Converting an existing garage into a living area is a great way to free up some valuable space in your home. With house prices continuing to rise and the high cost of moving, buying a new home isn’t a viable option for most needing a little more space at home.
However, you might be living in your dream home already; you just need to change a few things around to realise it.
There are lots of potential ways to extend a home, including building an extension, adding a conservatory, or going up and building into the loft space. And there’s one other area you might not have thought of – your garage.
Garage conversions are affordable and offer an overlooked option for many. If you don’t currently use your garage to keep your car dry from the rain, and over the years it’s become more of a junk room than a functional storage space, evolving the room into something more practical can be a great solution when you’re hunting for space in your home.
In this article, we’ll cover how much a garage conversion costs, what affects the cost of a garage conversion, how to save money on a garage conversion, what’s involved in converting a garage and how to find and hire someone to convert your garage.
If you want to know how to maximise the potential space in your property by utilising an under-used garage space, keep reading to find out how.
How Much Does a Garage Conversion Cost?
Garage conversions tend to be more affordable than traditional extensions.
A budget conversion of an integral single garage (approximately 18 square metres) starts at just £5,000 whereas a single-storey extension of a similar size could cost upwards of £18,000.
We’ve rounded up some estimated costs for garage conversions below for you to consider. For this, we’ve measured a single garage at 18 square metres, while a double garage is at 36 square metres.
Estimated garage conversion costs by type, size, and budget:
|Garage Type and Size||Budget Cost||Mid-Range Cost||Time Required|
|Integral single garage||£5,000 to £7,500||£7,500 to £10,500||2 to 3 weeks|
|Integral double garage||£9,000 to £11,200||£11,200 to £15,700||3 to 4 weeks|
|Attached single garage||£13,400 to £16,700||£16,700 to £23,400||2 to 3 weeks|
|Attached double garage||£20,000 to £25,000||£25,000 to £35,000||3 to 4 weeks|
|Detached single garage||£30,000 to £37,500||£37,500 to £52,500||3 to 4 weeks|
|Detached double garage||£45,000 to £56,200||£56,200 to £61,800||4 to 5 weeks|
As you would expect, the larger the garage, the higher the price. As with conservatories, the pricing is affected depending on whether or not the structure is stand-alone or connected to your existing property.
Integral single garages are the most cost-effective conversion option, starting at £5,000 and £7,500 for a budget style, with the mid-range variant being slightly more at £7,500 to £10,500. For a double garage of the same type, you can expect costs of £9,000 to £11,200 for budget conversion and £11,200 to £15,700 for a mid-range variant.
For an attached single garage, you can look to pay between £13,400 to £16,700 for a budget range, with the mid-range stretching up to £16,700 to £23,400. For an attached double garage, you can expect costs of £20,000 to £25,000 for a budget variant, with the mid-range going up to £25,000 to £35,000.
Detached variants are more expensive due to them requiring an entirely free-standing structure to be erected. For a detached single garage, the budget style starts at £30,000 to £37,500, and mid-range £37,500 to £52,500; whereas a detached double garage can set you back between £45,000 to £56,200 for a budget structure, and £56,200 to £61,800 for a mid-range style.
Something to bear in mind is the time it’ll take to finish the job, which predictably rises with the scope of your garage conversion. Whereas an integral single garage can take between two to three weeks, a detached double garage can take up to five weeks to complete.
Depending on how much work you want to be done inside the space, your labour costs will vary considering the different types of contractors you might need. For example, plasterers are between £100 to £150 per day, and an electrician can cost between £220 to £265 per day of work.
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What Affects the Cost of a Garage Conversion?
The good news about a garage conversion is that you can save on building costs because you can use the existing structure and you don’t need to start from scratch.
However, you’ll still need to make some major alterations to make your garage habitable. Before you start to gather quotes, consider some of the following points as they’ll affect the overall price of your garage conversion:
The most obvious alteration will be the removal of a garage door and adding a weather-tight replacement. This is relatively simple to do because, in most circumstances, the space only needs blocking up.
If you’re adding in a small window too, this should cost around £1,300.
Doors and Windows
Further to removing the old garage door, new doors and windows are essential parts of making your garage feel like an extension of the house.
The size, aspect and location of the room will determine how many are needed. On average, a door or window will cost £500 to £600, though you may pay more if you’re looking for bespoke and high-quality finishes.
In most cases, if your garage has been used as a place to store cars or just household junk, you’ll need to re-do the flooring.
This means you’ll probably have to pour some new concrete first. This is especially true if the garage is old and the floor is uneven. To have a new slab floor professionally laid costs around £1,000.
In the majority of cases, an internal structure of stud walls will be built inside your garage to create your new room. Insulation can then be added between these walls and the existing structure to increase energy efficiency.
The average stud wall costs £750, and your build costs will be determined by the number you need.
One factor that can add unexpected costs to your build is having to run new utilities into your conversion.
Many garages have electricity nowadays. For a basic conversion, you should only need to factor in the cost of adding a few extra switches and plug sockets into your budget.
It shouldn’t cost more than £100 to add a socket, and you may be able to negotiate with your contractors if more work is required as the job progresses.
Plumbing and gas work can be expensive. If you need to move pipes around, you could pay anywhere from £1,500 to £3,500.
Finally, it’s worth considering that there may also be administrative costs to pay if you’re paying for an architect and project manager, for example.
You should also consider any additional expenses for loans, not only the initial fee but the ongoing interest, too. However, with the cost of extending your home being so high, garage conversions remain a fantastic way to get more room without having to move.
How Can I Save Money on a Garage Conversion?
