How Much Does It Cost to Build a Garage? Setting the Budget
There are many reasons to add a garage to your property. Whether the garage is attached to your home or a separate building, it offers some benefits and safety to your daily routines. A garage increases your property value, keeps ice off your windows, and provides a space for hobbies or car maintenance while shielding you from the elements.
Like any home improvement project, adding a garage takes time and money. You can argue that time is money, but the amount of time it takes to build a garage should be roughly the same regardless of which contractor you choose. The main factor is money and where to get the money. Before you can find the money, you need to understand what it might end up costing to add a garage.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Keep in mind that we’re making some assumptions about contractors in your area and their pricing schedules. Giving you an absolute dollar figure for the cost is impossible, but we can give you some insight and a general idea. If the price fits inside your budget after reading this, call every local contractor you can and get them to come to quote the job. You want as many quotes as possible.
Your garage project may be different from the average job, so we took our assumptions to a new level. All the estimated prices included in this article assume several things including:
- You want a two-car garage
- You plan to build an attached garage
- You want extra square footage for storage
- You want it wired for lights and an automatic garage door opener
- You want basic plumbing for a washing machine or sink
- You want insulation and drywall
- Your home isn’t in a historic district
The average garage addition is going to cost you around $40,000 for one that’s not attached to your home and a couple of thousand less if the garage is attached. Frankly, you lose a lot of value if the garage is not connected in our opinion. You still have to run through the rain to your car or trudge through the snow. That said, it’s your garage, so we understand you have your reasons for the style.
If you live in places where union work is required or sealed engineer drawings like New York City, expect the price to climb by at least a third. HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List can help you track down contractors in your area, and they have wizards you can use to determine a rough cost for your area as well. Make sure you get at least three quotes and check your contractors out online.
The Bottom Line Might Change
Several things can affect what your new garage might cost. If you want the exterior to match your home and your home got covered in something uncommon like hardwood siding, the price could go up a lot. If you’re not sure how to figure this part out, talk to a contractor or use a calculator like the one on Lowe’s For Pros to help you guesstimate the cost.
There’s a lot of details we don’t have about your garage addition that only you can answer. Those details affect the bottom line. That said if you know you can afford to spend at least $40,000 on a new garage, discuss your options with your local contractors and explain your budget to them. They can help you work out the details and probably give you some good ideas on how to save money.
Make a Plan First
Before you do anything, you need a solid plan with all the details you can come up with from the number of cars you want to put in the garage to the type of garage door you need. You don’t need to include the number of studs you want in the walls or the brand of the garage door opener to develop a plan. Write down the basic things you know you want so that you’re prepared when the contractor visits.
The contractor will handle all the significant details like studs and how much concrete they’ll need for the floor. Your list needs to address your wants and needs. Do you need a garage for two cars or four? If you want extra storage room, how much do you need? Do you want to finish the walls or leave the open with the studs exposed? Do you want your garage air conditioned?
If you only have one car, a two-car garage takes care of your storage needs. We can’t imagine wanting a single car garage or how that might look tacked on to the end of your home. Your contractor is going to try to convince you to go with a two-car garage as well, but the choice is yours, and you know what you want from your garage.
If you need extra storage room, you need to determine what kind of storage space is necessary. Storing clothes, decorations, or anything you don’t use very often is easy because the storage space can be above the cars in the garage. A workspace with an area for hobbies or car maintenance means your garage must be longer so that the storage area is in front of the cars.
Admittedly, these ideas got based on the assumption you’re going with something traditional like adding the garage to the end of your home where you already have an exterior door. A detached garage changes all of our assumptions and might give you more storage options as well. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to brave the weather to get to your car if your garage is detached.
Finding a Contractor
HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List are great places to begin your search for a local contractor. A good contractor will help you make decisions and recommend things that might make the garage better or reduce the cost of building it. However, a big shop or billboards all over the countryside is not a sign the contractor is good or honest.
Do some private investigation and check up on the contractor. If you found them through an online service that matches you to contractors in your area, they probably have some kind of rating system and a place for customers to review the contractor, so start there. Ask your contractors for referrals or check with your friends and family to see if they’re used them before and have an opinion.
Your state’s licensing board can tell you if a contractor got licensed for the kind of work you need them to do and may include some consumer reviews as well. Ask around at your local home supply and hardware stores to see what they think about a contractor or if they recommend anyone. Every hardware store and builder’s supply have a list of contractors they like to support.
The lowest quote is not always the best quote. Question any quote that’s significantly lower than the others. The contractor behind the quote may cut corners or use substandard materials to help lower the cost in the hopes of getting more jobs. This practice is more common than you might imagine. The chances are that your online background check and investigation will reveal these things.
Don’t forget about subcontractors. No contractor does everything. The one that quotes the job may pay other contractors to do some of the construction. Concrete and electrical work will probably get done by a subcontractor along with the roofing. That may not always be the case, but contractors routinely use subcontractors. Make sure their subcontractors have good reputations and that they’re licensed.
Find out about any warranties that come with hardware like the garage door and air conditioning unit. Ask the contractor for a hardcopy of their warranty policy on the work they do along with any subcontractors. If the quotes are roughly the same, pick the one from the contractor with the best warranty. No one is perfect, and contractors make mistakes, but you shouldn’t have to pay for them.
Finding the right contractor that’s helpful and wants to give you the best garage for the money you have to spend is probably the most challenging part of adding a garage to your property. Getting a home improvement loan or mortgage is scary but far easier than finding a quality builder. That’s why we stress doing a lot of investigating before you pick a contractor.
Expect to spend a minimum of $40,000 on adding an attached two-car garage to your home without any perks. Plan for the future and talk to your contractor to see what advice they can give you on building the best garage to fit your budget. Check your contractors out and verify they warranty all their work and the work of their subcontractors. Do your homework so you can enjoy your new garage.