Attached vs Detached Garage

Attached Garage

   PROS
  • Space for cars, storage, and work
  • Convenient access to the home in bad weather
  • Less expensive to build
  • Can use electrical and HVAC of the home
  • May be required by a homeowner association
  • Storage and freezers are nearby
  • Increases home’s resale value
  CONS
  • Not suited for a narrow lot
  • Permits may be more expensive
  • May be a security threat
  • Greater fire risk
  • Can have health risks
  • More difficult to expand
  • Workspace noise may be heard
  • Can overpower the front view of a small home
$7,500 - $27,040

(2-car, with storage and workspace, installed)

Get free advice and estimates from garage, shed and enclosure contractors in your city.

Detached Garage

   PROS
  • Space for cars, storage, and work
  • Fit better in narrow lots
  • Easier to expand
  • Better for health, safety, and security
  • More design possibilities
  • Workspace sounds may not be heard
  • Creates better curb appeal
  • Home has more window and landscape space
  • Increases home’s resale value
  CONS
  • Inconvenient access to the home in bad weather
  • Utilities need a separate source
  • Takes up valuable yard space
  • May be restricted by homeowner association
  • Stored items and freezers are farther away
$58,430 - $86,400

(2-car with storage and workspace, installed)

Get free advice and estimates from garage, shed and enclosure contractors in your city.

If you have ever had to brush snow, scrape frost, or clear dew from car windows before setting out on your morning’s adventures, you know the real value of adding a garage to your property. Protecting your car from the elements is only part of the story, however. A garage can also provide extra storage, needed workspace, and perhaps a comfortable man cave. Whether to attach that new garage to the home or build it as a detached structure is a decision we will help you tackle with the information below.

Installation

Always check zoning requirements before deciding the type of garage to build. Attaching a garage to your existing home may require more expensive and harder-to-acquire building permits than for a stand-alone structure. Also, check for any homeowner association (HOA) or other restrictions. For example, restrictions on size may exist. HOAs may require that garages be attached or that any addition be similar in design to the home itself.

This is a project, whether attached or detached, best handled by a professional contractor. Ask for references and check for proper licensing and insurance before hiring anyone. Ask for at least three quotes to compare and get the best value for your money.

The less expensive type of garage to build is the attached garage for several reasons. First, the builders will save money by using the home’s walls for part of the structure, cutting down on the material and labor costs. Second, running electricity into the addition is cheaper since you are expanding the home’s existing electrical system. And finally, any ventilation or HVAC can also extend from the home. Electricity, ventilation, and HVAC will have to use separate sources in a detached garage.

Costs

Building and siding materials, additional windows and doors, ventilation type, choice of climate control, and built-in 1 storage systems are factors that affect the cost of both types of garages. We compared two similar structures, one for an attached garage and another for a detached garage. Both measure 26 x 26 feet and provide space for two vehicles, storage, and a small workspace. They each have vinyl 2 siding, windows, a door, and two garage doors. Electrical wiring is built-in, but other finishing options are minimal. Both are built by a professional contractor.

The attached garage is estimated to cost $7,500-$27,040 while the detached garage is estimated to cost $58,430 - $86,400.

Expansion

As your needs change and your family grows, a detached garage can grow, with the appropriate permits and permissions. Expanding an attached garage is much more difficult, if not impossible. The design is tied to the house’s architecture, and getting a permit for expansion will be a harder and more costly endeavor.

Design

One difficulty in designing and building an attached garage is lot space. On a narrow lot, an attached garage may cut off access to the backyard. Detached garages fit these lots better. However, they do take up valuable space.

The roof of a detached garage can be used for a deck or patio. Another possible design element for a detached garage is adding a second floor for a guest room or man cave. This will cost less than adding to an attached unit since you will not have to contend with the home’s existing roofline.

Another advantage of the detached garage design is the increased curb appeal for the home, especially for a smaller home that may be overshadowed by a two- or three-car garage addition. Also, a floor plan without an attached garage can offer more window views and landscaping space.

Noise

If the garage will be a workspace, then the sounds of machinery in a detached garage are less likely to disturb the rest of the home’s occupants.

Convenience

Convenience is the biggest plus when it comes to deciding on an attached garage. Being able to enter and exit the home from the garage is especially attractive in climates with heavy precipitation or extreme temperatures. Without a covered pathway, which would add to the cost, going to a detached garage in inclement weather will not be a fun experience. Even in temperate climates, carrying heavy packages from the car to the house is easier with an attached garage.

Health Risks

Health risks are something to think about as well. The American Lung Association reminds homeowners to use adequate ventilation in an attached garage where chemicals are used or stored. In addition, avoid idling cars because even the time spent backing out and parking can leave toxic and unpleasant exhaust that may enter the home.

Security and Insurance

A garage attached to your home may be a security threat. An intruder in your garage has the privacy to enter the home through the attached door. Always ensure that this door is as secure as any exterior door. Another threat is the danger of fire if the workspace uses flammable items. Fire danger to the home is lessened by the space between a detached garage and the main home.

Before making a final decision, check the effect on an insurance policy for the two types of garages by speaking to your insurance agent or an appraiser. Some companies require a separate rider for detached structures while others may look favorably on a home without an attached garage due to fire hazards.

Resale Value

Whether an attached or detached garage adds to or detracts from your home’s value depends partly on two factors: curb appeal and consistency with other homes. An attached garage that faces the front can detract from the look of the home, especially if the home is small. A detached garage in a neighborhood dominated by homes with attached garages can lower the home’s value. Of course, the climate plays a significant role as well. In a very hot, cold, or wet climate, not having a garage for the home, especially an attached one, can be a deal breaker. However, when all is considered, real estate professionals estimate that a two-car garage, attached or detached, will add approximately $30,000 to the value of a home, and a one-car garage will add about $15,000 to $20,000. Factors that increase that value are an electric door opener, an opening that does not face the street, and extra space for storage.​​

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Built-in: An item of furniture, such as a bookcase or set of cabinets, that is built directly into the structure of the room. Built-ins are therefore customized to the room and not detachable
2 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others

Cost to build an attached or a detached garage varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Akron, OH
-6%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Clarksville, TN
-13%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Daly City, CA
+51%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Denver, CO
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Durham, NC
-1%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Grand Rapids, MI
+7%
Greensboro, NC
-9%
Greenville, SC
-12%
Hermitage, TN
+18%
Houston, TX
+24%
Huntsville, AL
-17%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Lafayette, CO
-6%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Midlothian, VA
-3%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Nashville, TN
+21%
North Port, FL
-20%
Omaha, NE
-10%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Panama City, FL
-20%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Portland, OR
+11%
Puyallup, WA
-1%
Richmond, VA
+4%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
Saint Louis, MO
+16%
Saint Paul, MN
+20%
Saint Petersburg, FL
-11%
Salt Lake City, UT
-6%

Labor cost in your zip code

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