Top Considerations When Turning a Garage into a Living Space

October 13, 2021


Home Improvement

Considerations When Turning A Garage Into A Living Space - Clera Windows + Doors

Has it been crowded in your home lately? Perhaps it’s because of a growing family, or maybe you have a few lifestyle changes that need more space. If this is the case, you might have been thinking of a garage renovation as a fitting solution.

However, as with any type of major change to your home, there are a number of factors to consider before undertaking a garage renovation for added living space. In this post, we will discuss all these factors.

Let’s begin!

Garage Renovation For Adding Living Space - Clera Windows + Doors

1. Is a Permit Necessary for Garage Renovation?

It is likely that you will need a building permit for a garage conversion to a living space. However, this may depend on how extensive your garage renovation will be.

Listed below are examples of the most common alterations associated with garage conversions, and all of the following require a building permit:

  • Changing the use of a structure, or part of a structure
  • Demolishing or removing all or a portion of the structure
  • Installing, changing, or taking away partitions or load-bearing walls
  • Creating new openings or altering the size of the current window or door holes
  • Installing or modifying heating, plumbing, air conditioning systems, or fireplaces.

If you think that your garage renovation will be far more minimal and will not involve any of the aforementioned alterations, you won’t need a building permit. However, it is advisable to still consult with a professional from your area.

For a more extensive resource on how to secure a building permit in Ontario, check out this Citizen’s Guide.

2. Would Garage Renovation Lower Your Home’s Value?

As a general rule, if you plan to sell your home within the next three to five years, a garage conversion to a living space may not be advisable. This is because such a renovation would lower the value of your home if you live in an area where a garage is required or considered desirable.

For instance, in places where street parking is prohibited or in areas with harsh weather conditions that can damage a car, having a garage on a property is a must.

On the flip side, adding a garage to a home without one will definitely increase its value in the market.

3. Do You Have an Alternative Location for Parking Your Car and Storage?

Even if you are not selling your home, it is important to consider where you will park your car and store the other possessions that you have in your garage.

You could find an alternative storage area in your home’s basement, attic, or a newly constructed shed. However, parking outside, even with a car cover, will expose your car to the elements or possible accidents.

4. Kinds of Living Spaces that a Garage Can Be Converted To

Once you’ve gotten past the first three considerations, and everything checks out, it’s time to explore the possibilities. A garage renovation can be converted into the following:

  • Playroom
  • Family room
  • An additional bedroom
  • Home office
  • Art studio
  • Workout room
  • A guest house
  • A secondary suite, in-law suite, or granny pod
  • A rentable suite

After you have a clear vision of what you want your garage to become, it is advisable to start with a rough sketch or a mood board for your garage renovation. This ties with the next consideration: weighing the amount of work and the cost involved.

Kinds Of Living Spaces - Clera Windows + Doors

5. How Much Work Will Go Into Your Garage Conversion?


Based on your goals for garage conversion, would you need to add or alter plumbing that is currently installed? If so, there are costs associated with this. For general plumbing renovations, the cost could be around $400 to $600 or more. The cost can increase if you plan to add a bathroom to your converted garage. The average price for adding a bathroom is around $7,000.  


If you need to wire or rewire the electrical system in your garage, this adds to the cost of your garage conversion to living space. The lowest price for electrical renovations like this is around $1,500.

Heating and Insulation

It is typical for the home’s garage to be uninsulated and unheated. This would be a problem if you want this space to be livable. Professional insulation could cost around $2,000.  

As for securing heating for your garage, costs vary greatly. The most cost-effective solution is to see if your HVAC system can support an additional room and make minor alterations so that the converted garage is included.

If this is not possible, it could mean you need to update your HVAC system or purchase a separate system for your garage. These latter two options could cost around $3,000 to $5,000.

Doors and Windows

Windows and doors come in many varieties. Windows for your garage conversion could cost you anywhere from $800 to $4,000 apiece, depending on the window’s size, quality, and energy-saving features. As for doors, expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,000. This would depend on the door’s make, quality, and whether it is for interior or exterior use.  

Other Alterations

As for other alterations, such as putting up partitions, adding an exterior wall in place of the garage door, modifying the flooring, and so on, prices vary depending on the materials used and the amount of space that you are renovating.

6. Other Renovation Alternatives to a Garage Conversion

Basement Conversion

Can’t give up your garage space? No problem. Your basement can also be converted into various kinds of living spaces. In fact, this is one of the most commonly renovated parts of the home.

If gloomy basements are a concern, here are some tips on how to increase natural light. An easy way to increase natural light to your dark basement is through basement window installation!

Attic Conversion

By converting the attic you get to keep your garage as is. However, accessibility, as well as insulation, would need to be greatly improved for it to be a comfortable living space.

Here are our top considerations for an attic conversion.

Your Partner in Garage Renovations

As a final note for this guide on garage conversions, having an added living space in your home that requires heating and cooling may add to your power bill. This is why it’s important to use energy-saving doors and windows, such as the ones we design and manufacture here at Clera Windows + Doors.

Clera Windows + Doors is an award-winning window and door manufacturer with over 41 years of industry experience. We design our windows and doors to have it all. On top of energy savings, our doors and windows are virtually maintenance-free and will serve you well for years to come.

If you would like to learn more, please feel free to reach out. You can also get started with a FREE in-home consultation.

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