storage space, homes feel less cluttered. And when converted garage space is used for home gyms or theaters, homes feel more upscale and relaxing.
Finally, increased square footage can help homeowners reach their personal goals. Garages can be converted into offices, hair studios, art studios, yoga studios, dog grooming spas, or health department–approved bakeries or kitchens. The possibilities are endless for homeowners who want to grow professionally without leaving home.
When space becomes an issue, many families assume moving to a larger home or adding an addition to their existing home are the only two options. But a garage conversion can prove to be the most affordable option if a garage is available.
Moving has a laundry list of expenses. From the down payment to appraisal, switching addresses can be a costly and drawn-out experience.
Additions don’t require moving boxes, but they are far from cheap. The cost to build a home addition ranges from $20,835 to $72,552. Compared with the average cost of finishing garages into living spaces, additions can be more than five times the price.
Increased Home Value
Even small garage conversion ideas can boost a home’s value. Compared with other home remodeling projects, garage conversion offers strong ROI potential.
A conversion does this in a few ways. First, the additional square footage itself adds to the value of the home. This is especially true if the space is converted into a bedroom or includes a bathroom.
Additionally, if the space includes a bedroom, bathroom, small kitchen, and a few other amenities, it’s possible to rent out the space as either a live-in apartment or vacation rental. Both provide a secondary stream of income that can help absorb the initial cost of the conversion.
Garage Conversion: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
When a homeowner decides to take on a project to convert a garage to a living space, one question almost always comes to mind: Is this a job only for a professional, or is there room for some DIY touches?
While it is possible to DIY a garage conversion, most homeowners are likely underqualified for such a large undertaking. A garage conversion should certainly never be a first-time DIY project. Even in the case of experienced DIYers, a garage conversion is a big project requiring multiple areas of expertise.
But for the homeowner with above-average experience, it may be possible to take on a garage conversion or at least a few steps of the entire process to save money.
If a homeowner decides to DIY their own garage conversion, they need to keep two main factors in mind:
- Know and maintain current code; and
- Approach every step with a “safety first” mentality
In other words, every step of the conversion process, from flooring to light switches to windows, needs to be completed properly and safely. A professional must be called in if a homeowner is either unable or unwilling to complete the steps safely and correctly.
There are other benefits to hiring a contractor to oversee a garage conversion project. Contractors bring years of experience, knowledge, and safety to the job and know how to organize and direct a project to keep it on schedule and possibly under budget.
So while hiring a contractor for garage finishing costs will almost always cost more than a DIY approach, the additional cost buys convenience and peace of mind.
How to Save Money on Garage Conversion Cost
Garage conversions aren’t cheap; they’re right up there with attic finishing costs or basement finishing costs. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t a few ways homeowners can save on their garage conversions without sacrificing quality. The following are some money-saving tips homeowners will want to consider.
- DIY whenever possible. A professional will need to handle most of the heavy lifting of a garage conversion, like adding new windows, flooring, or electrical work. But homeowners may be able to save by taking on painting, framing, or other simple projects themselves.
- Look for tax credits. Some energy-efficient windows, appliances, and heating systems may offer tax credits to help absorb some of the up-front conversion costs.
- Always pull appropriate permits. Working without the correct permits can put a job’s budget and timeline at risk. Pulling the appropriate permits from the start can save a homeowner many headaches in the long run.
- Consider all-electric. Depending on the type of conversion a homeowner is considering, running a gas line may add additional cost to the budget. But to save on costs, switching to a design that incorporates only electricity for heating, cooking, and appliance needs can save substantially.
- Shop around for materials. Contractors can often get a hold of wholesale or low-cost materials, but this isn’t always the case. Homeowners may want to shop for affordable garage floor options, windows, or cabinetry (depending on the conversion type) to find the lowest possible price.
Questions to Ask About Garage Conversion
Garage conversions are no minor undertaking; hiring the best contractor for the job is essential. Otherwise, the conversion could take longer and cost more than it needs to. Before the project begins, homeowners will want to ask potential contractors the following questions.
- How long have you been in the business?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- What kind of projects have you recently completed?
- Do you have a portfolio of your work?
- Do you have references I can speak with about their experience with your work?
- How long will a garage conversion take, considering my needs and wants?
- Do you have any unique garage conversion ideas for me?
- How long until you can start the project?
- How familiar are you with permits, and do you handle permit pulling?
- Does my conversion need false walls, and how will this affect my total cost?
- Is there anything I can or should do to help prep the space?
- What does your average work day look like, and how long does a typical construction day last?
- Do I need to be home during the construction to answer questions?
- What is your pricing structure?
- How much of a down payment do you require?
- How do you expect the final payment to be handled?
- How do you handle disputes?
Converting a garage is no small task. But it offers multiple benefits, including additional living space and a potential boost in home value. With the average garage conversion cost falling just over $15,000, questions and concerns are common. The following FAQs can offer insight to help guide a cautious homeowner.
Q. How long does a garage conversion take?
The construction portion of a garage conversion typically lasts between 2 and 6 weeks. What can delay a garage conversion project, though, is securing a contractor and getting the proper building permits. This is especially true during peak construction season when contractors can be booked out for several weeks, or even longer.
Q. Does a garage conversion increase the value of a home?
In most scenarios, a garage conversion adds value to a home. Additional square footage added by an extra bedroom, bathroom, or other living space can add to a home’s value. Homeowners can plan on receiving a return on investment of about 80 percent from a garage conversion. So if a garage conversion costs $15,000, the homeowner can expect a return of approximately $12,000.
Q. What is the best time to do a garage conversion?
Summer tends to be the busiest season for contractors, so scheduling a garage conversion for fall or late winter can prevent project delays and cut costs. However, this may not be true for locations with mild to warm weather all year. Additionally, locations with severe winters can make garage conversion projects difficult to complete during colder months.
Q. Do I need a permit for my garage conversion?
Converting a garage likely requires a permit. This is especially true when windows, staircases, or new framing are added to the space. It’s recommended that a homeowner research local zoning and building codes to prevent the project from being shut down due to improper permit pulls. Many reputable contractors will pull permits for their jobs, taking this responsibility off a homeowner’s shoulders.
Q. How much does an architect charge for a garage conversion?
Not all garage conversions require the services of an architect. But if the job requires design drawings to receive a building permit, an architect will need to be brought on to the project.
Architects can charge for their time in a few different ways. If they charge by the hour, homeowners can expect to pay between $125 and $250. Some architects charge $2 to $15 per square foot of design space, while others charge between 5 percent and 20 percent of the entire project cost. Drawing plans alone can be anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000.
Q. What are the rules for converting a garage?
Numerous regulations and building codes must be followed when converting a garage. For example, the total window area must equal 8 percent or more of the floor area. Electrical outlets must be placed at least every 6 feet along a wall. Additionally, a garage conversion must include a heating system that meets state efficiency requirements, and the garage door must be either covered or replaced by a new wall. Meeting requirements and building codes is another reason a professional best handles garage conversions.
Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor (1 and 2), Thumbtack, Fixr, SFGATE