A guide to determining the cost of remodeling your garage into a living space.

The need to add space in your home grows as your family and your possessions increase, but sometimes budget constrictions are a hurdle to such projects. A great alternative is remodeling your garage.


A garage remodel costs much less than adding on to your house since the foundation, walls and roof are already built. The cost will actually come down to how the converted garage will be used. Converting a garage space into a home office, a gym or an extended residence requires significant renovations to make it livable and more comfortable.

Zoning and building code standards Garages are usually built to be used as storage and are therefore considered uninhabitable. Depending on your state, converting a garage into a livable space will require:

  • A building permit.
  • Electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits.
  • Permit fees.

An experienced contractor can process and complete the required permits for you, as well as submit a set of home building plans for future construction and residential renovations to the local officials. You can also hire a professional to draw an architectural plan. Aside from the zoning code, the converted space will have to meet building code standards. The permit fees are calculated based on the value of the project. You may also need to designate an on-site parking space.

Other considerations

contractorMost garages already have plumbing and electrical wiring installed to some extent, but if your garage doesn't have the sufficient setup, these will automatically add to the conversion costs. HVAC is another item that may or may not exist in your garage. Remodeling your garage also requires the addition of interior walls, insulation and windows on top of other upgrades that will likely be needed in your residential renovation. Residential remodeling also calls for other elements, such as flooring options, appliances, doors, light fixtures, countertops, wall finishes and decorations. You may want to consider consulting an interior decorator if you're having a hard time deciding on the specifics of a garage renovation.

A professional contractor can give you the actual construction cost estimate, which typically depends on the size of the garage, the selected materials, the cost of local labor, the type of renovation and the cost of materials. A typical garage remodeling project can cost anywhere between $7,000 and $15,000, but the scope of the project usually falls down to as little as $3,500 to $7,000 if you do everything yourself. Turning your garage into a separate apartment can cost as much as $40,000 to $70,000.


Remodeling a garage is a more practical and much cheaper alternative to a home extension. It also requires the necessary paperwork, which can be quite tricky if you're not familiar with local zoning and building laws. The QualitySmith service can help you find licensed and reputable contractors within your area to help you with your garage remodeling project and building permits.

While most licensed contractors are insured to fix mistakes, your homeowner's insurance policy, if applicable, will pay for any damages if you hire a professional contractor. Involving professionals in the plan may add to the garage remodel cost, but employing trained and experienced contractors, architects, plumbers and electricians can help prevent setbacks and major construction issues. A contractor can also help keep the project within your budget.

Related resources: Home build cost calculator: a how-to guide Financing a remodel for a disability Room additions contractors: how to hire one