Whether you realize it or not, having a garage and not using it is a waste of space – after all, there’s so much you could do with it that goes beyond parking your car. For instance, a great idea is to convert it into a tiny home.
Why exactly? Well, probably the most important reason is that you can increase the living space on your property. If you have adult kids who still live with you, this would be a perfect option to give them a bit of privacy while still having them near. And if you don’t have anyone to occupy it? You can always rent it and let it create a passive income – wouldn’t it be nice to have some extra cash every month?
Sure, you might have to do some work in the beginning, but, as scary as it might seem, the garage conversion process is not that challenging. To prove it to you, we created this guide – it will tell you everything you need to know about changing your unused garage into a tiny home. Let’s get started.
Step 1: The Basics
The first thing you want to do when converting your garage into a tiny home is gathering all the necessary documents and permits so that you can ensure everything is done legally. Why would you need someone’s permission if it’s your garage? The answer is simple – it’s due to the fact you will need to install wiring and plumbing. Also, if you want to rent out the garage after the conversion, you will need an inspector to visit and confirm that space can be inhabited.
Another thing that can be considered as basic is performing all the necessary repairs. It doesn’t matter if you just need to take care of a hole in the while, replace the home ac compressor or fix damaged garage doors. If something is broken – you need to repair it.
If there’s anything wrong with the garage door you have now, but you don’t want to install a new one (because, for example, the door is not that old), you should immediately contact a reliable company that provides garage door repair in Nevada or whatever your location is. A damaged garage door not only affects the overall look of your house but also creates a safety hazard.
Step 2: Structural Elements
Once you obtain all the necessary permits and take care of all the repairs, you can finally start the conversion. There are several steps that go into it – they can be divided into structural elements and livability. Structural elements include:
The typical garage floor is a concrete slope, poured, sealed, and left for the weather and age to take care of it. If you like how it looks and would like to keep it, you can strip and stain it. There are two types of concrete stains:
- acid-based – creates unique patterns in more earthy tones
- water-based – resembles paint, creates a uniform opaque color on your floor
However, if you are not a fan of it, you’d be happy to hear that there are plenty of other ways in which you can transform the garage floor. For example, a nice idea is to use tiles – not only are they relatively easy to install, but they also are affordable and available in hundreds of different colors and patterns, which means you’ll be able to easily find something up to your taste.
Usually, the garage walls are sturdy and don’t require much work – just maybe an addition of new drywall and a coat of paint.
Since you are converting the garage into a tiny home, you will have to add interior walls where the bathroom will be. If you want to, you can also add some that will separate the living spaces – however, in most cases, those who decide to transform the garage into an apartment leave them with open floor plans.
Even a single window can completely transform your garage. It will allow natural light to come in and make space look a lot bigger than it actually is.
Since garages rarely come with windows already installed, you might have to do some extra construction work. If you don’t want to alter any of the exterior walls but still want to allow the sunlight to enter the space, you should consider adding skylights.
Now, you have a few options when it comes to what to do with your garage door.
First of all, you can leave it the way it is now – although the person living there won’t be using it as the main entrance, it can be used as an interesting architectural element. This is also an ideal option if you have to get permission from the Homeowner’s Association, as most of them require leaving the exterior of the house intact – meaning that it still has to look like a normal garage from the outside, even if it’s used for something else.
The next option you have is replacing the door with all glass, allowing the maximum amount of natural light to enter the tiny home. And if you want to have slightly more privacy, you can add curtains on the inside.
Step 3: Livability
Insulation and Temperature Control
Temperature control is one of the most common problems homeowners converting their garage into an apartment or a tiny home experience. If you’re doing a full-on renovation, you can add an extra insulation layer to the ceiling and the exterior walls of the garage – it will help in keeping the warm air inside of it once it’s there.
If you have an attached garage, you can connect it to the heating and cooling system that you already have in the main house – it is the most economical solution. If, on the other hand, your garage is detached, then you will have to help yourself with space heaters and air conditioning units.
Electricity and Plumbing
This is probably one of the most expensive parts of the conversion. However, if your garage is attached to the house, the cost won’t be as bad, as you can reroute the existing wires and pipes to the new house.
The matter is more complicated with detached garages, as you will have to run the pipes underground from the main house to the new tiny home. The greater the distance, the more you can expect to pay.
The Bottom Line
Transforming a garage into a tiny home is becoming more and more popular among homeowners. There are several reasons why, but the most obvious one is money – they can rent a new apartment and generate a passive income every month.
Although it might seem like the conversion process is very complicated, the truth is that as long as you know what you should be doing, everything will go smoothly.
We hope that after reading this article, you are more aware of how the conversion process from a garage into a tiny home looks like and won’t be as confused when doing it on your own property as you would be if you didn’t read anything on this matter. Good luck.