“What’s it going to cost me to build a detached garage?”
While it sounds simple enough, it’s about as easy to answer as the question: “How much will a car cost?” There are an incredible number of variables that go into any garage building project, and without defining those variables, it’s difficult to determine the projected cost. To put it simply, a detached garage building can cost anywhere from $3500 for a simple one car garage up to $50,000+ for a customized multiple car structure.
That being said, by putting some thought into what requirements and specs you have for your detached garage, you will be able to calculate with much more accuracy what it will cost. And this guide is here to assist you!
Remember, its not just the cost of the garage itself that should be calculated. There is a foundation that needs to be built (with various options that change the cost substantially), options that can make a world of difference and much more.
To make it easier for you to find what you want, we’ve divided the guide into the following sections:
Let’s dive in!
It’s important to weigh all the benefits and potential pitfalls of a major property upgrade before you invest your hard-earned cash in it!
Pros and Cons of a Detached Garage
It’s important to weigh all the benefits and potential pitfalls of a major property upgrade before you invest your hard-earned cash in it! Here are both some pros and cons of detached garages (vs. attached garages):
- With a detached garage, you have much more freedom to customize your garage design to the layout of your property. Where an attached garage needs to match the design of your existing house, a detached garage can take on a design of its own.
- A detached garage can be placed wherever property lines, topography, and driveways make it most convenient, whereas an attached garage must be...attached.
- It’s much easier to include a loft or second story in a detached garage without significantly changing the cost of the garage. Whether converted to a finished living area or simply used as storage space, a loft provides more versatility to your detached garage, as well as extra space. And come on, who doesn’t need extra space!
- A detached garage keeps dangerous carbon monoxide away from your home. While the risk is not high with an attached garage, a detached garage provides additional safety. Of course, never leave a vehicle idling in any garage!
- Exposure to inclement weather. The further your garage is from your door, the further you’ll be walking in the rain. So, if you’re prone to melting…
- Some estimates put the average initial cost of building a detached garage as slightly higher than building attached, mainly because you are building four walls instead of three. However, there is also extra work involved in tieing a garage into the house and making sure nothing leaks.
In general, however, the added flexibility of a detached garage more than pays for itself over time. You may want to consider pricing an attached and a detached garage just to compare.
Sizes of Detached Garages and Approximate Costs
These days, sizes and configurations of garages are almost limitless. If you’re planning to use your garage for vehicle storage, one of the biggest factors for determining how much it will cost to build a detached garage is how many wheels need a home in it.
What is the Cost of a One Car Garage?
The absolute smallest size you should even consider for a detached one car garage is 10’x16’. However, this accommodates only a small car and allows very little extra maneuverability. A width of 14’ to 16’ give much-needed space for opening doors and entering or exiting vehicles.
What is the cost of a Two Car Garage?
20’x20’ is the minimum sized two car garage anyone should consider. A 24’x24’ garage gives better flexibility and increasing the width to 28’ and the length to 30’ or more will give some additional storage space on the sides and back.
Costs of Three Car Garages and Larger
A good rule of thumb is to increase your garage width by at least 12’ or the length by at least 20’ for every car that is added. There are multiple possible configurations for vehicle parking and garage door layout, so you will want to think about what will best match your available space.
Prices for a very basic 20x30 three car garage start around $14,000 and 20x40 four car garages around $16,900 and go up past $60,000.
Two Story Detached Garage Costs
If space is an issue, there is an additional way to increase your available space without increasing the footprint of your garage. Adding another floor to your garage increases your options exponentially. You could use the entire second level for storage, set up a workshop or recreation room, or finish it out as a man cave or an extra bedroom.
Pre-construction Expenses for a Detached Garage
Once you’ve decided what size of garage you would like and the cost of the garage, it’s time to figure out how much it’s going to cost to build a detached garage. But, like any major investment, diving in without carefully calculating ALL your potential garage building expenses is a sure way to get burned!
1. The Cost of the Driveway
What good is a garage if you can’t get to it? You definitely don’t want to go off-roading through your lawn every day!
Ideally, you’ll be able to place your garage in such a way that you can maximize existing driveway space. However, you may need to extend your existing driveway or build a new one. There are several options to choose from based on property layout, existing driveway surfaces, and budget (there's that word again!).
Cost of a Gravel Driveway (Cheapest Option)
This is definitely the most affordable option. Gravel driveway prices for a detached garage project can differ greatly based on gravel size and color and the type of substrate used. Estimates for average gravel driveway costs range from $1.25 to $2.00/sq. ft. although it can cost around $3.75/sq. ft. on the upper end.
At the $2.00 per square foot rate, a 24x24 gravel driveway would cost about $1,152. Don't take my word for it, check with local contractors for current prices in your area!
