How to Create a Garage Apartment

A garage.
  • 40-80 hours
  • Advanced
  • 1,000-6,500

There are a lot of benefits to turning your home’s garage into an apartment. Not only does it add livable square footage to your home, but you can rent the space out for an additional income source. While creating a garage apartment might seem complicated at first, here is a quick guide on how you can transform the space into a second residence.

Step 1 - Design

You should draw up a design for the apartment before you apply for permits. The plan should include where you will install additional electrical outlets, plumbing, heating and cooling, and what you plan on doing with the garage doors. With the floor plan complete, you can start acquiring permits for the project.

Step 2 - Buy Permits

Purchasing permits for a garage apartment is a lot easier than it is for a new construction project. You really only need a permit for plumbing and electrical work, which means a lot less paperwork than you might think. In addition to the permit, you will also need an inspector to come out and approve your project and make sure the garage is livable.

Step 3 - Add Plumbing and Electrical

Plumbing tools in a pile.

Adding new plumbing and electrical to a garage apartment is easier than it sounds. With plumbing, all you need to do is tap into your home’s plumbing system and route new pipes for a kitchen, bathroom, and shower. The same applies to the wiring. Just keep in mind that the longer you have to run pipes and wires, the more it will cost.

Step 4 - Connect to the HVAC System

You can connect the garage apartment to your home’s HVAC system. Another option is to install a window air conditioner and a space heater for the apartment. This might raise the cost of your utility bill, but it also allows the apartment dwellers full control over their thermostat.

Step 5 - Add Floors, Windows, and Walls

Windows overlooking grass.

With the technical stuff out of the way, you can turn your attention to the structural elements of the garage apartment. Garages usually feature concrete floors. You can install tile, carpet, and wood on the concrete or stain it. For the walls, you may not have to do much aside from painting them. This, of course, depends on your floor plan and whether or not you need to construct new walls to separate rooms. Finally, you need to consider what you’ll do with the windows. Without the right amount of windows, your garage can appear dark and uninviting. If you want to avoid installing additional exterior windows, consider putting in a skylight to provide the space a more natural lighting source.

Step 6 - Add Doors

The garage door is one of the more complicated parts of this project. Luckily you have plenty of options at your disposal. You can always leave the door intact and use it as a decorative feature (your HOA may even require you to keep it). You can also replace the frame with glass, turning the garage door into a massive window. Whatever you decide, you will need to install a new door somewhere in the garage. This will allow people to exit the room safely without having to use the garage door.