The ideal size for a dream garage

– Amanda G., Westport, Conn.

A: I’m willing to bet many readers will have the same frustration Amanda is getting with her garage, which was probably built for gnomes or hobbits. My own garage – which I didn’t build – is too tight. I see tight garages all the time and can’t understand how this bug continues.

I have built several garages for myself, my daughter and customers that have come pretty close to the dream level. It’s not difficult to do, but it takes up a little more space than you might think.

To solve any planning problems, you need to start from the inside and work towards the outside walls. You can do this with plain ¼ inch graph paper. A sheet that is 8.5 “by 11” has room for your perfect garage. Each block can represent one foot in your plan.

The story continues under the advertisement

I suggest we solve the garage width problem first. The biggest thing that happens in most garages is a car or a truck. My neighbor once tried to get his motorboat and trailer into his garage at an angle and was frustrated in a hurry.

Cars are bigger than you think. My 1969 VW Beetle was over 13 feet long. My current pickup truck is nearly 21 feet long. My truck width with the exterior mirrors is almost three meters. The width of my car is nearly 7 feet 6 inches. Most car and truck doors swing out about three feet. Do you see where this is going?

It would be wise to include 10 foot wide garage doors that are eight feet high to start with. If you have two doors, make sure there is at least four feet of space between the two openings. That way, you can open the car doors and not hit the vehicle in the other bay.

The story continues under the advertisement

Now you need to think about what will be kept on the wall of the garage. Trash cans can be 30 or 36 inches deep or in diameter. Go into your existing garage and see how tight it is between the side of your car and what’s kept on the wall.

You will quickly come to the conclusion that you need at least two meters of space from the garage door opening to the inside surface of the side wall. Add these numbers together and you will find that your garage foundation should probably be 36 feet wide.

Once you do some math, you will find that the depth of your dream garage shouldn’t be less than 30 feet. This gives you plenty of room for a workbench, bicycles, and garden tools. A garage 34 or 36 feet deep approaches dream dimensions.

The story continues under the advertisement

Here is a list of other things that will make your garage a garage that friends and neighbors will spit over. Install underfloor heating. In almost all cases, you can generate the hot water you need with a simple water heater. Make sure the ceiling height is no less than 10 feet. This allows you to create a small storage room that hangs over the hoods of your vehicles.

Imagine a narrow, six foot wide garage door for the back wall for easy access for inbound and outbound lawn equipment. Install floor drains under each vehicle and incline the concrete floor so that snowmelt runs down the drain and does not pool against the garage doors. You’d be surprised how many construction inspectors allow these floor drains. Install a hose hydrant with hot and cold water on the house wall so that you can spray things off with warm water and wash your car inside in winter.

Don’t waste the space above the garage. Build the roof with full roof trusses. These create a massive space above the garage. With creative planning, you can easily incorporate a regular staircase leading to this room instead of a steep pull-down staircase. This is where you put all the things that you keep off-site.

The story continues under the advertisement

Don’t skimp on electrical outlets. Think about where you have a workbench and make sure there is enough power there. Make sure there is an electrical outlet on the wall between the two front garage doors. This socket comes in handy when you’re working on something in the driveway. Think of 240 volt electrical outlets in case you want to weld or have other severe electrical needs.

Comments are closed.