Things to Consider Before Planning a Garage Addition

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Garages are excellent spaces for storing various tools and items. They can also be used as the parking space for your car during winter or other harsh seasons. However, installing a garage requires planning and preparation to ensure you get it right. In addition, there are several factors to consider depending on the type of garage you want to build. For example, will you include smart garage door openers or other garage door openers, such as manual or chain-drive openers? So as you weigh your options, here are seven things to consider before planning a garage addition. 

Permits and Zoning

Garages are generally considered new buildings. As such, every municipality has zoning laws that dictate how you should build your garage and what you can and cannot include in the building construction. For example, how far your garage should be from the street. Moreover, you will be required to get permits and sometimes pay certain fees before you begin construction. 

You can start by looking at your neighbors' garages to get an idea of what is expected. Another way to make this process easier is by working with a licensed home contractor. They will get most of the paperwork done for you and inform you about the basic laws and zoning implications. 

Cost

Your garage construction costs can quickly spiral depending on the additions you will include. A cost breakdown beforehand helps you prepare and plan extensively on the fixtures and materials you’ll use and the extras, such as shelves and flooring. 

The budget planning should also factor in the license fees and how much it will cost to hire an experienced contractor. 

Will It Be an Attached or Detached Garage?

There are advantages and disadvantages to having an attached or detached garage. An attached garage is a great way to increase the space of your home and include additions such as a mudroom. It's also easy to install amenities such as electricity and running water since you only need to extend your main house's connections. 

Detached garages, on the other hand, can serve as home offices or in-law quarters whenever you have guests. But first, you must ensure you have enough real estate to build it. They are also more expensive to build and can be challenging to access during winter. 

Electricity, Running Water, and AC

If you plan to spend a lot of time in the garage or use it as a secondary living space, you will need to factor in air conditioning, electricity, and running water. This will make the space more livable, and you can turn it into a relaxation space, a recreation room, or even a playroom. The attached garages are easier to deal with since they can use the same HVAC systems in the house. However, you may need to install new HVAC systems for a detached unit. 

Determine Where the Entrance Will Be

An ideal garage entrance should be easily accessible and functional without interfering with the house entrance. The entrance is best placed away from the general home traffic for an attached garage. You should also include an outside entrance to avoid opening and closing the overhead door for pedestrians. Even if your garage is detached, you need to consider where the entrance will face and its relation to the driveway, especially if you will be parking your car inside the garage. 

How Will the Garage Affect Your Driveway?

As you plan your garage addition, you need to analyze how it will affect the layout of your home, including its relation to the driveway. This can be influenced by factors such as the size and shape of the garage. You also need to consider if the driveway will need to be altered and if there’s enough space on your property to be laid out anew. Remember, major changes in your driveway may come with additional costs, which should be included in your budget. 

Consider Using It as an Additional Room

A garage addition is an opportunity to expand your living space. The space can be used as more than storage. You can add a gym, a home office, or a game room. In addition, the space in the attic above your garage can also be turned into a sleeping quarter. If you plan to include an attic, you’ll also need to factor in additional space for the stairs. For those who may want to add a bathroom or a kitchenette, you’ll need to consider the plumbing. Lastly, remember to factor in the heating and cooling systems. 

Conclusion

Planning for your garage addition is challenging and involves a lot of factors. If the task seems overwhelming, the best move is to get an experienced contractor to do it for you. They will advise on the best layout for your garage and the estimated costs and help you with the zoning laws. 

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.