Mother In Law Suite Garage Conversion: First Steps


Are you considering converting your garage into a convenient elder care floor plan?
You can use this simple formula to see if the square footage of your garage is large enough for a mother in-law suite. To find the square footage of your garage space you must measure the inside width and  depth of the garage. You can calculate the width of the garage by measuring from side wall to side wall. For the depth measure from the parting wall between the garage and the living area to the garage overhead door. For convenience you can round off your measurements to the nearest foot. Next take the width and multiply it times the depth. The product will be the square footage of usable space. Example 20 feet wide x 23 feet deep equals 460 square feet. (20’x 23’= 460sqft)

Garage In-Law Suite Minimum Dimensions

You should be in a range of 350 to 900 square feet to create a comfortable in-law suite floor plan. The low end of the range would be adequate for a bedroom, bathroom and small limited kitchen/eating area. On the high end of the range it could be adequate for a large bedroom, handicap bathroom, living room, full service kitchen, comfortable eating area, separate entrance, utility room, etc. The more spacious and/or more rooms required naturally the more square footage you will need.

Garage In-Law Suite Considerations

If the entry from the garage to your home includes steps it will be nesessary to raise the garage floor (or in law suite floor) level to meet the house floor level.  Believe it or not this is a good thing. When you raise the in-law suite floor level you can use the resulting crawl space for plumbing such as drain pipes from the toilet, shower, sinks, etc. You can insulate the perimeter walls of the garage crawl space to create warm floors for your mother in-law suite.

If your access to the house is on the same level as the garage floor, you might have to break the garage concrete floor to install the plumbing for the mother in-law suite. The good thing about this is that  you probably won’t have to use a ramp to access the new space from the exterior.

Cost Effective Home Improvement

The  garage conversion to an in-law suite is one of the most economical types of home improvement in a cost per square foot basis. It creates a living space that keeps your loved one close to you, while creating two separate living spaces for privacy and the highest level of independence possible. In addition to the cost effective and convenient attributes of building an in law suite in the garage, it can add to the value of your home and does not change the look of your home from the exterior.

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About the Author

TomTom Bills is the President of T. Bills Construction Co. since 1979 and is also the owner of In-LawSuite.com. Tom has completed many commercial, residential, and industrial projects with the highest standard of excellence, honesty, and integrity possible. Read more about Why Tom and his wife Barb started In-LawSuite here. Find him on Facebook and TwitterView all posts by Tom →

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