As the housing market prices continue to increase, more people are opting for conversions and additions, and for good reason. One of the most popular options is to convert garage space into an office.
Sometimes, life changes demand a home office space.
We are easing into retirement. We are coming out of retirement.
We’re launching a new home-based business, expanding our current one, or have found that taking calls about contracts just doesn’t mesh with a dining room table location and a family that can’t figure out how to operate the washer.
If space is tight, every bedroom is in use, and you simply feel that you deserve more space and privacy, you are quite right to look at your existing garage for a conversion.
Is It Time to Convert Garage to Office?
The average two-car garage will provide a homeowner with about 24’ x 24’ of flat, open space that is just ripe for new ideas.
Garage conversions are one of the most popular renovation projects out there, for a lot of good reasons:
- They already have electrical wiring
- The existing HVAC ductwork can be extended from the house
- The walls are often finished with drywall
Even with the built-in advantages, it still pays to evaluate the entire process that would go into a garage conversion.
Sometimes, the hidden aspects of the construction are literally right in front of a homeowner, and can be overlooked.
When looking to convert garage to an office, there are some considerations to not overlook.
1. Where Does Everything in Your Garage Go?
Garages are not always just for parking your cars.
What’s the current inventory in yours?
Carving out valuable office space may mean that you’re displacing much more than vehicles.
You’ve got some big decisions ahead of you if your garage is filled with:
- — Lawn equipment
- — Sporting goods
- — Workbenches
- — Tools
- — Other various stored items
The solution may lie in adding a carport, or even a new garage, while setting up the office space.
Another solution is adding on above the garage for an attic storage area. These are more practical solutions than committing to on-street parking only, or shuffling things off to a mini-storage unit.
2. Do You Need Plumbing for Your New Office?
Depending on your goals for your office addition, you may want to add plumbing for bathroom or kitchen space.
While garages have wires for electricity, they may not have adequate plumbing lines.
If you do want water lines, and your garage has a home laundry system, you may be in luck.
The ins and outs of adding plumbing and dealing with drainage issues are truly something that should be left to qualified professionals.
If you’re considering it, don’t proceed without getting a consultation from a licensed plumber who can advise on what is possible, and if it will require major work to achieve it.
3. Is Your Current Garage Leveled?
Garages are built on a concrete slab – which is helpful for conversion projects.
They may also slope down slightly towards the garage door or a floor drain. This is not so helpful, when you want to keep your office chair from rolling along by itself.
You’ll want to think about leveling your floor, if the above is true.
If you are interested in insulating the slab, or installing features like radiant floor heating, the slab will need to be raised above the existing level.
Either of these changes will require pouring additional concrete.
4. Should You Add Climate Control?
Garages don’t tie into the home HVAC system.
Unless you live in a perfect climate zone that never varies from 72 degrees and has perfect humidity, you will want to have access to the type of heating and cooling that will keep you comfortable, and any office equipment operating properly.
As mentioned, an advantage of garage conversions is their proximity to the current home’s system.
It’s quite possible that a professional contractor will be able to extend the ductwork from the main house out to the garage.
This will need professional evaluation, as the current system may not have adequate capacity to handle the additional load.
Other options could include a separate unit just for the office area.
- — Ductless systems
- — Radiant floor heating
- — Wall-mounted air conditioners
- — Portable units.
It’s important to be realistic about the square footage and the requirements of your office space.
5. Do You Need New Amps and Outlets?
Garages have outlets in some odd locations – high on the wall, wired for dryer plugs, and even on the ceiling.
You may need to evaluate their locations with an eye towards your proposed office layout – and some rewiring may be required.
Moving and adding outlets is relatively simple, and you may need to add some additional circuits to your breaker panel to handle the extra load.
You can do a rough estimate of what might be needed by listing the appliances and equipment you’ll be adding to the space.
As always, consult with a licensed contractor to properly evaluate any electrical changes.
As a bonus, they’ll be familiar with any local building codes.
6. Do You Need to Add Walls or Windows?
To convert garage to office, finishing out your basic garage walls will require upgrading beyond the existing drywall.
You may want to add additional insulation, prime the walls for paint, and do some patching and cleaning.
You’ll also be dealing with – of course – a garage door, and the challenges of making the wall that held it look like a part of the existing home – and not a former garage.
There are a lot of options at this point- french doors, a solid wall, a whole new separate entry – and you’ll want to stay in line with any local building codes.
There are a lot of innovative ideas out there – consider the potential use of the space, and be ready to talk it over with your architect and contractor, when you’re ready to take the next step.
Undertaking a garage conversion really can give you a whole new office.
It’s possible to have a space that offers features that no room in your home can match – even things like lofted ceilings and additional windows.
Before you make that first call to a contractor, do some homework and decide on what your office requirements are – and what happens to everything that used to be in the garage space.
Once you’ve made the main decisions, your remodeling contractor can do amazing things with that extra space. So, dream big and your contractor will convert garage space to an amazing office!