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Joy D.
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Garage Conversion to Living Space

Joy D.
Posted Apr 17 2024, 06:54

Hi there!

I'm contemplating adding a bedroom with a bathroom into my single-car garage space... nothing major, just a simple space conversion. Has ANYBODY gone through the permits process and done this? The costs from securing architectural drawings to getting a survey and mechanical/engineering/plumbing sheets are wild! Does anybody have a hack for THIS? The goal is to generate income from my primary residence.  

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Bruce Woodruff
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Bruce Woodruff
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Replied Apr 19 2024, 07:26
Quote from @Joy D.:

Framing is done with plywood right? And overpour is when you get the truck to pour in the cement? Is one method better than the other? 

If you go the wood framing route you will have to rip the joists that sit on the concrete because garage floors are built with a slope (for water runoff). This can be a PITA unless you have a good Contractor/Framer. You'll also have to seal the existing concrete with some sort of vapor barrier.

Easier to just go the concrete route....


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Replied Apr 19 2024, 07:41
Quote from @Bruce Woodruff:
Quote from @Jeff Hagen:

There is one unethical hack I've seen for the floor issue -- calling the garage conversion a "storage conversion" (not classifying it for living purposes). I think it depends on the department and could lead to liability issues, but I've seen it done.

Oh yeah, this will get people in serious trouble :-) .....dodging the 'living space conversion' by calling it 'storage space'. All it takes is a neighbor to call or a city official stopping by on unrelated issues. Municipalities really do not like it when you lie to them about living space. At least that was my experience.....

Agree. I would never do it. But this is Florida. Most people in my local area don't even have their ADUs permitted, so even a storage conversion permit is a step up :D

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Replied Apr 19 2024, 07:42
Quote from @Bruce Woodruff:
Quote from @Joy D.:

Framing is done with plywood right? And overpour is when you get the truck to pour in the cement? Is one method better than the other? 

If you go the wood framing route you will have to rip the joists that sit on the concrete because garage floors are built with a slope (for water runoff). This can be a PITA unless you have a good Contractor/Framer. You'll also have to seal the existing concrete with some sort of vapor barrier.

Easier to just go the concrete route....



 Concrete is far better, but it's also quite a bit more expensive. 

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Replied Apr 19 2024, 07:44
Quote from @Joy D.:
Quote from @Jeff Hagen:

Def worth a shot to save 4k. Only other thing I can think of that would constitute a structural mod would be if the floor of the garage needed to be raised and if it were to be done via framing vs overpour. Any time I've done an addition, I had to raise the floor to match the rest of the house.

There is one unethical hack I've seen for the floor issue -- calling the garage conversion a "storage conversion" (not classifying it for living purposes). I think it depends on the department and could lead to liability issues, but I've seen it done.

Framing is done with plywood right? And overpour is when you get the truck to pour in the cement? Is one method better than the other? And I'm assuming there are cost implications that vary with either? Hmm... seems like framing a floor vs cement could lead to moisture issues (or maybe not otherwise why would they allow that option)... Any thoughts on this?

 The homeowner / contractor trying to save money on a project will go the framing route. I always opt for overpour, but it can be quite costly. Concrete work is expensive.

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Joy D.
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Joy D.
Replied Apr 19 2024, 08:28
Quote from @Bruce Woodruff:
Quote from @Joy D.:

Framing is done with plywood right? And overpour is when you get the truck to pour in the cement? Is one method better than the other? 

If you go the wood framing route you will have to rip the joists that sit on the concrete because garage floors are built with a slope (for water runoff). This can be a PITA unless you have a good Contractor/Framer. You'll also have to seal the existing concrete with some sort of vapor barrier.

Easier to just go the concrete route....


Much appreciated!

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Joy D.
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Joy D.
Replied Apr 19 2024, 08:48
Quote from @Jeff Hagen:
Quote from @Joy D.:
Quote from @Jeff Hagen:

Def worth a shot to save 4k. Only other thing I can think of that would constitute a structural mod would be if the floor of the garage needed to be raised and if it were to be done via framing vs overpour. Any time I've done an addition, I had to raise the floor to match the rest of the house.

There is one unethical hack I've seen for the floor issue -- calling the garage conversion a "storage conversion" (not classifying it for living purposes). I think it depends on the department and could lead to liability issues, but I've seen it done.

Framing is done with plywood right? And overpour is when you get the truck to pour in the cement? Is one method better than the other? And I'm assuming there are cost implications that vary with either? Hmm... seems like framing a floor vs cement could lead to moisture issues (or maybe not otherwise why would they allow that option)... Any thoughts on this?

 The homeowner / contractor trying to save money on a project will go the framing route. I always opt for overpour, but it can be quite costly. Concrete work is expensive.

Thanks, Jeff. I'll get some price estimates and weight out my options. Love getting info from all sides of this!

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Joy D.
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Joy D.
Replied Apr 19 2024, 08:53
Quote from @Jeff Hagen:
Quote from @Bruce Woodruff:
Quote from @Jeff Hagen:

There is one unethical hack I've seen for the floor issue -- calling the garage conversion a "storage conversion" (not classifying it for living purposes). I think it depends on the department and could lead to liability issues, but I've seen it done.

Oh yeah, this will get people in serious trouble :-) .....dodging the 'living space conversion' by calling it 'storage space'. All it takes is a neighbor to call or a city official stopping by on unrelated issues. Municipalities really do not like it when you lie to them about living space. At least that was my experience.....

