1. To Attach or Not to Attach.
There are pros and cons to both attached and detached garages. If you’re building in a colder climate, an attached garage will shield you from whipping winter winds when shuffling from the car to the house. It also will share at least one wall with your home, which will help keep it warm and save money on construction costs. On the other hand, an attached garage could be a source of carbon monoxide and gas fumes inside your home, which can be irritating and potentially hazardous.
If you intend to use your garage for a purpose other than automobiles, such as a home gym, workshop, music/art studio or man cave, detaching it from the house could help reduce noise issues and enhance privacy. But, of course, you’ll be sacrificing the pros of tacking it to the main structure. Neither option is wrong — it’s simply a matter of preference.
2. Location Fixation.
If you do decide to attach it (most people do), the next step is to identify where it will fit into your floor plan. Siting it near the kitchen will be convenient for large grocery runs. Connecting it to the main living quarters via a mudroom/laundry corridor will help keep your resident mechanic’s greasy, dirty clothes contained. If your lot is on a slope, a basement garage won’t eat into precious main-level square footage and can save you money in materials, like half-logs or cement siding to coordinate with your house. Ultimately, your lifestyle, layout and budget will drive your decision.
3. Size It Up.
Garages have morphed into much more than an enclosed parking space; they also serve as supplemental storage. A smart option is to decide how many parking spaces you’ll need and how large your vehicles are (oversized SUVs require more length and width than a standard sedan), and plan about 4 feet of space on either side for adequate door-swing clearance. Then add a half-bay for bicycles, ATVs, snowmobiles or whatever other modes of transport you have, plus space to store tools, gear and hobby equipment.
4. Get Floored.
Sure, a typical poured-concrete surface will suffice, but if you want your garage’s floor to be a little extra, there are almost as many choices as for your home’s living quarters. Options include everything from interlocking plastic squares (affordable and easy to DIY) to porcelain tile (for the high-end showroom look). But one of the most popular is an epoxy coating. Epoxy is durable, affordable and customizable, plus it’s easy to keep clean and gives your garage a luxurious touch at a bargain price.
5. Need a Lift?
To take your garage to new heights (literally) and double your storage space without a major renovation, a car lift will get it into gear. You do need a minimum of a 10 foot ceiling (maybe higher, depending on the car you intend to elevate) but other than that, if you can park in your garage, you can install a lift. So if you want a garage that will get your friends talking, a lift is like triggering the NOS button … but better.