How to Prepare for Garage Additions

freestanding garage
  • 40-100 hours
  • 0-50,000

For anyone who has parked their car in an unsheltered, outdoor driveway during freezing winter months and boiling hot summer months, the shelter of a garage addition will be a definite welcome, despite what the addition may cost.

Even if you have limited experience in building, you can arrange to build your own garage with help from a general contractor. If you do have building experience, you can act as your own contractor. Either way, with a few handyman skills you can do some of the sub-contracting yourself. Just follow these four steps to arrange for the building of your garage addition.

Step 1 - Decide Garage Size

Although you may have ideas about the size you'll want your garage to be, you should also take into account such aesthetic considerations as proportions of your house and planned garage addition. If you want your garage to add a look of class, keep the size of your garage at no more than two thirds the length of the house to which it will be attached. If you want your garage to be larger than this, consider building it behind the house where it will not as likely be seen.

Step 2 - Estimate Costs

people discussing blueprint plans

Construction costs will be determined by garage size, by how much work you'll do, whether or not you hire an architect, whether you hire a general contractor or whether you plan to act as your own contractor. If you plan to be your own contractor, you'll need to estimate the materials you'll be using. To do this, you'll need a set of plans. In addition, you'll need to get estimates from prospective subcontractors you plan to use.

Step 3 - Decide Which Work You Will Do

Before you decide whether to hire a general contractor or act as your own, you'll need to decide how much of the work you can do yourself. A hired contractor or his subcontractors will most likely build the garage shell, which will include framing, roof, drywall, insulation and garage doors and windows. This will leave foundation, garage slab, driveway, electrical, floor sealing and painting, all of which you might be able to do, depending on your skill level and how much help you will have from friends or family.

Step 4 - Develop a Set of Plans

figure of a house, a hammer, and a tape measure

If you decide to be your own contractor, you'll need a set of plans to give to the sub-contractors you hire. This means you'll either need to develop your own plans or hire an architect. If you want to consider hiring a general contractor, take your plans with you when you interview your prospective contractors. Discuss with each of them the sub-contracting work you plan to do. They will need this information in order to give you cost estimates or competitive bids.

Step 5 - Hire Contractors

With contractor estimates you can now decide whether to hire a general contractor, or act as your own contractor and hire subcontractors. Once you've made this decision, get your bids and get your project moving.