My Garage Plans

Hints and tips on building a garage and buying garage plans.

Typical 2 Car Garage Material List

My Garage Plans Staff

Two Car Garage Plans Material List

If you are thinking about building a garage yourself or having one built for you, one of the biggest questions on your mind is probably what types and quantities of materials you are going to need. You will have to design the garage yourself, or you can choose from quite a few garage plans online. Either way, you'll need a materials list. Should you decide to do the design yourself, you will need to do some homework to determine the types of building materials available to you today. A trip to your local Home Depot, Lowes, or other material supply store will go a long way to answering most of your questions. There are also a lot of good resources available online to answer your building material questions.

Naturally, we think the best approach is to let a professional designer do the garage plan design for you. There is such a great variety of garage designs available online that we think the biggest challenge you'll face is narrowing down the selections to the garage you actually want. The professional building designer knows just the right materials to use to make sure your garage is built right, including:

  • weather resistance
  • correct load bearing requirements
  • most efficient use of material
At My Garage Plans by TRC, every garage plan includes the material list at no extra cost. Many other garage plans sites will charge you extra for a material list.

A typical material list includes such things as:

  • 2x4's
  • 2x6's
  • treated lumber
  • concrete
  • shingles
  • nails
  • windows
  • overhead door
  • exterior entry doors
and if your garage plan includes a loft or studio apartment you will also have things like cabinets, sinks, toilets, furnaces and water heaters. To see what a typical material list for a two car garage plan looks like we have included one here - two car garage material list.
 
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Best Time to Build Your Garage

My Garage Plans Staff

Garage Building Time

When is the best time of the year to build your new garage? That depends on several factors, of course. The most restrictive part of your garage building effort is probably going to be the concrete that you use for your footings, foundation and parking slab. Concrete has particular curing conditions that will give you optimal results. According to the Portland Cement Association (PCA, www.cement.org, who would know better than an organization with cement in their url?) the best conditions for curing concrete are to keep its temperature between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 10 and 24 degrees Celsius). When the temperature gets too hot the water in the concrete evaporates too quickly causing a poorer quality concrete. If the temperature drops below 50 degrees F during the curing period the hydration process slows down and your concrete stops gaining strength. A proper job of curing your concrete will improve its durability, strength and resistance to temperature extremes. You are also trying to keep the freshly poured concrete from drying out too rapidly. This can be helped by keeping a steady source of water on the concrete as it cures or covering it with plastic to reduce evaporation. The curing period generally takes about 5 to 7 days from the time you pour your concrete.

The PCA also tells us to expect some cracking to occur in the concrete because it does shrink a little as it dries. Expect about 1/16th of an inch shrinkage for every 10 feet of concrete poured. Your concrete contractor will know this and how to compensate for it so your slab doesn't end up looking like a desert lake bed during a drought. When you hear the concrete guys talking about a five sack (or bag) mix, they are talking about how many bags of portland cement are used to make a cubic yard of concrete. The PCA suggests that a good rule of thumb for quality concrete is to make sure your contractor (or you if you're doing it yourself) uses a six bag mix, or six bags of Portland cement per cubic yard of concrete. Other sources recommend a 5 or 5 1/2 sack mix, so it's probably a good idea to consult with your local concrete supplier. A sack of Portland cement (not the pre-mix concrete you might buy at your local Home Depot or Lowes) usually weighs about 94 lbs.

You've no doubt seen finished concrete surfaces that have flaked, or spalled. This can be caused by

  • freezing and thawing of the concrete
  • excess water in the mix
  • finishing before excess surface water is gone

There is a type of Portland cement called air-entrained that contains microscopic air pockets which can reduce the effects of flaking due to the freezing cycle. Other additives can also be added to the concrete mixture to have the same effect. Ask your concrete supplier.

So there you have it, temperature is going to be the driving force behind your garage building schedule. Concrete pouring and curing are the most restrictive elements of the project. For most areas that means you are going to have your best luck with your garage building project during the spring and fall seasons. We'll discuss some other driving forces in your project in future posts.

 
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The Cost of Green Construction

My Garage Plans Staff

Building a Green Garage

The question of whether or not "green" construction methods are more costly than traditional construction methods is a hot topic these days. It is a complex subject that can be difficult to quantify since many of the benefits have no dollar value.

