You love your house, except for one little detail: It doesn’t have a garage, or your existing garage is falling apart. Perhaps you live in the city where garages aren’t a guarantee. In 2019, as many as one in five new homes in the New England region were built without this coveted feature.
If you’re tired of your current garage’s condition or size, that’s valid, too. Garages built in the ’30s, for example, can be frustratingly small to the point where you can’t even park inside. And just like homes, garages age and deteriorate over time, sometimes requiring replacement. A mid-size SUV today weighs between 4,000-5,000 pounds — that’s a lot of strain on your concrete floor alone.
But having a functional garage keeps your car in top condition longer while providing flex space. Attached or detached, a garage can transform into a storage unit, a workshop, or makeshift fresh air living area (a use case that has risen in popularity during a pandemic).
Before you start dreaming about jumping into a warm, garage-parked car on a cold morning, let’s talk numbers. In this guide, we’ll cover:
- The average cost to build a garage based on web estimates
- The most common expenses to account for in a garage build
- How much value a garage can add to your home at resale
The cost to build a garage: General overview
The cost of your garage build will depend in large part on how many cars you need to store and the level of frill you’re looking to add. For example, garage doors can range anywhere from $400 to $3,000 (more on that below) — and you can spend more if you decide to include windows and insulation.
According to an analysis of Census Bureau data by Eye on Housing, two-car garages remain the most popular parking option for new construction, with 65% of these homes offering a two-car garage. However, garages can house as few as one car or be large enough to accommodate an RV.
In addition, you’ll pay approximately 10%-15% less on an attached garage as you would a detached structure of a comparable size, according to HomeAdvisor. To provide some general cost ranges, we’ve compiled pricing data from some of the most reputable cost aggregator sources across the web, including HomeAdvisor, Fixr, and HomeGuide:
|Attached garage avg. cost||Detached garage (2-car) avg. cost||One-car||Two-car||Three-car||Four-car||RV||Low and high-end range||Avg. cost per sq. ft.|
Methodology: Fixr estimates the cost of home renovation projects through specialty publications, government reports, contractors, and vendor sites.
|Attached garage avg. cost||Detached garage avg. cost||One-car||Two-car||Three-car||Four-car||RV||Low and high-end range||Avg. cost per sq. ft.|
|$27,746||$31,908 (an avg. 15% more than a similar attached version)||$11,500-$20,200||$23,000- $40,300||$36,000-$63,000||$41,000- $71,100||$36,000- $140,000||$6,000-$60,000||$50|
Methodology: HomeAdvisor uses the actual costs reported by 1,416 user-submitted projects.
|Attached garage avg. cost||Detached garage (2-car) avg. cost||One-car||Two-car||Three-car||Four-car||Low and high-end range||Avg. cost per sq. ft.|
Methodology: HomeGuide tracks estimates users receive from local experts and contractors for each project, based on millions of inquiries per year across the site.
When deciding what type of garage you want, consider what your neighbors have in addition to your own needs. For example, avoid building a massive detached garage in a neighborhood of one-car attached garage — otherwise, your structure will stick out like a sore thumb, advises John Kriza, a top real estate agent in Chester County, PA, with over 20 years of experience.
Common expenses to consider
You’ll need to account for a variety of line items in your overall garage addition budget. Below, we go through some of the most common factors that can increase costs.
Maybe your hundred-year-old home has been frequently updated over the decades while the corresponding garage was neglected. In that case, you’ll need to budget for any costs involved with removing the dilapidated structure so that you can start fresh.
According to Hometown Demolition, a local demolition contractor in Grand Rapids, MI, since 2009, the average cost to remove a garage is somewhere between $1,000-$3,000. One nice thing is that the worse the garage’s condition, the less you’ll have to spend to demo it, the contractor notes. Ho
The size of your garage will be the most significant determining factor in the project’s price. The larger the garage, the bigger the budget. As you contemplate the garage size you want, consider that many standard garage sizes come in “half sizes,” which means they can accommodate storage or a home workshop area.
|Standard Dimensions||Number of Cars||Total Square Feet||Average Cost (at $50 per sq foot)|
Whether you build an attached or detached garage, you’ll need a permit issued by your local building department that confirms your structure will comply with local ordinances and codes. If you plan to wire the garage for water, electricity, or heat, you’ll likely need to pull separate permits for each utility as well depending on your municipality. The cost of a garage permit will vary based on your city, but you can expect to pay between $1,200-$1,500 to move forward with the project — not an insignificant chunk of change!
