The average garage is usually a decent size, but at the same time they are often wasted space. It is very common that they are not used for storing a car. Instead, many people will use them as storage for garden equipment, tools and even clutter from the house that they don’t have space for.
In many cases, the garage is a very underutilized space, that could be used much more efficiently.
One common use, is converting a garage to a utility room. The advantage of doing this, is it removes white goods, such as your washer and dryer out of the main house. This can be beneficial for many reasons, including:
- Less noise
- More space
- Removing moisture from the main house
For these reasons, it is very popular, and you don’t even need to convert the whole garage. You could take a section of the garage and convert this into a utility room. Then leave the remaining area for other uses. Such as storage, and even the car if your garage is big enough.
The size you require for your utility room, will depend on what you want in there. For example, a worktop with a washer and dryer under it, wont need that much space. But what about other things, like:
- Areas for ironing
- Perhaps you want to add a fridge or a freezer
- Relocating a boiler
- Adding a sink and washing area.
All of the above will require additional space. Therefore, you need to carefully plan what you want in your garage utility room. As well as the space required for any remaining uses of the garage. This will determine the exact size requirement when undergoing your conversion.
Does converting a garage to a utility room require planning permission?
In most cases you won’t need planning permission to convert a garage. However, you will likely need to run things past building control. This is especially true when it comes to things like new drainage, installing a heating system, and any structural work, such as creating access to an adjoining garage from the main house.
Building control will also be able to advise on any requirements for fire protection, sound proofing, and thermal insulation.
There may also be separate considerations, depending on whether your garage is adjoining or detached, as well as whether it has plumbing, or electrics already installed.
Is a DIY garage conversion possible
Whether you can do the work yourself, will depend on the scope of the job and your own personal skill level. Things like drainage, gas, and electrics, will almost always require a professional. However, there are plenty of jobs that could be done by a reasonably good DIY’er. For example:
- Dividing the garage – This will usually involve building a stud wall to add a separate area. Whilst this is a relatively skilled job, it is still achievable for most decent DIY enthusiasts.
- Adding insulation – Adding insulation is not a difficult job and this will just need adding to any stud walls. Building regulations may be able to advise on the thickness required.
Also, you may want to insulate the other walls in the room. This can be done in several ways. A couple of popular methods include More internal studwork and insulation, or Insulated plasterboards, which are fixed to the solid walls.
- Adding a door casing and door to stud wall – Again this is a skilled job, but it is something a keen DIY’er could attempt and do a decent job of.
- Installing plasterboard – This is hard work but not that difficult from a skill perspective. It is just a case of measuring and cutting the plasterboard to size. Once cut, you can easily screw the boards to the timber studwork.
- Decorating – This is usually straight forward, and most people can operate a paint brush.
- Other joinery work – Things like adding skirting and architrave, as well as any worktops fitted above white goods.
As you can see there is a lot you could potentially do yourself. However, certain things will require professional help, and you will need to liaise with trades whilst you do your jobs. Things like electrics, plumbing and drainage may need running through studwork and external walls.
Hiring a professional
This is a big project, so if you’re not used to managing trades, then hiring a company can be a wise choice.
In many cases, you can hire someone who will run the entire project and manage the individual trades required on the job. This can be far less stressful, and you only have one company to deal with if there are any issues.
The cost of Converting a garage to a utility room will depend on the scope of the work. Some garages will already have plumbing, electrics, and drainage, with existing access from the main house. In this case, the work will be much cheaper.
If all these services need running into the garage, it can get more complicated and expensive.
Regardless of the complexity, there are good ways to save significant amounts of money when doing this type of conversion.
One thing you should always do, is get multiple quotes. The cheapest won’t always be the best. However, if you stick to reputable local contractors, you should avoid “cheap” low quality work.
Another option is to get online quotes. This is often a better way to compare companies, because you still access the same local talent. However, if they are members of online comparison sites, they will usually be reviewed by previous customers. Also, they will be verified by the website. This can further increase your confidence when hiring.
Probably the best benefit of hiring online is the price. These websites are competitive marketplaces, and the companies often pay membership to receive enquiries. This can result in very competitive quotes, in order to win jobs.
Savings of 20-30% are not uncommon for this type of work.
Converting a garage into a utility room can be a fantastic use of space. It is also possible to do a good amount of the work as a DIY project. However, there are certain jobs where you will need a professional.
This is especially true for any work involving gas and electricity. You should also consider building regulations throughout the project. It is a good idea to talk with building control, to ensure you are doing everything by the book.