How Much Garage Do You Actually Need?
Are living your life without a garage? Or worse, is your home’s garage old and dilapidated? If so, it may be time to consider remodel your garage; many older garages are beyond repair and the most cost-effective solution is often to remove the existing structure altogether and start from scratch.
Beyond safely housing your vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles, even the most basic garage is useful for keeping recreational goods, lawn care equipment, tools and general storage items safe and dry. More spacious designs can provide workshop areas and even give you a private spot to pull out that electric guitar and get jamming on some old tunes. While many families are satisfied with a high-utility, low-fuss garage of modest size, others may wish to incorporate either a loft or mother-in-law apartment space into the structure.
A garage can be a vital addition to your existing home and increase its overall market value. That being said, a poorly constructed or badly planned garage can actually damage your property’s value. Thus, it is important to carefully consider size, style and function in planning the garage that is right for you and your home.
Know Your Needs & Your Budget
In the early planning stages, you’ll want to decide just how much garage you need. This means taking carefully inventory of the requirements you have now, as well as those that you may have in the future. Keep in mind that most builders recommend a minimum of 3 feet to maneuver around each parked car and suggest an additional 2 feet to allow for storage on each side of the car (5 feet per car, per side in total).
A garage is a long-term investment and though your storage needs might be minimal at the moment, it’s worth considering whether you anticipate those needs increasing in the future. Perhaps you are a single-vehicle household, but you have a few growing youngsters who may one day have vehicles of their own. This is just one of many potential scenarios that might encourage you to elect building a larger garage. Generally speaking, it is best to stake your bets on a bigger size: this will guarantee that the garage can accommodate you and your family’s storage needs for decades to come.
Additional practical considerations include the following:
- Will the garage serve as your primary storage area? If so, you will want to figure out the square footage requirements of your storage items.
- Vehicle size variation. Though your current vehicle may be economically sized, if a larger truck or other vehicle may be in your future, you will want to factor this additional space requirement into your garage-building plans.
- Would you like your garage to be able to accommodate a guest vehicle? What about your children’s playthings and personal items: do you plan on keeping these, and if so, will you store them in the garage?
Garage size is as much a practical consideration as it is an economic one. On average, single-vehicle garages are about 240 square feet in size and prices start at $8,500; each additional vehicle typically requires about 140 square feet, which can increase costs by $5,000-$7,000. Mother-in-law and apartment style garages will cost you quite a bit more and some of these projects cost upwards of $40,000.
Electricity, Climate Control & Other Extras
Many folks like to keep their garages simple: manual doors are an option and basic automated doors can be installed using an electricity line from the main house’s electrical panel. This is the favored approach for those who value basic functionality and want to keep costs low.
For those who plan on transforming their new garage into a workspace, it makes sense to invest in more extensive wiring to enable lighting and climate control for four-season use. Though full foundations are not legally required for garages under 400 square feet, pouring a reinforced slab foundation is sure way to guarantee that your garage enjoys a long life. In addition to allowing efficient drainage, insulated slab foundations enable you to effectively insulate the walls and ceiling as well, thus minimizing energy loss and improving overall temperature maintenance.
The Construction Process
Building a garage can be a complex undertaking, particularly if you are demolishing an existing structure, or attaching the garage to your existing home. At Harkraft, we provide free estimates and can help you decide on specifications for your garage, including size, functionality and any other extras that you might require. Give us a call at 763.544.4478 or toll-free, at 888.544.7111, or contact us by filling out a hassle free form.