Garage walls – Prepping for your garage conversion

Garage conversion, General

If you are interested in adding some value to your property, or you’re just looking to create some more usable space in your home, you might be thinking about converting your garage.

According to property experts, converting a garage into additional living space can add as much as 10% to the value of your home. Even when you ignore the numbers, garages are more than often just burial grounds for all those items in your life you can’t bring yourself to throw away and very rarely house cars at all. These sorts of garages would be far better off as a conversion.

garage-pixabayOne of the first things you’ll need to be thinking about is building regulations and how many alterations you might need to be making in order to comply to them. This quick blog will help you identify and solve any issues with the external walls of your garage before your conversion project begins.

External walls are covered by building regulations and must meet requirements in terms of moisture-proofing and insulation. If the garage is integral to the house the exterior walls will usually meet building regulations. Otherwise consider a second block wall, or a stud wall, inside the existing exterior wall. Insulation and power and water lines can be put behind this wall. Note that this will decrease the interior dimensions of the space.

Interior walls between rooms in the conversion must meet building regulations requirements for fireproofing. This can mean one or two layers of fireproof plasterboard on stud walls. For block walls this is unnecessary. Doors through interior walls need to be fireproof, with a 30-minute rating. Additionally, building regulations may require a step in the floor at the doorway to prevent fire spreading along the floorboards.

If the garage will see a lot of use, especially if it is external to the house, consider additional insulation. This will decrease cost long term. Additionally, the insulation requirements for buildings have been rising and will continue to rise; over-insulating now will make your property more saleable later when building regulations may require it, and it’s cheaper to add while the walls are under construction.

Replacing the garage door with an infill wall will require investigating the foundations to confirm their depth. Shallow fill foundations may require improvement to support the additional weight. Consider replacing the door with a large window and panelling. The adjoining room to the door can be a storeroom, or the window can be the ‘front’ of the conversion. By saving the expense of reworking the foundations these options can be considerably cheaper. Some owners report having built an interior-style block wall behind the existing garage door and insulating this, leaving the exterior appearance of the garage unaltered.

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