A Roof Over Their Heads -- How To Convert Your Garage Into Grandma's Apartment

Looking to add a space in your home that grandma or grandpa can live in? One great way to give everyone some space while keeping parents or grandparents safe is to convert the family garage into an apartment. How can you accomplish it, though?

Insulation. Unless you live in a very temperate climate, you will likely need to add some insulation to the garage to make it cozy for living in. If the garage isn't finished, you can layer in some fiberglass insulation before hanging drywall on the walls. Be sure to caulk any drafts or air leaks before closing them off with drywall. If you live in an area where the climate changes significantly through the year, you may also want to hand a drop ceiling and place additional insulation above the ceiling. Finally, you can add either a layer of carpet padding and a carpet or a wood frame over additional insulation on the floor, depending on your weather. 

The Door. If possible, try to upgrade the garage door to make the apartment seem less like you simply moved furniture into a garage. Carriage-style doors are a great way to give the apartment some character while not having to pay to have the entire wall filled in. If you choose to replace the overhead door with a stud frame wall, be sure to add additional windows or a bay window to improve natural lighting. 

Utilities. To heat and provide water to the garage may call for some professional help. Most garages have some power, but few have much in the way of pipes. Running existing plumbing lines out to the garage is easiest if the garage is close to either a bathroom or the kitchen. If it's not close to any existing pipes, you may need to spend some additional budget extending pipes. Place the apartment bathroom and kitchen on the shared house wall to save money and time. 

Interior Design. Placing interior walls, making the apartment friendly for disabled persons or adding additional space via a loft are all projects for which you may want to consult with top residential architects. An architect may be required to apply for building permits, but even if it isn't mandatory it's often a good idea. The advantage of working with an architect is the ability to know where all your electrical connections and piping are as well as how to maximize space in your new apartment. 

Planning ahead on how you want to lay out your garage apartment and understanding what your existing structure has to work with will help you control your budget while creating a new living space worthy of your family or loved ones.