Ashburn, VA

Average cost to Build a Garage ranges from
$8,000 – $27,000

The average cost for building a garage is $23,500 for a 20' x 20' garage. Hiring a garage contractor, you will likely spend between $8,000 – $27,000. The price of building a garage can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code). View our local garage contractors or get free estimates from pros near you.

How much does it cost to build a garage?

Author: Sally Hanan
Millions of people ask HomeGuide for cost estimates every year. We track the estimates they get from local companies, then we share those prices with you.

According to census data from 2016, 63% of new homes were built with a two-car garage, 22% had garages to accommodate three or more vehicles, and 6% had a one-car garage. Just 1% had no garage or a carport.  For homeowners wanting to build a garage, they can expect to see somewhere in the region of an 80% return on their investment in relation to home value.

Site built versus a manufactured building

The cheapest and quickest solution to get a protective home for your vehicles is to buy a manufactured building rather than build a custom garage.

Manufactured garages will generally start in the $5,000 price range for a two-car space, while you can only build a one-car garage for the same price.

Because of the difference in visual appeal, and resulting impact to property values, most subdivisions and homeowners’ associations will have clauses in the regulations regarding the addition of a garage to the home that will eliminate the possibility of having a manufactured garage.

Building a garage - the process

  1. Figure out your budget.
  2. Design the garage structure.
  3. Get an engineer-stamped blueprint.
  4. Secure the building permits and permission from the relevant authorities.
  5. Speak to your neighbors.
  6. Select your shortlist of possible contractors.
  7. Choose the contractor you are going to work with.

Preparation

Permits

Research your local building permit regulations to find out what is prohibited and what is possible, and find out which permits you will need to bring your project to life. The authorities setting these rules and granting permission are your homeowners’ association and city or local municipality.

Traditionally, the more rural the area, the fewer the restrictions and the quicker the approval process. Likewise, the closer you are to a metropolitan area, the more robust, specific, and controlling the regulations are. Your contractor should know exactly which permits are needed and get them for you before building begins.

The price for a building permit will vary as much as the price for surveyors, and costs could range from $500 to $2,000, depending on where you live.

When researching the price, call to determine the average time between application and approval, and if that varies by month or season.

Blueprints

The blueprints will detail the dimensions, location, and different elevation views of your garage. They will be needed to process your building permit application. Blueprints will also include the thickness of the walls (timber frame or concrete blocks).

Some common garage sizes are (12 x 24), (14 x 28), (20 x 20), and (24 x 24).

Neighbors

If you think any of your neighbors might object to the design or location of your garage, share your plans—sketches and blueprints—with them so they are aware of where it will sit within your property lines. This will help keep any miscommunications or misunderstandings to a minimum. If you don’t have a survey for the land that shows your property lines, you may need to hire a surveyor to create this for you. For a surveyor, you can expect to pay somewhere between $200 and $600.

Garage Contractors

Garage Construction Stages

  1. Removal landscaping/leveling - Unless the ground where your garage is going to be built is barren and completely flat, you’ll need to remove small trees or shrubs and level the earth. Contractors typically charge around $50 per hour for this, and an area the size of a typical garage, depending on the number of trees present, might take 2–3 hours to clear and level.
  2. Base structure - Before the concrete can be poured for the foundation, a hole will need to be dug and then a base will be laid for the foundation to be poured on top of. This base will be started by compacting the earth. Then grade 5 gravel will be poured in on top of that, and then a grid of iron rebar will be placed on top of that. The entire area will be surrounded by a wooden perimeter, which has the effect of creating a form that the poured concrete will mold to.
  3. Inspection – The base will need to be inspected by the city to make sure it is up to code and will produce a structurally sound foundation once the concrete is poured.
  4. Foundation - Depending on the climate variations for the area where you live, there are different considerations for your contractor to take into account for the construction of your foundation. These design elements are more involved if you live where there is a lot of rainfall, or if you are likely to experience freezing temperatures each winter, including the addition of digging footings below the frost line. The slab will be poured on a slight slope so that melting snow and rain will drain to the street. Slab floor drains don’t work in colder climates as they get stuck with snow and then freeze and crack the slab. A good contractor will consider the drainage before giving a quote, because poor drainage will cause expensive damage.
  5. Wait - A day or two after the foundation has been poured, the contractor will usually return to remove the form, and after another 2–3 days, they will be back to begin framing your garage.

