Q&A / 

Perfect Garage Plans

Before you get too attached to your new home plan, you better step back and take a look at your existing garage. If you are like most people, you probably have accumulated too much stuff. Well, maybe that isn't the problem. Maybe your existing garage is simply too small and/or the storage system is simply undersized or antiquated. If you want to avoid garage storage nightmares, now is the time to exorcise that demon from the blueprints.

It is a sad but true fact that many garage spaces are simply undersized for the average homeowner. By the time you park cars, place garbage cans, lawn mowers, garden tools, bicycles, workbenches, etc., you rarely have any space to spare. What's more annoying are the delicate maneuvers you must make to get in and out of cars without scratching or bumping doors. All of this can be avoided if you speak up during the design process.

One method of creating a floor plan for your new garage is to simply look at your existing garage. Use a measuring tape and see how much extra space you need around the fixed objects in your garage. For example, with your car(s) parked within the garage, note how much space would be needed to comfortably move around the front, rear and sides of the car(s). Do the same around any workbenches, floor and wall cabinets, etc. If you walk around with everything in the garage and feel cramped, not that on a piece of paper.

When all is said and done, you may discover you need a very large garage to have plenty of elbow room. Over the years I have discovered a two car garage needs to be 32 feet wide by 26 feet deep. These are interior floor space dimensions, not exterior foundation dimensions. As for the height, a garage with a 12 or even 13 foot high ceiling is ideal. This height allows you to construct a loft that runs over the hoods of the cars you park in the garage. All sorts of things can be stored on this loft.

If that kind of interior height does not work with the style of your plans, you may be able to gain extra storage space by asking your architect or builder to install storage trusses over the garage. These unique trusses are made to support both the garage ceiling as well as a variety of boxes and possessions one might find in the average attic. If your overall house plan has steep roofs, inquire about attic trusses over the garage. Using these affordable trusses, you get a bonus room on top of the garage!

Don't make the mistake many do with respect to the actual garage doors. If you are going to have two separate doors, be sure they are nine feet wide and eight feet tall. This will allow you to easy park with ease a vehicle that might have protruding side mirrors. The extra height allows you to park an SUV that might have pairs of skis, a ham radio antenna or a lower profile carrier on the roof. These things rarely make it if the door is the standard height of just seven feet.

Electric receptacles are a must. Be sure you plan for an exterior receptacle near the garage doors that allows you to power tools as you do projects in fair weather. Be sure you have several dedicated 20 amp electrical circuits near your workbench. If you plan to become a more serious do-it-yourselfer, be absolutely certain several larger empty conduits are installed between your main electrical panel and the garage. These will allow an electrician to install more circuits to the garage with ease in the future.

Ventilation is an important consideration. I highly recommend a through-the-wall ventilation fan that exhausts fumes or hot air from the garage to the exterior. If you work with paints, stains and other solvent-based products in your garage, a fan such as this will give you plenty of replacement air. They also work well to keep garages cooler in hot climates.


Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.