Detached Garage or Not? Tips for Making the Right Choice

Have you decided it is time to build a garage? Maybe you are in the midst of planning a new home construction and you are unsure whether to make it an attached or detached garage?
Regardless of just how or why you are contemplating a detached or attached garage, we have some help for the decision making process. Because garages are often about far more than parking cars (i.e. they are spots for storing bikes, seasonal tools and more), it is a good idea to consider them for the many ways you might use them – leisure space, man cave, hobby room, play room and so much more. Yet, you also have a lot of other factors to take into consideration…


#1 – The Size and Shape of the Property

Where you live plays a bit part in the choice between attached and detached garages. Urban areas have small lots and higher prices for construction and establishing connections to municipal services such as water, sewer and gas.
Suburban areas have larger lots, but may suffer from the same government driven desire to fit as many people as possible into smaller spaces, and this means narrower lots without a lot of street frontage. Typically, this might mean a garage at the back of the house. Rural homes have a lot more flexibility and can often be ideal for either style – attached or detached.
Naturally, the overall configuration of the property has to be a main guide. If you have a corner lot, for example, you have a lot more flexibility. Regardless of how much access, size or space, just take time to walk the perimeter of your property and configure the different layouts possible. Of course, you need to know all about your local bylaws and building codes to know how far from a neighbour’s property line you can build.
Again, it is best if you start the entire decision making process knowing exactly what you intend to do with that garage. If it is only to park your car(s) during cold weather, and perhaps offering some secure storage, your decision will be different from those you would make if your garage is also to be a workshop  or repair area, playroom and so on.

#2 The Pros and Cons of Attached Garages

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the attached designs? Let’s consider the pros first:

  • You are always sheltered from the weather getting into and out of the car. Hauling groceries in during rain or icy conditions is a hassle, as is starting up a snow covered car on a January morning. Attached garages eliminate this issue.


  • Homes with attached garages have the looks of much larger structures, particularly if the garage is an extension of the front of your home.


  • Attached garages are far easier to convert into “other” spaces because you can quickly and affordably tap into electrical supplies, plumbing and heating and cooling. So, that office space, play room or entertainment area would be much easier to add to an attached garage.


  • Attached garages are cheaper because they have one common wall with the house.

And the cons? To discover those, we just need to look at the “pros” of a detached garage…


#3 The Pros and Cons of a Detached Garage

What would make a free standing or detached garage a good choice?

  • With a separate structure any fumes from cars or projects never reach living spaces in the home. Risks for fires are also reduced.


  • Risks for burglary are reduced as one of the most common spots for burglars to use in order to enter a home is through an attached garage.


  • Detached garages can be bigger because you may not have to worry about distances from neighbourhood setback lines. This means a two to three car garage may be easier to build if you keep it separate from the house.


  • It is far easier to enlarge a free standing building than one that is attached to the house (which may not be able to be enlarged at all)


  • You have access to the space above the garage when it is detached, and this is not always an option with attached designs.


  • Detached garages are readily adaptable to conversion, though it will mean running electrical, water, sewer, etc.

And the cons for the detached garages? Realistically, the one constant is the risk for exposure to elements. You may find yourself soaked with rain, covered with snow, or feeling pretty chilly running too and from the house with groceries or simply entering or exiting the vehicle. And the cold mornings in an unheated garage can be tough!


Which is Right for You?

Good news is that anyone who has ever already had a garage – attached or detached – has an idea of the benefits or disadvantages of either model. Use your experience, opinion and instincts to steer you towards the most workable option. One thing to consider is that most homeowners never regret giving themselves a spare amount of living or recreational space, so be sure your garage is sized to allow it.
If you would like to learn other people’s opinions on the matter, we suggest you take a look at this discussion forum on HOUZZ.

Is There a Cost Difference?

If you are curious about price differences, explore these two articles:


And Whichever You Choose, Don’t Forget About the Garage Door!

If you need a bit of advice or some answers on this matter, just contact us at (613) 546-4566. You are also invited to visit us at our showroom or request a detailed written quotation sent via email and which includes some possible solutions. If it is just a new garage door you need, and you would like to coordinate its style with the architecture of your house, sample our design center or look through our image gallery for inspiration.

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