If you were to ask just about anybody, they would probably assume that the construction of a green building costs more than a traditional building. They would be right, but they would probably be surprised to find out how little extra it costs to go green. A recent study conducted by consulting firm Davis Langdon and the Urban Green Council showed that the increased cost of certified "green" construction in New York during 2008 was minimal: $440 per square foot compared to $436 per square foot for non-certified buildings. This equates to only a 1% cost increase for green construction! Of course, these cost calculations are for a commercial high-rise in New York, and are most likely far more expensive than the construction costs of your new garage. However, it does help disprove the myth that green construction is unattainably expensive. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) estimates the increased cost between 2% - 5% - still a very minimal amount. In many cases, the initial startup costs are higher, but the overall lifecycle cost to maintain and operate the building is lower due to energy optimizing measures used during construction.

While green construction may have additional monetary costs, it also affords us other savings that are not so easily calculated. For example, if green buildings operate more efficiently, they will burn fewer fossil fuels and ultimately promote cleaner air. And if fewer hazardous chemicals are used in the products we put in our homes, garages and offices (and believe me, they are everywhere - from the paint on our walls, to the finish on our hardwood floors, to the linens on our beds), it will enhance our health and decrease a wide variety of harmful (and potentially painful) side effects. How do we put a price on our safety and wellness? How do we put a price on the safety and wellness of our planet?

 
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Garage Storage Tips

My Garage Plans Staff

Garage Storage Tips

Building your new garage is a great way to increase storage space and help get yourself organized. It will be helpful to have a plan for the items you need to store before construction is completed. That way, when it comes time to start storing things, you will not be overwhelmed. Here are some tips to help you organize your new garage:

  • Make a List - First, you might find it helpful to make a list of all the items you want to store: shovels, lawn mower, snow skis, bikes, work bench, tools...whatever you need a home for!
  • Save floor space – Hang anything and everything that you can! Shovels, rakes, ladders, weed-eaters, etc. Save the floor space for items that really need it, like lawn mowers, snow blowers and trash cans. It’s a good idea to hang extra hooks for items you may buy in the future or that you have forgotten about. Peg boards work great for hanging lighter weight items such as shovels, weedeaters, hand tools, etc. Hooks for peg boards come in all shapes and sizes to fit just about any storage need. Safety First! Always make sure everything you hang is secure so it doesn’t fall when bumped. Keep hazardous items out of the reach of little children.
  • Utilize your ceiling joists – Hang special heavy duty hooks from them for bike or ladder storage. If your ceiling joists are exposed, you can also use this space for extra storage by spanning a piece of thick plywood overtop of them (be sure to secure it to the rafters!). An even safer bet is to invest in a steel frame and wire decking system that bolts to the rafters – this will be much more safe and secure. This is a great place to keep things you rarely use or seasonal items, like patio furniture or snow shovels or sleds. Be EXTREMELY careful when storing items and make sure they are secure (tying them down is a good idea), and use care when taking them down!! DO NOT OVERLOAD!!
  • Build storage shelves wherever you have room – Storage space is essential for good organization! You can make your own shelves from scrap wood or use one of the great new garage storage shelf systems available today. Do some online searching and you can find some very nice storage solutions. One example we know of is the The Garage Design Center.
  • Store like items together – Whether it be sandpaper or seeds, it is a good idea to get stackable plastic containers with lids and store these items on shelves. Be sure to clearly label them for easy access.
  • Store frequently used hand tools in an easily accessible location – This will save you a lot of time when you go to find them! Store them on shelves, in cabinets or hang them on a peg board. Storing them at eye level is advisable. There are a variety of types and sizes of peg board hooks, check at your local home supply store for availability.
  • Buy locking cabinets – A lot of the items that you store in your garage are probably expensive or hazardous, so locking cabinets may be a good solution to provide some extra safety and security.
  • Store balls in netted bags, in a clean trashcan, or on a shelf – Soccer balls, volleyballs, footballs, bowling balls – they can all be very difficult to store due to their shape and size. A clean trashcan is a good place to keep them, or a netted bag suspended from the ceiling or hanging from a hook on the wall. Another idea is to build a trough for them on the wall (this is simply a shelf with a piece of wood on both ends, and one in front to keep them from rolling off). Store smaller balls (tennis balls, baseballs, golf balls) in a small basket or bucket.
  • Keep water soluble items off the floor – No matter how hard you try to keep it dry, your garage floor is bound to get wet at some point. Even high humidity can cause condensation on the floor of your garage. Anything that could get damaged from water should be stored off of the floor.
Coming up with good storage solutions will help make the most of your new garage.

If you have any other helpful tips, we would love to hear them! Simply make a comment to this blog and we will try to share your tips with others in a future post. We appreciate your feedback!
 
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History of Garages

My Garage Plans Staff

Garage History

A lot of people probably don’t put much thought into the history behind their garage. They have always been a part of our culture, storing our vehicles and various other equipment, so it might come as a bit of a surprise to learn that these additions to the home are a relatively recent development.

