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Everything you need to know about converting your garage

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July 31, 2023
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When people want to create a bit more space in their home many think about expanding up into the loft, but it may be cheaper and a lot simpler to go for a garage conversion instead. 

As a specialist home insurance broker, we’ve answered your commonly asked questions to save you the hassle of finding everything out for yourself.

What is a garage conversion?

A garage conversion is a great way of adding space to your home without expanding it. Whether you turn your garage into a spare bedroom, workout space, or home office, a garage conversion is perfect for those who don’t want to lose out on garden space while maximising the space they have.

Read our useful blog answering the most common home renovation questions.

Do you need an architect for a garage conversion?

You don’t necessarily need to consult with an architect or building contractor, but it is usually best to seek professional advice as this can help save you from costly mishaps along the way. An architect can also help you maximise the space as they can often give you ideas that you hadn’t considered before.

How to do a garage conversion

The safest way is to hire an architect or building contractor and let them know what you had in mind. They’ll be able to draw up plans that you can give to professional builders who will execute the architectural vision.

How much does a garage conversion cost?

The costs involved with a garage conversion will depend on a number of factors, including what kind of room you want to turn your garage into, whether you use an architect, and if the foundations need to be reinforced.

While the average is between £10,000 and £20,000, it’s not unheard of for some conversions to cost more than £25,000.

How much is a garage conversion to bedroom?

Guide to converting your garage to a bedroom

Converting a garage into a bedroom won’t require as many structural changes to the garage as, say, a bathroom, where all new plumbing would need to be installed. As a result, converting a garage into a bedroom isn’t usually too expensive. It is usually on the lower end of the average price.

Will a garage conversion add value to my home?

Yes, it can add value. According to Virgin Money, converting your garage into an en-suite bedroom could add up to £40,000 to the value of your original home. However, the costs involved with your conversion will be higher as you’ll need to install new plumbing if you add a fully functional bathroom.

Alternatively, converting it into a playroom or study could add up to £20,000 in value and will have lower costs for converting the area.

Please bear in mind that your home will have a natural price ‘ceiling’, which will depend on the area you live in. Whilst converting your 2-bedroom home into a 5-bedroom home might at first seem like an excellent idea, people looking for a 5-bedroom home will probably look at other neighbourhoods where they’re surrounded by other 5-bedroom homes. Instead, buyers will probably be those looking in the neighbourhood for a good deal.

How much value does a garage conversion add?

Up to 20% of your house’s value.

Are garage conversions worth it?

Conversions are a great way of adding space to your house without all the complications involved in expansions.

As garage conversions can add an extra 20% onto the value of your home, a garage conversion is definitely “worth it” if your conversion costs are lower than this.

How long does a garage conversion take?

A garage conversion is usually one of the quickest conversions. Taking between three to four weeks, you could have a fresh new living space ready to go in six weeks time.

If you’re working with multiple contractors, be sure to factor this in and ensure they’re free when you need them.

Do I need planning permission for a garage conversion?

As long as you aren’t extending your building and all building work is internal, you don’t generally need planning permission for a garage conversion. If you live in a listed building, this might not be true – be sure to check with your local planning authority (LPA) if you aren’t sure.

If you’re converting your garage into a separate house, you might need to get planning permission from your LPA. Always check with them first if you aren’t sure.

Insulating your garage: how to insulate a garage conversion

Guide to garage conversions insulation

A garage is typically a lot more frosty than any other room in your house as, unlike other parts of the house, it usually doesn’t need to meet insulation standards since you don’t usually spend an extended period of time in a standard garage. However, this will need to change once you convert your garage into a room you’d like to use as a living space. It’ll need to meet the standards set out in the Building Regulations. These are as follows:

AreaU-values (W/m²·K)
Flat Roof0.18
Pitched Roof0.16

Insulating garage walls

You should usually seek professional help and advice to insulate your garage walls to the standards required by Building Regulations. The most common type of insulation is stud walls. This is where another wall is installed, which allows you to stuff the gap in between the two walls with insulation material.

Insulating garage roofs

Most garages have a flat roof, and homes with flat roofs usually need specialist flat roof insurance. Flat roofs are also a little trickier to insulate compared to pitched roofs, so it’s usually best to get a professional to help you.

In general, there are two different options for insulating a flat roof: cold or warm roofs.

Whereas cold roof insulation is placed between the joists of the roof, warm roof insulation is placed above the joists. In most cases, warm roofs offer better insulation, but as they add height to your roof, they aren’t for everyone. This is especially true if you have a balcony or door leading onto the roof itself.

If you have a pitched roof, insulating your garage roof will be much like insulating a loft. First, inspect your roof for any electrical wiring; if there is any, you might want to consult with an electrician before starting the process to ensure you’re using the right insulation.

If there isn’t any wiring, unroll your insulation between the joists and layer up the insulation until you’ve reached the recommended amount.

Insulating garage floors

This is another area where you’d want to seek professional help. One of the most common options for insulating your garage floor is to lay a new floor on wooden sleepers and fill the cavity with rigid foam insulation before topping it with the actual garage floor or base.

Will my home be insured while the work is in progress?

You will need to talk to your insurer before any renovation work begins and they will advise you if you need a new policy to cover you while work is in progress. If you need home insurance while converting your property, let us know and we can help.

Read our handy blog to find out which home DIY jobs you have to tell your insurer about before undertaking them.

Get specialist home insurance from Adrian Flux

If you’re converting your garage, you might need a more tailored approach to your home insurance. At Adrian Flux, we offer specialist home insurance that can suit any home or budget. Call us on  0800 369 8590 for more information.

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