A garage is more than just a place to park your car or store your tools. A custom garage can provide you with more storage or better workshop space and add to the aesthetic appeal of your home. Designing a great garage takes careful planning. Follow these steps to make planning a custom garage as easy and successful as possible.
- Ask yourself how you plan to use your garage. Before getting very far in the planning process, you must think about what you want to get out of your garage. Consider how many vehicles (if any) you wish to park inside. Additionally, if you have a large vehicle like a van, SUV, or truck, you will want to design a garage with larger bays. Also, recreational vehicles or boats will need plenty of space and require a much more oversized garage than you may think you need.
What type of storage should you plan for? Extra storage space is one of the many benefits of having a garage. Bicycles, holiday decorations, lawn tools, and other equipment quickly overtake a garage. Planning for storage space ahead of time will allow you to incorporate the shelving or cabinets that work best for your needs and should always be considered before you design your new garage. If you grocery shop in bulk, you may even want to include room for a deep freezer or a second refrigerator. Or maybe you need to install wall racks for bikes or roof racks for kayaks. Consider all of the hobbies and activities that your family engages in.
Do you need a large workspace? A garage is a perfect place for hobbies you don’t want to bring into the house. Consider the type of space and equipment you’ll need for your hobby. You may want to install bright lights and plenty of outlets for electrical power tools. Also, depending on where you live, heating and cooling units might be appropriate to make it more comfortable while you work. It’s also essential to have proper ventilation if you use chemicals or paint with excessive fumes.
Do you want more living space? Garages can make great places to hang out. A garage can give you much-needed living space, whether for a home gym or a place to practice musical instruments. You may even consider converting a section or floor of your garage into an apartment for guests.
Once you know how to use your garage, you’re ready for the next step.
- Decide if you want an attached or detached garage. Both have advantages and disadvantages, so knowing what you want out of your garage will be highly beneficial in deciding which type of garage to go with.
Attached garages are very convenient. Especially in areas with lots of rain or snow, an attached garage keeps your car dry, but it also gives you easy access in and out of the car without getting wet or dealing with frigid temperatures. If you have an attached garage, it is much easier to unload groceries or young children during a rainstorm.
Also, if you need electricity in your garage, it is often easier to add an attached garage. However, the very thing that makes it convenient is also the source of its biggest downfall. An attached garage is limited in where you can build it. Especially if you want to keep the aesthetic continuity of your home in mind, there probably won’t be a lot of options about where to add an attached garage. Garages can be pretty large, too, which will significantly alter the look of your home.
Detached garages, on the other hand, can be placed almost anywhere on your property. Some people do not like the look of an attached garage and prefer to hide a detached garage to the back or side of the home. Detached garages have more potential to add living space, such as an apartment above the garage, too. If you want to add an apartment or in-law quarters, the second story of a detached garage is your best bet.
Detached garages can also be excellent for those with particularly noisy or smelly hobbies. The distance from the house becomes an advantage rather than an inconvenience in those cases. If you do choose to go with a detached garage, you may want to consider a breezeway to avoid the harsh weather when going back and forth between the garage and the house. Another potential downfall of a detached garage is that it may be more challenging to set up electricity, heating, or cooling depending on your property.
A professional builder can help you plan what type of garage best suits your family. They can also walk you through the next steps of building your garage.
- Know the Zoning and Code Restrictions. You’ll want to check with your local planning department to make sure you can legally build the garage you want, where you want it. Some areas have restrictions on the height of walls or roofs, the design of the driveway, or how much of your land can be covered in pavement. A professional builder will be essential in walking you through obtaining the proper permits and keeping your garage 100% compliant with the most current codes in your area.
- Hire an experienced builder. When hiring a builder for your garage, look for someone with experience with garages or barns. The right builder will help you determine which features you should add to your garage and guide you through the process without forgetting essential elements. For example, you will need to consider a driveway and possibly install a turnaround point for backing out. A builder can help you pick out the best materials for your area. A garage requires a strong foundation, which may mean laying concrete. You’ll want to use solid materials for a weather-resistant frame. Insulation may be something to consider if you live in an area with extreme temperatures. It will keep your garage cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It will also help with energy efficiency.
- Pick a garage door. There are a few different types of garage doors to consider. The kind of door you pick can greatly influence the look and functionality of your garage. The right garage door can take your garage from eyesore to stylish. Steel, wood, aluminum, and composite are materials commonly used for garage doors. Your builder can help you decide between them, considering your budget, maintenance requirements, style, and ease of use.
Designing your garage can be overwhelming but very rewarding. Spending the time upfront to plan around your particular needs and hiring a qualified and experienced builder will ensure that your garage will add rather than subtract from the overall value of your home.