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Thread: Garage Conversion Advice

  1. #1
    Craftsman
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    Lightbulb Garage Conversion Advice

    It's about time I escaped my unconverted loft, where I've been working from home since lock down began. Nothing between me and the tiles (apart from some moisture barrier paper, no windows mind), and nestled amongst the loft contents (as I cleared space, my wife found more to go to the loft!). To say it gets a little warm when the sun comes out is an understatement.

    The loft seemed a good option at the start as my toddlers took great pleasure in Zoom-bombing any and all calls I was on, plus my anaesthetist wife had moved out for the first 5 weeks to protect us - I'd shamelessly left my mother in law to fend for herself!

    So - my garage looks like a good destination - I've ground the concrete floor flat over the last weekend, putting epoxy down next week (epoxy sealer first then garage floor epoxy) and am now planning to build a room within the space but wanted to see if anyone here had done this previously, or if my approach needs a serious rethink.....

    (We drive a Toyota Verso barge that barely fits, and "nice" cars are banned for the foreseeable!), so no car storage needed.

    The garage is joined to the relatively new-build house along one wall and the internal space is 6m x 3m.

    I'm planning on building a frame to create a 4m x 3m space for use as a home office/gym/spare room, with the other 2m x 3m space as storage.

    The frame will be made from CLS/treated timber, and be built so as to support the ceiling joists at the 4m mark so I can use the roof space to keep stuff away from the children.

    The walls will have moisture barrier against the external single brick wall, then insulation within the frame, then marine ply or plaster board for the internal wall.

    The garage door will be replaced with a roller door with vision slats for light, and a decent side door will be fitted, leading to the garden.

    The intention is that it doesn't cost too much (need to keep an eye on budget), can be reversed if needed (we plan to stay in the house for at least 6 years), and I'd be the only person using it, mainly as an office (but I may sneak in some furniture making if I can get away with it!).

    Does that sound like a good idea or are there other things to consider?

    I'll get cracking with some designs asap!

  2. #2
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    I'm interested to see what you end up with.

    I was half-heartedly looking at something similar a few weeks ago, but it's hard to find decent info about what you should do (at least, I found it hard). One thing that I did see was the recommendation that you have an air gap between the external wall and the stud wall / dry lining.

    What style is the roof, and what are your thoughts regarding a ceiling?

  3. #3
    I did a conversion on mine last year, single garage, similar size, left the garage door as it was and have about 1m x width of garage behind it for garden and tool stuff but the back part is all office. Mine is detached so had a window and door on the side already which I replaced with new, got a door with glass top half to let plenty of light in, and have storage on top of the office ceiling as the garage has an apex roof.

    I did it all myself bar the plastering. Timber frame, pir insulation everywhere (minimum 75mm but 100mm in ceiling and partition between office and garage space), cost me £3k all-in.

    Have 1 of the biggest walls as reclaimed pallet wood which works out cheaper than plasterboard and plastering, and injects heaps of character.

  4. #4
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    We are in the process of having a room built within our garage - basically just a wall with a door in it. The existing wall are all cavity walls with insulation. It is being done to building regs standards with floor insulation, fire door, insulated partition wall etc. Floor tiling, plastering, decorating and electrics mean it's going to cost just over 5K. Not readily reversible but the room should be usable year round (it's intended to be a gym)

  5. #5
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    200mwaterresistant - thanks for the info - 3k is do-able - and that pallet wood wall idea is genius.

    My garage door is an up and over so would break into the office space due to the frame and mechanism, so going for the roller. The side door is wood and glass currently, changing for UPVC (white plastic and double glazed) to resist the kids (they hammer on the glass when they see me in there).

    What is pir insulation btw?


    30hogthrob - the roof is traditional tiled triangular shape, nice and tall so i can easily stand up on the joists (measure with a tape measure, not risked it myself yet!)

    I'll try and upload some photos this weekend - just driving out the clouds of concrete dust from the grinding - the floor had the normal rippling concrete floor as if someone used a plank of wood to level it, so hired the grinder from Jewson (heads up - 50% off until the end of July) and it worked a treat.

