Garage Conversion

Ideas, costs, tips and plans - the information you need for a successful Garage Conversion project

March 2015

Homeowners have many important questions about their Garage Conversion Project. How much will it cost? How long will it take? What problem areas do I need to watch out for? Can I recover my Garage Conversion investment when I sell? Can I do some of the work myself? What can I do to make sure that the work is done right?

Costs, materials and best practices for the example Garage Conversion project will help you answer these questions. Use this information to develop a budget, bid requirements, hiring contracts and a project plan.

Garage Conversion - Project Overview

The approximate costs and value of a typical Garage Conversion project are summarized below. Use higher estimates for larger metropolitan areas and the lower estimates where home prices are below the national average. Adjust costs for substitutions or refinements in the last section. For size differences of up to 25%, scale total costs in direct proportion to the size of your project. Use the adjusted costs as a basis for setting a material budget and for comparing contractor bids (if you choose to have a professional perform the work).

Project descriptionConvert existing garage into living space. Insulate, sheetrock and finish walls and ceiling area. Add vinyl reslient flooring, electric circuits and lighting. Use basic grade of materials and installation quality.
Project size380 square feet
Material and labor cost$4,275 - $4,988
Material cost$2,214 - $2,583
Do-it-yourself assessmentThe typical Garage Conversion project can be completed by a moderately skilled do-it-yourselfer; as with any project, high quality Garage Conversion requires attention to detail and careful planning.
First year Return on Investment - ROIReturns will be impacted by the range of home prices in your neighborhood, the overall condition of your home and sensible design choices. A high quality Garage Conversion project can return as much as 67% - 78% of its initial cost
First year Return on Investment - ROIResults vary widely and are affected by the range of home prices in your neighborhood, the overall condition of your home and prudent design choices. A typical Garage Conversion project completed with good or better quality will return less than 60% of its initial cost.
Green ratingGarage Conversion projects can incorporate renewable or sustainable resources and environmentally friendly materials.

Garage Conversion - Project Plan and Details

The following list includes major work tasks commonly performed during Garage Conversion. Use this list to understand the timing and sequence of different steps in the Garage Conversion project. Click any Task name for a complete written specifications, FAQs and quality checklist for the task - this essential information will help you control Garage Conversion project cost and quality.

Do you expect to spend more than $250 on your Garage Conversion project? If so, it is important create and manage a detailed plan for all project activities.

TaskService ProviderTimeDifficultyBasic Cost Range
Specify FinishesInterior Designer1 to 2 d$533 - $890
Specify MaterialsInterior Designer2 to 15 d$178 - $297
Frame CeilingCarpenter1 to 2 d$3.18 - $5.65 per square foot
Frame Interior WallCarpenter1 to 2 d$2.79 - $4.99 per square foot
Frame CeilingCarpenter1 to 2 d$3.18 - $5.65 per square foot
Install Appliance CircuitElectrician1 to 2 dLevel 4 - Pros Only$308 - $525
Hang Ceiling DrywallDrywall and Plaster Contractor1 to 2 dLevel 3 - Complex, Difficult$1.41 - $2.46 per square foot
Install Batt Wall InsulationInsulation Contractor1 dLevel 2 - Challenging$1.02 - $1.79 per square foot
Install Batt Ceiling InsulationInsulation Contractor1 dLevel 2 - Challenging$1.10 - $1.93 per square foot
Install SheetrockDrywall and Plaster Contractor1 to 2 dLevel 2 - Challenging$1.28 - $2.24 per square foot
Skim CoatDrywall Contractor1 to 2 d$0.87 - $1.52 per square foot
Seal DoorFinish Carpenter1 d$42 - $74
Seal WindowsFinish Carpenter1 d$32 - $57
Install Prehung DoorFinish Carpenter1 dLevel 3 - Complex, Difficult$203 - $358 per door
Install Base MoldingFinish Carpenter1 to 2 dLevel 1 - Basic$3.29 - $5.73 per linear foot
Install Door CasingFinish Carpenter1 to 2 dLevel 1 - Basic$2.98 - $5.16 per linear foot
Paint RoomsPainting Contractor1 to 3 dLevel 2 - Challenging$3.83 - $6.53 per square foot
Install Vinyl Tile FlooringFlooring Contractor1 dLevel 3 - Complex, Difficult$4.74 - $8.64 per square foot
Install Ceiling LightingElectrician1 dLevel 2 - Challenging$67 - $120
Install Electric Baseboard HeaterElectrician1 dLevel 3 - Complex, Difficult$161 - $280


Garage Conversion - Proven Ideas and Project Tips

Review these tips, design suggestions, options and lessons learned before finalizing your Garage Conversion project plan.

  • To maximize return on the Garage Conversion project, limit cost to no more than 2.1% of home's total, post project value
  • For best home resale value, follow a consistent design and decorating theme throughout the home
  • To keep Garage Conversion costs low, do not move walls or relocate plumbing fixtures or electrical boxes
  • Perform major Garage Conversion work with permits to help protect value at resale time
  • For best resale value, select components, appliances, finishes and fixtures of comparable quality
  • Understand how your project will change property taxes (assessed value) and home insurance - before the project begins

Garage Conversion Project Guide

Project Plan: Garage Conversion

Do you expect to spend more than $250 on your Garage Conversion project? If so, it is important create and manage a detailed plan for all project activities.

This FREE homewyse project guide helps you organize Garage Conversion project activities, effectively manage milestones and costs - and get quality work at a fair price.

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