Detached Garages: The Pros and Cons


Your home was either built without a garage, or you’ve decided that it is time to grab that space and incorporate into the rest of the house. That's because - of course - you plan to build a garage to replace it.

The big question is whether it should be added on to your home or built as a detached structure. Here are some things to keep in mind if you decide to build a detached garage.

Insurance Considerations

This detail seems to catch a lot of people unaware. Yes, your homeowner’s insurance policy covers all buildings on the property. It doesn't matter whether it is a gazebo or your storage shed. Your insurance offers protective coverage. It's just not the same level of coverage as the house itself.

Insurance companies each have different approaches, so you'll want to check with your agent for confirmation. Most insurance policies, however, do not offer full value coverage for detached buildings - and that includes a garage.

Generally, homeowner’s policies commit up to 10% of the face value of the property for coverage of detached buildings. That means if your policy limit is $250,000, the most you can expect to receive if your garage is destroyed in a fire is $25,000.

Keep in mind that you can purchase more coverage if you want to increase the coverage. That decision often is based on the value of the detached garage, as well as what you keep in it.

Building Costs

And speaking of costs, the budget to build a detached garage may include more than just the structure itself. You may need to pour a new concrete driveway - and perhaps have the old one removed.

On the other hand, this garage isn’t going to be a part of your home. Insulation isn’t as important. It may however still play a role during cold weather months, but that may be reduced, as you basically just want to make sure there’s sufficient insulation to keep things in your garage from freezing.

The same thing goes for windows. Double or even triple-pane windows are a wise investment for your home, but you can go with windows that are less energy-efficient for your detached garage. And you do want windows. The construction cost to add them is worth it to let natural light in.

Your house may have brick or some other type of premium exterior décor. The choice for your detached garage simply has to complement it - not duplicate it. You may decide to go with low-maintenance vinyl siding, for instance.

It’s also not really necessary to finish all the walls on the inside of your detached garage. Pegboard is a popular alternative. It hides the framing and any necessary insulation, but it provides plenty of space to put up shelves and hang tools.

Design Considerations

Your detached garage needs at least one main door - for the humans - that should be placed on the side that will face your home. Consider a windowed door so you can feel safer by seeing the house when you exit the garage at night.

Many people splurge on upgraded garage door styles. The current trend is for carriage doors or doors that open and close laterally. Consider adding some extra appeal to your property by leaving room in your budget to include attractive garage doors.

Talk to us about what you’ve got in mind for that new garage design. Our experience as garage builders has allowed us to build up an impressive portfolio of designs we can share with you.