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You’re a two-car family, and you need a garage to safely house them off the street or driveway. How big does it need to be? Well, that’s a bit like asking how long is a piece of string? It all depends on how big your vehicles are. If you drive a pair of Minis, then you’re going to need something a lot smaller than if you own two full-size SUVs.
We all know that garages don’t just house vehicles, there are all the other things we can’t find anywhere to store we just stuff into the garage. There are lots of homes where a car never sees the inside of the garage because the space is taken up by mountains of junk.
There are even companies that specialize in clearing out garages so you can get your vehicle back in. It’s also a useful space for a workbench and tool store for the handyman of the family. That can take up as much room as a small family car.
It’s no use having a garage if you can’t drive your vehicle inside. That means the garage doors have to be wide enough, and tall enough for your vehicle to enter without scratching the paintwork. When considering the width of your car you have to include the door-mounted wing mirrors.
Some vehicles allow these mirrors to fold inward at the press of a button from inside the cabin. Typical dimensions are 6ft 4ins/1.9m for a Mini, 6ft 10ins/2.1m for a Ford Mondeo, and 8ft 7ins/2.6m for a Dodge Ram truck with the mirrors unfolded. If you want to future-proof your garage and make sure you can fit in a larger vehicle you may purchase in the future then best to go for the wider option. In most cases, the doors should be slightly larger than the biggest vehicle you intend to house, which in this example would be about 10ft/3m.
We know you want to house two vehicles inside the garage, but what else are you going to store there? What about push-bikes, motorcycles, lawn mowers, and barbecues? Are you going to need a work bench, and shelving on the walls to store tools and other bits and pieces?
Let’s look at the minimum space you will need inside the garage to safely house your vehicles. You want to be able to drive into the garage, and be able to open the doors as wide as possible and not chip the paintwork. To do that you need a minimum of 2ft6in/75cm on either side of your vehicle. So for a single Mini which is 6ft 4ins/1.9m wide, you need 11ft 4in/3.4m, and for two you need 20ft 2in/6.1m. The other extreme would be two SUVs or trucks, with a width of 24ft 8in/7.5m. If you are looking for workspace, shelving on the walls, and storage of other items, then you will need to add to the dimensions so you can move around the garage, and get into and out of your vehicles comfortably. We all know that in parking garages we often have to squeeze into the car, but it will become annoying if you have to do it day in and day out.
The length of the garage is less critical than the width as opening the doors of your vehicle to get in and out is primary. However, it must be long enough to house the vehicle with the door closed. Depending upon the door closing mechanism, it may require extra space at the rear of the vehicle to allow for this. When buying a stand-alone garage for behind the house, many are designed on the basis of being a square base, so the length and width are the same. This gives plenty of circulation space around the vehicles when they are parked inside.
The minimum recommended height for any garage is 7ft/2.1m, but adding an extra foot will make a garage feel much airier. If you are driving an SUV or similar, many of these stand at least 6ft high, so you will have the head height for door opening mechanisms and such if you keep to the recommended minimum.
To sum up, the experts would suggest that a two-car garage will not be comfortable unless it is at least 20ft/6m x 20ft/6m. This will be tight even for the smallest cars, and it is better to have a baseline at 24ft/7m x24ft/7m. This will give you some wiggle room to store a few other items in the garage. Better yet consider something bigger to accommodate all the things you want to store in the space.
As we have said before, the size of your garage depends on the dimensions of your vehicles, and what other things you want to store inside the building. You may be in the position where the footprint of the garage cannot be much more than the minimums, and you have a lot more things to store. Well, how about considering an extra floor or attic under the sloped roof? The space above your vehicles where the roof trusses are can be utilized for storage. By creating a stairway either inside or outside of the building what would be dead space can be useful storage, or be turned into a workshop or man-cave.
For a standard size single-story, two-car garage you should expect to pay in the region of $10,000 to $15,000. If you are looking for more storage space and want a garage with extra space in the roof, then the price will be about $18,000 to $24,000.
Nobody has ever said their garage is too big, as most people say they would like the garage to be bigger. The best advice is to buy the biggest garage you can that can accommodate your two cars and all the other paraphernalia you don’t want in the house.