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Detached Vs. Attached Garages: Which Is Right For You?

By on Jul 24, 2014
Detached Vs. Attached Garages: Which Is Right For You?

Garages, whether they be detached or attached, have become a luxury for many, but some homeowners are still debating whether to add one or the other to their current residence. Whether you want a covered space to park your car every night or just extra storage, a detached or attached garage is the perfect solution. Only problem is figuring out which is best for you.

Detached and attached garages have numerous benefits. While each essentially serve the same purpose, depending on your lot size, intentions and budget, one option always prevails.

Below, I will present the costs, pros and cons of detached and attached garages.

Detached Garage


The costs will largely depend on the size and material you choose. For example, brick will be more expensive than wood and windows will add additional costs. Also, ventilation, as well heating and cooling, will add to your overall costs, but both are more expensive in detached garages because they are not attached to a larger structure.

The biggest expense for either garage will come from the base. Generally, garages need to have a poured concrete base, which will increase the total costs, but will make the structure more stable and effective in all types of weather, which is clearly a dominant factor in many areas of the country.

Overall, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact cost of an attached or detached garage. However, according to our garage construction cost estimator, the average comes in at $21,000.

Advantages of Attached Garages

Clearly, the key advantage of having an attached garage is convenience. To get to your car or that valuable storage space, you don’t have to leave the comforts of your home. As you can imagine, this can be very valuable in many areas of the country.

Secondly, adding an attached garage to your current residence lets you or the contractor utilize pre-existing walls in the construction process This will not only save you a little money on construction, but money on HVAC and ventilation. As I noted in How To Insulate A Garage Door, all garages must be ventilated, but attached garages are much easier and cheaper to do so.

Thirdly, for those homeowners looking to use the garage as a workspace, electricity is already present in the home and can easily expand to the garage. The same process is much harder when dealing with a detached garage.

Finally, as will be the case with a detached garage as well, attached garages give homeowners a place for their cars, extra storage or even extravagant man caves.

Man Cave Garage

Disadvantages of Attached Garages

The main disadvantage with attached garages is space. For example, many downtown or big city lots are narrow and don’t have room for an attached garage on the side of the home. In these cases, detached garages work better. In fact, unless you live on a rather large lot, you wont see many attached garages downtown. 

Compared to detached garages, zoning could be an issue while adding an attached garage. In general, attaining permits for existing structures tend to be more difficult and costly to obtain.

Believe it not, attached garages present a bigger security threat to you and your family. If a burglar breaks into your detached garage, all they can get is what’s in there. If they break into your attached garage, they are one door away from entering your home. While your car, computers or bikes may be a huge value, nothing is more important than your family’s safety.

Finally, there are minor health issues for attached garages. The American Lung Association recommends, if given the choice, to add a detached garage to protect homeowners from breathing carbon monoxide, gas, oil fumes or other stored pesticides.

Advantages of Detached Garages

As I already stated, the No. 1 advantage of both garages is extra space and storage, whether it be for your car or items you want outside the home.

I also mentioned that many lots, including those in downtown areas, lend themselves to detached garages. A narrow lot that stretches far back towards an alley is a natural fit for a detached garage. Additionally, another common theme of detached garages downtown is the living space above it. Many homeowners add a unique patio or deck above the detached garage, giving homeowners more space to host parties or get-togethers. This can turn into valuable space if you don’t have a front or backyard.

On top of the health and security issues I mentioned above, detached garages are also easier to expand. You will have to obtain the permits first, but if land permits, expanding your detached garage is much easier than enlarging your attached garage.

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Disadvantages of Detached Garages

The biggest disadvantage to detached garages is the location. If it’s raining, snowing or freezing outside, you still have to truck through the inclement weather to get to your car. The detached garage may provide shelter for your car, but unless you build a covered pathway, it won’t cover you. 

For those planning on working in the new detached garage, expect higher expenses for adding electricity and ventilation (compared to attached garages). Since it’s not connected to the home, it can’t take any heat, AC or electricity from the home, which means you need brand new sources for all three. This won’t come without a price.

Design is another factor. If you drive down Main Street and take a left, more often than not, you will see attached garages. If you add a detached garage, you are separating yourself from your neighbors, which is a big no-no in the real estate market.

Finally, if you’re considering adding an attached or detached garage, both will most likely take away valuable landscape. Detached garages tend to go behind a home, an area many parents love to see green and have for their children to play on. In the end, you will have to pick one or the other.


Overall, detached and attached garages serve the same purpose. They give you a designated, covered spot for your car every night and provide a little extra storage (something we all could use). However, depending on the area, your budget and your wish list, one option is almost always the right answer. Which one are you going to choose?

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