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Understanding Garage Conversion

A garage conversion is renovating an existing garage space into a living area, such as a bedroom, office, or entertainment room.

This involves making structural and aesthetic changes to the garage, including insulation, electrical work, and interior finishing. The goal of a garage conversion is to create additional usable living space within a home without having to build an addition.

Before starting a garage conversion in San Diego, we consider home storage, parking availability, and your local building regulations.

Garage Conversion

Benefits of Garage Conversions in San Diego

Garage conversions have gained popularity among San Diego homeowners, driven partly by economic uncertainty and a challenging housing market. Increasing your property value and creating additional living space with garage conversion comes with several benefits.

1 Additional Income Source

converting your garage into a living space with a working bathroom, kitchen space and enough room for a bedroom, provides an independent area that can generate revenue. You can choose to rent out the converted space to recoup the investment or continue to lease it for additional monthly income.

2 Extra Living Space

a well done garage conversion in San Diego can add much needed extra space for bedrooms, family rooms, or play areas for your family.

3 Boosting Property Value

adding more living space will raise the value of your home, since it is a selling point to potential buyers in San Diego. For a small investment, a San Diego garage conversion will provide a worthwhile return.

4 Customized Space

when you convert your garage with Better Place Remodeling, we offer you the opportunity to design the space to your specific needs and preferences. You can choose the flooring, lighting, wall colors, and other design elements to create a truly unique space that reflects your style.

5 Cost-Effective Solution

garage conversions are a great and more cost-effective alternative to home additions or accessory dwelling units, because they cost a lot less and you spend less time than building up or out.

6 Boost Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

air from the garage that enters your cooled living spaces increases your energy bills during the winter. By sealing additional openings in your garage, upgrading the insulation and ventilation, renovating the garage floor, and upgrading windows and doors, you can improve your home’s energy efficiency.

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    Planning and Design

    For a successful garage conversion project, proper planning and design are essential. A well-designed and well-executed garage conversion will offer you a beautiful and functional living space.

    Garage Conversion Permit

    Planning Your Garage Conversion in San Diego

    As a garage conversion contractor in San Diego, we will ensure your project suits your preferences and help you check with your local planning authority to ensure your garage conversion falls within the permitted development.

    Our key planning considerations will include the following:

    • Assessing Your Needs – we start with determining what you want to use the converted space for. Do you need an additional bedroom, home office, entertainment room, or gym? This will guide the design and layout of the conversion and other structural features and plumbing and electrical systems.
    • Reviewing San Diego Garage Conversion Code and Regulations – the next step is to identify the building codes and regulations that apply to your garage conversion project – local, state, and federal codes. This includes the proposed structural changes, the intended use of the space, and any additional features or modifications.
    • Developing a Design Plan – after assessing the existing conditions of the garage, including the foundation, walls, roof, and electrical and plumbing systems, our designers will create a concept design that outlines the project’s layout, functionality, and aesthetic goals. This may include floor plans, elevations, and 3D renderings to help visualize the design.

    Garage Conversion Design

    When designing your garage conversion in San Diego, we first examine the existing structure, focusing on the foundation, walls, and roof stability. This assessment is crucial in determining the key component of the design, which will include the following:

    • Garage Flooring – when choosing the flooring materials for your garage conversion, durability and moisture resistance are key factors to consider. Some popular options for garage flooring include epoxy coating, interlocking tiles, vinyl, hardwood, and concrete stains.
    • Lighting – to create a functional living space from your garage, we recommend recessed lighting for ample lighting, pendant lights or track lighting to highlight specific areas, such as a workspace or seating area, and wall sconces or floor lamps for a decorative touch.
    • Custom Cabinetry and Storage – our designs will include custom cabinetry to fit specific needs and provide ample storage space, wall-mounted shelving or racks, and built-in benches or seating with hidden storage for a multi-functional space and maximizing storage.
    • Wall Treatments and Finishing – we will help you choose the right paint and wall treatments, such as lighter colors to create the illusion of a larger space and darker colors for a cozy and intimate feel. We can add visual interest and texture to the space using accent walls or wallpapers.
    • Tiled Surfaces – we use tiles on different surfaces to add a stylish and durable element to your garage conversion. Our popular options include porcelain tiles for their strength and being waterproof, ceramic tiles for their wide range of designs, and natural stone tiles, such as marble or granite, can for a luxurious touch.
    Garage Conversion

    San Diego Garage Conversion Codes and Regulations

    As experienced San Diego garage conversion experts, our team will help you learn and understand your local building codes and regulations and determine if your property is eligible for a garage conversion. We will also obtain the necessary permits and oversee inspections to ensure your project complies.


