7 Things to Consider Before Starting a Garage Renovation

A garage renovation can add value to your home – here's what you should keep in mind before starting the project.

U.S. News & World Report

What to Know Before Renovating a Garage

Shot of a man carrying a box in a garage

When you clear out items for your garage renovation, be sure to go through them to determine what should be thrown away, donated or stored elsewhere in the house.(Getty Images)

Sooner or later, most homeowners decide they’re ready to take on a renovation project. We tend to think about renovations in terms of bathrooms, kitchens or possibly living areas. The truth is, you can renovate any part of your home that seems to need it. Often, the area that needs it most is the garage.

Garage renovations are more common than you might think, and they can really pay off – both in terms of your day-to-day life as well as the value you get when selling your house.

Before embarking on a garage renovation, make sure you’re going about it wisely.

Here are seven things to think about before remodeling your garage:

  • Are you turning your garage into a room, or keeping it as a garage?
  • How will you use the space?
  • What kind of storage solutions do you need?
  • What about the aesthetics?
  • Can you handle the project on your own, or should you call in the pros?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What will you do while the remodel is happening?

Are You Turning Your Garage Into a Room, or Keeping It As a Garage?

Fundamentally, you’ll need to decide what you’re going to use the space for. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to decide they need an extra bedroom or living room and can live without a garage. Thus, they convert their garage into a proper room. That’s one way to go, but you may also decide that you just want a nicer garage, with better storage options in addition to space to keep a car.

How Will You Use the Space?

Even if we assume you’re going to use your garage as a garage, there are still some important decisions to make about how the area will be utilized. Will you keep your vehicle in the garage? Lawn equipment? Many people want to be able to keep overflow of household items that don't fit in closets or the basement in the garage, like holiday decorations. The garage is also a popular location to set up a workbench area for hobbies or home improvement work.

What Kind of Storage Solutions Do You Need?

Most garages are used primarily for storage, and sometimes that might mean upgrading your shelving. This is especially true if have you a lot of items to store, and need to take advantage of the vertical space the garage offers. Consider any shelving upgrades that need to be made in order for you to achieve your garage renovation goals. If you are remodeling your garage to sell, the more storage solutions you have available, the more attractive it will be to buyers.

What About the Aesthetics?

It’s not unreasonable for you to want your garage to look presentable, especially if you have plans to sell your house any time soon. As such, your remodeling effort might mean painting the walls, replacing the floor or even having a new garage door installed.

Can You Handle the Project on Your Own, or Should You Call in the Pros?

Depending on the scope of your garage remodel, it may or may not make sense to handle it on a do-it-yourself basis. Certainly, if all you’re doing is reorganizing, perhaps painting the walls or adding some shelves, then you can probably do it on your own. For something as ambitious as a garage door installation or a room conversion that requires insulation and new walls, you’ll likely want to recruit a professional renovation team. Be sure to work with contractors who have experience doing the kind of work you need.

How Much Will It Cost?

Any time you renovate your home, cost is going to be a factor. Hopefully, you’ll recoup your investment when it comes time to sell your home. Regardless, be sure you get some reasonable estimates about the anticipated expense, and that you have your payment ready to go.

What Will You Do While the Remodel Is Happening?

If you have a remodeling project that takes more than a day or two, then you’ll probably need to find space to temporarily keep all the items that are normally kept in the garage. Your car may have to stay in the driveway, a lawnmower and other yard tools may have to stay on the back patio and more fragile stored items should be brought into the house. This can present an inconvenience, and while it’s not an insurmountable issue, it’s definitely something to think about before your remodeling effort is underway.

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