Whether your home currently has a garage and you are planning an expansion or you’re adding on a brand-new structure, a garage addition or renovation can serve to provide a great deal of extra convenience and efficiency to your home. This is due to the fact that garages, by nature, become multi-use areas that provide a variety of helpful benefits. Nevertheless, there are a few considerations that should be made before you have your contractor break ground and begin a new garage addition. Here are a few things to consider before planning a garage addition to help plan your home improvement project and ensure that the end result meets or exceeds your goals and expectations:
1. Determine Whether You Want an Attached or Detached Garage
If you are planning a new structure, versus merely adding on or renovating your current garage, the first consideration you should be making is whether you want an attached or detached garage. There are benefits and drawbacks to both. So, you should take these into consideration so that the completed project offers you the functionality that you desire.
Both an attached garage and a detached garage can provide a beautiful appearance and enhanced curb appeal to the exterior of your home. A garage addition is also one of the ways to add more space to your home.
Since a detached garage is a separate structure from the home, they create an opportunity to have a segregated space for a home business office or in-law quarters in an upstairs or finished attic space above. However, they can be less convenient since they are not connected to the home like an attached garage.
Since detached garages are separate structures, consisting of their own four exterior walls and foundation, they can end up being a more expensive addition than an attached garage of the same size and with the same features.
Additionally, if you do want a climate-controlled space, a detached garage will most likely need its own HVAC unit(s). Should you want a climate-controlled space in an attached garage, it may make sense for it to have its own HVAC unit as well.
Depending on the look you are going for, and how you want the space to function, a detached garage may be the right choice. In other situations, it may make more sense to opt for a garage addition attached to your existing home structure. An experienced contractor can help you to weigh these options and determine what will best meet your needs and work with your home and property.
2. Think About How Many Bays You Want
Garages are used for a variety of different activities. While they are primarily a place to park vehicles out of the elements, garages also provide storage and workspaces for homeowners. Determine how much space you want, as well as the minimum amount of space that is needed.
Taking this approach will help you to achieve an end result that meets your desired goals for the space while keeping your project within your budget guidelines. Some homeowners will opt for a garage with an extra bay that provides room for “toys”, such as recreational vehicles, extra storage, or a shop and workbench.
There are plenty of useful ways to use a garage addition. You just need to consider how you want to use yours and make sure you’re planning to have enough space for it.
3. Consider How a Garage Will Affect a Driveway
When planning the size, shape, and orientation of a new garage, consider how it will influence the way the rest of the property is used or laid out. For instance, will the new garage affect the current driveway? Or, will it create a need for the driveway to be altered? Do property boundaries allow for enough room to lay out a driveway in a specific way to be conveniently incorporated with the new garage structure?
For example, some homeowners may opt to have the doors of their garage on the side of the structure rather than on the front-facing the street. This can create a better aesthetical appeal to the exterior of the home, but it’s necessary to have enough real estate to orient the garage in this way and still have room for a driveway that comes off the side of the home.
Additionally, a turn around spot is probably a good idea for driveways that are laid out in such a way, since backing out of a garage and a driveway with a 90-degree turn can be a pain. These options require space and they also may require additional budget, so it’s important to consider them when planning a garage addition.
4. Familiarize Yourself With Local Zoning Laws
You should familiarize yourself with local zoning laws when you are planning a home addition of any kind. But, one of the best parts about working with a licensed and experienced home improvement contractor is that much of this part of the process will be taken care of for you. However, it is a good idea to be generally educated about some of the basic laws, ordinances, and zoning implications in your specific municipality as they may have restrictions on what you can do with a garage addition.
5. Determine the Placement of Garage Entrances
Access is a big factor in achieving an efficient and functional garage. This is true whether you choose an attached or detached garage structure for your property. It is a good idea to include an outside entrance to your garage so you don’t have to rely on putting the overhead door up and down for pedestrian traffic.
Additionally, if your home does not currently have a garage, consider where you will add it and where the entrance from the garage to the home will be placed. Ideally, you can place the entrance in an area that is separated from the general traffic of the home.
Garage entrances that directly lead to a mudroom or another similar area help to keep homes free of dirt from shoes and the clutter of winter clothes and jackets during cold weather months. These are all important things to consider before planning a garage addition.
6. Evaluate a Living Space Above the Garage
Finished space above the garage is a great and efficient utilization of potential that is otherwise left untapped. Not only is a second-story addition above this space a great way to quickly increase the usable living area of your home, but finishing a room above the garage also adds value to your home.
If your new garage is attached to your home, the space above can become another bedroom, a bathroom, an office, etc.! If you have decided upon a detached garage, all of the above mentioned are still possibilities, but you also have created a space separate from the main house that has immense potential as in-law quarters, a rec room, or even an apartment that can be rented!
Consider the possibilities, the benefits you will receive from additional living space that would otherwise go unused, and weigh those things with the budgetary guidelines you have established for your project. You may find that it’s well worth the investment to not only add a garage, but also to add a second-story addition above it!
Garage additions create a versatile space that provides a great number of benefits to homeowners. They are an investment that pays dividends in terms of increasing a home’s value, curb appeal, and functionality. For this reason, they remain a popular home improvement choice of homeowners who are looking to invest in their property in such a way that creates convenience and a greater level of practicality.
These are just a few things to consider before planning a garage addition. If you would like to discuss ways to implement a garage addition within your home or property, give one of our reps a call at (717) 399-4708 to start the conversation and get a free quote!