A garage conversion or addition is a great way to enlarge a home for many Dallas homeowners. Instead of investing in a full-scale extension, modifying an existing garage provides a more affordable route to extra living space. For a two-car garage, that can be as much as 600 square feet.
Whether you’re seeking to create a home office, an extra bedroom, a gym, or a cozy annex for an elderly relative — or simply enlarge an existing garage — this often underutilized space provides huge potential for creating something that benefits the property as a whole.
But before you start drawing up plans for a garage remodel, it’s important to bear a few things in mind.
Know Your Zoning Requirements
The first order of business is researching your local zoning laws. Different cities have different requirements. For example, many municipalities require residential properties to have a set number of off-street parking spots. If you can’t provide these elsewhere on your plot, such as in the form of a carport, then you might not have the legal permission to convert your garage.
Furthermore, some cities also have limits on how much square footage you can build on, compared to the overall size of your lot and proximity to your property line. Also, increased water and energy demands may require additional permit documentation that might influence your decisions.
If you’re unsure whether your plans meet the local requirements, your trusted Dallas remodeling partner will be able to provide you with the answers you need.
Pros and Cons of a Garage Conversion
A garage conversion is a popular choice for many Texas homeowners because it utilizes space that already exists. Compared to additions, a conversion is generally more affordable and less bureaucratic. Like with any well-planned remodeling project, a conversion will potentially add resale value to your home and increase your everyday quality of life.
The core advantages of a garage conversion include:
- Uses existing structures and space, helping you to cut down on costs, the work required, and potentially the need to follow the most stringent of zoning requirements.
- Saves yard space, avoiding the need for walls to encroach into your beautiful garden, patio space, or play area.
- Increases your living space just as much as an addition might but without the extra work, costs, and property zoning issues.
While the benefits are many, there are also some drawbacks to a conversion, and these include:
- Elimination of parking space leaves you without enough room to park your vehicles, which can go against legal requirements.
- Less security for your vehicles, both in terms of keeping them safe from thieves and protecting them from the elements (blazing hot sunshine).
- Less return-on-investment when compared to extensions, especially when it comes to selling your property to people who might desire a regular garage.
Pros and Cons of a Garage Addition to Gain Livable Space
Another way to add living space to your home while still enjoying suitable vehicle storage is to develop a garage addition with livable space. This is where you have a standard garage component and an extra interior above or to the side. These additional interiors might be bedrooms, studios, workrooms, playrooms, or anything else.
There are benefits and drawbacks to garage additions with a livable space. The benefits include:
- Space for your car and for yourself, with both interiors designed around your needs rather than adapted solely from existing structures. However, zoning regulations will need to be respected.
- Potential for increased resale value, with the option of a functioning garage and extra livable space a big draw for many homebuyers.
- Increased protection for your car makes it less likely to be stolen, damaged, or worn from long-term exposure to the local climate. Owning a garage can also save you money when it comes to car insurance premiums.
But there are also some drawbacks to garage additions, including:
- Zoning and permission issues might be an expensive hassle, not just with your city authorities but also with your neighbors if they object to your plans.
- Reduction in yard space to fit the new garage. Depending on the size of the garage and the dimensions of your property, you might find yourself losing some valuable garden, patio, or driveway space.
- More surfaces to clean, with garages being particularly prone to dirt and grime buildup.
Design Considerations for a Garage Conversion
When it comes to garage conversions — as opposed to additions — it’s essential to consider various functional design features before the remodeling process. You want your new conversion to look great, work well, and be comfortable to use.
Garages are usually made from concrete blocks with little regard for insulation. During the conversion process, insulation for livable spacing will need to be installed, including in the walls, floor, and ceiling.
Similarly, your existing home HVAC system might need to be extended into the converted space to cover your heating and cooling requirements. An independent system might also be an option. This is something to discuss with your trusted remodeling professional.
Plumbing can potentially be one of the more expensive modifications required for a garage conversion, particularly when it comes to drainage. Depending on your existing setup, extra plumbing lines might need to be added.
Electrical wiring is another addition you might require. While your garage will have wiring already, it might not be sufficient for your planned interior, especially if you’re creating a workshop or kitchen with multiple outlets.
Windows and doors are another necessary addition. Optimal natural daylight is an essential consideration for the functionality and aesthetics of any interior space, and perhaps most importantly, when it comes to our health.
Finally, various architectural details will need to be incorporated. These may include leveling the floor, with garage flooring often built with a slope and drainage system.
Plus, it’s important to consider how the house’s exterior will look with the necessary changes. The best garage conversions are designed to blend harmoniously with the rest of the house.
Design Considerations for a Garage Addition
The design considerations for a garage addition with a livable space are in many ways identical to garage conversions.
For example, any addition needs to blend seamlessly with the rest of the property and its surroundings. It should be difficult — if not impossible — for visitors to discern where the addition begins.
But there are also further design options that need to be considered before a full-scale addition.
Do you want a second-story added on top of the garage or an extra interior added to the side/rear? The answer will depend on personal preferences, existing architectural styles, zoning permissions, and available space.
Similarly, would you prefer the garage (and any accompanying living space) to be attached to the main house or detached? If you’re going to be making a lot of noise — in a workshop setting, for example – then a detached garage might be more suitable.
If you choose to add a second story above the existing garage, then many of the conversion considerations will come into play. It will be important to ensure the addition has appropriate flooring, insulation, heating, wiring, ventilation, and plumbing, among other things.
These are all design considerations your professional design-build team will guide you through.
Planning a Garage Conversion or Addition to Your Dallas Home
Before remodeling a garage space, it’s essential to sit down with experienced residential building professionals. With proper guidance and correct planning, you’ll be able to achieve the garage renovation of your dreams.
The design-build remodeling team at Blackline Renovations in Dallas can help you with every aspect of your home addition or conversion. From the initial meetings and evaluations right through to the design process and the construction phase, we’ll be by your side and guiding you through every step of the way.
We offer friendly and expert in-home consultations to discuss your specific needs and provide you with the optimal design solutions to meet them.