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How Much Does a Detached Garage Cost

How Much Does a Detached Garage Cost in 2023? A Detailed Cost Breakdown

Dreaming of a detached garage where you can park your cars and store your tools, free from the elements? Bringing this vision to life takes careful planning and budgeting. The costs of building a detached garage vary widely based on size, materials, features, and location. Before breaking ground, educate yourself on the factors that drive pricing.

Understanding square footage, foundation options, garage door types, and “extras” like the above-garage living space will prevent sticker shock. Read on to learn realistic cost ranges so you can set a smart detached garage budget.

Key Takeaways

  • Size matters. Costs rise dramatically with larger square footage. Budget $100-$250 per sq ft for a single-car garage up to $200-$300+ per sq ft for a 3-car.

  • Materials make a difference. Wood is affordable but high-maintenance. Steel is budget-friendly but industrial-looking. Brick and concrete are premium but pricey.

  • Location and site prep add expenses. Rural and sloped properties often need clearing, grading, and long driveways. These costs add up.

  • Garage doors are costly. Basic doors start around $500. Insulated doors with decorative elements can cost thousands each. Don't skimp.

  • Living space above doubles the price. Adding an apartment over the garage tacks on a $60k minimum. But it can provide rental income.

duramax imperial metal garage light gray

How Big is Your Detached Garage? Costs by Square Footage

One of the biggest variables determining detached garage cost is the size and dimensions you plan to build. The larger the building footprint, the more materials and labor will be required during construction.

Here are the typical price ranges based on detached garage square footage:

  • Small (240 – 384 sq ft): $12,000 – $31,000

A single-car detached garage around 12 ft by 20 ft or 14 ft by 24 ft often falls in this small size range. The low end around $100 per square foot covers basic single-car detached garages. More finished details or high-end materials can run up to $250 per square foot.

  • Medium (440 – 624 sq ft): $16,700 – $46,400

Many two-car detached garages measure 22 ft by 24 ft, or about 528 square feet. This allows ample room for vehicles while still fitting nicely in available backyard space. At the low end, expect to pay around $150 per square foot. The high end around $275 per square foot buys premium materials and finishes.

  • Large (800 – 1,056 sq ft): $36,800 – $85,000

Three-car detached garages usually start at around 800 square feet. A 30 ft by 32 ft detached garage with 960 square feet can comfortably fit three vehicles. The economy end for a basic three-car garage is around $200 per square foot. Luxury builds with high-end materials and details can exceed $300 per square foot.

As you explore different detached garage sizes, use the rough costs per square foot as a starting point. The exact price per square foot depends on all the other factors covered in this guide. A simple single-car steel garage may hit the low end of the cost range. While a customized, luxury three-car garage with apartment space could reach the stratosphere in pricing.

When planning your detached garage size, remember to account for more than just vehicle space. Be sure to factor in the room around the perimeter for workbenches, storage shelves, or other needs. And if you intend to use the detached structure for additional living space, size it accordingly.

Here's a quick overview of common detached garage sizes and costs:

Dimensions Square Feet Total Cost Range
12' x 20' 240 $12,000 - $31,000
16' x 24' 384 $15,000 - $38,000
22' x 24' 528 $16,700 - $46,400
24' x 24' 576 $17,000 - $50,000
30' x 32' 960 $36,800 - $85,000
sojag everest garage with tools inside


What Building Materials Will You Use? Material Costs and Options

The construction materials you select for your detached garage also significantly sway the final price tag. The most common options each have their own costs, benefits, and trade-offs.

  • Wood: Traditional wood-framed detached garages with plywood or plank siding have a timeless, classic look. Cedar and redwood offer natural rot resistance, while pine needs regular paint or stain to prevent decay. Expect to pay $100-$200 per square foot for a basic wood structure.

  • Brick: Brick is a prestigious, permanent exterior material. Its natural beauty and durability come at a price though. Figure $200-$400 per square foot for a high-end brick detached garage.

  • Steel: Prefabricated galvanized steel detached garage kits offer affordable convenience. DIY-friendly assembly and low maintenance make up for the utilitarian look. Costs run $60-$150 per square foot.

  • Concrete: Poured concrete walls create an incredibly sturdy detached garage. But the extensive labor and extensive material costs add up, with prices ranging from $150-$300+ per square foot.

