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attached vs detached garage - pros and cons

The Pros and Cons of Attached vs Detached Garages

When designing or purchasing a home, one of the many decisions facing homeowners is whether to opt for an attached or detached garage. This choice warrants careful consideration, as it can have implications on convenience, home value, noise, safety, and more.

This article compares the key differences between attached and detached garages, equipping readers with the insights they need to determine which setup best aligns with their priorities. With the right information in hand, you can make an informed decision and come home to a garage that feels just right.

sojag everest garage with roll up door in charcoal

Key Takeaways

  • Access is far more convenient with attached garages, allowing direct indoor entry from your vehicle. Detached garages require walking outside to enter your home.

  • Attached garages cost 10-15% less upfront thanks to shared walls and integrated utilities and roofing. Detached requires building an entirely standalone structure.

  • Detached garages offer unlimited expansion potential by adding bays, height, and depth, or converting the use. The attached garages are constrained by the home layout.

  • Detached garages boost security by avoiding direct interior access and providing visibility from the street. Attached can be secured with reinforced doors and alarms.

Differences between Attached and Detached Garages:

Access: Direct Entry with an Attached Garage

One of the biggest differences between attached and freestanding garages is access. An attached garage provides direct entry into your home through a shared wall. This allows covered access from your vehicle during poor weather. With an attached garage, you simply drive straight into the garage and enter your house.

A detached garage sits as a standalone building separate from the main house. This requires you to exit your vehicle and walk outside to access your home. The distance depends on where you locate an independent garage, from a few feet to across the yard.

So, for convenience, attached garages provide much easier day-to-day access, especially during rainstorms or snowstorms. 

Cost: Attached Garages Are More Affordable

Another key differentiation is cost. Building an attached garage typically costs 10-15% less than adding a stand-alone garage. There are several reasons for the cost difference:

  • Shared walls: Attached garages use the existing walls of the home for one or two sides of the garage. This saves on construction costs. Separate garages require building all four walls.

  • Foundation: The attached garages utilize the existing foundation and doesnʼt require extra groundwork. An independent garage needs a full foundation built.

  • Utilities: Running electricity, plumbing, and HVAC to an attached garage is simpler by tapping into existing systems. Detached garages require installing separate utilities.

  • Roof: An attached garage roof can be tied into the home roofline. Detached garages need a complete roof built.

While attached garages cost less upfront, Separate garages offer more flexibility for customization and long-term usage. We'll explore the expansion possibilities next.

house with an attached garage

Expandability: Detached Garages Offer More Options

Expanding an attached garage is difficult and expensive, requiring modifications to your home. Unattached garages offer much more flexibility for customization and growth.

  • Add space: Detached garages can be seamlessly expanded by adding extra bays, height, depth, or accessory structures. Attached garage expansions often require changes to the home layout and roofline.

  • Renovate usage: Detached garages can be renovated over time to suit changing needs, like converting into a workshop, studio, pool house, or secondary living suite. Altering an attached garage's size or utility typically involves major home remodels.

  • Accommodate hobbies: With a separate garage, activities like woodworking, auto repairs, or band practice wonʼt impact living areas. Adjacent garages make it harder to segregate noisy hobbies.

  • Build multi-structure compounds: Detached garages allow for building detached accessory structures like sheds, pergolas, or guest houses, creating an entire compound. The attached garages limit available yard space for additions.

So if you see your garage needs changing over a decade or more of homeownership, a freestanding design offers maximum flexibility. But if you just need basic covered parking with no plans to expand, an attached garage provides that functionality at a lower cost.

detached garage with roll up door and side entry swing door


Location: Detached Garages Offer Placement Flexibility

The attached garages are fixed to one location abutting the home. Detached garages can be sited across the yard, at the end of a driveway, or tucked behind the house. This flexibility allows choosing the optimal positioning to:

  • Complement landscaping and outdoor design
  • Maximize yard space
  • Improve corner lot curb appeal
  • Accommodate sloping or uneven terrain
  • Adhere to setback restrictions
  • Minimize noise and sightlines in living areas
  • Allow future home additions or accessory structures

Carefully planning where to build a detached garage can help it blend into the property's look and flow. The attached garages limit location options since they must connect directly to the home.