Cost of an Asphalt Driveway
If you don’t want to worry about gravel washing away in heavy rain or plants sprouting through your driveway surface, asphalt is often the go-to driveway material. Asphalt generally requires less maintenance than gravel and many people prefer the lack of dust and finished look that it provides.
A good asphalt driveway will last 15-20+ years and usually cost between $2.50 to $4.50/sq. ft. At $4.50/sq. ft, a 24x24 gravel driveway would cost about $2,592. Again, don't take my word for it, check with local contractors for current prices in your area!
Cost of a Concrete Driveway
A concrete driveway, while being the most expensive standard option, also provides the most in terms of durability. In addition, concrete can be tailored to your project with multiple color and finish options available.
Based on the customizations chosen, a concrete driveway can cost anywhere from $4.50/ sq. ft. all the way to $12 or $15/sq. ft. At $8.00/sq. ft, a 24x24 gravel driveway would cost about $4,609. Please check with a local concrete contractor for prices in your area!
Luxury driveways made of pavers or brick/cobblestone can give a property an elegant look and come at a cost of $20/ sq. ft. and above. A heated driveway is an option to consider for reducing wintertime ice and snow. Better yet, solve your storm and water requirements and add a permeable driveway next to your detached garage.
Your garage is only as good as what’s under it!
2. The Cost of a Garage Foundation
As a wise man once said, “Your garage is only as good as what’s under it!” It would be a shame to invest in a beautiful garage, only to have it begin falling apart in a few years because no thought was put into ground preparation. Key considerations for foundation selection include garage size/height and how prone your area is to frost.
Cost of a Gravel Pad
The most cost-effective and most basic shed foundation is a gravel pad surrounded by a perimeter of treated wood. This is best for a smaller detached garage, especially pre-assembled or modular styles.
If you’re on a budget, this is one part of the project that you could consider doing yourself to reduce the overall cost of your detached garage. Want to find a site prep company to install it for you? Click here for a Lancaster based garage pad company.
A gravel pad for a 24'x24' two car detached garage will typically cost between $2,500 to $3,500.
While there is certainly a higher cost of installing a concrete pad, there are several options depending on your personal preference, budget and local town requirements.
Options for a Concrete Garage Pad
- Floating Pad – Usually 4” of concrete over 4”-5” of clean stone. This is the simplest and cheapest concrete garage base.
- Floating Foundation – Similar to the floating pad, a floating foundation often includes a 4” floor with a moisture barrier under the concrete, mesh reinforcement for strength, and footers up to 12” deep around the perimeter.
- Monolithic Foundation (single pour) – This foundation is like a floating foundation with the addition of a concrete frost wall about 10” wide descending about three feet underground under the perimeter of the pad. The entire foundation is poured at once and is optimal for areas with cold winters.
- Block Foundation – 2’ wide footers are poured at the required frost depth around the perimeter of the building area. A concrete block foundation is built on top of the footer up to floor height. The foundation is completed with a 4” concrete floor.
The big questions, of course, is what does a garage foundation cost? For a 24’x24’ detached two car garage, a quality concrete floating foundation will be around $6000 to $8000, while a garage pad with a block foundation will run $8000 to $10,000.
But keep in mind, building a concrete foundation can save money during the actual detached garage construction process by eliminating the need to build a floor into the garage. The floor of the garage will be the concrete pad.
Don't Do This!!!
Depending on the garage you're buying, you might be tempted to save on your detached garage cost by simply placing the structure on concrete blocks.
This is strongly discouraged as blocks are not only difficult to level properly but can also crack or settle with years of use and exposure to the elements. Over time, this settling can cause a variety of problems, including binding windows and doors. It’s best to make sure your detached garage foundation is built right the first time!
3. The Cost of Permits
Finally, make sure you remember to figure any required permits or licenses into the cost of a detached garage. While this is not a substantial cost compared to the overall detached garage cost, it's an important part of the project.
What are the Detached Garage Construction Costs?
Finally, we’re ready to actually start planning for the detached garage itself!
And there are a number of things to plan for. Let’s break down the major components of a garage project one by one:
This is the skeleton of your entire garage, so make sure it’s good quality! 2x4s are the standard when it comes to framing up a detached garage but for larger garages it would be a good idea to upgrade to 2x6 framing. If you plan to insulate the garage, going with 2x6 framing will cost a bit more, but give you much better insulating value.
It’s common to use trusses for framing in the roof area of your detached garage. But again, there are countless options. Want attic space in your trusses? That costs more! Need a stairway going to the attic area? Another cost. How about going with a full second floor as shown in the photo? Then you'll need floor joist for the second floor which might include I Joist and a special order truss (I know, there's a lost of choices :).
And don't forget, it is generally a good idea to have at least a 12” overhang on all sides as this gives a better look and also keeps rain further from the sides of the garage.