    Eligibility Requirements

    1. The garage conversion must be on the same lot as the main dwelling.
    2. The garage conversion design must be practical and consistent with the original property design and floor plan.
    3. The new conversion cannot be marketed or sold separately from the property.

    Garage Conversion Requirements

    When converting your garage into a secondary dwelling unit, we consider the following:

    1. Energy-efficient windows
    2. Stormwater management through Low Impact Development Requirements
    3. Adequate ventilation
    4. Necessary permits for electrical and plumbing changes
    5. Limitation on size (cannot exceed half the size of the main home)
    6. A separate entrance
    7. Amenities for independent living, like a bathroom and kitchen

    Setback Requirements

    1. No setback criteria from the property’s rear and side lines apply if the garage footprint remains unchanged.
    2. Any expansions or modifications to the garage floor plan must comply with setback requirements, which should not exceed 4 inches from the side and rear property lines.

    Foundations and Flooring

    The foundation and flooring requirements for each project differ and may include the following:

    1. Filling in the existing garage door opening with new material
    2. Building a stem wall to prevent water seepage
    3. Adding R-19 insulation to raised wooden floors
    4. Installing R-7 insulation around the perimeter of the slab in Climate Zone.

    San Diego Garage Conversion Permits

    San Diego’s building department will need at least the following documents:

    1. Permit Application Form
    2. Title 24 Compliance Forms
    3. Site Plan Drawings and Vicinity Map
    4. Structural Drawings
    5. Floor Plan Drawings
    6. Elevations Drawings
    7. Roof Framing Plan
    8. Mechanical and Electrical Drawings

    Sleeping Rooms

    If the garage conversion includes a sleeping room, it must comply with the California Building Code, including requirements for means of egress, fire safety, and ventilation. Sleeping rooms must comply with relevant local building codes, including accessibility requirements.

    Types of Garage Conversions in San Diego

    There are several types of garage conversions that you can consider, each with its own unique set of benefits and limitations. Some common types of garage conversions in San Diego include:

    Garage Conversion

    Full Conversions

    A full conversion is a complete garage transformation into a new living space, such as a bedroom, home office, or family room.

    This conversion involves removing all or most of the garage doors and walls, insulating the space, adding electrical and plumbing systems, and finishing the interior to match the rest of the home. They offer the greatest potential to increase the home’s overall square footage and add value.

    Garage Remodel San Diego

    Partial Conversions

    This means partially transforming the garage into a new living space while retaining some of the garage’s original features, such as the garage doors or some of the walls.

    We use this type of conversion to create more cost-effective and practical solutions, such as a home office or game room, while still allowing the space to be used as a garage if needed. Partial conversions can be a good choice if you want to add living space but don’t need a full conversion.

    Garage Conversion

    Garage Addition Conversions

    A garage addition conversion involves building an addition onto the existing garage to create more living space. It is a good choice if you want to add square footage to your home but don’t want to lose your existing garage.

    This type of conversion can be more expensive than a full or partial conversion but offers the advantage of adding a significant amount of new living space to the home.

    Important Design and Style Elements of Garage Conversion

    At Better Place Remodeling, we are here to help you explore the different design and style options to maximize the potential of your San Diego garage conversion.

    Here are the popular options to consider in San Diego:

    1 Traditional with Matching Existing Architecture

    This is one of our popular designs for your garage conversion in San Diego, as it ensures the new structure blends in seamlessly with the existing architecture of the main house.

    We can create a cohesive and visually appealing new living space by carefully assessing the existing architecture, choosing complementary materials, matching the roofline, incorporating similar design elements, and paying attention to details.

    2 Modern and Contemporary Style

    To achieve a modern and contemporary look for your garage conversion in San Diego, we consider incorporating open floor plans, neutral color palettes, minimalist furniture, natural materials, statement lighting, functional storage, and technology integration.

    The modern and contemporary design is ideal if you want to increase the potential of your garage while making it a beautiful space.