Agree. I would never do it. But this is Florida. Most people in my local area don't even have their ADUs permitted, so even a storage conversion permit is a step up :D

Haha! True words! THIS is FLORIDA, and it's hard times out here. I'll probably be one of a tiny handful of permitted garage conversions in my neighborhood.

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Bruce Woodruff
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Replied Apr 19 2024, 11:33
Quote from @Joy D.:
Haha! True words! THIS is FLORIDA, and it's hard times out here. I'll probably be one of a tiny handful of permitted garage conversions in my neighborhood.

 You're being smart!

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Replied Apr 19 2024, 14:54

I'm in Tampa currently in permitting. Zoning already approved the use of ADU as a rental and I'm currently dealing with building department. I want to convert a detached garage 350 sft and add 200 sft. Initially I asked for quotes and it was around 35K. Now it went up to 75K. While I address permit comments I'm contemplating the idea of buying another house instead of putting the money here. Being honest I thought it will be easier and cheaper, so first recommendation is to check with the city if you will be able to pull a permit.

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Replied Apr 19 2024, 14:57
Quote from @Henry T.:

Piece of cake. I've done this at a few properties. my last project I hired a drafter rather than an architect. His drawings sailed right thru the permit office. There was no structural changes involved, so no structural engineer. The city even had a little handout for garage conversion, pertaining to achieving the proper R value for an in place slab. For cost reasons I called it a remodel rather than an ADU. This saved around $50k of charges for sewer impact fees and separate electric meter(who wants another bill? not me). You can buy these little meters that attach to your sub panel, if you want to know how much elec the unit is using. My biggest surprise on this last project was that they allowed standard 1/2" sheetrock for fire wall. In the past it's always been 5/8". I was stunned. Not saying you should, check first of course.


 Could you share the submeter for electricity. I have a house with a small studio in the back one meter. I need to find a way to split the service

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Steve K.
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Steve K.
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Replied Apr 19 2024, 15:36

I was showing a house with a garage converted into a bedroom to some buyers this week. The conversation went like this: “This is so funky, you can tell it’s supposed to be the garage but now it’s a bedroom, and there’s no garage. The driveway goes right up to the house and it feels like somebody is going to drive into the bedroom. How much do you think it will cost to convert this back into a garage and add a bedroom somewhere else where it makes more sense to have a bedroom?” They decided to pass on the house, and are under contract on a different house with a normal layout and a garage. This is often the case with garage conversions, they rarely make practical sense in my experience.  

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Joy D.
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Joy D.
Replied Apr 19 2024, 16:00
Quote from @Bruce Woodruff:
Quote from @Joy D.:
Haha! True words! THIS is FLORIDA, and it's hard times out here. I'll probably be one of a tiny handful of permitted garage conversions in my neighborhood.

 You're being smart!

Thanks!
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Henry T.
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Henry T.
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Replied Apr 20 2024, 12:28
Quote from @Betzandra Garcia:
Quote from @Henry T.:

Piece of cake. I've done this at a few properties. my last project I hired a drafter rather than an architect. His drawings sailed right thru the permit office. There was no structural changes involved, so no structural engineer. The city even had a little handout for garage conversion, pertaining to achieving the proper R value for an in place slab. For cost reasons I called it a remodel rather than an ADU. This saved around $50k of charges for sewer impact fees and separate electric meter(who wants another bill? not me). You can buy these little meters that attach to your sub panel, if you want to know how much elec the unit is using. My biggest surprise on this last project was that they allowed standard 1/2" sheetrock for fire wall. In the past it's always been 5/8". I was stunned. Not saying you should, check first of course.


 Could you share the submeter for electricity. I have a house with a small studio in the back one meter. I need to find a way to split the service


I just typed in "electric usage meter for home" at amazon. This may give some ideas.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=electric+usage+meter+for+home&...

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Replied Apr 21 2024, 04:00
Quote from @Steve K.:

I was showing a house with a garage converted into a bedroom to some buyers this week. The conversation went like this: “This is so funky, you can tell it’s supposed to be the garage but now it’s a bedroom, and there’s no garage. The driveway goes right up to the house and it feels like somebody is going to drive into the bedroom. How much do you think it will cost to convert this back into a garage and add a bedroom somewhere else where it makes more sense to have a bedroom?” They decided to pass on the house, and are under contract on a different house with a normal layout and a garage. This is often the case with garage conversions, they rarely make practical sense in my experience.  


Probably depends on the area. Here in South FL, garages are very rarely used to park vehicles. We don't have cold weather. It's easier to just park in the driveway, esp when the garage temps can be well over 100 degrees.

For the right buyer, being able to generate $1500 / mo rent far outweighs the extra storage space. One of the best ROIs you can get as a homeowner. But I see your point.

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Jorge Vazquez
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Jorge Vazquez
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Replied Apr 21 2024, 17:32

Absolutely! If you're thinking about turning your garage into a bedroom with a bathroom to make some extra cash, here’s the scoop based on my 20 years of experience: You'll need to budget for design and engineering costs, which typically run between $2 to $3 per square foot of your total property area, not just the garage. So for a 1,800 square foot total (home plus garage), you’re looking at around $3,600 to $5,400 just for the plans. Then you’ll hire a general contractor who will sort out permits and oversee the construction, which includes a bunch of inspections like framing, electrical, and plumbing. Overall, you're looking at an approximate total cost ranging between $20,000 to $25,000 for a one-car garage conversion in Tampa. It’s a bit of a process with several steps, but it's totally doable and well worth it for the added income!

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Joy D.
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Joy D.
Replied Apr 21 2024, 17:51
Mad props to you Jorge for weighing in with your expertise and total cost ballpark estimate!!