How to Choose: Attached vs Detached Garages in Northern VA

May 29, 2018

When you’re planning on adding a garage to your home, there are several considerations to keep in mind. The planning process is key in making sure that you have a smooth and successful remodel. The addition of a garage has its advantages, as it adds instant property value and creates more space for storage. 


Attached Garage



An attached garage is a great choice if you have enough land to build it adjacent to your home. Some houses are in communities where the houses are too close to allow for an attached garage, so making sure you have enough space is the first step. 


Detached Garage

Melcher 3-1.jpg

A detached garage is a popular choice when the property lines of the house are restricting. It is common to build a detached garage in the backyard, usually near the current driveway if it will house cars or directly behind the existing home if it is intended to have additional living space above the garage bays. 


1. Things to Consider: 

To decide this, you’ll want to evaluate your needs. Here are some questions that will give you a better idea of what your ideal garage will be.

1. How large is my budget? How much am I willing to invest in this project?

2. How will the space be used? Will it be used to park cars, for storage, or for a workshop?

3. Will the space need heating and lighting? Will you want to add a bathroom? 

4. Will you want to add livable space in the loft above, like an in-law suite?

2. How Much Space Will You Need: 

Once you’ve figured out what your needs are, you’ll decide how large the garage will be. Typically, the minimum size for garages is 12’ by 22’ (single garage) and 18’ by 22’ (double garage). However, it is recommended that you expand these sizes. Most people prefer to have room to open car doors and have some space left over for storage. Overall, it’s important that the space allows you to be comfortable as you use it for storage and for your vehicles.

3. Hiring a Reputable Contractor: 

Hiring a designer and contractor is important throughout this process. By hiring an expert, you can be sure that the plans are up to code and the design complements your existing home. By adding a garage that contrasts too much with your house, you risk decreasing the resale value. With any addition, continuity of design is key.

4. Building Permit Process: 

Before you build your garage, you will need a building permit. Your contractor can help you obtain this from your department of urban planning, or will obtain it for you. By hiring an expert, you will ensure that your construction meets all requirements and codes. 

5. Cost Difference of Attached vs Detached: 

In terms of cost, an attached garage is usually less expensive to construct than building a detached garage. With an attached garage, the garage is tied into the existing home so there is one less wall to construct. You can save money by building an attached garage by integrating it with the existing home. When you build a detached garage, it’s like building a new home. As a result, it is a larger construction project. As a standalone structure, it tends to require electricity, and sometimes plumbing and gas (depending on your needs). Detached garages also need foundation and all four walls constructed. 

Whether you decide to add an attached or detached garage, the benefits to adding a garage to your home are clear. A garage gives you more functional space, and it adds a significant amount of resale value to your home. Be sure to keep your goals in mind throughout each stage of the process, (i.e. Do you need space for storage? Space for a workroom?) and you’ll have a successful project.

If you live in the Northern Virginia area and you’re interested in a free estimate, or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or fill out a short contact form. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page. 


Schedule Your Project and Cost Consultation