Average Cost to Build a Two-Car Detached Garage

If you’re looking to add a detached two-car garage to your home, there are a number of factors that will determine the price. Here's what you need to know to help keep the cost in check.

September 09, 2019
Bright and Classic

Bright and Classic

Dual red doors conceal the creative lounge area and project space contained in this converted garage.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza

Tomas Espinoza

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While it’s not possible to give any kind of estimate for a construction project without knowing all the variables, there are a few factors that most greatly impact the construction cost.

The Size Will Absolutely Affect the Cost

The 24’ x 24’ basic layout is the smallest reasonable size for a modern two-car garage. That should give you enough room for two mid-size cars with enough extra space to walk around them and store a few additional things.

If you drive larger vehicles or plan on storing a boat, you might want something a little bit deeper or possibly a layout that accommodates wider garage doors. It’s helpful to measure the lengths of your vehicles and then add about 3 feet around their perimeters to allow enough room to walk around and open doors. Once you know your basic square footage needs, you can start to get a clearer picture of where you can locate your building site and how it needs to be constructed.

Site Preparation and Foundations

Now that you know roughly what your garage’s footprint will look like, it’s time to find a location in your yard that is suitable for construction. Some key factors will help you determine what kind of contractors you’ll need to get your site ready to build.

  • Does your site require tree removal or excavation in order to clear a level spot for your foundation? If so, you’ll need to hire an excavator and arborist to clear your site.
  • Do you have a level spot in your yard that will accommodate your footprint and still give you access to the driveway? If so, you can likely go with a slab-on-grade foundation. This is the least expensive option.
  • Is your site sloped in any way that might require a retaining wall and footings in order to pour a foundation?

Building Type

Now that you’ve figured out your dimensions and where you’d like to place your garage, it’s time to decide what it looks like and what it’s made out of. If your garage is going to blend into the architecture of your home, it’s likely going to require a traditional 2x4 stud-framed structure, and with that comes the huge range of choices for roofing, siding, windows, doors, garage doors and hardware, flooring and more.

If all of that sounds like a nightmare of contractors and shopping for parts to you, then it might be time to look into a prefabricated garage option. Modern building technology has made it possible for builders to erect solid, well-designed garages from a predesigned kit of parts. Modern prefab buildings are strong and attractive and make it easy to choose windows and siding and layouts. And because they’re mass-produced, they can offer tremendous savings compared to a traditional building. Prefabricated garages come in all manner of sizes, shapes and price ranges. If your building site is easily accessible and relatively straightforward, a prefabricated option can be a great way to save money and still get an attractive garage.

Utilities Are an Added Expense

When you’re building a detached garage, running the power and water to the site can be a challenge. If you only need one or two outlets, it might be possible to simply bury a single cable that runs from your existing home’s electric panel. However, most people want lights, automatic garage doors and enough outlets to run tools and possibly even a refrigerator. At minimum, you’ll likely want to run at least a 60-amp electrical service and a simple hose spigot to your garage. Only a licensed electrician and a plumber can tell you what that might cost for your application. It might be possible to tie into your existing home, or you might need to have a secondary service run to the site if it’s too far away from the house.

Drawings, Permits and Inspections

Depending on where you live, you may or may not be subject to a wide range of building codes, ordinances and permit processes and building inspections. If you live in certain areas of the country, your garage could be subject to construction standards to help it withstand the surrounding environment. Upgrades for buildings that must withstand heavy snow loads, earthquakes or potential wildfires all add to the cost of your project.

It’s always a good idea to start looking into your local codes and permit processes so that you can be informed and avoid any potential pitfalls. Having to make code-based changes in the middle of your project can break your budget, so it’s always a good idea to reach out to your local code officials before you begin. Knowing the rules and regulations can also help you design in a way that’s efficient and cost-effective for your area.

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