Project Planning For Attached vs Detached Garages in Northern VA

October 21, 2016

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:

1. It adds more functional space to your home.

2. It adds a great deal of resale value to your home.

The first thing you will want to decide is whether you want an attached or detached garage.

Attached Garage



Detached Garage

Image via Saussy Burbank

Garage Planning Ideas

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? (This is the most important!). Will it be used to park cars, for storage, or for a workshop?

3. Will the space need heating and lighting? (This will depend on your answer to number 2 above).

4. Will you include windows and a service door? (A service door is an additional standard-size door used to access the space aside from the large garage door).

Garage Sizes

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 (better safe than sorry). 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.

Hire 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.

Garage Building Permits

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. Tip: If you don’t plan accordingly, you risk having to make alterations/restarting your project, which becomes very costly.

Attached and Detached Garage Costs

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.

To get a more definitive range in terms of cost prior to meeting with a contractor for an estimate, you may want to consider downloading the 2015 Cost Vs. Value report. This report was compiled by Remodeling Magazine and reports average regional costs for home remodeling projects. This will help you understand what others are generally paying for their garage additions in Northern Virginia. It also reports how much value the garage will add to your home.

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.


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About Lensis Builders, Inc.

Lensis Builders, Inc. is a build/design firm proudly serving the Northern Virginia area. We specialize in kitchen and bath design and remodeling, additions, whole house remodels, home energy and comfort solutions, porches, garages, and more. Our firm works closely with you to design and build the house of your dreams. We are passionate about building and remodeling and have been helping homeowners “love where they live” for 20 years.