When evaluating materials, consider long-term costs like maintenance and lifespan, not just the initial price. For example, vinyl or steel siding is cheaper upfront than brick but may need replacement in 20-30 years. Lifetime material costs help determine the best value.

Also, weigh how the detached garage material fits aesthetically with your home. A brick building complements brick houses, while a concrete block clashes with wood siding. Don't let the garage detract from your home’s curb appeal.

Does Location Impact Cost? Regional Differences in Detached Garage Prices

Where you live and where on your property you build also affect the price tag. Construction costs for materials and labor can vary dramatically between regions. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the Midwest has the lowest average building costs, while the Northeast and West have the highest.

Within your area, specific site readiness also plays a role. Compact flat lots get a detached garage up quicker and cheaper than sloped, uneven sites needing extensive grading. Remote rural locations add costs for transporting supplies and workers. Limited access can also preclude delivery of prefab garage kits, leaving costlier stick-built construction the only option.

Before purchasing a property, evaluate how topography, access, and zoning could impact detached garage costs. Then budget accordingly if challenges exist.

detached garage with light shelter

How Much Does a Detached Garage Foundation Cost?

A proper foundation is crucial to provide a stable base and prevent settling cracks or other structural problems. But don't underestimate the costs involved. The foundation size and type drive pricing. A larger detached garage needs more foundation than a tiny single-car building. And more complex foundation styles cost more in materials and labor.

Here are the main detached garage foundation options and estimated costs:

  • Concrete Slab - $3,500-$6,000

A simple monolithic concrete slab on compacted gravel is the most affordable foundation for smaller detached garages under 600 sq ft. Slabs have quick construction but limited insulation. Frost heaving can also crack slabs over time in cold climates unless they are properly reinforced or thickened.

  • Rebar Reinforced Slab - $4,500-$8,000

Adding rebar grid reinforcement provides extra strength to prevent cracking and heaving of the concrete slab. However, the additional rebar and labor increase costs over a basic slab.

  • Thickened Slab - $6,000-$10,000

Making the concrete slab thicker (up to 12”) adds mass to resist freeze-thaw movement in cold climates. But concrete costs stack up quickly with a thicker pour.

  • Pier and Beam - $8,000-$15,000

This traditional foundation style uses concrete footings and piers under wood or steel beams to elevate the structure. More complex construction steps increase costs over a basic concrete slab. But it provides space for insulation and access underneath.

  • Stem Walls - $10,000-$20,000

Poured concrete walls extend below grade to support the perimeter and prevent frost heaving. Stem walls offer insulation value but require extensive concrete work and expense.

For the most cost-effective foundation, match the style and complexity to the garage size, location climate, and budget. Avoid overbuilding foundations for small basic structures. But use pier and beam or stem walls for larger buildings or cold climates to prevent shifting and cracking long-term.

sojag everest garage metal in charcoal

What About the Garage Doors? Types, Sizes, Openers, and Installation Cost

The garage doors are a major functional and aesthetic element. They represent a significant portion of the overall cost as well. Basic pre-hung steel doors start around $300-$700 each installed. But customized wood doors or those with decorative windows or insulation can cost $3,000-$5,000 each.

Here are some door considerations that affect pricing:

  • Type: The most affordable options are swing-out and roll-up doors fabricated from steel, aluminum, or fiberglass. Upscale wood carriage houses or glass garage doors run much higher.

  • Size: Standard single-car openings are 9 x 7 feet. Double doors for two cars measure 16 x 7 feet. Larger custom doors add expense but allow bigger vehicles. Measure carefully!

  • Materials: Steel is economical but prone to dents. Wood needs frequent refinishing. Premium insulated aluminum and fiberglass cost more but offer durability and efficiency.

  • Windows/Insulation: Adding windows or insulation to doors boosts the cost but provides appeal and energy savings.

  • Hardware: Budget steel hinges and tracks suit basic doors. Opt for high-performance stainless steel hardware for longevity on premium doors.

  • Openers: Adding electric garage door openers averages $500-$1500 for installation. But they provide wonderful convenience.

When selecting garage doors, balance your budget with functionality, security, and visual desires. Lockable insulated doors with openers keep contents secure while easing access. Just know these features come at a premium.