    3 Rustic and Cozy

    A rustic and cozy garage conversion might be the perfect option to create a comfortable space with a rustic aesthetic. This style is characterized by natural materials, warm colors, textures and patterns, vintage and antique accents, soft lighting, a fireplace or wood stove, and natural accents.

    Exposed beams, rustic lighting, and comfortable seating are typical design features of this style. It is ideal for those seeking to embrace their rural heritage while maintaining a modern aesthetic.

    4 Minimalistic and Functional

    Simplicity, clean lines, and a focus on functionality characterize this design. It is about stripping away the excess and keeping what is necessary. By removing clutter and extraneous things, we reduce furniture and accessories to a minimum and maintain neutral and subtle color palettes.

    Furthermore, our designs focus on daylight, and the open spaces are meant to create an airy contemporary feel.

    The key to a successful minimalistic and industrial design for your garage conversion in San Diego is to prioritize function over form, showcase raw materials and elements, and keep things clean and simple.

    Financing Your Home Remodeling Project

    Better Place Remodeling believes everyone should be entitled to renovate their home. That’s why we work with the best financing companies to provide our customers with different financing plans so they can find the one that best fits their needs.



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    We’ll arrive at your home to get a better understanding of your vision and to discuss your ideas, budget and needs.



    Design & Planning

    We’ll make sure to get and prepare all documentation and permits required to proceed with your home renovation project.

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    Construction Documents & Building Permits

    We’ll make sure to get and prepare all documentation and permits required to proceed with your home renovation project.

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    Construction Phase

    Once the plan has been agreed on and finalized we’ll begin the construction phase. We will work relentlessly to make your vision a beautiful, efficient, and long-lasting reality. All our San Diego home renovation projects are built to the highest standards.

    Construction Phase


    Final Walkthrough

    Before we hand you back your keys we’ll do a final walkthrough to ensure that every detail is of the highest quality, and that you have received every item on the project plan and is to your satisfaction.

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    My wife and I hired Better Place Remodeling on May 7, 2020, and our project was completed on August 31, 2020. Evi was the first person with whom we made in-person contact, and let me tell you, he exuded nothing but professionalism, courtesy, and respect to both my wife and me! Having hired F.A.T. Construction prior under the general foreman Tony Chavez and having a VERY POOR experience with that contractor, my wife and I were very skeptical, to say the least. Evi quickly earned our trust and our business through his constant contact and updates. He always kept my wife in the loop with all major decisions during the project. Had I not continuously kept adding more to the project, Evi and his crew would have finished a lot sooner than expected. Evi even went so far as to bring us his favorite type of coffee direct from Israel as we had a good working relationship. The one time I got frustrated at the job was nothing to do with Better Place Remodeling, but rather the City of Escondido with their slow permit approval process due to COVID-19. Even though this wasn't Evi's fault, he even brought me Starbucks coffee one night and further explained the backlog of permits. I also would like to send a shout-out to Barr and to Evi's top Landscaper Herman. Barr stepped in and helped Evi with our project when Evi's plate was full. Barr also exuded the same professionalism, courtesy, and respect to both my wife and me! Herman? What can I say? The guy has landscaping skills! Let him make suggestions to you and be open-minded about them-you will not be disappointed! Thanks, Evi, Barr, and Herman for such tremendous work on our home!

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      1 How Long Does a Garage Conversion Take?

      The time varies depending on the amount of site preparation work needed, the foundational work, the availability of materials, permitting, and change orders. As part of our planning, we will share a detailed work plan and the right schedules for every project phase until completion.

      2 Is my property eligible for a garage conversion in San Diego?

      Probably, Yes. Before planning your garage conversion, we check with the San Diego building department on whether you can build a secondary unit or convert your garage to a living space.

      San Diego County generally looks at factors such as lot size and zoning laws to establish whether you can build an ADU.

      3 Will I Need a Permit for My Garage Conversion?

      If a building permit is required, we will get one. This ensures that inspections will be made of the work performed, which is especially important for structural work. When selling your home, it is important to have a record of inspections.

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      Profession San Diego Garage Conversion Service

      Our San Diego garage conversion service can transform your attached or freestanding garage in several innovative yet practical ways. To learn more about our garage conversion solutions, CALL US TODAY at (858) 217-4429 or Fill in your details for in-house consultation.

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