Converting your garage into another living space is a great way to boost your home’s curb appeal and add more space to live. Your garage can feature storage areas for your tools or sports equipment, have home gyms or work areas, or you can use it to add to your functional living space if you don’t use it for your vehicles. Your garage conversion cost will depend on a decent range of factors, and creating a budget for this project can be challenging because small changes can cause large price fluctuations.
These conversions come in all sizes and shapes, and they range from full conversions ro cosmetic makeovers that make your garage more aesthetically-pleasing. Deciding what you want the finished space to look like is the single biggest factor in your garage conversion cost, so you really do want to think long and hard about how to best utilize the space. On average, you can budget for $7,000 to $22,000 for your garage conversion cost, with most people spending around $13,000 to convert a full two-car garage with a new floor coating and cabinets.
A cosmetic update to the floor with shelving and wall paint will cost around $3,000, and this is the low end of the spectrum. If you want to turn your garage into a bathroom and bedroom suite, your garage conversion cost can run as high as $40,000 from start to finish. Your labor will be another large cost consideration to keep in mind, and most contractors will charge between 10% and 20% of the final project cost as a flat fee. This works out to an average of $15.00 per hour.
If you’re considering switching out your traditional garage for something more functional, this guide is for you. We’re going to outline the average garage conversion cost and factors that will influence it in this guide. You can use it to create a budget for this project and ensure that it fits seamlessly into your lifestyle.
Your garage conversion cost will fluctuate depending on a large range of factors. This can make it difficult to get an exact cost, but you can get a ballpark range and use it to get a working estimate for the project. P1070440 by John Vonderlin / CC BY-NC 2.0
Garage Conversion Cost by Project Type
If you don’t want to use your garage for storage, you can turn it into additional living space. It works in detached or detached garages, regardless of their size. There is a broad garage conversion cost range because it may or may not be insulated, and they may be finished or unfinished before you start your project. Conversions also must comply with local building regulations and codes, and the permits add around $1,000 to your costs. The most popular projects and their price points include:
Your garage conversion cost to turn it into an apartment will range between $50,000 and $75,000. In order for this to be considered a separate living space then the rest of the house, it has to have its own entrance that is different from your home’s entrance. It needs a bathroom, kitchen, and heating system.
It’s also required for you to fully finish and insulate the space, and this will increase your costs. It typically means you do both an interior and exterior renovation. If you have an attached garage, you’ll usually have to close the apartment off from the rest of the home to keep it private.
The average garage conversion cost to add a bathroom runs from $15,000 to $30,000. If you have to run plumbing to your garage, this will increase the costs. You’ll have to add an HVAC system and insulation to the garage. It can be extremely expensive to drill through the concrete to put a waste drain in, and you have a broad range of finishing costs attached. You have several finishes and fixtures to choose from, depending on your bathroom’s style and size.
To change your garage into a bedroom, your garage conversion cost ranges from $10,000 to $20,000. There are many factors that will influence your final project cost, just like most options on this list. The garage’s finish level, how you want to heat and cool the bedroom area, and whether or not the garage has insulation will play a role.
Maybe you want to add a bathroom ensuite to the bedroom. If so, this can significantly increase your project costs because you’ll have to deal with plumbing. The garage’s exterior finish also plays in, and most people remove the garage door to prevent anyone from having direct access to the bedroom from the outside.
A granny flat is a very small apartment that is on your property, and your garage conversion cost will range from $50,000 to $75,000. This small flat will have its own heating system, entrance, bathroom, kitchen, and other amenities. It has to have insulation, plumbing run, complete interior finish work like drywall, and an HVAC system.
You’ll most likely have to add an exterior makeover on your garage as well, including making a separate entrance. If you have an attached garage, you’ll have to take steps to close it off to give your occupant an acceptable level of privacy.
The garage conversion cost to switch it to a home gym ranges between $3,000 and $10,000. The larger cost range depends on how comfortable you want your finished gym to be. If you need to add cooling, heating, or insulation, your costs will start to climb.
On the other hand, if you decide to skip this and just add mirrors on the wall and mats on the floor, your price will drop to the low end of the spectrum. Equipment costs can vary if you don’t have any. Some complete systems are very expensive while others are not. Consider how you’ll get the most use out of your new gym before you convert.
Adding a kitchen to your garage has a cost range of $20,000 to $40,000. Much like a bathroom conversion, you’ll have to install plumbing. This can get very expensive to drill through the existing concrete. You’ll also have to budget to add insulation and an HVAC system, and you could have to add a gas line.
Lighting, countertops, cabinets, and flooring will all have additional cost points to consider when you budget for this project. There may need to be exterior work done to close off the kitchen or ensure it has the proper venting when you use it.
If you want to turn your current garage into an extended living space, the garage conversion cost starts at $7,000 and goes up to $75,000. You can interpret this living space in many ways. It can be a bedroom, playroom for your kids, kitchen, or a finished in-law apartment.
Your total costs will go up with any plumbing additions, and you also have to factor in an HVAC system and whether you want to use your home’s heating system or if you need a separate one. It usually includes making over the garage’s exterior to give it a living space look over a traditional garage look.
