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A Guide to Building and Designing Your Garage

A Guide to Building and Designing Your Garage

Exterior renovationsA Guide to Building and Designing Your Garage

Whether it's the ultimate storage space or the perfect setting to carry out minor projects, a garage is an extremely practical space with undeniable value. If you're thinking of building one soon, take a look at the steps involved.

Guide to Building a Garage: Steps to Consider

building a garage

Source: Canva

What are your needs?

Since it’s the defining step of any project, you'll need to evaluate your needs. Not only will these determine the budget required, but they'll also guide you to the best way to design your garage for its intended purpose. You'll also be able to gauge how much space you'll need.

There are plenty of ways in which this area can be practical. You could use it as a:

  • Parking space for the household’s car(s);

  • Storage space or a workshop;

  • Laundry room;

  • Gym space.

Figuring Out the Size of Your Garage

On that note, you need to be realistic. Keep in mind that restricted garage dimensions would limit any wiggle room you might have should you need to change something or have had an oversight, such as calculating the amount of space a work or storage unit could take up at floor level.

For reference, note that single-car garages should be at least 14 feet wide and 20 feet long, and two-car garages should be at least 22 feet wide, and 24 feet long. If you're looking to make your project a reality, it's hard to make do with a smaller space. Keep in mind that you'll need to bump up these measurements if you want to have enough space for one or two cars, plus storage or work areas on one side or the other.

And remember, there should be enough room to store your lawnmower, snowblower, or various other yard maintenance tools and products.

While it can be tricky to accurately gauge long-term plans and needs, at least try to assess whether you're planning to switch cars. This could quickly throw off your calculations and make your new garage ill-suited to accommodate your new purchase.

Building the Garage’s Foundation

If you think you can build your garage without the help of a contractor, you should nevertheless hire one to lay the foundation. They'll be able to ensure that the base on which the foundation is poured (the footing) is deep enough so that everything meets the required standards. To this end, the footing should be at least 5 feet below ground level.

Insulating the Garage

As for garage insulation, it'll vary depending on the space's intended use. If it's used as a guest room or workspace for a home-based professional, an insulation factor above R-27 is a must. If your garage is only used to park your car(s) or store other belongings, an insulation factor between R-12 and R-20 will suffice.

Guide to Building a Garage: What Are the Municipal By-Laws?

building a garage

Source: Canva

To learn more about garage building by-laws, contact your local municipality. Restrictions may apply in terms of ceiling heights or based on the setback, which may vary depending on the location of the garage.

Other restrictions can also surface as far as the garage’s aesthetic is concerned. You have to choose a siding that matches the overall look of your house. In addition to that, various other components come into play like the garage’s roof slope, the roofing, as well as the doors and windows, which should be similar to that of the house.

Lastly, note that modifications to your initial blueprint are in store if there are gas, sewer, or water lines beneath your property. You'll then have to reconfigure the location of the garage to move away from such systems.

Note that you’ll need to get a permit from your municipality to greenlight your garage-building project. When you submit your permit request, you have to provide a certificate of location as well as a blueprint of the garage. Some cities require an additional permit for water and electricity supply. If you hire a contractor, they’ll put in the request for a permit and make the necessary modifications to the plan, if any. 

How much does it cost to build a garage?

building a garage

Source: Canva

When it comes to any large-scale project, money is of utmost importance, so let’s take a closer look at the ballpark figures for building a new garage. For a detached garage, the average cost (including labour, but excluding insulation) is as follows:

  • Single-car garage: between $20,000 and $40,000;

  • Two-car garage: between $35,000 and $70,000.

Bear in mind that the above-mentioned figures include a building process carried out using standard materials. If you’d rather use higher-quality materials, naturally, you should plan for steeper costs. Therefore, if you’d prefer your garage to be built with brick instead of PVC siding, it’ll cost more.

When you finally sit down to crunch the numbers, keep in mind that the costs of running a sewer line or paving the driveway aren’t accounted for in the above-mentioned numbers. 

Naturally, let it be said that a great number of factors can influence the cost of building your new garage. Besides the square footage, type of siding, or lines, the invoice at the end could get steeper due to the following:

With regard to the above-mentioned fees, note that there can be a 15% discrepancy depending on the city you live in. So it's always best to take into account the specific characteristics of your place of residence when setting a budget.

Rundown of the Stages of Building a Garage

Building stages
Additional information
1) Determine your needs
Determine the intended use of the space
2) Figure out the size of the garage
Single-car garage: plan for 14 feet wide by 20 feet longFor a two-car garage: plan for 22 feet wide, 24 feet longPlan for enough space for the car(s) as well as the various items you may want to store (lawn mower, toys, others)
3) Inquire as to municipal by-laws
Restrictions may apply in terms of aesthetics and/or sizeRestrictions may apply if there are gas, sewer, or water lines nearby
4) Plan for the necessary budget 
A single-car garage costs between $20,000 and $40,000A two-car garage costs between $35,000 and $70,000The costs of hooking up the garage to the sewer line or paving the driveway aren’t includedOther factors can affect the cost such as deciding to insulate or not, and the type of garage door chosen
5) Build the foundation
Hire a construction contractor to build the structure’s foundations
6) Get it insulated (or not)
If the space is to be used daily (like a bedroom or office): insulation has to have a rating higher than R-27If the space is for storage only: an insulation rating between R-12 and R-20 will suffice

Are you looking for more information about garage transformations? Check out our Garage Renovation Guide.

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Last modified 2024-01-23

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