Examples of Truss Options for your Detached Garage
There are an incredible number of options when it comes to choosing siding for your detached garage. You will want to consider how best to match any existing buildings on your property, as well as factors of durability, maintenance, and budget.
The cheapest way to cover the walls of your detached garage is with simple wood siding sheets that can be nailed or screwed directly to the studs, such as T1-11 siding panels.
Installation costs can range between $3.50 to $7.80/sq. ft., depending on the difficulty of the project. This is typically the least durable siding type and should be painted with quality exterior paint to protect it from the weather. Other examples of wooden siding include clapboard, tongue, and groove, or board and batten, each with varying degrees of cost and difficulty. At Sheds Unlimited we use a wood panel siding with a 50 year warranty.
Probably the most common home covering in the country, vinyl is popular for its durability, color choices (roughly 350!), and low maintenance. While more expensive than the cheapest wood paneling, it won’t need paint and should more than pay itself off with longevity and reduced maintenance.
$4.00 to $8.75/sq. ft. is the typical price range for having vinyl siding installed on a detached garage, depending on the quality of the product and the difficulty of the installation. You will also need to plan for OSB or plywood on the walls for the siding to be fastened to and possibly some type of house wrapping material.
Other Siding Options
There are various other choices for finishing your garage exterior, including metal paneling, wood shakes, or, on high-end projects, brick or stucco. Each of these options will impact the cost of your detached garage differently.
Roofing Costs and Options
If your roof fails, the rest of your detached garage won’t last much longer. This is one of the most important parts of your project since it protects the structural integrity of your building along with your precious belongings inside. Roofing options include:
By far the most popular choice for sloped roofing! The most common shingle these days is an architectural or “dimensional” shingle. Not only are they durable and straightforward to install, the “dimensional” look adds to the elegance of even the simplest buildings. Prices often run $2.00-$6.00/sq. ft.
To take the look of your detached garage up a notch, you might think about a corrugated metal roof screwed onto purlins which span your trusses. Some people prefer the look of a beautiful metal roof and the ease of installation is also a plus. Prices can be anywhere from $2.00 to $7.50/sq. ft., depending on the gauge of metal and other factors.
Standing Seam Metal
Standing seam metal is often considered to have the best look and the best durability of any metal roof. With this type of metal, no fasteners are exposed to the elements; they’re all hidden. This makes standing seam a particularly appealing choice to property owners concerned with maximum longevity. The only downside: prices can run double that of corrugated metal.
Other Roofing Choices
There are a variety of other roofing options including wood shakes (popular for their looks), slate (incredibly long-lasting, but expensive), and synthetic slate. Pictured here is synthetic slate in the Charcoal color option.
With shingles and some types of standing seam, you will also need to figure for the cost of plywood or OSB sheathing underneath the actual roofing, usually $1.00 to $1.50/sq. ft. Remember tar paper underlayment and any necessary trim and flashing components.
Garage Door Costs and Options
What good is a garage you can’t get in and out of!? You’ll want to put some thought into the best garage doors for your project. 9’x7’ is a standard size for garage doors and will allow good access for most types of vehicles. Options range from a simple, non-insulated, white metal door for several hundred dollars (uninstalled) to handcrafted, wooden doors for several thousand!
Insulated Garage Doors
If you’re planning to add heat, you’ll definitely want insulated garage doors, which will add to the cost of your detached garage but will help you save on your heating bill. Adding windows to your garage door is an easy way to increase the natural light in your garage. And of course, you’ll need to decide if you want the trouble of manually opening the door every time you drive in and out of your detached garage. If not, choose a reliable garage door opener that can be operated from inside your vehicle.
Windows and Pedestrian Doors
It’s usually a good idea to figure a pedestrian door into the cost of your detached garage so you don’t need to open and close a huge garage door anytime you want to slip in or out. 3’ is the typical width for a single door, while a set of double doors can range anywhere from 4’-8’ wide. Again, prices vary widely based on material and other factors like hinges and insulation.
A detached garage should generally have at least one or two windows for natural light, even if you plan to wire the garage for electricity. If you plan to spend any amount of time in the garage on a regular basis, you will want to add more. There are a huge variety of window dimensions to choose from, with 18”x36”, 24”x36”, and 30”x36” being some of the most common sizes. There are a range of styles (such as transom windows), as well as insulated and non-insulated options.
The incredible customization that’s possible if you decide to finish out some or all of the interior of your garage deserves an entire article of its own. To touch on a few considerations to chew over as you figure out your detached garage cost:
If you ever plan to heat your detached garage, even temporarily, it can be a great idea to insulate it. Options include batt and blanket (or roll) insulation (available in fiberglass, rockwool, and cotton), loose-fill (or blown) insulation (especially good in attic spaces and available in fiberglass or cellulose), rigid foam (or panel) insulation, or spray foam.
Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC
Simple vehicle storage doesn’t require any of these additions, but if you want to do anything else in your garage, you’ll want at least electric for lighting and your garage door opener.