    I watched a youtuber called gosporthandyman who did something similar in his old house so got the inspiration that I could give it a go too - just got to nail (staple!) the insulation aspect and I'll be set.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonRA View Post
    We are in the process of having a room built within our garage - basically just a wall with a door in it. The existing wall are all cavity walls with insulation. It is being done to building regs standards with floor insulation, fire door, insulated partition wall etc. Floor tiling, plastering, decorating and electrics mean it's going to cost just over 5K. Not readily reversible but the room should be usable year round (it's intended to be a gym)
    Quote I got for something similar (but my walls are mostly single brick) was £16k!! (hence the DIY approach - wont be quite as professional a finish, but I'm ok with that!)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogthrob View Post
    What style is the roof, and what are your thoughts regarding a ceiling?
    I'm planning to use the new wall frames running across the width of the garage to create reinforcement support below the joists (theyre supported currently at each end of the 6m garage) so they'll have (hopefully) better load bearing, then put up plasterboard/ply below the joists as the ceiling surface, insulate between the joists, then loft flooring above to turn the roof space into storage space for sharp things and the like.

  8. #8
    Craftsman canuck's Avatar
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    Often available if you dig around are older used scaffolding boards... and if you find the right person they can be free. Being quite large compared to pallets it’s also quicker to complete a larger wall!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by poloman View Post
    Quote I got for something similar (but my walls are mostly single brick) was £16k!! (hence the DIY approach - wont be quite as professional a finish, but I'm ok with that!)
    Gosh - I think my garage would stay untouched at that price. Mind you, it still pains me to think how much a couple of bathroom refits cost me in Pinner when we lived within the M25!

  10. #10
    This is a really petty and ‘first world problem’ comment to add....

    Run some Ethernet network cables into the room as part of the build, run from your broadband router. We have a garage conversion and getting reliable WiFi working has been a pain because the wall adjoining the house is so thick and well insulated.

    If you’ll be using it as an office, reliable network and Internet connectivity will be key. Run cables while you can.

  11. #11
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    On another note, I attempted to work in the garage from July 1 thinking it would be fine until September. How wrong I was, lasted two days, absolutely freezing. Never again.

    Would like it converted and we are quite minimal in shit we store on the garage so could be a good shout, just need to have a think about whether to extend on top of the garage before wasting £3/4K converting the ‘downstairs’ as such.

  12. #12
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    ,.....
    Last edited by JonRA; 25th July 2020 at 06:20.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Chinese_Alan View Post
    On another note, I attempted to work in the garage from July 1 thinking it would be fine until September. How wrong I was, lasted two days, absolutely freezing. Never again.

    Would like it converted and we are quite minimal in shit we store on the garage so could be a good shout, just need to have a think about whether to extend on top of the garage before wasting £3/4K converting the ‘downstairs’ as such.
    Surprised if it was freezing in July/August!

  14. #14
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    I looked into converting my garage but one of the conditions set when the development was built was garages and parking could only be used for parking cars. I can build more garaging but can’t convert the current garage. Any restrictions on converting yours?
    You can live in your car but you can't drive your house.

  15. #15
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    Check Planning Requirements

    Hi

    I can only strongly advise that you approach your Planning Authority to establish if you can convert without an application. Or in the very least obtain confirmation in writing. Sooner than with partial works carried out.

    Most relatively new built housess are conditioned to retain the garages to maintain off-street car parking provision - thereby need an application to vary this planning condition.

    This will also provide the comfort of having all the necessary papers if moving on from the house at any time.

    L-K

    PS - as said above you would also need Building Regulations as would be habitable room.
    Last edited by Low-Key; 25th July 2020 at 16:27.

  16. #16
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    If I understand what OP plans to do - how would you come off in an insurance claim if there was a fire if you build a room within a garage?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Surprised if it was freezing in July/August!
    I nearly had a snot icicle.

  18. #18
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    Interested to see how this thread develops. We have a long single width garage which joins onto the study, which is where I work when working at home.
    We were thinking of putting a door from the study into the garage and then putting in a stud wall inside the garage - to create a small room to put an extra fridge freezer; tinned food; anything we buy in bulk. Just for easier access than having to go outside, open the garage, get the items, close the garage etc.

