Cost Breakdown to Build a Garage
If you look at the big picture, garage building cost factors are split between labor and materials. You'll pay between 30% to 50% of the total cost toward materials, and 50% to 70% toward labor.
Square footage will offer a ballpark cost of building a garage. You'll pay about $50 per square foot on average between labor and materials when working with a professional. However, you'll find prices as low as $29 per square foot for simple, attached garages and up to $120 per square foot for detached, high-end garages with all the bells and whistles.
The cost of your garage goes hand-in-hand with the style, but will vary depending on the design. Here's a breakdown of what you can expect for the standard garage layouts.
The average cost of a one-car garage ranges from $10,500 to $27,000 on average, with prices ranging up to $32,000 if you add extra workstations or storage space.
The cost to build a two-car garage is anywhere from $14,500 to $40,300, yet again, depending on materials, placement, and add-ons.
Due to their custom design and the number of extra materials and space required, a large three-car garage will cost $28,200 to $57,100 without any add-ons for a living or workspace.
Garage With an Apartment
Garages are excellent opportunities to expand your living space or rental opportunities. The cost to build a garage with an apartment costs between $60,000 to $270,000, though there are some budget-friendly tricks for garage apartments to keep the conversion costs low.
A garage large enough to accommodate an RV—typically at least 40 feet deep—will cost between $36,000 and $140,000 before any add-ons.
Attached vs. Detached Garage
Attached garages already have the benefits of being close to your home's electricity, plumbing, foundation, and insulation. Expanding the garage off of the existing structure will lower your costs compared to a detached structure. You'll pay as low as $29 per square foot for an attached garage and between $40 and $70 per square foot for a detached garage, according to HomeAdvisor. If you’re already taking on the cost to build a new house, you may want to consider building a garage at the same time.
The 50% to 70% addition of labor costs to building a garage is quite hefty, but for good reason. Building such a significant structure typically requires certification, licenses, and a good deal of experience to get it right. The cost range for labor ranges from $20 to $49 per square foot on average, but this will vary depending on a few factors.
Your location highly affects labor costs. The general cost of living and labor rates are the primary factors. Access and travel costs can also add up if you live in a remote area. Additionally, features that require additional specialists—such as bricklaying, plumbers, or electricians—will add to the total.
Remember to include the cost of labor for pre-building fees such as drafting and architectural fees. These will make up 8% to 15% of the total cost.
Materials will account for between 30% and 50% of the final cost. Let's take a look at each major category to get a better sense of the cost breakdown.
The materials you choose to build the frame and facade of the garage have the largest impact. Considering the average costs for a detached garage, you'll pay the estimate below.
Brick: $27–$45 per square foot
Brick-Veneered: $5–$30 per square foot
Cinderblock: $29–$62 per square foot
Metal: $3,000–$22,000 total
Stick-Built: $40–$70 per square foot
Prefab Pole Barn: $40–$85 per square foot
A concrete slab foundation costs $4 to $25 per square foot. The total cost of a foundation for a garage ranges from $2,000 to $7,000.
The roof of your garage will cost anywhere from $1,600 to $16,000 total depending on its size, style, insulation, and materials.
Protect your structure from rain, snow, and debris by installing gutters. Gutters cost between $4 and $30 per linear foot.
The majority of garages have basic wiring to operate the lights and electric door. The cost to add wiring to a garage is $1,000 to $2,500 on average.
Just like any major construction project, you'll need to acquire local permits before the building begins. Permits can cost between $1,200 and $1,500 for the whole project.
Additional Costs to Consider
Ongoing maintenance for your garage will not differ much from the exterior of your home. You may occasionally need to consider the costs of siding repairs, which run from $2 to $50 per square foot.
If your garage door acts up, expect to pay between $150 and $2,400 in garage door repair costs. The repair cost depends on how extensive the problem is. For instance, fixing small dents in the panel will cost on the lower end of the spectrum, while full panel replacements will cost far more. You should call a local garage door contractor to handle any large repairs.
Outside of repairs, the ongoing costs of a garage typically only include minimal electricity use.
Cost to Build a Garage Yourself
With the cost of labor accounting for up to 70% of costs, you can save some serious money by building a garage yourself. However, it is not always ideal or possible to take on each task yourself. Garages have complex features such as necessary ventilation, foundation, and wiring that are not ideal for DIY work.
You may be required to hire a licensed contractor to receive a building permit in the first place. In many cases, calling an experienced local garage builder will save you money and ensure your structure is safe.
Instead, consider taking on small tasks during the garage building process. Collaborate with the architect to discuss your needs and vision, paint the exterior of the garage yourself, or consider adding shelving and a workstation.
Cost of Common Garage Add-Ons
Let's say you're dreaming of a highly equipped, multi-purpose garage that stays warm in the winter, opens when you press a button, or is cozy enough for a home office space. Here are the costs of popular garage features.
Adding a window will cost anywhere from $300 to $2,100 per window, depending on the style of the window and its placement.
Automatic doors are nearly standard in garages today, but you will pay between $220 and $520 between installation and parts on top of your garage building costs.
Insulating your garage has plenty of perks, and not just if you plan to spend time working on your latest project. Expect the cost to range from $1 to $5 per square foot.
Storage and Organization
The cost of garage storage systems can range between $600 and $2,600 depending on the size, style, and weight capacity of the system.
The sky's the limit when it comes to garage upgrades both inside and out. Some specialty add-ons and their costs include:
Extending HVAC ductwork from your home: $15 per linear foot
Adding plumbing to a detached garage: $900–$1,300
Painting a garage door: $1–$4 per square foot
Adding a separate entrance: $1,500
Ways to Save Money When Building a Garage
The best way to save money when building a garage is to work with an experienced local contractor with a trusted team. Hiring each professional and managing the process piecemeal often adds up to more money in the end. We recommend speaking with at least three contractors and requesting quotes before beginning.
Additional ways to cut garage building costs include:
Taking on small details yourself
Choosing a metal or prefabricated frame
Opting for an attached garage when possible
Cutting out extras like insulation, wiring, and plumbing
Booking your project outside of the busy season