Things to Consider When Expanding a Garage


A garage is an excellent addition to your home that can give you a safe space to store your car, as well as a practical storage area and working space. Your garage also gives you a great place to store items that you aren’t actively using, such as Christmas decorations or tools. You can use the area as a working space for building projects or just doing the laundry.

Once you start loading all those things into your garage with your car while also trying to do work, you may find that you are squeezed pretty tight pretty fast. Expanding your garage can give you the space you need and possibly even help you increase the value of your home.

However, expanding your garage is not a simple or an inexpensive process. If you are thinking of making this major renovation, it is important that you consider all the issues and possibilities.

Choosing the Right Design

When you expand your garage, you have a lot more design possibilities because of the extra space. You can increase your capacity from one car to two cars – or even from two cars to three cars. However, you have more options than just how many cars you can accommodate. With an expansion, you can decide to use part of the space for a garage and part of the space for extra room. For example, you could use divide part of the garage and finish it to make it into a small office, a workout area or even an extra bedroom. Think outside the box to figure out how you can maximize the space and make the most of your expansion.

Adding Plumbing and Electrical

Some of the most popular options for increasing the usability of a garage space are adding a laundry room or area or a space for working, such as for building projects or crafts. By adding these areas or moving existing spaces to another part of the garage, you are likely going to need new plumbing lines and additional electrical work. In some cases, putting in new plumbing and electrical will require major structural changes to the garage, depending on where you want it. Before you decide what to do, you’ll have to consider how much this work will cost you versus how much benefit you will get from it.

Renovating for Functionality

Many garages are just blank boxes with the door at the front. However, if you are expanding, you have more options than that. You can include built-in shelves, additional studs for hanging shelves and other items, fold-up tables, and more. Consider what kind of work you will do in the garage, and include design elements that will make it easier for you to do what you need to do. For example, you may want to do wood working in the garage, but you may not want to have a lot of bulky work benches. You can create cabinets with drop-down tables or rolling work areas that can nest inside each other.

Working with a Professional

Expanding a garage is far outside the skills of most do-it-yourselfers. Besides the scope of the project, you also have to meet specific code requirements for the work. If you attempt to do the job yourself, you will not only likely miss some code standards, but you’ll also risk the safety of the structure. You’re dealing with foundations, load-bearing walls, roofing and other complex jobs. Any mistakes can compromise the structural integrity of your home and put your family at risk.

It is important that you work with a professional to do the work. You’ll need an architect to design the space and a contractor to oversee the work. That means that you’ll have to take time vetting professionals to choose the right one for the job and to meet your budget.

Matching the Expansion with Your House

If your home has a beautiful brick exterior and you build a wooden garage, it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb. When you plan your expansion, you need to consider how you will be able to match it with the exterior of your home. If you have a simple exterior, it may be simple. However, if you have a unique exterior, it may be a little harder. Working with an architect will help with this aspect of the expansion process. Even if you can’t match the exterior exactly, an architect will have some ideas for how to make the expansion look complementary and natural.

Cost-Benefit Ratio

Expanding your garage will be a costly process. First, you’ll need to get a proper estimate to find out exactly what you’re in for if you decide to go through with it. Then you’ll need to talk to a realtor about how the expansion will benefit your home. In most cases, a garage will improve the value of your home. In some cases, it won’t. For example, your expansion might go to the property line, which will reduce the open land space and could deter potential future buyers. Even if you don’t plan to sell your home anytime soon – or even at all – you will sell it at some point, or your family will sell it after you’re gone, so you’ll need to think about how any changes you make will impact the sales price.

Expanding your garage can add value to your home and provide you additional space for storage and work. However, it’s not the right choice for every home. Make sure you think through all the issues before you make the decision. Doing so will help you minimize the risks and maximize the benefits.


About Neb Aleksic

Neb grew up in the garage door business. Since joining Doorcare he has moved up in the ranks, and now oversees a team, in addition to Doorcare's marketing efforts. He is passionate about what he does, and enjoys the small things in life.
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