    Garage already has power etc and we don’t need the room to be flash, just functional with access from inside the house. So was thinking that a simple light switch and some of electrical points would do.

    Won’t be used for anything but storage.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobM View Post
    This is a really petty and ‘first world problem’ comment to add....

    Run some Ethernet network cables into the room as part of the build, run from your broadband router. We have a garage conversion and getting reliable WiFi working has been a pain because the wall adjoining the house is so thick and well insulated.

    If you’ll be using it as an office, reliable network and Internet connectivity will be key. Run cables while you can.
    Also... consider cable length to determine if you use CAT5 or CAT6 cabling!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jlynch1984 View Post
    Also... consider cable length to determine if you use CAT5 or CAT6 cabling!
    Both 5e & 6 are rated at 100m

  21. #21
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Morgan View Post
    Both 5e & 6 are rated at 100m
    Just to add, in a domestic setting you are unlikely to meet the installation requirements for Category 6 performance.

  22. #22
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    Well, that weekend didn't go as planned - an addition to the Dear Wife thread would be appropriate!

    Floor remains unpainted - hopefully get cracking on Thursday now.

    Good shout on the ethernet - I've set up a mesh network and get good speeds in the garage from that - I lead my office on the Zoom usage leader board (a sad title to hold!) and haven't had any drop outs, plus remote desktop and BBG have worked flawlessly. Still - Sky kindly drilled holes in nearly every wall so i have access holes pre-drilled - i think i'll make good use of them!

    I'll check all the aspects of planning permission, permitted use etc. Another house has converted their garage to a full room - removed the garage door and built a wall with window in its place - their planning permission was granted on a architectural plan drawn without a ruler, so should be ok there.

    bambam - will update the thread with pics and plans in line with my neighbours (aka hand drawn) - just put an ad up on bidvine on my SILs recommendation.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by poloman View Post
    Well, that weekend didn't go as planned - an addition to the Dear Wife thread would be appropriate!

    Floor remains unpainted - hopefully get cracking on Thursday now.

    Good shout on the ethernet - I've set up a mesh network and get good speeds in the garage from that - I lead my office on the Zoom usage leader board (a sad title to hold!) and haven't had any drop outs, plus remote desktop and BBG have worked flawlessly. Still - Sky kindly drilled holes in nearly every wall so i have access holes pre-drilled - i think i'll make good use of them!

    I'll check all the aspects of planning permission, permitted use etc. Another house has converted their garage to a full room - removed the garage door and built a wall with window in its place - their planning permission was granted on a architectural plan drawn without a ruler, so should be ok there.

    bambam - will update the thread with pics and plans in line with my neighbours (aka hand drawn) - just put an ad up on bidvine on my SILs recommendation.
    Sounds good. Look forward to seeing the pics and plans. I have a load of old stuff at the back of the garage that I'd need to move first, and I'd need to sort out the crap that's accumulated in the study before any work can really start. But good to start the planning.

  24. #24
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    Current state of the garage. Drafting (aka scrawling!) some plans on paper now.


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  25. #25
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    illegible measurements - I need to put this into a visio plan...

    the garage door is an up and over style door with an electronic mechanism that intrudes into the proposed space - so its days are numbered in favour of a roller door.


    potential use:


    the left area (white) is the office/gym, with a pink desk, orange rowing machine, light blue sofa and yellow sliding door cupboards.

    the right area (dark blue) is garage space, with yellow storage shelves.

    green indicates doors.

    once the floor is painted, i'm going to lay out tape for all the dimensions to see how feasible it is.

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    Last edited by poloman; 29th July 2020 at 09:41.

  26. #26
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    Sealant and first coat down now.




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  27. #27
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    Looking good.

  28. #28
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    Somewhat regretting starting the floor painting - it takes ~18hours to dry so i'm relegated to the loft in 32 degrees!

    My wife teetered on the brink of an epoxy-carbonite style future when she pointed out a bit I'd missed!

