Garages & Multipurpose Rooms
Building a Garage? Here’s some information to help get you started.
Plans & Permits
Building a garage or a multi-purpose room used to be a fairly simple process 20 years ago. Minimal planning was required at that time. However, today, it’s highly recommended that you hire a design/build company to plan and build your garage for you as the process is fairly similar to that of building a home. Like new home construction, a garage will require a site survey, site plan, full elevations drawings, cross section drawings, as well as landscaping plans with tree protection. The city will also require the outline of your existing home, buildings, driveway, decks and other impermeable construction to be added to the site plan so the amount of permeable and impermeable ground coverage can be determined. We are well placed to take care of the entire design build process for you as we have worked with many municipalities to obtain building permits for garages and studio sheds. Once your building permit is granted, you may move ahead with your new garage.
If you’ve seen one garage, you’ve seen them all? No, you really haven’t. There are many considerations to ponder. Do you want your garage to match your existing home? If not, what exterior style appeals to you?
Some of our clients prefer a modern garage with a flat roof while others choose a stucco-walled garage that matches their existing home. One current, popular design often found in Vancouver Proper is the craftsman style with fibre cement siding and Hardi shakes.
During our design/build process, we work with our clients to understand their needs and thus design a garage that will meet their needs both indoors and out.
For our clients who want to use the garage for both a car and storage, we will often design a loft into the attic for storing items. For those who want to use that space for a workshop or part of the space for an office, we will often design in a set of French doors and some windows to give them ample light for their workspace. Over the past two years’ pandemic, many of our clients converted their garages to temporary gyms to help stay active. With this in mind, we often recommend our clients have more windows in their garage to keep their options open should they re-purpose the space at a later time.
Due to the permitting process, most modern garages are well-insulated and heated. They can be readily converted to be suitable for a multitude of other uses.
A garage that is used to house cars, lawnmowers and bicycles will be designed differently than one where you hope to spend a good amount of time puttering around. Unlike your grandfather’s thin, metal garage door; modern garage doors use thicker steel, are well-insulated, and are generally well-sealed to the garage. Nowadays, a standard, multipurpose garage may have a set of French doors facing the yard and a traditional garage door at the alley.
Advantages of Having a Garage
It’s Not Really a Garage…
It’s a multi-purpose room. A multi-purpose room can be used as a workshop, hobby area, office, man cave, she-shed, and more. Install a 50” flatscreen TV, a few couches and a well-stocked pop fridge and you have a fabulous teen hangout area.
Garages are useful for so much more than parking your car.
During COVID, many people found their garage could be used for things they had never before thought of. As a result, this has caused many people to build a garage or a shed who may not have considered doing so beforehand.
In some areas, basements are not commonly found. This begs the question: where does one store one’s things? Aha! In a garage, of course! One common garage storage solution is to build a storage loft, high up in the garage. Loft storage areas are perfect for seasonal items such as pool toys, golf clubs, gardening tools and supplies, sleds, skis and more.
With a loft, you have the best of both worlds. The bottom is perfect for a man cave, your car or an area for your teenagers to hang out. While the loft area can be dedicated to storage.
As you can imagine, with a name like Vancouver Sheds, we LOVE sheds more than anything. However, we must admit that this is one area that garages excel over sheds. Garages are larger and can be easily used for multiple things, simultaneously. However, due to the price different between a studio shed and a garage, a studio shed may be a better fit for you.
There are many different types of kits and accessories to help you organize your garage.
This will heavily determine the cost of the garage. A double car garage costs roughly twice that of a single car garage. However, the difference in price between a single car garage and a single plus one quarter garage might not be much at all. Adding an extra four feet of width might make a lot of sense if you have bicycles or motorcycles that you’d like to tuck away in there. That extra four feet could make all the difference for you and not add too much to the overall cost.
There are 4 standard garage sizes:
- Single — 12 x 22
- garage and one half – 16 x 22
- double — 18 x 22 – which is not twice the size of a single, despite how it sounds. A lot of bigger SUVs need 24 feet of depth to comfortable park and walk around the car.
- RV garage – which generally has a height of at least 14’, a width of at least 14’ and a length of between 40’ and 45’.
Insulated? Great choice! That opens up a lot of options for using the space. If it is insulated, it may also be heated. A heated garage is a true multipurpose room. Electrified? Lovely! Now, the options are endless. Is it a man cave? Is a die-cast car collection displayed on a vintage, metal shelf? Does a mini fridge adorn the wall? Perhaps a car detailing unit sits in a prominent area for a side-hustle income. Do you drive an electric car? If so, you may want to install a charger right inside your garage. Here, your Tesla will be perfectly safe and out of the rain and snow.
Alternatively, you may be looking to create a comfortable hang out zone for your teenaged kids. Maybe there is not really enough room inside your home for your children to entertain friends. However, install a pool table, ping pong table, tv and a few football chairs or a sofa and you have a certified hangout spot. A television with a gaming unit and a Roku will draw all of your kids’ friends over, as well. The piece de Resistance, the pop-fridge, will seal the deal. Never worry where your kids are on a Saturday night again. They are in the multi-purpose room with their friends. No need to check the ditches.
Lighting should be a heavily weighted considered when building a garage. If you can incorporate natural light into your garage, that is a huge benefit. Depending on the use of your garage, having natural light flowing in may create the perfect place to work on a craft or hobby. As mentioned above, we have installed French doors for clients who want the option of opening them up wide to let in the maximum amount of sunlight. We also recommend patio doors or folding doors for clients who want to be able to open up their workshop/garage to the outdoors on bright, sunny days.
When installing electrical lighting in your garage, take care in the plans. Older garages typically had just one light installed in the middle of the garage! Good luck finding that screwdriver that fell of your tool bench while trying to assemble your daughter’s bicycle the night before her birthday. We wish you the best of luck topping up your car’s windshield washer fluid under that single, not-quite-incandescent light bulb.
Newer garages have 2 or more lights so one can see what one’s doing. Some garages have track lighting or pot lighting installed so their garage is as bright as their kitchen. This turns a garage into an amazing workspace or hobby area. Modern code requires many more electrical outlets than what older garages have.
Garage Doors and Openers
There are three different types of garage door openers.
- Traditional — mounts in the middle of two tracks.
- Side mount – mounted on one side of the garage and that doesn’t interfere with ceiling clearances.
- Roll door, aka, tractor door – typically used on commercial or agricultural garages. They are generally incredibly difficult to break into, very well insulated and reduce noise transmission.
At Vancouver sheds, we not only build sheds, we build garages, workshops and other small buildings. Art studios, fitness rooms, hobby headquarters are requested frequently by our clients and we are happy to provide what they want!
Let us build one just for you. Call us today so we can meet at your home to help determine whether a studio shed or a garage would best suit your needs. 604-277-5535.