Whatever your reasons for doing so, adding a garage to your home will protect your vehicles, provide safe access to your home, increase the resale value of your home, and possibly provide a little bit of extra space for storage, a workshop, a laundry room, or any other use you can imagine.
Before you go too far imagining how you can use all of that new space, you will need to do some checking to make sure you can add a garage, what restrictions apply, and what requirements might be imposed by your homeowners association or the local government. Start by checking with the city or county and understanding all applicable building code specifications. You will also need to check on zoning requirements. These will specify how far from property lines you can build, if you can add a garage, what materials must be used, whether a garage door is required, and whether the garage can be attached, detached or either. There will possibly be requirements for minimum and maximum size and there might be stipulations about how the space above the garage can be used.
Before you start choosing materials for your garage addition, you should also check with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is important for the resale value of your home that you use HUD-approved construction materials.
The next step is planning the project. This step includes planning who will do the work, making decisions about the design, placement on the lot and layout of the addition. Decide on the size and use of the space, where there will be doors and windows, the roof style and the building materials. Discuss with your contractor how much preparation and leveling will be necessary to pour the concrete slab for the floor. Think carefully about where you want electrical outlets, whether you want to include a bathroom for cleanup when coming in from the yard or working in the garage, and what kind of electrical circuits you will need. And think carefully about whether you will insulate the walls of the garage.
Keep in mind when planning who will do the work that garage additions are not easy projects for most do-it-yourselfers. There will need to be some excavation work, someone to build the form for the concrete, a carpenter, a roofer, an electrician and, perhaps, a plumber. You will need someone with the necessary knowledge to build the exterior and interior walls and to install windows and doors. Other tasks necessary for garage additions include: installing vapor barrier, installing electric garage doors and openers, installing appropriate ventilation, priming drywall, painting, and designing and building access to a finished space above the garage.
Most garages built today are attached to the house and have windows on at least one side of the structure. Automatic garage door openers are also fairly standard. If you want to provide access to the attic, but don’t want to finish it, a drop-down stairway will probably be the best option. If there is space, adding some shelving or strips for hanging tools can make the garage very functional and help to keep it neat and organized.
These steps and tips should help you plan and build a functional garage addition. Properly built and organized, the new garage will be a valuable home improvement.