Cost Factors

Usually there will be a few baseline numbers to get to rough numbers for your project. Generally, you will add in:

The essentials - the width, length, and height of your garage, and the type and depth of foundation.

The options - for siding, roof pitch, type of roofing materials, overhangs, garage doors, entry doors, windows

The internal finish options - including plumbing, electrical outlets, drywall, workbenches, etc.

Nationwide, an average price for a typical two-car garage measuring 20 x 20 is around $23,500, which reflects a per square foot price of just under $60, with about 66% of that being materials.

Materials Cost

Walls

From $12 to $50 per square foot

When considering the garage structure itself, unless working with the assembly of a metal barndominimum-style structure, the two options for the garage walls are timber frame and concrete blocks.  

Timber frame is definitely the typical choice thanks to its light weight for delivery, eco-friendliness/sustainability, low cost, insulation properties, ease of use, and quick build time.

Concrete block, or CMU (Concrete Masonry Unit), structures are gaining popularity in certain geographies across the United States because of the advantages structures built with blocks possess. Those advantages include: being airtight, energy efficient, structurally sound, and not susceptible to termites or mold.

However, it is going to cost a lot more for materials and labor. Finding contractors with CMU experience is not as easy as finding contractors who excel at timber frame. A CMU frame structure will also take longer to build than timber frame, and the thickness of concrete blocks adds inches to the entire structure, which results in extra cost—from foundation to roofing.

Once the concrete walls are up, you will still need to have the contractor install a timber frame for the purposes of running the electrical work and any plumbing through it, on top of which the drywall will be installed.

Ceiling

$1.75 to $10 per square foot

In order to maintain any energy efficiency garnered by your choice of materials for the walls, you will have to finish out the ceiling to help insulate the garage. If you only plan on parking the car in the garage and don’t plan on spending any time in there, or you live somewhere that has a perfect temperature year round, then this might not be a consideration for your project. For finishing out the ceiling, material options include cork, drywall, gypsum, plastic tile, or Styrofoam tiles.

Windows

$50 to $500

Not all garages have windows, but if you plan on spending time in the garage, it is nice to have natural light, and it makes for a more interesting exterior, to have windows instead of plain walls. Shutters can be added to accent these details even further. Most detached garages have at least one window, and a larger two-car garage with a workshop area or storage features could have as many as three windows. Windows for your garage are typical residential windows, and the traditional choices are steel, vinyl, and wood.

Entry Doors

$100 to $2,500 for high-end security options

When it comes to doors, they can also be a design and safety feature for your garage. In a home where the garage is part of the house, the door between the garage and the home can be quite plain; but with a detached garage, depending on the budget and your priorities, it will generally be a door with a bit more flair to it.

Vehicle Door

$500 to $2,800 for one-car garage door and $650 to $5,000 for a two-car door

The garage door will be the largest investment other than the structure itself. In keeping with that, you can choose from a broad range of design options and construction materials to make sure it complements your creative vision for your garage. Aluminum doors are the least expensive, but they are also more likely to exhibit dents and physical damage than the next cheapest option of a steel door. Fiberglass and wood doors generally offer a more diverse range of designs. Each material type for your door will also come with energy efficient ratings, making some more suitable for your area. The more secure you want the door to be to protect the contents of your garage, and the more insulated you want it to be, the closer you will get to the upper end of the price range.

Garage door opener

$120 to $500

While the vast majority of garage doors are overhead doors, there are still some that swing open like traditional doors. It is important to get the right type if you are installing the opener yourself after the garage has been built.

What to look for in a contractor

In order to do all you can to help narrow down the list of potential contractors, we suggest you look for contractors who have as many as possible of the following boxes checked:

  1. Have been in business for a while.
  2. Also provide architectural services and work on permits.
  3. Are licensed and bonded contractors.
  4. Have lots of 5-star reviews.
  5. Have background-checked workers.
  6. Are A+ rated with the Better Business Bureau.
  7. Offer a warranty on their work

Selecting a contractor

In order to make a final decision on a contractor, put a list together of 3–5 contractors that are the closest match for your budget and timeframe. Solicit bids from them that include setup and cleanup costs and a reasonable timeframe for the project. Clarify anything that may not have been clear on a bid, and you will be ready to make your final decision.

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