When it comes to building and constructing garages, the options may be overwhelming. Some of those options include detached garages, attached garages, semi-attached garages, and even integral garages.
The two most common types are attached and detached garages. We are going to focus on detached garages and uncover some unexpected benefits they offer.
So, what is a detached garage?
A detached garage is a separate building or structure primarily for storing vehicles. Detached garages will not share a wall with the main house nor will they be dependent on any other building or structure for structural support.
If you are looking to build additional vehicle storage or are building out a new house you may be having trouble figuring out which garage option is best for you. While attached garages offer their own benefits, we suggest you carefully consider a detached garage.
How Will You Use Your Garage?
Garages offer homeowners all kinds of benefits: vehicle care, additional storage, and a wide range of alternative uses (from workshop to craft corner).
Figuring out which garage option is best first requires a careful review of you and your own habits or preferences. We have a few questions you can ask yourself to begin to paint a picture of how your garage might function in your day-to-day.
- Are you a parent? Do you need to be able to store their toys or have room to unload a baby carrier?
- Have any pets? Do you want to keep a kennel in your garage?
- Are you a gardener? Will you want a place to store gardening materials and prep plants?
- What are your hobbies? Do you need a workbench and tool storage system? Will you need a planting station?
- Do you often have guests? Would you like to build out additional features such as an apartment and bathroom in your garage?
- How is the weather where you live? Do you need direct access from your garage to your house and vice versa?
Once you have thought a bit more about how you plan to use this space, you can understand better what you will need.
What is an Attached Garage vs. Detached Garage
To help make your decision, it’s helpful to see the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Each garage has its own unique features, so understanding what they offer can help lead you closer to the right decision for you.
An attached garage generally shares structural support with an adjacent building, often a home.
Many modern homes incorporate a garage. Sometimes the garage can take over the home itself and leave you with more garage than home. The attached garage was popularized to meet a demand for square footage in a world with decreasing lot sizes. However, there are a ton of other benefits to having an attached garage as well.
- Incredibly convenient in inclement weather (rain, snow, heat, cold)
- Use electrical and heating systems from the attached home
- Can raise property values
- Less expensive
- May not fit seamlessly into design aesthetic
- Can be a risk for a home fire or hazardous fumes
- Security risk for home invasion
- Often homeowners convert into living spaces, thus losing precious garage storage space
As we’ve said, a detached garage is an entirely separate, enclosed space, dependent on itself for structural support.
- Exterior design is highly versatile and can fit nicely with a wide range of home styles
- Can be situated in the most convenient spot for optimal function
- Can safely store chemicals separate from your home
- Eliminates an entryway that intruders can use to access the house
- Provide a sound buffer between garage and home
- Additional privacy: can house guests separate from the home or be used as a man cave
- Adds additional space and property value
- It is more difficult to access
- Not ideal in bad weather, as there is no direct access to the home
- Necessary to have a separate source for utilities
- Can take up your yard or garden space
- May not be allowed by local permitting or present limitations
Does a Detached Garage Increase Property Value? (Yes, well sometimes.)
Any structural addition to your property is likely going to increase the property value. While the exact value will vary, often it includes considerations such as additional square footage and the ability for additional storage.
The added benefit of detached garages is that you can use it for more than just parking. It can be converted into a gym, home office, and more. Potential buyers are always drawn to extra features, so adding a garage will only attract more buyers and push up property value. Make it a 2 or 3 car garage and that number only increases.
So, adding a garage to a property will not only pay out for you now, but it will in the future if you need to sell.
However, it’s important to consider that if you have a very small lot and squeeze in a detached garage, you’re going to have to pay. It’s going to cramp the property and negatively impact the balance of the structure vs ground. Potential buyers won’t look fondly on that, and neither will your neighbors.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind in determining the value of a detached garage is to base it on a value of around 25% to 50% of the home’s price per square foot. We advise doing research to make sure that the detached garage will be a solid investment for you. Speaking to a builder is a good place to start as they will understand the market and help you plan how to maximize your returns.
Overall Benefits of Detached Garage
While there are certainly benefits to having a garage no matter what kind you go with, a detached garage is one of the most versatile options.
From a design perspective, you can have more freedom in placement, style, and additional features. Often attached garages are limited in style and have to follow the design of the existing home. With detached garages, you can do the same, or you can have complete liberty in the material and visual features of the stand-alone garage without clashing directly with your home’s style.
Detached garages also follow the model of the first-ever garages: carriage houses! So if you’re into tradition and history, a detached garage is the way to go.
Just because they are closer to that historic model doesn’t at all mean they are stuck in the past. Modern detached garages can have heating and cooling, automatic overhead doors, bathrooms, and a slew of other features according to your choice of customizations. It’s often a great option for those who need to build out offices, mancaves, hobby rooms, and more.
Planning for a Detached Garages
There are a number of factors to keep in mind when planning your garage. Here are some of the things to keep in mind:
Aesthetics: One of our favorite things about detached garages is their versatility. Of course, you can keep it aligned with the style of your home or completely set it apart. Give it a rustic, farm-style feel or hyper modernize it for storing your new cars. Keep in mind things like balance, materials, proportion, height, door sizes, and making sure you have the extra space for bikes or equipment.
Access: When planning out your garage, think about how you will enter and exit the building. What kind of weather do you have and will you need a door facing a door into your own home? Where will the garage be placed and do you need to think about providing additional parking just outside of the garage?
Activities/Use: Going back to our initial questions, how do you intend to use this garage and what kind of activities take up your time? How will you move in your garage and walk through it on a day to day basis? Make sure to check local building codes to ensure that you can build out the features you want according to the existing codes. Sometimes you can even use a garage as part of business operations (such as a workshop) but you can’t use it as a sales shop or doctors office. Again, checking with your local codes and speaking with your builder (who should be well informed about these restrictions) is a good place to start.
Be prepared for any setbacks that might delay the project or get in the way. Often this includes issues with utilities, septic, building size, community restrictions and more.
Is a Detached Garage Right For You?
Having the right information can help you make the garage decision that will be best for you.
Detached garages offer many benefits, but so do attached garages. Understanding what both can offer makes it much easier for you to determine the right decision for your property.
Remember, detached garages can be built in a wide range of sizes and styles. That’s one of their greatest offers. Plus, they give you space away from the home to put your living space further from loud sounds, car emissions and other potential hazards.
From 1 to 2 to even 4 car garages to garages with accessory spaces for gyms, office and more, think about how you will use this extra space. Our team at Sheaffer Construction has experience building a wide range of detached garages in Northern Virginia. As area experts, our team knows the ins and outs of the local codes and are happy to help you achieve the custom detached garage best suited for you. Feel free to contact us for a free quote if you are ready to discuss building out your own detached garage!