The original intent of the garage was simple: to house a new-fangled contraption known as the automobile. Up until the turn of the 20th century, garages were non-existent because they were not yet needed. Instead, people had “carriage houses” where they stored their horse and buggy (the main transportation of the day). As cars started making their way into the American lifestyle, they were initially stored in the carriage house right alongside the horses. This quickly became a problem, seeing as how people’s brand new fancy automobiles smelled like horse manure…and so the garage was born.

The very first garages were similar to the parking garages of today. They were one level structures where people could rent a spot on a monthly basis. This worked well until around 1910 when the number of cars started growing faster than the number of available parking spaces. People began to seek out a more convenient place to store their vehicles, so they turned back to the idea of the carriage house – minus the smelly horses – and thus the garage as we know it today began to take shape. The word “garage” actually comes from the French word garer – which means “to shelter or protect.” And that is exactly what they were meant to do. The first garages were nothing more than simple sheds, with a barn-style double door that opened outward. These doors required a large clear area in front of them in order to fully open, and it was quickly determined that a door that could be housed within the garage itself would be much more efficient. By 1921, the overhead garage door was invented, and just 5 years later automated overhead doors were available for people who had trouble lifting them.

The modern garage tends to be a catch-all place which has many functions – from providing extra storage for seasonal items (sleds, snow shovels, etc.), to functioning as a workshop, to even being an extended living space – but even today, it’s main function is still to shelter and protect some of our most valuable possessions.

 
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Garaging Your Boat

My Garage Plans Staff

Garage Size for Boats

Boat Storage Space


No one likes to leave their boat out in the open over the winter, and if you don't have a covered dock your options are limited. One alternative is to store your boat in a garage, and building a garage for just that purpose might be the answer.

Generally, boat trailers are about 2 feet longer than the actual length of a boat. So if you have a 22' boat, the trailer is going to be about 24' in length. We are not going to try to list all of the different brands of boat trailers here, there are far too many and each one will have their own dimensions, so make sure to visit your manufacturer's website for more information. You need to be careful with this measurement, because different boat manufacturers can have different ways of measuring the boat. Be sure to find out if they include the pulpit and the swim platform in the overall measurement if you have either of these items. Unless the pulpit is longer than the front of the trailer and extends past the front end of the trailer, you probably don't need to worry about it for purposes of finding a garage plan to meet your needs. The swim platform on the other hand, could present a problem. If the swim platform is not detachable, make sure to include its length in your overall measurement.

Keep an eye on the width and height of the boat as it sits on the trailer as well. You may need to find a garage plan with a double wide overhead door (16') to accommodate the width of your boat. Some garage plans use an oversized overhead door that measures 8' in height rather than the normal 7', so that might help you out also. If your boat is fairly large you might want to consider a RV garage. RV garages are much deeper than a standard sized garage and they also usually have a nice large overhead door at 12' by 12'.

Here are a few of our garage plans that are more accommodating for storing a boat:

Four Car Garage Plans

Three Car Garage Plans

Two Car Garage Plans

Happy Boating (and Garaging)!

 
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Garage Size

My Garage Plans Staff

Garage Size - How Much Room Do You Need?

How much room do you need for your new garage? If you are planning on building a new garage or replacing an old one that is ready to fall down, it just makes sense to sit down and take stock of your needs before starting your garage building project. It never seems to fail that we don't have as much room as we thought when it comes to storing all our valuables.
  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • Bicycles
  • Motorcycles
  • Lawn Mowers
  • Snow Blowers
  • Boats
  • Trailers
  • Snow Mobiles
  • Waverunners
What did I forget? Probably dozens of things. The point is, when picking out your garage plans don't forget to include these things plus anything else you can think of in your list of items to store in your garage. Here are a few measurements you can use as a rule of thumb to help you size your garage.

Typical vehicle sizes (approximate measurements in ft/m):
 
Length
Width
Compact car 14.8' / 4.5m
5.7' / 1.7m
Mid-size car 15.8' / 4.8m
5.9' / 1.8m
Full size car 17.2' / 5.2m
6.3' / 1.9m
Compact SUV 14.4' / 4.4m
5.9' / 1.8m
Mid-Size SUV 15.6' / 4.8m
6.2' / 1.9m
Full size SUV 17.3' / 5.3m
6.3' / 1.9m
Compact pickup truck 15.8' / 4.8m
5.8' / 1.8m
Compact pickup truck crew cab 17.0' / 5.2m
5.8' / 1.8m
Mid-size pickup truck 17.8' / 5.4m
6.0' / 1.8m
Mid-size pickup truck crew cab 20.3' / 6.2m
6.5' / 2.0m
Full size pickup truck 19.2' / 5.9m
6.6' / 2.0m
Full size pickup truck crew cab 20.5' / 6.2m
6.6' / 2.0m














Make sure to leave yourself about 3' of space on either side of your car to allow the doors to fully open, a little more for two door cars. Allow yourself about 2 feet on the lengthwise measurement of your car to give yourself some wiggle room when parking. An adult sized bicycle is going to take up about 5-5½ feet if you need to park it lengthwise in the garage.