Turning your garage into a mudroom costs between $7,000 to $12,000 from start to finish. A large portion of the costs will depend on how comfortable you want this mudroom to be when you finish it. Adding heating, cooling, or insulation will increase your garage conversion cost.
Additionally, adding storage, cabinetry, or updating the flooring type of finish on the garage can cause fluctuations. Do you want to take out the garage door and replace it with a more standard door? If so, you’ll have to factor in additional interior and exterior finish work and siding.
Creating an office will cost between $10,000 and $20,000 on average. The cost range is broad because it includes how you cool and heat the space. Some garages are finished while others aren’t, and the broad range includes this detail. If your garage has insulation and is currently finished, your garage conversion cost will be lower than an unfinished and uninsulated area.
It can be very difficult to insulate your standard garage doors, so you’ll most likely remove and replace it. This will bring about exterior renovation costs. The furnishings and flooring types will also factor in, as will the finishing touches you put on.
On average, your garage conversion cost to switch it to a utility room ranges from $3,000 to $8,000 to make it one of the lowest cost options on the list. You typically don’t finish most utility rooms, and this lowers the overall project cost. Most expenses come from wiring the area for electricity and plumbing.
Although most garages are already plumbed, most of them don’t have the necessary drains in place for your water heater. So, you’ll have to reroute all of your utilities to this space. If you want to finish this area, it’ll cause your costs to climb significantly.
Thinking about the type of conversion you want to take on will help you map out your garage conversion costs better. At the very least, it’ll give you a base number to work with that you can use to get a realistic view of the project’s scope. P1070422 by John Vonderlin / CC BY-NC 2.0
Garage Type and Conversion Costs
Just like any other project you’d take on, there are work levels that impact the outcome of the finished project, and this includes costs. During a garage conversion, it can include a partial conversion like a cosmetic update or a full conversion. Each option has a set of costs to consider, including:
On average, expect to spend between $20,000 and $75,00 for your full garage conversion costs. It allows you to turn your car storage area into a functional living space. It includes a bedroom, home office, mudroom, workroom, a full apartment, or a living room. There are many benefits and drawbacks associated with taking this project on.
This project will allow you to expand your current living space, especially if your garage is currently sitting empty or if it functions as a catch-all for your storage items. They also cost less than you’d spend for adding a full extension to your home. It can lower your home’s value if you decide to sell unless you build another garage.
A partial garage conversion can go up to $10,000. This project can also take on many forms. You could focus on one specific area, like a new doorway. It could also be a full cosmetic update that redoes the walls and floors of the space.
A partial conversion can help make any older garages look much better, and this makes it more appealing to potential buyers. A partial conversion usually doesn’t change much in terms of the area’s structure. If your garage looks rundown or tired, this is a good option.
Price Points for Different Improvement Measures
The individual components that factor into your garage conversion costs are also important. Once you understand how much each improvement measure costs, you can easily get a more complete picture of your total project cost. In turn, this makes it easier to budget.
To remodel your garage door, you’ll pay between $500 and $2,000. Garage doors come in several styles and sizes, and they can use different materials in the construction. You can pick out a different opening style, how it operates, and whether or not it’s insulated.
You’ll find out quickly that your garage door cost usually depends on the material and the size you want. It’s normal to remodel the door area when you convert your garage because traditional doors are notoriously hard to insulate.
Ductless Air Conditioner
The cost to add a ductless air conditioning system to your garage ranges between $700 and $3,000. Most garages are not insulated, so this means that you might need a larger unit than you normally would to help keep the temperature comfortable. If you don’t get a larger unit, you’ll have to run it longer.
This is why you should factor insulation into your garage conversion cost, and do it before you install your ductless air conditioning system. The size and type of conditioner you pick out will depend on your insulation and the garage size.
An exterior makeover of your space can add between $1,200 and $6,000 to your garage conversion cost. It can be something as simple as adding a fresh coat of paint, but it usually involves something more complex like adding a new door or siding.
It’s also a good time to consider adding new decorative hardware, lights or trim. This opens the door to a very broad range of costs and project additions. You want your garage to coordinate with your home’s design aesthetic, even if you have a detached one.
If you want to finish your garage, you’ll pay between $500 and $2,000. Finishing a garage can encompass many things. You’ll want to finish the walls and ceiling since many garages have unfinished cavity walls. You could also give your floor a makeover so it’s not plain concrete to make it more comfortable.
Maybe you want to have a finished wall system like you see in basements to make it look more like a traditional home or space. You can finish your garage in sections, or you can choose to take it all on in one go, and this will impact your garage conversion cost range.
To insulate a garage, you’ll pay between $400 and $1,000. Most garages don’t have insulation in them, so it’s a very good idea to add it if you plan to use it for any other purpose besides car or vehicle storage. You can insulate it in several ways, but you want to make sure you have insulation between each wall stud.
You can install an insulated door or add insulation beneath the exterior siding on the garage. The most common type of insulation used in garages is fiberglass batts. These are very cost-effective. You can also use other materials like loose-fill if you’ve already finished your garage walls.
