Things to Consider Before Planning a Garage Addition

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Things to Consider Before Planning a Garage Addition

Last year, homeowners spent nearly $19 billion on home improvements, reports Scarborough, a consumer trend research group. If you're thinking about joining this club by building a garage addition to your home, there are a few important things to consider. These tips will get you started in the right direction before you start hammering nails or calling contractors.










Research Your Zoning Laws

Before you do anything else, find out what the zoning laws are in your area. They will state such things as where a garage can be located on your property and the size limitations. They will also specify any special requirements such as roofing materials and drainage considerations. Based on the zoning information, you'll know whether you can even build a garage on your lot and what types are allowable.

An Attached or Detached Garage?

The Housing Forum recommends an attached garage if you just need something in which to park your cars. This is a less expensive option because one wall will already be in place. A detached garage would be the choice in which to have a workshop where you want to shield the house from the noise of power tools.

Single or Double Car Garage?

If you're planning on a single-car garage, House Logic says to start with a 14 feet by 20 feet addition. For a two-car garage, go 20 feet by 24 feet. This will just let you get your cars in and open the doors. If you want additional space for storage or a workbench, you'll want to add 6 or 8 feet.

Factoring in the Driveway

If you already have a carport and are planning on an attached garage, your existing driveway may be sufficient. If not, for a single car garage, you'll need to plan on a 10 feet wide driveway from the garage door to the street. If there are obstacles, such as trees or a wall on either side, you may want a 14 feet wide driveway to make sure the car doors clear the obstacles when opened.

For a two-car garage, you'll want a 20 feet to 24 feet wide driveway. If you need space to turn the car around so you can pull forward out into a busy street, you'll need to plan on a 10 feet wide by 12 feet deep space right in front of the garage.

The Garage as an Extension to the House

You'll want to make the garage look like a part of the house and not detract from it. An attached garage placed with the doors opening to the side with some windows in the front looks like just another room addition. This will likely increase your driveway expense since it may not be a direct line into the garage.

If the doors must face front, consider using two one-car doors for better eye appeal. Blend the roof overhang into your house's roof, too, for continuity.

Estimating the Costs

The prices can vary greatly based on the location in the U.S., the materials and “extras” you add such as a floor drain, extra electrical outlets or built-in shelves. For planning purposes, the Housing Forum suggests using $40 to $50 per square foot for a basic construction. This makes an average one-car garage run $9,600 to $12,000 and a two-car garage $15,200 to $19,000.

Build It Yourself or Contract It Out

To build a garage yourself, you'll need to know the zoning laws and codes inside and out. You can check with a commercial construction equipment company such as Neff Rental to see what the costs are for trenchers and backhoes. You'll have to work with the concrete companies to poor the footings just right. But unless you're a licensed plumber and electrician, you'll need someone to come in and do that work, or inspect it, to make sure it meets the city's codes. There are many pieces to stay on top of.

People with a contracting background may choose the DIY route, but the next best thing is to be an educated consumer. Do your homework first, says the Garage Plan Shop, and you can oversee the contractor's work and make sure that the costs are staying in line with your own budget.

Secondary Living Spaces

Take a moment to stop and think about your garage addition and if you will have any living spaces above the garage – which is very common.  Maybe this will become a new rec room, tv room or playroom.  Will you need to invest in additional construction steps, hardwood flooring any other architectural details to make this room complete?  The good news is, once your garage is complete, if you aren't quite ready to tackle another living space, install a nice interior door and get to it when your schedule, and budget allows.

Creative Commons image by sheilaq6931

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