Expert Advice: How Large Should You Make Your Garage?

Choosing the right size for metal garages size can be overwhelming for homeowners. Hitting that sweet spot means finding the balance between functionality and cost-efficiency. You don’t want too big of a garage area since it will cost more money to build and maintain. But you don’t want it to be too small either, since it disables you from adding items or another car. Fortunately, you don’t need to attend night classes or an expensive program just to figure out the most suitable garage size.

How Many Cars?

Obviously, you’ll need to know how many cars you’re planning on parking inside the garage, and how big those cars are. If you have one car at the moment, but is planning to buy another one either for your partner or college kid, this must be taken into consideration during the planning phase.


When predicting your car space needs, take into account any future lifestyle changes. Want to add another member to the family? You might need to buy a minivan or SUV in the near future, so the tiny spot set aside for your sedan might need an upgrade. Getting into outdoor sports? A larger space for your AWD vehicle, bike rack, and ski rack might be necessary. Having a good idea of your family’s future needs and potential changes will go a long way towards helping you create a garage that can grow with you.

Width and Length

Precise dimensions are important for any sound structure. There are certain standards when it comes to the overall interior dimensions of a garage. In California, for example, 10 x 20 feet or 3 x 6 meters is the minimum requirement per vehicle. This actually allows sufficient parking space and exit space when the driver/passenger opens the doors and walks in front of and behind the vehicle.

Aside from different state and city building codes that influence garage construction, necessary dimensions may also change based on the type of car you are planning to park inside the garage space. A specialist from Expressway Dodge says sedans will require the least amount of parking space, while small pickup trucks will need about four extra feet lengthwise to accommodate their size. Bulkier vehicles, like SUVs and vans, typically demand a minimum of 20 feet.

Garage Door

The width of a garage door meant for one vehicle starts at 8 feet wide and 7 feet high, but other door sizes are also available. Keep in mind that these are minimum dimensions and you may need bigger door sizes to avoid contact while parking, especially for larger vehicles with fenders.

Door mechanism and design can either be delegated to a third-party garage door installer or do-it-yourself. Common mechanisms include sliding garage doors and automatic garage doors that rise up with the touch of a remote control. You can customize door design for additional costs or buy the materials yourself and create the design you like.

Cost of Building

The cost to make a garage fluctuates with the required size, preferred materials, and additional services from third parties like advising engineers and architects. How large you can make your garage space is heavily reliant on how much money you can shove into the project.

To estimate the cost of building a garage, simply apply the usual average price per square foot construction of $35. That is the average cost basis for employing a contractor to build a basic single car garage.

Storing Items Aside From Your Car

For handyman tools or bikes, add at least 4 feet to the decided dimensions for your garage space. You can add more feet to the bare minimum if you need space for a workbench or work site. 25 to 30 feet of garage space will be sufficient in storing a sedan sized vehicle plus a work site.

Most people store loose items in bins or boxes, which take up massive amounts of floor space—space that can be used better. Consider storing your loose items in mesh nets and hanging these on ceiling hooks. This way, you conserve floor space while keeping your items together and secure. These nets can be used for storing sports equipment, balls, toys, and just about anything else that isn’t too heavy or delicate.

Other Considerations

Heating systems and mechanical structures like pipelines are usually placed in the garage. If this is the case, it is best to build an alcove or include more depth or width to the minimum space to fit the systems. If you have a growing family or other unpredictable space needs, consider leaving a space in your garage empty for unexpected storage items.

If you are building a second floor above the garage space, consider the structural soundness of the beams that will support the upper level. Broader and generously spaced garage doors may be necessary to maximize stability and solidity of the structure.

Erin Emanuel

One Comment

  1. Thanks for the post. My wife and I are talking about building our first home, so we aren’t to sure of what we want yet. Naturally, I want the biggest garage I can get (lots of workspace and storage) but that’s not practical. Thanks for your estimate of cost per square foot. That’s good to know. We might build a smaller garage and then put an external garage elsewhere on the land.

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