Personalize your home and expand your living area with a garage remodel by a professional garage remodeling company in Los Angeles. If you need an additional bedroom, home office, storage, workspace, or accessory dwelling unit, then review these garage remodel tips and costs.
Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura or San Diego with reliable garage contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about planning their desired garage remodel – here are some ideas & tips to get you started.
1. Personalize Your Space With These Garage Remodel Ideas
A garage renovation takes a general space and reshapes it for your lifestyle. Explore garage remodel ideas that not only can make your space more beautiful and modern, but will either make this space more specialized or flexible for a variety of activities. Review these ideas for inspiration as you consider planning your garage makeover project.
If you’re one of the 45 percent of Americans working at least part-time from home, then a home office offers the privacy and comfort you deserve. Home office garage renovations don’t require plumbing, so they can be more affordable than other types of renovations.
Work with a garage contractor to choose an interior design and layout that promotes your work situation. Ask your chosen contractor to create a professional backdrop for video calls, install enough outlets for all your devices and upgrade the lighting for a comfortable workspace.
Depending on your needs, a single-car garage may provide a sufficient amount of space for your ideal office.
Fitness Center/ Gym
A garage offers plenty of room for a weight bench, exercise bike, treadmill, or yoga studio. Enjoy yoga classes from your home or have your workout routine with total privacy. A contractor can quickly lay comfortable flooring that’s easy to clean for a dedicated fitness space. Lights, mirrors, and other features help give your personal at-home gym the luxurious finished look it deserves.
Hobbyist’s Dream or Mancave (She-shed)
Don’t let your hobby clutter your spare bedroom or a corner of your living room. A local garage remodel service in Los Angeles can tailor your garage living space to expand your hobby area. Transform it into a lucrative side gig or open up possibilities to explore unique new hobbies with your new space. Who knows, you may even join famous companies that started in a garage.
Convert Garage to Master Suite or Guest Suite
Host family, friends, or renters in a dedicated guest suite. Your garage may be large enough to create a studio apartment, complete with a kitchenette and bathroom. This allows you to host family members or vacationers without affecting the privacy of your home. If your ceiling is high enough, you may even be able to add a lofted space to include even more usable square footage.
2. Increase Your Living Area
A garage remodeling project converts a large area of your home into a living space. Depending on the size of your garage, you probably have between 300 and 400 square feet of available space. This can be used for vehicle parking, but many homeowners use their garage for storage and don’t make the most of the space.
Adding a living room, hobby area, or fitness center increases the usable square footage of your home. A garage conversion is typically far more affordable than a home addition, and an addition may not be allowed due to zoning or space restrictions.
3. Create an Accessory Dwelling Unit
An accessory dwelling unit, also known as an ADU, is a living space that’s distinctly separate from your single-family or multifamily home. This additional space can be attached to your home or a freestanding structure.
A licensed and experienced ADU contractor or garage remodeling company can create an ADU attached to your home or in your garage. ADUs offer tremendous flexibility to be used for one or more of the following situations:
- Short-term or long-term rental property
- Guest space
- Suite for parents or grown children
- Downsizing and renting your primary residence
Work with an experienced garage remodeling service to be sure you follow local zoning and building codes. With the proper permits, you may be able to rent out either your primary residence or your ADU for additional income.
4. Garage Remodel Costs in LA
A professional garage renovation is a great investment for many reasons! A garage remodel can add value to a home and increase its resale value, adding a workspace or storage area can help to make a garage more functional and organized, and adding a heating and cooling system can make a garage more comfortable and energy-efficient.
Depending on your chosen design, garage remodels could even come with up to 80 percent ROI.
A garage remodel can range from a simple minimal DIY project or basic repairs to a full-scale renovation or conversion into a living space. Common projects in a garage remodel include adding insulation, drywall, and flooring; installing new windows and doors; and adding electrical and plumbing.
The cost of a garage remodel depends on the size of the garage, the scope of the project, and the materials used. A light garage remodel costs between $10,000 and $50,000 in Los Angeles and Southern California, whereas a full makeover can cost up to $100k! Since many garages are old and haven’t been repaired or improved in many years, much of the cost would entail just repairing any aging issues.
Garage repairs might include:
- Repairing or replacing old or rotted wood studs or beams to ensure structural integrity.