Depending on your garage build, the labor cost will fluctuate between $20-$30 per square foot, according to Fixr. So if your garage build costs $35,000, you can expect $15,000 of the final price to be labor. This estimate doesn’t include labor costs associated with an electrician to wire your garage. Small electrical projects typically range between $141 and $419 but can increase based on complexity.
Concrete foundation ($140 per cubic yard)
Your garage build will start with pouring the foundation. The bigger your garage, the larger its foundational footprint and more expensive the cost to pour concrete. For reference, pouring the foundation of a 20’x20’ two-car garage will cost between $2,124 and $3,324. If you pour your foundation in slabs, it can also serve as the flooring for the garage.
If you’re building an attached garage, you might use siding that matches the rest of your home or choose a contrasting finish to create a dynamic look. Here’s what you can expect to pay per square foot for various types of siding:
- Fiber cement ($5-$25 per sq. foot, installed)
A more recent addition to the world of siding, fiber cement is used on 15% of new homes. It can mimic the look of wood, stone, or brick but requires minimal upkeep and is virtually rot and termite-proof.
- Vinyl ($3-$12 per square foot, installed)
Because of its lower price point, vinyl siding is a popular choice for garage builds. Vinyl is easy to install and maintain, but it can hurt your home’s value if its appearance will clash with your home’s existing style. For example, vinyl siding can be a problematic choice when it comes to pairing it with classic or historic homes.
- Metal ($3-$8 per square foot, installed)
Metal siding is generally the most affordable siding and requires little maintenance beyond cleaning with soap and water. Metal is also eco-friendly; it’s made from recycled metals. However, metal siding isn’t very DIY friendly, and because it conducts heat so well, your garage might require more insulation to keep a regulated temperature.
- Brick ($5-$15 per square foot, installed)
Installing brick siding is more expensive than some alternatives, but it can give your garage a timeless look. Brick requires almost no maintenance and can save you on your insurance policy because it is fire and extreme-weather resistant.
- Wood ($6.50-$12 per square foot, installed)
With wood, you’ll find a myriad of stains and finishes to choose from at various price points. While it’s visually appealing, wood requires regular maintenance and can be very flammable if not treated.
- Stone veneer ($6-$11 per square foot, installed)
Stone veneer or faux sheetrock is less expensive than the real deal, and because the material is lighter weight, it is also easier to install. But mass-produced siding can look repetitive, taking away from the unique appeal of the stone. Additionally, if installed improperly, moisture can seep past the siding.
Framing ($1-$5 per square foot)
Framing provides the necessary support for your garage walls and can be achieved using materials such as wood, steel, or engineered wood. Labor to put up the framing will cost between $4-$8 per square foot on average and can cost more based on complexity if you’re building a garage onto an existing structure.
Insulation ($.50-$2 per square foot)
You don’t have to insulate your garage, but if you plan to keep more than cars in the space, it can help regulate temperature.
- Blown-in or loose-fill insulation costs $1,000-$2,000 on average to install.
- Batt insulation costs $1,000-$2,000 on average to install.
- Spray foam, most expensive option, costs between $1,300-$3,700 on average to install.
Windows ($380-$3,800 per window)
Installing a window is once again optional, but if you plan to use the space beyond just storage, some natural light can make the garage more enjoyable to spend time in. Installing a window will cost between $380 and $635, labor included, and a skylight will run between $650 and $3,800, based on complexity.
Drywall ($1-$3 per square foot)
Hanging drywall in the garage isn’t required, but it can make the space feel more finished or polished, especially if you want to hang shelving or other storage. The overall average cost to hang drywall in a room is $1,842, but the project could cost more or less, depending on complexity.
Garage door ($400-$2,800, based on material)
A high-quality garage door can boost curb appeal and help reduce your energy bills. Doors can be made of various materials, including steel, vinyl, wood, and fiberglass. While a good door may be pricey, you’ll likely recoup most of your costs in resale value. Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs Value report estimates homeowners will recoup 94.5% on the project.
Loft above the garage ($180-$210 per square foot)
A room above the garage could be the perfect home office, studio, or potential apartment space down the line. If you want the space for additional storage, you can expect to pay within the $30,000 to $40,000 range, according to Fixr, but if you want it to be a living space, you’ll need to budget $60,000 or more.
How much value will a garage addition add?
Having a place to park your car out of the elements not only makes your life easier, but it can add value to your home. According to personal finance site Pocket Sense, you can expect an 81% ROI when adding an average garage. Per another certified residential appraiser estimate, an adequate garage can add anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 in resale value. But ultimately, adding value won’t ever be the best reason to start building a structural addition onto your property. “The choice has got to be for your own enjoyment,” advises Kriza.
Header Image Source: (Erik McLean / Unsplash)