Nationally, the average price for building a new garage costs between $4,500 to $80,000 — which is obviously a huge range. That's because building a new garage depends on so many things, and they all affect price. Size, materials, extra features and more can all influence the cost estimate your contractor gives you. So let's break it down.
What's in this cost guide?
- Attached or detached garage — which is cheaper?
- How does garage size affect the cost?
- What about construction materials?
- What extra features can affect cost?
- What are the cost benefits of adding a garage?
An attached garage — attached to an existing structure, like your house — tend to be cheaper and more common. You can choose to have a roof covering only (no walls) or keep the area enclosed. One nice thing about an attached garage is that it provides an entryway into your home, so you can avoid bad weather on a rainy or snowy day. Construction can cost less for an attached garage since the garage can use walls or power that's already there. Even better if you already have a driveway.
Detached garages usually cost more. They're standalone buildings, so there are more construction costs. But they're safer and more secure because they don't provide an entryway into your home. And they're a good option if you don't have an entryway with space for an attached garage. You tend to have more flexibility with detached garages as well — they're easier to expand, and you can plan for more storage.
The national average cost per square foot to build a garage is between $30 - $40, but it will depend on the project scope, materials and how expensive your city is. Before you decide on your garage size, check if there are any size restrictions. In some cities, a garage can't go over a certain percentage of the lot's square footage, according to contractor pro Mateo Homes. Then think about how many cars you have and if you want extra storage (for bikes or other equipment.)
In general, the bigger the project, the higher the cost — “bigger" means more contractor labor, more time needed to build, and more material costs. Anything that will take more time will add to the cost. For example, an attached two car garage on flat ground will take contractors less time to build than a detached four car garage on a hill.
Surprise surprise — different building materials affect the price. This isn't a complete list, but here are a few examples and how they can change your total estimate.
- Garage door: Steel is affordable, durable, easy to maintain and can be painted over. Aluminum is a cheaper option than steel, but it's less strong and can dent more easily. Wood garage doors are more expensive and need more upkeep — but some people really love the look of it. Wood doors also provide natural insulation and last a long time if maintained properly.
- Exterior siding: Cement-based siding is great for avoiding termites and rot, though it's usually the most expensive, according to Mateo Homes. Vinyl siding is cheaper and easy to maintain. But it's made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which means it lasts a long time in landfills once discarded. Engineering wood siding is more environmentally friendly. It lasts a long time (20-30 years) and will biodegrade in a landfill once discarded.
- Garage roof: Rolled roofing is the cheapest for detached garages, but otherwise asphalt is fairly affordable. If you keep flammable items in your storage space (paints or fuels, for example), you need a non-flammable roofing material. Metal is a good option and more durable than asphalt shingles, but it can be more expensive.
- Flooring: Concrete slabs are affordable, strong and stable. They won't crack under your heavy SUV, for example. And concrete slabs hold up pretty well against weather and corrosion — except in very cold areas, where you may need to add extra finishing or insulation to protect the floor.
So size, timing and materials all affect the price. What else?
- Electricity: A new power source or wiring will add to building costs. You'll need to add electricity if you want a garage door opener.
- Plumbing: Bathrooms or wash stations, for example. Adding plumbing is easier if the garage is constructed at the same time as the home. When contractors dig sewage lines for a new home, it's fairly simple to add a line to the garage. But if it has to happen after the fact, contractors need to find the sewer lines, dig everything up and install the extra plumbing — which will make the project more expensive.
- Architecture: Matching your garage's style to your house, a special architectural design, or adding an extra level for more storage will increase costs. Things like windows, extra garage doors or special interiors can also cost more.
Basically, costs can really vary depending on project scope. Here are two examples of costs for different garages built by Mateo Homes in the Kansas City area:
26 x 40 standard garage: $38,000
- 1,040-square-foot garage
- Around three and a half weeks to finish
- Built on a hill (so they had to pour a concrete slab for a level base, which cost extra for labor and materials)
- Installed electricity
- Trusses for an open construction
- Concrete floor with no insulation and exposed framing
- One garage door with an automatic entry
- Standard vinyl lap siding
40 x 80 upscale garage: $80,000
- 3,200-square-foot garage with two stories
- Eight weeks to finish
- Loft-style construction, with mezzanine storage
- 14 feet ceilings
- Auto repair lift installed
- Specially constructed concrete flooring for the lift
- Installed electricity
- Insulated walls and drywalled interior
- Mid-level vinyl siding to match house
- Poured 80 feet of concrete driveway from street to garage
Garage addition can add to the value of your home and boost your ROI if you sell. According to Remodeling Magazine's 2015 Cost vs Value Report, the average return on a midrange garage addition is 64.8%. Resale value aside, garage addition is still a big investment of time and money. But a garage can protect your vehicles, which means you may spend less on weather and street damage. And you can use your garage as storage space instead of renting a third party unit. So there are other advantages to consider when weighing the cost.