Noise: Detached Garages Provide More Separation

For homeowners who want peaceful living spaces, detached garages reduce noise transfer better than attached designs. Common garage-generated sounds include:

  • Vehicle engines revving
  • Doors opening and closing
  • Power tools running

Attached garages share walls and ceilings with living areas, so sounds easily travel. Separate garages sit apart from the house, providing better noise isolation. Some tips to limit noise transfer in attached garages:

  • Install thick insulation in shared walls and ceilings
  • Choose solid core doors with tight seals
  • Cover shared walls with additional drywall layers

If you plan on using your garage for noisy hobbies like woodworking, go with a separate garage. For basic vehicle parking, an attached garage likely suffices if properly insulated.

Security: Detached Garages Are More Secluded

When evaluating home security, attached garages can actually be viewed as vulnerabilities compared to detached structures. Here's why:

  • Direct entryway: Connected garages provide a discreet entry point into the home that is hidden from street view. Detached garages have more visibility.

  • Break-in risk: It may be easier to break into an attached garage than access the home interior door. An independent garage provides an extra layer of protection.

  • Fire hazard: An attached garage fire can more quickly spread into living areas. Detached garages help contain blazes.

Some ways to boost security with an attached garage:

  • Install steel entry doors with deadbolts.
  • Keep the interior entry door locked.
  • Equip garage doors and windows with sensors.
  • Store flammable materials away from shared walls.

Detached garages provide inherent security benefits through their standalone design. But attached garages can be secured by taking prudent safeguarding measures.

Home Compatibility: Detached Garages Increase Design Flexibility

Do you want your garage to seamlessly match your home look and materials? Or has it served as a contrasting visual focal point?

Attached garages typically use consistent design features like:

  • Matching siding, rooflines, and trim
  • Same brick facades or stonework
  • Aligned windows and architectural styling

This cohesion can help attractive attached garages blend with the overall style.

Separate garages offer more freedom to employ different looks like:

  • Unique siding materials like wood or metal
  • Distinct roof pitches and overhangs
  • Decorative design elements
  • Custom window arrangements
  • Contrasting colors that pop

Positioning a detached garage at the end of a driveway or centrally in the backyard provides an opportunity to add visual interest. The stand-alone design also prevents large featureless garage doors from dominating the front of the house. If design is more important, a thoughtfully designed isolated garage can raise the home's perceived value.

Resale Value: Attached Garages May Offer More Appeal

Will an attached or unattached garage boost your property value more when it comes time to sell? There are a few factors to consider:

  • Buyer preferences: Some buyers view attached garages as more desirable for convenience and weather protection. But detached garages also appeal to buyers looking for flexibility, especially for couples who need separate spaces for different hobbies.

  • Market trends: In snowy climates, attached garages are often preferred. In warmer areas with more land, detached garages gain favor.

  • Curb appeal: A harmonious attached garage can boost appeal. However, a detached garage provides an opportunity to add a visually striking structure.

  • Outbuildings: A detached garage allows the building of secondary structures like studios and sheds that buyers may appreciate.

  • Living space: Converting a detached garage into an accessory dwelling unit or rental can enhance value.

  • Construction quality: High-end finishes often increase resale value regardless of garage type.

Unless there is a very clear market preference in your area, the resale value will likely depend more on construction quality than being attached vs detached. Build what best fits your needs while also appealing to a range of buyers.

sojag everest detached garage in charcoal with roll up and side entry swing door and vehicle parked inside

Attached vs Detached Garage Maintenance

Since detached garages sit entirely separate from the home, they require a bit more maintenance and upkeep:

  • Roofing: The detached garage roof will likely need re-shingling before your home. Factor in this future cost depending on the design. Simpler canopy & metal garages won't require roof maintenance.

  • Painting: Detached siding and trim require regular repainting, especially horizontal surfaces facing the direct sun.

  • Landscaping: You’ll need to mow, prune, and clear snow in areas surrounding a detached garage.

  • Utilities: Separate electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems demand higher maintenance than tapping into home systems.

