Should Alhambra Homeowners Convert their Garage into a Living Space? What to Consider?


Learn about the considerations to make your garage conversion a successful project

When space is limited, homeowners usually look for creative ways of space management. In locations where real estate price is on the rise, garage conversions are common. A converted garage is also one option for homeowners to reduce the expense of their property mortgage while remaining in the property using short-term rentals.

Garage conversions in Alhambra seem to be a popular home renovation project ably supported by Queen Remodeling, the most experienced remodeler in the city. With no barriers to load-bearing walls, a garage conversion may appear to be the natural solution. However, there are several key pros and cons to consider before commencing this undertaking.

What are the Pros and Cons of Garage Conversion?

Since the benefits are outweighed by the drawbacks, a garage conversion to an apartment requires more thought than renovating a basement. You are quite comfortable with transforming an unusable space into a place of utility with a basement remodel. A garage, on the other hand, is a unique situation. With the garage, you create a space for living purposes. It becomes a one-for-one deal at best. In the worst-case scenario, you may depreciate your property value.

Many homeowners prefer to expand into the garage since it maintains yard space rather than creating an extension, which results in more living space but less opportunity for outside activities. However, some individuals utilize their garage for storage. Removing the vehicles from the garage may violate municipal parking regulations, and garage conversions rarely raise the value of a home. Several prospective buyers value a protected parking area, which is lost when a garage is converted.

Moreover, garage conversions need more effort than they appear. Because much of the framework (ceilings, walls, roof, and flooring) is already in place, homeowners may believe that a garage conversion requires more than a few lights and flooring. Garage conversions are expensive, time-consuming jobs that aren’t quite on par with creating a fresh ADU remodeling.


  • There is no loss of yard space
  • The structure is already in place


  • Storage loss
  • Parking space issues
  • No value addition

Do Zoning and Legal Concerns make a Difference? 

Converting a parking lot into a safe, habitable, and conditioned living space raises legal and zoning code concerns. When a garage is converted into a livable and new conditioned area, it may undergo a substantial legal transformation. As the main criterion, some municipalities investigate whether suitable measures have been made to substitute the parking stalls that have been removed from the garage.

When a garage is converted into a conditioned space, it must meet technical and regulatory standards that were not necessary in the past when the space just housed automobiles or served as a storage area. Besides, most towns’ building laws necessitate a variety of permissions for the following activities:

  • Erecting or changing walls
  • Drainage or running water supply
  • Running sewage line
  • Adding windows, and installing a complete electrical system.

Most municipalities have begun to scrutinize garage conversions, even if the space is not rented out.

What are the Basics of a Garage Conversion to Living Space? 

  • Ceiling: Set a reasonable ceiling height of 7 1/2 feet. If you’re also elevating the floor height, it may be a challenging task.
  • Windows: Make sure there is enough window opening to allow for air and natural light. It may also equate to 5 1/2 square feet or a proportion of the total garage area in some municipal jurisdictions.
  • Light: It is mandated by local codes that at least one wall-mounted light switch in a garage conversion.
  • Heat: Always maintain a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Extending existing central heating ducts and introducing electrical baseboard or fan-driven wall heaters are two retrofit heating solutions.
  • Outlets: Add or replace wall outlets to fulfill minimum space requirements. To reach an outlet, a cord not more than 6 feet has to be extended.

How can a Garage Conversion be made more Comfortable? 

  • Wall Insulation: The vast majority of garage ceilings and walls are uninsulated. Drywall must be stripped if it has already been installed and insulation applied. For the walls, use Rockwool, traditional fiberglass roll insulation, or sprayed foam insulation. For the ceiling, you may use fiberglass batts.
  • Install Floor Covering: Even if you raise the floor with sleepers, you’ll still require a floor covering. For garage conversions, engineered wood, tile, laminate flooring, and luxury vinyl plank flooring are common options.
  • Raise the Floor Height: Garages are typically built at a lower level than the house. While it is not required, matching flooring heights improves your property by elevating the floor surface just above the concrete garage floor. Floor insulation may be required in some areas.
  • Finish Existing Drywall or Install New Drywall: In most garages, the walls are not finished to a high standard. If the sidewalls are insulated, you can leave the existing drywall in place but improve the finish.
  • Hide Average looking Areas: Non-load-bearing wall structures should be built around any parts that you don’t want to see. It includes a furnace, water heater, laundry room, or storage.
  • Replace or Insulate the Garage Door: Is it better to keep the garage door or replace it with a wall? In many cases, a wall may be required to replace the door. You have to insulate the garage door if you have decided to keep it. Before transforming the garage into an apartment, you’ll need to answer this question.

New legislation governing ADUs that includes garage conversion came into effect in 2020. It mandates the abolition of the maximum or minimum size for an ADU depending on the proportion of the primary dwelling.

Previously, the ADU could only be half the size of the original house. Another alteration is that the local permitting body must act on an ADU remodeling application within 60 days of its submission. Previously, the governing bodied took 120 days to assess an application, which would influence the delaying of the entire conversion process.


Garage conversion to the apartment, which belongs to the ADU category, is the most economical living style these days. If you find this particular ADU addition a bit costly affair, you should immediately contact a competent remodeler in your locality. Alhambra remodeling services by Queen Remodeling is a building contractor in your area who can address your potential concerns efficiently.



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