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How Much Does a Garage Cost?

Author: Brian Eckert

Garage Construction Prices

A garage can be a glorified carport or a lighted, heated extension of the home. Before breaking ground on a new garage, read this buying guide from Cost Owl to learn what factors most affect cost.

Garage Addition Considerations

Having a plan for your new garage will help you stick to a budget. The first question to ask yourself is: What will the garage be used for? If vehicle storage is your primary concern, a simple one or two car garage without windows, built-in storage space, an automatic opener, and other amenities should suffice. A mixed-use garage, however, which might have a work area, attic space, finished walls, trimmed windows and doors, task lighting, or even an apartment will require more space and more amenities. As you plan and budget for your garage, keep the following cost factors in mind:

  • Attached vs. Detached: All other things being equal, an attached garage is cheaper to construct than a detached garage because it utilizes one of the existing house walls, thus cutting down on labor and material costs. Detached garage construction, on the other hand, must begin entirely from scratch. But if your garage plans include a workshop, living space, music studio, or expansive storage area, a detached garage provides more design flexibility.
  • Dimensions: A single car garage should be no smaller than 12’ x 20’, while a double car garage should be at least 20’ x 20’ and a three car garage a minimum of 32’ x 24’. These dimensions are for vehicle storage only; additional living, working, or storage space will require more room.
  • Materials: Both the amount and quality of materials have a huge bearing on garage cost. There will, of course, be a minimum supply of nails, concrete, and lumber needed to complete the job. Anything beyond the merely functional, though, will cause costs to increase. This includes not only add-ons such as windows and doors, moisture resistant drywall, custom floor finish, paint, insulation, extensive lighting, and a wooden garage door, but also higher quality materials in general.
  • Plans and Permits: You’ll most likely need to acquire a building permit from your municipality before garage construction can begin. You may also consider an architectural/construction consultation if you’re uncertain of the best design for the new structure. Garage plans can also be purchased online through a number of outlets.

New Garage Costs

  • According to HomeAdvisor.com, a new garage costs between $9,000 and $45,000, with an average cost of roughly $20,000 to $30,000.
  • Per square foot (psf), expect garage prices to begin at $30 to $50 psf for basic materials. Using higher end materials could increase costs by 15 to 25 percent ($35 to $65 psf).
  • Remodeling Magazine’s 2011-2012 Cost vs. Value Report puts the cost of a midrange garage addition (a detached, 26’ x 26’ two-car unit with asphalt shingle roofing, 5 double-hung windows, door w/ automatic opener, and more) at $50,000 to $60,000.
  • A garage of the same size, according to Remodeling, with upscale amenities such as a premium drywall and flooring, built-in storage and work surfaces, door and window trim, and more costs $80,000 to $90,000.
  • Do-it-yourself garage addition is significantly cheaper than contracting out the entire project, with basic DIY materials costing $15 to $25 psf.
  • Prefabricated garage kits costs $3,000 to $12,000 or more. Keep in mind that you’ll probably still have to pour a concrete slab when using a kit.
  • A building permit typically costs $200 to $400.
  • A one-time design consultation might cost $250 to $500.

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