Food storage or a workbench with electric tools are other options if you have an electrical connection. Plumbing and HVAC configurations can open an entire new world of possibilities for your detached garage!
Drywall and Trim
If you plan to spend a lot of time in it, drywall and paint can be a nice touch for your garage interior, especially if you are finishing loft space, a recreation room, or a man cave. For the best look, pick out a nice trim and paint it an accent color!
Of course, the prices given here are all very general estimates for on-site construction. To be completely accurate, you will want to talk to local contractors to find out what the going rates are in your area.
Cost Variations in Building Techniques
Back in the old days, there was only one way to build a garage…completely from scratch! Nowadays, there are a few more, very cost-effective options, depending on the size and style of your detached garage. Let’s break down the choices:
Build from scratch
Of course, this is still a very relevant option. Building your detached garage piece by piece ensures that you have complete control over every detail of the finished product. Whether you do the project yourself (more on that below) or hire a general contractor, you can build the project exactly to your specs.
Assemble from prefabricated sections
While independent contractors need to build everything on-site, some companies are able to prefabricate sections of your detached garage in a dedicated assembly facility where team members can customize their workspaces for maximum efficiency.
Then, all the pieces can be transported to the construction site and assembled fairly quickly. Customers generally choose a base design which can then be customized and reconfigured in virtually endless ways. With this model of building, the inefficiencies of on-site construction are minimized (making for very reasonable pricing), while still allowing complete control over your project’s final design. This is generally used for two car garages and larger.
With some designs, a detached garage can be assembled in two major pieces at the construction facility. Once transported to the final destination, the two pieces are joined, and any finishing touches are put in place.
This allows for increased efficiency, to the point where on-site construction time is reduced to less than a day for a two or three-person crew. With this configuration, the cost of a detached garage falls even further. Modular construction is most common with doublewide two car and two-story single car detached garages.
For single-car designs, it’s possible to have your detached garage completely pre-built in an assembly facility and transported to your site. All customization and design are done by the property owner beforehand, so on-site time is reduced to hours or less. This is the route to go for the lowest possible price on a detached garage.
Wow! That was a lot! Now how much will my garage cost if I build it myself?
That's a great question! Here is the cost breakdown...
If you have some construction experience and want to save cash or have the satisfaction of working with your hands to improve your property, you may consider doing your detached garage construction yourself. We created this spreadsheet for a rough breakdown of the supplies cost of a very basic 24’x24’ detached garage if you purchase from a local building supply store.
Some of the pros of going this route are (possibly) savings on construction costs, as you avoid any mark-up from a general contractor, as well as the fulfillment of seeing your own handiwork for years to come!
However, this list does not figure in site preparation, materials delivery, tools, or labor costs. As you can see, you will spend at least $5500 in supplies for the most basic two car garage before they even get to the construction site.
A major property improvement like a detached garage requires a range of skills and tools. For instance, you will probably not want to nail everything by hand, so you should have a framing nail gun, as well as a roofing nail gun. Setting trusses will require you to have at least one assistant.
By building yourself, you will lose the efficiency that comes with the experience of a specialized garage builder, as well as their reduced materials costs from purchasing in bulk. Depending on how valuable you consider your own time, there will be little to no actual savings with the self-construction approach, not to mention the added stress of managing a project of this scale.
How much does a prefab detached garage cost if I buy from Sheds Unlimited
As mentioned previously, there are numerous savings available by purchasing a prefabricated detached garage from specialized shed and garage builder (that's kind of what Sheds Unlimited is :). Some of the benefits and savings from going this route include:
Bulk material purchasing
Since most large garage and shed builders order lumber and materials by the tractor-trailer load, they’re able to take advantage of pricing discounts that are not available to small contractors or do-it-yourselfers. By keeping costs lower, they are then able to pass some savings on to their customers.
Efficiency in getting a garage built
Professional garage builders prefabricate as much of a project as possible in their manufacturing facility. Here, workstations are set up to maximize craftsman productivity. Labor costs are reduced and again, more savings are available to pass on to garage buyers.
Peace of mind
When you purchase a detached garage from an experienced prefabricator, like Sheds Unlimited, you can have peace of mind knowing that your project is being handled by a company who has built literally thousands of structures similar to yours. You’ll be able to plan any customizations ahead of time, then sit back and watch while your detached garage appears virtually out of thin air! Forget weeks of construction traffic on and off your property; just a few hours to a couple days for a straightforward delivery and assembly process and your new detached garage will be ready for use!
We understand that getting a detached garage built is not a coincidence. It takes planning, budget analysis, design consultation and much more. But with the right knowledge and assistance, you can do it!
We would love to have a free design consultation with you which would include a free estimate. We'll help you figure out much it will cost to build the detached garage of your dreams. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for a free consultation.