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Garage Addition

Garage Building 101: The Nitty-Gritty


Garages are an invaluable part of a home. Not only do garages keep vehicles safe from hazardous and/or variable weather, but they also provide storage space and can be converted into offices, “man caves,” or even separate apartments. But before deciding to add a garage, there are several things you need to take into consideration before wielding the lumber.

Types of Garages

Before getting your new garage project off the ground, you have to decide what type of garage you want to build. These are the three most common types of garages that homeowners add.

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  • Attached Garage: These garages connect directly with your home. You don’t have to go outside while walking from the garage to the house, which is welcome on freezing winter days where your face freezes on air contact. These garages tend to be more expensive, as you have to wire up electronics and plumbing from your house and extend the roofs, but can also add considerable value to your home.
  • Detached Garage: Unlike the attached garage, detached garages are built apart from the home. This can make them less expensive, as there is no labor necessary on the house. You have to make sure that it fits with city and county building codes and stays within your property lines–and lay out a corresponding driveway.
  • Car Port: This is the most economical way to go, as car ports are more of a vehicle covering than a separate building. If you don’t have much stuff to store and are just looking for a place to keep your car protected from the hot sun or winter weather, then you can attach a car port to your home and spend the rest of your garage budget on a nice vacation.

As far as attached and detached garages go, they fit into two main categories: Stick-built and pole-barn garages. Stick-built garages are built with a poured foundation and a frame, like a house, while pole-barn garages are made with metal, come in do-it-yourself assembly kits, and are more affordable.

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Garage Costs

Once you have made the big decision on type and style of garage, next is figuring out your budget. Whether you are a do-it-yourself handyman superstar or consulting a contractor, here are things to keep in mind for a stick-built garage.

  • Square footage: Prices can vary, but estimate total cost to be $35-$40 per square foot. For example, a typical two-car, 500-square-foot garage should cost anywhere from $17,500-$20,000. This figure involves the cost of labor and gives you a good idea of your budget. If you prefer to do it yourself, you can cut several thousand off the cost.
  • Necessary materials: If you want to itemize each material, expect to spend $1500 on the concrete and slab for your foundation and surface, $7-8 per square foot for vinyl siding, another $5-$7 per square foot for roof lumber, $300-$600 per window, $200-$1,000 per exterior door and another $400-$900 for a motorized overhead door. Labor costs for carpenters and electricians can range from $60-$90 per hour.
  • Additional materials: If you have a sink or toilet, you’ll need to hire a plumber, with the total cost with parts and labor coming to $3,000-$5,000. A driveway will run anywhere from $700-$1,500, as you might have to buy dirt to level out the desired surface before paving.

Pole-barn garage kits vary in price and can range for as low as $3,000 for a one-car garage to $15,000 for a larger garage. A car port kit can be purchased for a couple hundred dollars up to $5,000.

Before you start building, be sure to inquire with an inspector about what permits you need to secure. This consultation is free. These permits vary in cost by city and county, but expect this to be a few hundred more out the door as well.

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