Look at the How To Buy Garage Plans series of articles to help you with other important decisions.

Next time we'll take a look at the sizes of some other things you might want to park in your garage, such as boats.


 
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Tips on Using the Garage Plans Search Tool

My Garage Plans Staff

How to use the Garage Plans by TRC Garage Plans Search Tool

With the garage plans search tool you can search by any combination of the following garage attributes:

      • Number of Cars
      • Maximum Width
      • Maximum Depth
      • Living Space
      • Number of Levels
      • Storage Space
      • Workshop
      • RV Storage
      • Carport
      • Name of Garage
You can select just one or any combination of the search criteria based on your garage needs. If you have a specific number of stalls you want to have in your garage, pull down the Number of Cars drop-down box and click on 1, 2, 3 or 4. That will restrict your search to one car garage plans, two car garage plans, three car garage plans or four car garage plans respectively. If you don't care how many stalls the garage has just leave the drop-down box alone and don't make a selection.

In some cases you will have a limit on the width or depth of the garage you plan on building. It might be due to the size of the lot you are building on or it might be due to government regulations. Whatever the reason, just pull down the Maximum Width or Maximum Depth pulldown box and select the limited number of feet you have available to build in. The Maximum Width and Maximum Depth pulldown boxes are in increments of 2'. You can select either one of the boxes or both of them. If you don't have any size limitations you can just leave the boxes unselected. For example, say you only have a 30' wide space in which to build your garage. In that case you would select the Maximum Width pull-down box, scroll down to 30' and click that entry in the box. Select any other criteria you want to set then click on the Search button. In another example, if your site limited you to a depth of 39.5', you would select the next lower increment in the Maximum Depth pull-down box, in this case 38'. Select any other criteria you want then click the Search button.

There are three options you can choose from with the Living Space selection drop-down box, None, Apartment and Loft. If you don't care whether the garage plans you search for have living quarters or not, then just leave the drop-down box unselected. In some cases you might choose to leave an apartment area unfinished, or you might choose to finish a loft into an apartment. If that is the case then you should probably leave the box unselected and the search will return you all possible options including both apartments and lofts. Once you have made your selection in the Living Space drop-down box and selected any other applicable options, simply click the Search button and you will get back the garage plans that meet your needs.

You can also search based on the name of the garage. If you have been here before and seen a garage plan you liked, you might remember the name of the garage. Simply type the name of the garage in the Garage Name box and click the Search button. Your results will show up in the search results area under the search criteria box.

 
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Introduction to My Garage Plans

My Garage Plans Staff
Hi there! You might be wondering why there is another site online offering garage plans for sale? During an economic meltdown? While we are undergoing one of the biggest re-sets in the housing market ever?

Well we happen to think there is going to be a nice rebound in the housing market over time and things will eventually get back to normal. But still, why another ecommerce site selling garage plans? Not because there aren't some really great plans out there already. Certainly not because the world needs another ecommerce site. No, the reason we are doing this is because we think most of the other sites offering garage plans make you do to much work to find what you are looking for. Why should you have to look through dozens of plans trying to find what you want when it can be narrowed down by setting a few simple criteria. You probably already have a pretty good idea of what you want, the number of stalls in your garage, whether or not you want some extra living space or whether you just need a simple carport. So why spend time having to filter through so many other plans that just don't do it for you? It just doesn't make any sense.

What you will find here is an intuitive site with an easy to use Garage Plans Search Tool that will help you find what you want without the hassle. If we don't have the garage plan you are looking for you will know it in a matter of seconds. An ecommerce site shouldn't be set up to make you suffer through an ordeal just to find out they don't have any garage plans that suit your fancy. Our intention is to add more plans over the coming months so you have a better selection of plans to choose from, but we will never stray from our mission to make your search as simple as possible.

You will also find other useful information to help you with your garage building project, whether or not you choose to buy your garage plan from us. Undertaking a project of this magnitude is going to be time consuming and frustrating at times, so hopefully you will find some things here to make your life easier. Feel free to use whatever you need from our article pages and How To papers. To get started, take a look at the 3 How To Buy Garage Plans articles. There is some great information to help you navigate your way through the morass of building permits and other arcane requirements you will encounter while building your garage.

Welcome to our place, wander around as long as you want and come back often to visit with us again!

 
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