Your Garage Remodel Playbook: Plan the Perfect Renovation in 9 Steps
A garage renovation is a daunting task that requires budgeting, thoughtful planning, and the help of skilled professionals. We’ll help you plan your garage remodel in 11 steps, including average cost data and material recommendations.
1. Budget your garage renovation
The first step of your garage renovation is to budget for the upgrades and services you’ll need. According to Fixr, the average cost to remodel a 2-car garage runs between $7,000 and $15,000.
|Type of remodel||Average cost|
|Partial||$500 – $5,000|
|Full||$7,000 – $15,000|
|Conversion into a living space||$20,000 – $75,000|
Here’s a detailed cost breakdown for common garage remodel upgrades:
|Garage upgrade||Average cost|
|Utility sink||$215 – $591|
|Tankless water heater||$1,172 – $3,364|
|Insulation||$1,400 – $6,300 ($3/sq ft)|
|Drywall||$1,001 – $2,882 ($2/sq ft)|
|Paint interior||$953 – $2,896|
|Polyaspartic floor coating||$6/sq ft (see below for more flooring prices)|
|Additional outlets||$212 per outlet|
|LED lighting||$125 per 10 linear feet|
|Add storage||$2,065 (see below for a cost breakdown)|
|Garage addition||$16,749 – $38,930|
|Garage extension (bump-out)||$10,500 – $27,000|
|Install an automatic door opener||$218 – $511 (see below for additional options and costs)|
|Junk removal||$133 – $360|
|Organization services||$252 – $793|
|General contractor||10% to 20% of total construction project cost|
Source: Home Advisor
Once you have an idea of your project scope, you can plan how you’ll fund the project. Common ways to pay for a garage remodel include:
- Dip into your rainy-day savings
- Finance with a home equity loan or a home-equity line of credit (HELOC)
- Obtain a home improvement loan
- Use a credit card, leveraging introductory period bonuses
2. Declutter your garage to remove unwanted items
Average project cost: $791-$2,142
Average project duration: 1-3 days
Start your remodel by donating and throwing out any items in the garage you no longer want. That way, you’ll know what belongings you own and how much storage you need before you begin installing new features.
Tackle your clutter with help from family, friends, or a professional organizer. Decluttering can be an overwhelming process, so it’s helpful to bring in an objective eye to help you sort through your belongings.
Here are some ways to remove junk and unwanted items from your garage:
- Rent a dumpster for $25 to $80 a day.
- Call a charity to pick up large donations and furniture.
- Recycle your electronic devices at Best Buy.
- Recycle motor oil and batteries at AutoZone.
- Recycle tires at a local tire dealer.
- Contact your municipality to find out where to dispose of hazardous items.
- Contact your local junk removal service to schedule a pickup.
3. Bump out a wall to expand your garage
Average project cost: $2,000-$12,000
Average project duration: 2-3 days
If your garage is too small to fit your needs (for example, if you need more space for your tools, motorcycle, or workbench), consider expanding your garage. You can bump out a wall a few feet for between $2,000 to $12,000.
The exact cost to add space to your garage depends on several factors, including:
- Complexity of your extension
- Cost of construction materials
- Purpose of your extension
- Condition of your building site
- Cost of local permits and labor
4. Insulate your garage walls
Average project cost: $1,500-$8,000 ($0.50-$1.25 per square foot)
Average project duration: 1 day
You can improve your garage’s energy efficiency by adding insulation to the walls and ceiling. Insulating your garage helps maintain a more stable temperature in your garage and the interior of your home by limiting the transfer of cold and warm air from the outside.
The average cost to insulate a garage varies widely depending on your garage size and insulation material. HomeAdvisor estimates it costs $0.50 to $1.25 per square foot to insulate a garage, with most homeowners spending between $1,500 to $8,000 on the project in total.
The most common insulation materials include:
- Fiberglass insulation
- Cellulose insulation
- Rigid foam insulation
- Spray foam insulation
5. Add task lighting
Average project cost: $200-$2,000
Average project duration: 2-4 hours
Most garages are dimly lit, with the only lighting coming from a bare bulb. Brighten up the space with task lighting so you can easily lay hands on that elusive hex wrench, locate the oil filter under your vehicle, and find your heirloom Christmas ornaments.
Home Depot recommends following these guidelines when planning garage lighting:
- Install at least one 8-foot lighting fixture per vehicle space.
- Choose light fixtures with 4-foot bulbs.
- Opt for fluorescent lights based on the lowest temperature in your garage (some fluorescent lights do not work below 50 degrees).
- Purchase fixtures with electronic ballasts rather than electromagnetic ones.
- If you plan on using your garage for painting, choose lights with a color rendering index (CRI) rating of 85 or above.
6. Finish your walls with drywall and paint
Average project cost: $1,200-$5,100
Average project duration: 1 day
Whether you use your garage for parking and storage or DIY projects, think about enhancing the space with finished walls. Drywall is the most common material for finishing garage walls and may be required by your local fire code.
After your drywall is installed, cover the walls with an interior latex paint a neutral color such as gray, tan, or beige. If you paint the walls yourself, make sure to prime first; otherwise, the paint will soak into the drywall.
7. Update the garage flooring
Average project cost: $475-$10,000
Average project duration: 1-2 days
Protect your garage floor from chemicals, moisture, and damage with one of these flooring options:
- A concrete stain is a liquid dye that changes the color of your concrete, which is then protected with a clear topcoat.
- Epoxy is a protective resin coating.
- Polyaspartic coating is a hybrid material that resembles polyurethane with a clear, glossy finish.
- Drive-over porcelain tile is another durable option for garage flooring that comes in a wide variety of colors and styles.
To help you decide which option is best for you, we’ve listed the common garage flooring options and average installed costs below:
|Flooring||Average cost/sq ft||Average cost/500 sq ft|
8. Add storage with shelves, cabinets, and hooks
Average project cost: $200-$2,000
Average project duration: 2-8 hours
Your garage has more vertical space than floor space. Adding storage to your ceilings and walls helps you fit more in this space in an organized fashion.
Consider adding the following storage features to your remodeled garage:
|Ceiling mounted shelving||4’x8’ Fleximounts||$200|
|Pegboard for tools||3’x4’ Ultrawall pegboard||$150|
|Hooks for bulky items||Smartology hooks||$15|
|Kayak slings||Malone double kayak system||$25|
|Open shelving||45”x15” HyLoft shelf||$60|
|Clear bins||Rubbermaid bins||$60|
9. Replace the garage door with an insulated model
Average project cost: $750-$1,700
Average project duration: 1-2 hours
A manual garage door is a hassle, and an old garage door can be an eyesore. If your garage door has seen better days, update it.
Below is a list of common garage door updates and the average costs:
|Garage door update||Average cost|
|Replace your garage door||$756-$1,564|
|Install a garage door opener||$218-$511|
|Insulate your garage door||$50-$200|
Sources: Home Advisor, House Logic
As a bonus, garage door replacement is one of the best home improvements you can make when it comes to return on investment. According to Remodeling Magazine, the average garage door replacement costs $3,907 and adds $3,663 in value when you sell your home — that’s 93.8% of costs recouped!
Header Image Source: (Keagan Henman / Unsplash)