Here's a quick rundown of typical detached garage door costs:

Type Single Door Price Range Double Door Price Range
Steel $300-$700 $600-$1,400
Wood $1,000-$3,000 $2,000-$6,000
Fiberglass $800-$1,500 $1,600-$3,000
Insulated Steel $500-$1,000 $1,000-$2,000
Insulated Wood $1,500-$3,500 $3,000-$7,000

Cost to Add Living Space or Apartment Above the Garage

One advantage of a detached garage is the option to build out above the vehicles for extra living space. Perhaps a home office, in-law suite, or rental apartment over the garage sounds enticing? If so, factor in the significant extra costs.

  • Basic living space: Around $60,000-$100,000
  • Full apartment with kitchen: $100,000-$180,000
  • Luxury finished apartment: $180,000-$270,000+

These price ranges account for added floor framing, insulation, sheetrock, trim, cabinetry, lighting, and finishes to complete the interior space. Plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and additional exterior treatment to give the appearance of a dwelling also contribute major dollars.

The investment is substantial. But in the right situation, the long-term return potential of extra living space above the garage can justify the upfront cost.

Just remember to consult local zoning ordinances first. Many mandates increased side and rear setbacks, additional parking, and other requirements for detached garages with dwelling space. Plan ahead to avoid problems down the road.

duramax vinyl garage with double door and single door entry

Additional Cost Factors That Can Impact Your Detached Garage Price

With the major cost factors covered, let’s examine some secondary considerations that bump the price tag up or down:

  • Permits/Fees – Building permits, plans, zoning applications, and inspections ring up at $1,000+ in many areas. Plan for these expenses.

  • Site Preparation – Clearing, grading, and access roads on raw land are expensive steps often underestimated.

  • Electricity – Wiring for lights and outlets tacks on several thousand dollars. Go wired now rather than adding later.

  • Plumbing – If you want water for washing vehicles or animals, plan on $3,000+ labor cost to pipe and hook up.

  • HVAC Heating and cooling for workshop areas or living spaces add major mechanical costs.

  • Drainage – Prevent flooding with grading for proper runoff. Poor drainage causes premature failure.

  • Windows – Skylights and various window styles provide light and appeal at an incremental cost.

  • Insulation – Proper insulation saves energy but adds upfront cost over non-insulated structures.

  • Interior Walls/Ceilings – Drywall or paneling allows a more finished interior for workshops or storage at extra cost.

  • Loft – Adding a loft for storage doubles usable space for $5,000-$15,000 in additional framing and stairs.

  • Car Lifts/Tools – Specialty items like car lifts, workshop tools, and cabinetry provide functionality but add dollars.

  • Decorative Touches – Details like eaves, cupolas, and carriage doors enhance aesthetics for an upcharge.

As you refine the detached garage plans, weigh the value of each upgrade against the budget impact. Avoid over-improving a basic garage. But invest in features like insulation and wiring that increase long-term functionality.

sojag everest with roll up door and side entry swing door


With an informed budget and an eye for structural essentials over luxuries, a detached garage can be an attainable addition to your property. Focus on durability over décor to get the most value from your investment. And don’t underestimate “hidden” costs like permits and site preparation when tallying the bill. With reasonable expectations set, you’ll soon be enjoying the everyday rewards of covered parking, secure storage, and protected space - all just steps from your back door.

If you want to dive deeper into the planning process, check out this comprehensive guide for detached garages that covers steps from budgeting to construction. Having the right information from the start will ensure your new garage meets both functional and financial needs.


How long does it take to build a detached garage?

A simple single garage takes 2-4 weeks. Larger or more complex builds may take 4-8 weeks depending on weather and crew size.

Should I choose an attached or detached garage?

The decision between an attached or detached garage depends on your specific needs and preferences. Attached garages are convenient as they provide direct access to the house, while detached garages offer more flexibility in terms of design options and space.

How much space do I need around the garage?

Detached garages require setbacks from property lines. Fire separation rules also dictate space between structures.

Can I build the garage myself?

Building a garage is a major undertaking, but can be DIYed with proper plans, permits, and skills. But it's recommended to hire a contractor for a turnkey experience.

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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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