Used for storing cars, tools, lawn care equipment, and the beer fridge, a garage is often top on the list for people looking for a new home.
But what if the house you live in or the one you’ve fallen in love with doesn’t have one? Lucky for you, whether you’re looking for some extra storage or just want to create a man cave for yourself, it’s never been easier to build a garage by yourself.
Keep reading to learn how to build a garage, and what your best option is depending on your situation.
Do Your Homework and Planning First
If you know your way around tools and have some experience, you can build your own garage from the ground up. You can design your own plan specifically to your space or find a pre-made garage plan.
Once you have the plan, you’ll need to make sure you have the appropriate permits to build and adhere to any codes or covenants laid out by your city or neighborhood.
Things you’ll need to think about while planning include:
- How big can it be? Most lots within city limits have restrictions on the kind, number, and size of buildings on the lot. Normal considerations include what percentage of the lot is covered with structures (including sidewalks, driveways, buildings, and decks) and how many buildings are already on the lot. You may be limited to how large the footprint of the garage can be, and it may need to be shorter than the house.
- Are there any restrictions on materials used? Neighborhoods and developments have their own covenants that sometimes outline the type of materials that must be used. For instance, you may not be able to use corrugated steel and the garage would need to be finished in the same material as the house.
- Will I need to hire anything out? While budgeting, you’ll need to add in the costs of hiring jobs out. If you’re capable of doing the work yourself or have friends who can help, you’ll pay considerably less than someone who has to hire jobs out. However, your work will have to be checked off by code enforcement, so make sure you actually know what you’re doing so you don’t have to redo a job to meet code standards.
Once you have the plan and any necessary permits and permissions out of the way, it’s time to build!
How to Build a Garage the Old-Fashioned Way
A garage is a fairly simple project that can be put up in a few days, with the right pre-planning and a little help.
You’ll first need to have a foundation for your garage to sit on. This is a job many people hire out to a capable concrete company, to ensure the finished slab is solid, won’t crack, and is square.
If you choose to build your own foundation, make sure you know what you’re doing and have done your homework. A structure built on a poor foundation will shift with time, creating structural issues that can sometimes render a property unsellable.
Once the slab is in, it’s time to get framing underway. This is the bones of your garage, so it needs to be perfectly square.
- Mark where your walls will be
- Lay out your wall plates
- Assemble the walls on the ground
- Build in windows and doors
- Stand the walls up
- Plumb the corners to ensure it’s square
- Straighten to top of the wall and add top wall plates
- Install sheathing
- Set the end, or gable, trusses
- Stretch a centerline and tack on a ribbon board between the two trusses
- Set the rest of the trusses
- Add hurricane clips to trusses once set
- Install the roof decking
- Schedule an inspection
Roofing and Siding
Once the inspection is done, you can add these finishing elements to your finished framework to complete your garage. A final inspection is sometimes necessary before your building will be signed off on, to ensure you’ve complied with the plan you submitted.
Using a Kit to Build Your Own Garage
If you aren’t as familiar with construction, you can order a kit that includes everything you need to finish your garage. Garage kits include the plans and basic materials.
Most don’t include concrete or finishing touches, like insulation. They do include the framing materials, including nails and screws, trusses, and siding and roofing materials.
Once you have your garage built, it’s time for some finishing touches.
- Electrical. If you plan to have lights or electrical plugs in your garage, you’ll need to add electrical before finishing any interior walls. A licensed electrician can help you design and install a system perfect for your needs. Make sure to allow for the extra amperage that some tools need.
- Heating. If you live in a colder area and plan on enjoying your garage during the winter, add in a heating system of some type. You can find electric, gas, propane, pellet and wood-burning models of stoves for garages, depending on your needs.
- Insulation. Once you have the interior workings done, you might want to insulate and finish off interior walls to better maintain temperature and moisture fluctuations within the garage.
- Flooring. You can find numerous garage floor coatings that will add durability to your concrete foundation, as well as dress it up and protect it from spills and stains.
- Driveway. Finish off your garage by adding a driveway and sidewalks to man doors. Make sure in your initial planning you think about the right slope in the foundation at the door to join it with a driveway and allow cars to easily drive in.
Ready to Build Your Own Garage?
Now that you know how to build a garage, it’s time to get planning and get your own space underway! With careful planning and budgeting, you can have your dream garage in no time!
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