  • Foundation: Monitor for settling, cracks, and water infiltration in the standalone foundation.

  • Security: Test lighting, locks, alarms, and cameras regularly to ensure proper function.

Aside from roofing, attached garages share maintenance costs with the home. However, detached garages allow maintenance tasks to be performed without impacting living areas which can be a benefit.

Here's a quick overview of detached vs attached garages:

Factor Attached Garage Detached Garage
Access Direct indoor entry Must go outside to enter the home
Upfront Cost 10-15% less expensive Higher cost to build a standalone
Expandability Very limited Unlimited potential
Location Flexibility Fixed location Can place anywhere on the property
Noise Transfer More noise transferred Better noise isolation
Security More vulnerable to break-ins An extra layer of protection
Curb Appeal Prioritizes cohesion Allows design contrast
detached garage with roll up door and side entry swing door and atv parking inside


Key Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Between Attached or Detached Garage

As you weigh attached vs detached garage options, here are some key questions to ask yourself:

  • How often will you use the garage for parking versus storage? Frequent parking favors attached; just occasional storage points to detached.

  • Do you plan to use the garage for noisy hobbies or activities? Go with detached to reduce sound transfer.

  • Might you expand the garage or convert the use over time? Detached allows unlimited flexibility.

  • Do you envision adding accessory structures like sheds and studios? Detached frees up yard space.

  • Will you finish the interior with insulation, electricity, and storage systems? Attached makes it simpler to finish.

  • Are you able to take security precautions if the building is attached? Reinforced doors, alarm systems, and diligent locking help safeguard attached.

  • Is it important for your garage to match the architectural style of your home? The attached garage allows design cohesion.

  • How extreme is the weather in your area? Cold winters and snow favor attached garages.

  • Do you have room in your budget for a detached garage's extra costs? Attached is the more affordable option.

Carefully reflecting on questions like these will guide your decision-making process as you choose between attached or detached designs.

metal detached garage with scooter parked inside


When deciding between an attached or detached garage, there is no universally superior choice. Each option has trade-offs to weigh. Attached garages provide convenience and protection from the weather at a lower upfront cost. Detached garages offer greater long-term flexibility and customization potential. Carefully consider your present needs along with future ambitions. Visualize not just parked cars, but possibilities yet to be imagined. Ponder how your home life may evolve over years of ownership. Keep an open mind to both practical considerations and aspirational dreams. With thoughtful analysis and vision, you can determine the ideal garage design to meet both today's necessities and tomorrow's potential.


Can I add an attached garage to my existing home?

In most cases, it is possible to add an attached garage to your existing home. However, it will depend on factors such as your lot size, local building codes, and the layout of your home. It is recommended to consult with a professional garage builder to determine the feasibility of adding an attached garage.

Should my garage match my home's exterior?

Matching attached garages promotes a unified look. Detached allows more design flexibility if you want contrast.

Do both attached and detached garages have overhead doors?

Yes, both attached and detached garages typically have overhead doors for vehicle entry and exit.

Should I insulate my attached garage?

Yes, insulating attached garage walls/ceilings reduces noise transfer and improves temperature control.

How much does a new garage typically cost?

The typical cost to build a new attached garage averages $15,000-$30,000 while detached garages often range from $25,000-$50,000 on average, with the price varying based on size, materials, features, and local construction costs.

When should I hire a garage builder?

For complex projects like converting a garage or building a high-end detached garage, professional garage builders are recommended. Their expertise in meeting building codes, managing permits, and overseeing contractors for a garage-specific project provides peace of mind.

Previous article How to Install a Subpanel in Your Detached Garage: Step-by-Step Guide
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About The Author

Andy Wu - Resident Expert

Andy Wu - Resident Expert

Andy Wu is the resident backyard products expert and hails from Atlanta, Georgia. His passion for crafting outdoor retreats began in 2003.

As a fellow homeowner, he founded Backyard Oasis to provide top-quality furnishings and equipment, collaborating with leading manufacturers.

His main focus is on sheds and generators!

In his spare time he like to hike the tallest mountains in the world and travel with his family.

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