Are you planning on building a detached garage? Great! Detached garages have much to offer in terms of parking, storage, and other uses not to mention they will add value to your home. But before you begin the building process, there are a few things you should consider about the overall structure of your desired garage. The list below will help you with the planning process for your new garage.
- Consider zoning – Take some time to check with your building department regarding zoning laws in your area. Some cities, counties and communities have size limitations for accessory structures such as a detached garage. Additionally, there may be height restrictions or special requirements for the types of materials that can be used to finish the exterior of your garage (i.e. the exterior finish must match your existing home.) Finally, inquire about the location of the garage. Sometimes there are regulations regarding the placement of the garage in relation to the home and other structures on the property.
- Size – Consider the overall size of the garage you need. For a 1-car garage, you can estimate approximately 14’x20’. A two-car garage is approximately 20’x20’. These dimensions are just enough room for the cars. It you wish to add a workbench or storage closet or plan to have room for the lawn mower and family bikes too, you’ll need to plan for larger overall dimensions. Finally, you should consider the vehicles you own. If you drive an pickup truck or an oversized SUV, you will probably want a little extra “wiggle room” inside for your larger vehicles.
- Style – Take some time to consider the style of your home. You’ll want your new garage to blend with your home so choose a garage that features the same architectural styling as your home. Additionally, choose the same or similar exterior materials for your garage that were used to finish your home allowing it to look as if it was originally built with your house.
- Lot orientation – Think about your lot, the current structures on your property and how your driveway is positioned. Consider the orientation of your new garage on your lot. Will it fit beside or behind your home and still meet zoning requirements? Will you be able to access your garage from your current driveway or will you need to pour more concrete or extend the driveway?
With careful consideration of the overall structure of your new garage, it will be easy to choose a garage floor plan that will satisfy your needs, meet local requirements and compliment your home.
Whether you’re building your dream garage or just a simple detached, 2-car garage to accommodate the growing family fleet, these garage building tips will prepare you for what is to come while helping to ensure the building experience is exciting and enjoyable. Building a garage is a substantial investment that will add functionality to your lifestyle and enhance the value of your home. Follow our garage building tips to achieve success.
- Select the best location. It is necessary to position the garage on your property in the best location to accommodate your needs. Measure the overall size of the available space so you can choose a plan that will fit within the parameters of your backyard or the available and useable space. Be
- Choose a qualified builder. Not everyone who calls themselves a builder is a qualified builder. Take some time to research builders to ensure you’re hiring a qualified and professional builder who can handle the job. Check with family members and friends who have built in the past and ask for recommendations. Interview potential builders and get a feel for their work ethic, construction methods and overall character. After all, you’ll have to work with this person from start to finish, so it is necessary that you hire someone reliable who you can communicate with and trust with your investment. Finally, ask for proof of insurance.
- Establish a budget and stick to it. Whether you are getting a construction loan from the bank or you’re financing the building project yourself, it is important that you know your budget and stick to it. Plan ahead by pricing out material and labor costs. If you wish to add extra amenities, make a list and arrange them by preference so if you can only afford one or two special “extras” you’ll be spending your money on the ones you really want or need instead of the ones you could have lived without. Also, be careful when it comes to upgrades. Adding too many upgrades will blow your budget quickly. If a particular garage door will satisfy your needs, there is no need to upgrade to the one with all the bells and whistles. Save the extra money you might have spent on the door and put it toward something you really want, such as a half bath or workbench.
- Establish a timeframe and prepare for delays. Before construction begins, talk with your builder or general contractor to establish a timeframe for construction. A garage is not built in a day and there are a lot of things that need to be coordinated and arranged to keep things running smoothly. Once a timeframe is established, work with your builder and subcontractors to stick to the schedule. Additionally, expect and plan for delays. Delays occur with nearly every construction project. Plan for the possibility of inclement weather, shortage of materials and labor problems. If you plan for them, when one of these situations arises, you won’t be nearly as surprised or frustrated with the delay. Being prepared and flexible will reduce stress at the jobsite.
- Avoid changes. Once construction begins, avoid making changes. Try to stick to the blueprints and your original construction plan. Changes can be costly and cause delays. Avoiding changes will keep you on schedule and on budget.
- Monitor progress. Getting involved in the building process is one of the easiest ways to monitor progress. Additionally, active involvement helps prevent construction delays. Once you have established a construction timeline with your contractor, keep a close eye on the work being done and the progress being made. Talk with your builder regularly and ask for updates on progress. Safely walk around the jobsite and observe for yourself what progress is being made. If something doesn’t look or seem right or if something is taking too long, ask your builder about it. It is necessary to work out any glitches are problems as soon as you notice them.
The construction process will be more enjoyable and a more exciting experience if you are prepared for what to expect throughout the building process and if you make careful decisions. If you are planning to build a new garage in your backyard or on another piece of property, these helpful tips will help you be ready for what some of the things you’ll encounter in the building process.
Building a garage takes lots of planning and forethought. This list of garage building tips from The Garage Plan Shop will help you get started on your building project and carry you through to completion of the project. Review these tips before you get started:
- Before you buy a garage plan, consider the purpose of your new garage. How many cars do you plan to store? Do you need a workshop? Extra storage space? Do you need living space? What are the dimensions of your lot or the space you have on which to build? What architectural style do you prefer? Answering these questions will help narrow down garage plan choices allowing you to selecting the right one for your needs.
- Hire a builder that has plenty of experience in residential construction. Word of mouth is a good way to find an experienced builder. Check with family members and friends who have built. Ask for recommendations from lumberyards and building supply retailers or your building inspector.
- Once you’ve hired a builder/general contractor, go over your entire project. Ask if the builder has any suggestions or sees any immediate problems that must be addressed before construction begins.
- Meet with everyone involved in the construction of your new garage including the electrician, framers, roofer, builder/general contractor, etc. Outline all the details of the garage building project from the foundation and plumbing, electrical and HVAC needs (if applicable), to exterior finish and trim and any other details pertinent to the project. Thoroughly planning ahead of time will help you avoid change orders during construction. Not only can these be expensive, but they can extend the construction timeline.
- Be sure to think about future uses of the garage, such as converting it to a guest house, or adding a home office at a later time. These possibilities for additional living space will influence installation of HVAC, plumbing and electric.
- Take advantage of the opportunity to add a workbench, shelving, cabinets or storage closets during construction. If you think you might add them later, you might as well add them now while you have professionals on the scene who can handle these additions with ease.
- Avoid paying for the entire garage building project up front. Make arrangements with the builder or general contractor to pay off the final balance after you’ve had an opportunity to have the final project inspected by your local building inspector.
If you are planning to build a garage, use these handy garage building tips to help you throughout the construction process. For more garage building information check out our resources page.