Refinishing the Floor
Refinishing your garage floor will fluctuate from $800 to $12,000. On the low end, you can add a simple coat of concrete paint. On the high end, you could have to fix any significant issues before adding a decorative stain or a full coat of epoxy to seal it.
The floor’s condition and the finish level you want will decide how much this adds to your garage conversion cost. If your floor is in poor condition, it’ll increase your prices much more than a floor that is in good shape will. There are a range of options available on all the finish types, so you can control exactly how you want your floor to look.
If you want to soundproof the floor or the whole space, it’ll increase your garage conversion cost by $250 to $3,500. You can add these soundproofing materials to the walls, floors, ceilings, and door areas. The materials come in several forms, to foam insulation to PET tiles that you can apply anywhere. This causes the costs to fluctuate.
Adding storage to your space will cost between $1,500 and $3,000. You can get custom and premade storage variations, and the premade options usually cost less than any custom options. Storage can include peg boards and hooks, or you can go with custom-made cabinetry and workbenches.
Most people use a combination of the two. Consider your layout and what you want to store to help maximize your space without inflating your garage conversion costs. The most popular storage additions that factor into your garage conversion costs include:
- Baskets – $10.00 to $75.00
- Cabinets – $100 to $2,000
- Drawers – $50.00 to $75.00
- Hooks – $1.00 to $15.00
- Overhead Storage – $75.00 to $250
- Shelving – $50.00 to $1,000
- SlatWall Rails – $75.00 to $1,000
- Sports Racks – $25.00 to $250
- Tool Storage – $50.00 to $1,000
- Workbench – $150 to $1,500
Your labor costs will factor into your garage conversion costs. The more intricate and involved the project is, the more contractors you’ll need. In turn, this can drive your costs up very quickly, even for a smaller project. IMG_1055 by John Vonderlin / CC BY-NC 2.0
The labor costs are another complicated layer that adds to your garage conversion costs. If you want to refinish the flooring, it’ll cost between $1.00 and $2.00 a square foot for labor, and this doesn’t include materials. If you have a more involved and complicated conversion in mind, your labor costs could skyrocket up to $100 per square foot. You may also need more than one professional, including:
- Carpenter – $70.00 to $90.00 an hour
- Electrician – $40.00 to $100 an hour
- Flooring Installer – $5.00 to $10.00 a square foot
- General Contractor – $200 to $300 an hour
- Handyman – $50.00 to $100 an hour
- Insulation Installer – $1.00 to $2.00 a square foot
- Plumber – $40.00 to $200 an hour
- Roofer – $4.00 to $5.00 a square foot
- Siding Installer – $1.00 to $15.00 a square foot
Additional Considerations to Keep in Mind
There are a few other considerations you want to keep in mind when you’re figuring out your budget to cover your garage conversion costs. The biggest ones include but are not limited to:
- Building Codes – There are several building codes that come into play during a garage conversion, particularly if you want to use it for something other than traditional vehicle storage. You have to have adequate insulation, HVAC, and egress. Your permit application will cover this.
- Future Needs – Consider what you’ll need in the future before you take on a conversion project. It’s your best bet to turn it into a flexible space if your needs change in the future.
- Home Value – Converting your garage will impact your home’s value. Unless you add a new garage elsewhere, it can drag the overall value down.
- Permit – Most conversions require a permit. Surface cosmetic updates don’t require one, but everything else will. Take to your town hall or contractor for prices, and give yourself 7 to 10 days to get it from the application date.
- Refinishing – When you refinish your floor, you could choose paint to save money. However, paint won’t last long without chipping or peeling. This can return your floor to a poorer condition. Solid epoxy is the best bet for this floor type.
Where to Find Garage Conversion Contractors Near You
If you’re looking for contractors to get garage conversion cost estimates, you want to start with local, reputable sources. The following resources will give you a solid starting point to being your search:
Frequently Asked Questions
More and more people are starting to move away from traditional garage spaces and converting them into functional areas. Knowing which questions to ask when you talk to your contractors will help you get a better project price estimate. Starting to Build Some Cabinets – Day 1 by Tom Gill / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
1. Does finishing your garage add value to your home?
Yes. Finishing out your garage will increase your home’s value because it makes the space more flexible to use. It can also make it look more attractive to any potential buyers who see it.
2. How can you maximize your space?
Adding a solid storage system into your space can help you maximize the workable area you have. Overhead storage is a nice option that’ll free up wall space and help control your garage conversion costs.
3. Do you need multiple contractors for a garage conversion?
You might. The number of contractors you need will depend on what you need done. If you need plumbing run, you’ll need a plumber. For electricity or wiring, you’ll need an electrician. Any outer work can require a general contractor, but you’ll need a roofer if you do anything to the roof.
4. Do you have to switch out the garage door?
No, but it’s a good idea. For one, it removes immediate access to the space. The second reason many people swap out the doors is because garage doors are very hard to insulate when you compare them to traditional entryways.
Your garage conversion cost will depend on a large variety of factors, including what you want to turn the space into and how finished the space is before you start the project. It’s a good idea to call around and get multiple quotes from reputable companies in your area to lock in the best quotes so you get a space you’re happy with without breaking your budget.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.