As we’ve covered above, there are a great number of ways a garage conversion’s costs can skyrocket. Thankfully, there are some ways to keep costs down during the project, which we’ll outline now:
Save on Labour
Where you can, removing debris, furniture and old flooring from the existing garage can help to shave time off your contractor’s clock.
Instead of paying a premium for them to do the heavy lifting for you, if you’re able, opting to move things before they step foot in your property can save both time and money in the long run.
Save on Skip Hire
Similar to the above, if you’re willing to take a few trips to the tip yourself, you can save on skip hire and get rid of the building debris yourself.
This isn’t a pleasant job, but it can help to save you a few hundred pounds. This could be the difference between a slightly more premium finish to some of the aspects of the garage conversion, which could pay dividends further down the line.
Save on Decorating Fees
Already a dab hand at decorating your home? You can choose to pick up the paintbrush once the contractors have left and finish off the job yourself with a lick of paint or wallpaper in your newly converted garage.
This will save you a few hundred pounds per day in painter and decorator fees. If you can afford to wait a little longer and not finish the room immediately, it can be a great way of making the change cost-effective for you.
Save on Finishings
When you’re planning your conversion, take advantage of sales or discounts in trade shops in the lead-up to your project.
This way, you can afford slightly more premium options as they’re not at their RRP, which will help to cut the costs down overall and give you a little more flexibility in your choices instead of having to opt for the most budget route.
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What’s Involved in Converting a Garage?
Typically, the steps will involve you speaking to a garage conversion specialist to discuss what your options are when it comes to your existing structure and what you want the space to eventually turn into.
Designs will be drawn up and agreed upon, with the appropriate building regulations obtained, as well as any planning permission if you’re in a protected area. The building regulations will then be what the contractors follow to ensure the building is appropriate and allowable.
The space will be cleared, and the structure will be supported to enable work to begin, such as installing posts to support the roof and a floor slab on the ground.
Work will begin, and appropriate electrics/gas/water will be installed as needed throughout the space, before finishing the space with a new floor and walls, together with the removal of the old garage door instead of something more practical for the new space.
How Do I Find and Hire Someone To Convert My Garage?
A great place to start when trying to find a suitable contractor to work on your garage conversion lies in asking friends, family and neighbours for recommendations of traders if they’ve had work done recently.
Dodging rogue traders is an unfortunate and unwanted part of any home renovation, but you must do what you can to sidestep them to avoid any potential loss of money further down the line.
If no one around you has had work done recently, then using HouseholdQuotes can help to save your search time by consolidating multiple tabs into one quick and easy search on one website.
This way, you can easily compare traders with one another, and choose the quote that best fits your needs.
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If your project needs them, you can also take this time to search for architects if you need something bespoke to be drawn up for your conversion, while also finding the builders and garage conversion specialists to bring the drawings into reality.
Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit
First and foremost, you must ask for a written quote. This will help you avoid any cowboy traders, and will also give you some stability in knowing exactly what a contractor is offering you, under what timeframes, and for what price.
Having a verbal agreement with someone is not enough when it comes to big sums of money like those involved in garage conversions, so it’s always best to get everything in writing to negate any of these issues.
While researching your trader, get hold of their previous experience to see if the kind of work they’ve already completed suits what you want doing at your property. Similarly, seeking out their references and any associated photos or videos of their past work is a good way to verify their claims with some verbatim comments from customers.
Finally, your contractor must have the appropriate insurance to cover themselves, their team and you while they’re at work. If someone doesn’t have insurance, do not agree to work with them, as you could be liable for damages.
If you’ve decided that you’re tired of manoeuvring in your too-small garage and you want to make the space into something more useful, then a garage conversion could be just the thing.
Here’s our final checklist to make sure you’ve considered everything you need to before starting work:
- Find out if you need planning permission from your local council before taking on any work, and seek out building regulations for your development
- Consider what the best use of the space is, thinking about potential resale value
- What’s the structure like currently? Do you need extra work to make it structurally sound, or is it ready for an extension?
- Shop around for contractors using HouseholdQuotes to find verified traders
- Compare quotes, and make sure to get written proposals so you can be sure exactly what’s included in your project fee
- Think about what extra costs you might incur – such as plastering, re-wiring, plumbing, and gas work – and make sure those are factored into your budget
- Try to get hold of any finishing touches in sales, or while items are on offer in trade stores to help keep your overall costs as low as possible.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need Planning Permission for a Garage Conversion?
Most integral conversions are within permitted development, but standalone garages may require some permission if you’re within a listed property, or in a conservation area.
It’s also worth reminding you that some new homes are built under the restriction that garages remain a place where cars can be parked, instead of turning them into a room for any other means.
Do I Need Building Regs Approval for My Garage Conversion?
Is a Garage Conversion More Affordable Than an Extension?
Also, it depends on whether or not your garage is in good structural condition. If you have to make extensive structural repairs, this may considerably increase your costs, so it’s best to find out what your foundations are like before you commit to a project.
Can a Garage Conversion Add Value to My Home?
Ultimately, it’ll come down to the finish of the space and if it’s a useful addition to the home. A gratuitous room that is only useful for you right now may not add much value to potential buyers; whereas something like a utility room could potentially add value to your home when it comes to selling.
Should I Buy Insurance Before Converting My Garage?
In some instances, existing home cover might not spread to outbuildings, so this is especially important if you’re planning on building a detached garage conversion that is separate from your property’s existing structure.
Further to this, you can get additional conversion insurance to cover you while the work is being carried out at your property. This can save you in the event of any accidents during the work, or if any of the contractor’s equipment is stolen.
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