One of the most rewarding home improvements I made to my house was to build a garage addition. For years I contemplated building a garage addition while I scraped the ice and snow from my cars and waited for them to warm up during the winter months. About five years ago I finally decided to build a garage onto my home.
The first big decision I had to make after deciding to build the garage addition was to determine how large to make it. I wanted a large enough garage to fit two cars comfortably, and that would be of proper proportion to the rest of the house. I also wanted space to include a workbench and to allow room for the lawnmowers or snow blowers. I decided on a 26 foot wide, by the 24-foot deep garage. Since my house was 36 feet in width, this gave me a garage that was about 2/5ths of the entire home frontage.
I also needed to make sure that the roof pitch and the elevation of the garage would be consistent with the rest of the home.
After taking these issues into account, I created some drawings of the garage including the foundation size, the location of the garage doors, the maintenance door and windows, and the height profile of the roof. From these drawings, I was able to discuss with some general contractors my garage and home plans.
After selecting my general contractor, I generated some additional drawings that provided all of the framing details necessary to pull a building permit. Because of the specific contour of my property, my garage plans also included a bonus room that would reside above the garage. Thus, I needed to add additional drawings of the bonus room, e.g., interior walls, doors, windows, closet, and entrance way and stairwell to/from the main house.
After excavation and installation of the foundation, the framing crew had the garage frame up in about a week. Three weeks later I had a completely enclosed garage, with all the outside doors and windows installed and the shingles mounted on the roof.
From this point forward, I took over the electrical and insulation work, after filing for these specific permits.
Once the insulation was installed and approved, I called the drywall contractor to install the drywall, and to tape and mud. I also had them apply a coat of primer and one coat of builders grade paint. It is well worth the money to have them do this.
I then finished the electric, installed the stair railing, interior doors, and baseboard trim and the garage was nearly ready to move in.
The finishing touch was the installation of two garage door openers and a final application of paint in the bonus room.
The total cost of my garage addition was about $30,000. I had been quoted as high as $50,000, however with a little negotiation and sweat equity I was able to get a lot of garage for a reasonable price.
A few years have gone by since I completed my garage addition and every winter when I see people standing by their cars in the driveways scraping, I am reminded of one of the best decisions I ever made.