- Repairing or replacing an old concrete garage slab/floor that might be cracked, separating, sloping, etc.
- Making any necessary repairs to the roof or rafters of the garage to insure it is watertight and sealed to the elements.
- Repairing or replacing an old garage door or garage opener.
- Repairing any termite damage to the interior or exterior wood elements such as eaves, fascia board, etc.
In addition to making repairs to your aging garage, there are many options for a full garage remodel in LA. Whether you’re turning your garage into an office, man cave, or other use, there are many options to make it a comfortable space. Just keep in mind – in order to maximize the efficiency of garage remodels, it is important to consider the layout of the space and how it will be used. Below are many of the common options added to a garage to make it a more livable space:
Drywall and Paint
Adding drywall to your garage walls will make a huge difference in creating a space that feels like a living space. It’s also an important feature to create temperature and sound insulation. Not to mention it creates a finished look for you to add whatever you want to your walls such as art, storage, etc. If sound isolation is a priority, like if you’re producing music or live in a noisy neighborhood, you can even add soundproofing insulation into the walls.
Once drywall is up, you can now paint the ceiling and walls whatever color you’d like. Paint is one of the cheapest upgrades you can make to your space and it’s something can DIY if you want to save some money.
Before drywall, it’s a must to install insulation both inside the walls and in the ceiling. This inexpensive addition will ensure that your garage makeover will be a comfortable and energy-efficient environment.
Although a heating a cooling system may not be absolutely necessary as part of a garage remodel, it would certainly be important if you’re planning on spending a lot of time in the space. Especially if you plan to use the garage in the winter or summer, a small HVAC system such as a ductless, “mini-split” unit is likely a great cost-effective option to bring air conditioning into this space. And trust us, if your home is in Southern California, you’ll be glad you have AC for at least 9 months out of the year!
If you’re spending time in your remodeled garage, you’ll want to have the necessary lighting and electrical outlets for your various technology or other appliances. You may have to upgrade your electrical panel in order to provide enough power for everything you need.
Your garage may already have electricity to power a couple of lights, however, it may not be enough power for more than that. Also, since LA homes are typically pretty old, the wiring and switches may need to be upgraded for safety and efficiency purposes.
If you’re renovating your garage into a living space, you’ll have to give up your garage as a large storage location. But, you can certainly maintain some amount of storage, either by building a closet or storage room or by installing cabinetry or shelving.
A ‘raw’ concrete floor is certainly a reasonable and stylish option, but it will show cracks, imperfections, and discolorations. One option is to paint the floor with concrete paint or polish the garage floor. Alternatively, there are multiple garage floor coatings or tiles that work well for indoor/outdoor use.
Alternatively, you can go the more traditional route and install the same type of flooring that you would inside your home. Whether you want to add laminate, hardwood, vinyl, or something like it, your contractor will likely have to prep the floors for this new material, so make sure that you plan to start your project with your vision for new floors in mind. Don’t forget about floor molding and trim as well.
Windows & Doors
Presumably, with an open garage door, there is plenty of natural light. But with a closed door, some people might want more natural light and should install one or more windows. Also, even if you’re also adding an air conditioning unit, you may also want an extra window or two to increase airflow and ventilation in the room.
In addition, access to the garage is much more convenient with the installation of a man-door if one doesn’t already exist.
If you want to have a bathroom, laundry, or a sink in the bathroom, you’ll have to run plumbing to your garage. Installing plumbing where it doesn’t already exist is not a cheap proposition. It requires running water lines (hot and cold), installing waste lines to dispose of the dirty water, and most likely a water heater.
Adding a Kitchen
If you want to make your garage a fully independent living space, you’ll likely want to add either a small kitchenette or even a full-sized kitchen. In a full kitchen, consider all the basics you already have in your existing kitchen inside your home and decide which you’d like to include in the garage. A typical kitchen has appliances like an oven, stovetop, microwave, refrigerator, and perhaps a dishwasher.
There are also the kitchen cabinets and countertops, sink, as well as backsplash that is placed behind the counter. Kitchens inside a garage may be too small to include an island or too many cabinets, but hey – it’s your space and you can do what you want!
The way you permit this space will dictate which of these kitchen elements you’ll be allowed to add. Note that only an ADU will typically allow for a full-sized kitchen with everything included (as discussed above).