  29. #29

    check with planning

    i'm pretty sure you're not allowed to just convert a garage into accommodation. The planning permission for your house would have been based on an amount of off road parking being both your drive and garage. If you convert your garage this breaches the planning for your house. I know most people don't use the garage for their cars, but a whole load of people around me did exactly what you're doing got caught, fined and forced to convert it back and then inspected. If you do it you also have to comply with building regs with things like fire doors ventilation and level of insulation, it can also impact your council tax banding upwards.

    If you sell your house you will either need to convert it back or it will show up on the search, which means the council find out about you....

    The bad news is you used to be able to do it as long as you made another off road space, but block paving over gardens to make extra drives is also becoming increasingly problematic, so your application will probably get refused

    the people around me ended up getting caught when someone moved into the area and commented on the lack of on road parking, they tried restrospective planning, all refused, then the loophole about if you build something but there is no challenge but that got blocked by it being a concealed development, all with more costs, angst and i think they even had to pay the council to come and inspect it after it had been put back, three years later they still get random inspections to make sure it't not returned

    in the end you'll get a better return with a proper extension or a one of those wood pre fab garden sheds which will be warmer in winter and can easily air condition

  30. #30
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    Garage Conversion Advice


    Painting finished and new layout mapped out.

    I’m going to get in touch with the council re planning. Thanks for the advice - last thing I want is to have to undo it all again!

    (My garden is tiny so even a small shed would become the main feature - the joys of new builds)


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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by poloman View Post

    Painting finished and new layout mapped out.

    I’m going to get in touch with the council re planning. Thanks for the advice - last thing I want is to have to undo it all again!

    (My garden is tiny so even a small shed would become the main feature - the joys of new builds)


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    Great work!


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  32. #32
    Grand Master mart broad's Avatar
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    Question at what point does the garage become a room and therefore can alter your council tax , buildings insurance, contents, usuage and if you have a mortgage the terms contracted by the mortgagee

    - - - Updated - - -
    I FEEL LIKE I'M DIAGONALLY PARKED IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE

  33. #33
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    Do the rules still apply (conversion) if the garage is detached from the house?

  34. #34
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    That garage looks perfect for a nice car parked in it, perhaps an MX-5, Austin-Healey or Land-Rover?*


    *I've just realised three of my cars are hyphenated.
    You can live in your car but you can't drive your house.

  35. #35
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    Hi #33

    It depends on the conditions imposed on the development/estate when planning permission was originally granted, or if the garage was added later on that planning permission associated with the dwelling.

    Usually it still applies as the garage counts as a car parking space - your Local Planning Authority can confirm/advise.

    L-K

  36. #36
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poloman View Post

    Painting finished and new layout mapped out.

    I’m going to get in touch with the council re planning. Thanks for the advice - last thing I want is to have to undo it all again!

    (My garden is tiny so even a small shed would become the main feature - the joys of new builds)


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    New build areas generally have virtually no car parking anyway, so the rules should be tighter, but it doesn't seem to follow.

    M

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  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy100 View Post
    That garage looks perfect for a nice car parked in it, perhaps an MX-5, Austin-Healey or Land-Rover?*


    *I've just realised three of my cars are hyphenated.
    Mainly needlessly!

  38. #38
    Craftsman
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    I've been researching - been through the local planning permissions that have been granted - one nearby garage conversion had an objection by the parish, on the basis of parking. The objection was later withdrawn, no reason stated.

    The council planning site states planning permission is not normally required if not enlarging or making into a separate house - but another local planning application (approved) mentions covenants that the builders put in place but can be ignored for reasons such as adhering to local styles and light considerations.

    so, i want to avoid any hidden restrictions and have started down the route of planning permission to ensure I'm not visited repeatedly by the council!

    oh and I'm building the wall in such a way as to allow easy removal - tempted by some heavy duty hinges but may be a step too far!

    Quite looking forward to the build now - changed the layout so as to have a workbench down the left, a desk at the top end, and my wood work bench plus tools cabinet on the right side.

    (a nice sporty car would be the dream - however, young twins means thats off the menu for a good few years :( )

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