Garage Conversion Costs
You shouldn’t be surprised by the garage conversion costs. Depending on your situation, we estimate you’ll invest between $80,000 and $125,000 on a garage conversion in Los Angeles. This includes plans, materials, permits, and labor. You can use GreatBuildz to search for a vetted general contractor in your area at no cost. Get a free garage conversion checklist (scope of work) here.
Again, this price will typically be for a space that has a full bathroom (with a vanity & cabinets, toilet, and shower), a full kitchen (with flooring, cabinets, counters, backsplash, appliances, sink, etc), and a living space as well.
Plan accordingly for your project with accurate garage conversion estimates from experienced contractors. One way to keep costs lower is to get multiple bids from local contractors. Bidding is a good way to find a contractor with a competitive rate, but be sure you choose a garage remodeling company that’s been properly vetted to ensure you receive the highest level of craftsmanship. Selecting the lowest priced contractor isn’t necessarily the best option. Ask yourself why they are so inexpensive compared to multiple other contractor bids? Will the quality of the work suffer? Do they have a smaller or less experienced crew?
One option to save costs on a garage conversion is to create a layout that is efficient considering the location of your utilities…plumbing, electrical gas. If you can locate the bathroom and kitchen next to pre-existing utility hook-ups rather than running those lines to a different location, that will certainly save you money. Also, asking a contractor to be involved in the design of the plans is a great way to “value-engineer” and reduce costs. The contractor, more so than you and your architect, knows the best ways to reduce costs in the design of this kind of project.
5. Garage Remodeling Steps
Enjoy hassle-free renovations by calling GreatBuildz and following these steps to convert your garage with a general contractor:
- Draw up a plan of your garage renovation, including must-haves and questions to ask your contractor.
- Set a realistic budget for your remodeling project, based on your plans and estimated costs in Los Angeles.
- Ask for several estimates from general contractors in your area who are all willing to show you related projects they completed.
- Don’t pay more than $1,000 as a deposit, which is the legal maximum deposit for contractors in California.
- Work with a garage remodel contractor you’re comfortable with and trust to deliver your proposed renovation.
How To Find a Garage Renovation Contractor in Los Angeles
Who are the best garage remodeling contractors near me? Many, but not all general contractors, do garage makeover projects. So the key is to find a quality, local general contractor that has performed similar projects near you and has good reviews from clients. When I say ‘good reviews’, I dont necessarily mean reviews on Facebook or another site. Those reviews might be real, but they may also be ‘paid for’ or from the contractor’s friends/relatives. To get a true sense of whether a garage contractor is indeed reputable and honest, you’ll need to actually call and speak with the contractor’s past clients who live near you.
Discuss your garage project ideas with a leading general contractor in Los Angeles. A general contractor has a trusted team or connections of trusted contractors for every trade. Here are the steps to finding a reliable garage remodeling contractor in Los Angeles:
- Ask for local recommendations from friends, family, and local businesses
- Get matched to vetted contractors through GreatBuildz or other contractor search tools
- Request price estimates
- Ask for references from the company to verify their quality
- Interview the general contractor you’ll be working with to learn more about their process and communication style
Connect With a Leading Garage Remodeling Company in Los Angeles
When remodeling a garage, the right kind of contractor to use is a general contractor. General contractors are the only type of pro that’s licensed by the State Contractors License Board and qualified to perform multiple construction trades. So, a general contractor can do framing, electrical, plumbing, flooring, insulation, drywall, painting, etc. Make sure that the company you hire has a general contractor’s B-license.
A reputable garage remodel contractor is not only licensed, but also fully insured. That means they have both General Liability insurance and Workers Compensation insurance. Before selecting a contractor for your garage remodel, be sure to ask them for a copy of their insurance certificate; and check the dates on it to make sure its active and not expired. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where there the contractor has an accident on your property and you’re on the hook for the costs.
When it comes to planning and coordinating a garage remodel for your home, you shouldn’t have to go it alone – GreatBuildz can help simplify your remodel experience.
GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura or San Diego with reliable, thoroughly screened general contractors and provides project support from start to finish. Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next remodel project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com
Need more remodeling ideas or to learn more about garage conversion costs? Check out our other garage conversion blogs…