My Garage Plans

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

2 Car Garage Plans

My Garage Plans Staff

Two Car Garage Plans

If you really should build a new garage then you have probably been looking at two car garage plans. Two car garages are a well-liked size, probably explained best by the results of a study done by Experian in 2008 identifying the number of families with 2 cars. In the Experian research paper, they assert that the number of families possessing 1, 2 or 3 automobiles is pretty evenly split. 31% of the families identified in the Experian research paper are two car households. Scores of households are perfectly happy with a two vehicle garage as a reasonable compromise between the benefits it presents compared to the amount of area it takes up and the expense to construct it.

Answering these questions can assist you in picking out the correct two car garage plans for your situation. These questions will help your assessment and give you a good notion of what to look for in your two car garage plans. Inquiries to point you in the appropriate direction:
  1. Do you have dimension limits (ie depth and/or width) for your garage?
  2. Are your cars normal size or bigger?
  3. Are you hoping to have a living area with the garage?
  4. Could you use more area for storing things?
  5. What is your financial plan for constructing a garage?
  6. What distinctive requirements do you have, an RV, a boat, a trailer?
Lacking knowing where to get going you might just go on the net and start hunting around for 2 car garage plans. It makes a bunch more sense to first answer the garage buying questions listed above before you commence your hunt for garage plans. Why fritter away your time searching for something that won't meet your needs when there are so many first-rate choices out there for you to pick from? For further suggestions see the full article about 2 car garage plans.

For some people the best thing to do is hire a General Contractor (GC) to run their project. This is going to be your go-to person for any of the questions you may have beforehand, for the duration of, and subsequent to construction. Having a trustworthy GC can go a ways to solving any troubles that might occur in your project. For more guidelines, look at the full article How To Find and Select a General Contractor for Your Garage Building Project.

Have you thought of where you are going to erect your new garage? Some things to ponder on as you are determining where to construct your garage:
  • How faraway from the highway or your home do you want to build your garage? Substantial storms can make for hard walking between the garage and the residence.
  • Is the garage centrally situated where it will be convenient for walking to and from it?
  • And don't forget about the type of architecture your 2 car garage plans use - matching the architecture of other structures on your land is usually a pretty reasonable plan.
  • Utilities will need to be run to the new garage, so don't forget them when making your choice!

The plan format you obtain is up to you, but most two car garage plans come as:
  • Paper prints
  • Computer Aided Drawing files
  • Reproducible prints
  • Files for download that you can print

Frequently, ecommerce internet websites offer all of these drawing types. For most people the paper prints are the best solution. If you need to know more on all of these drawing formats you can scan the comprehensive paper on 2 car garage plans.

 
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Selecting Garage Plans Architectural Styles

My Garage Plans Staff

Garage Plans Architectural Styles

When building a detached 1, 2, 3 or 4 car garage, which architectural style should you use? There are several factors to consider when selecting your two car garage plans.

  • Are there building code restrictions?
  • Are there homeowners association restrictions?
  • What architectural style(s) are the other buildings on the property?
  • How close are you building the garage to other structures?

A good place to start is by using the How To Buy A Garage Plan articles on our Garage Building How To page. There are 3 helpful articles to make your garage building project a little easier.

How To Buy Garage Plans - Phase I: Laws and Regulations
How To Buy Garage Plans - Phase II: Your Specifications
How To Buy Garage Plans - Phase III: Finding Your Plan

These free garage plans articles include handy garage building checklists to help you keep your garage building project organized.

 
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Garage Plans Drawing Format to Use

My Garage Plans Staff

Garage Plans Drawing Format

If you are thinking about replacing your garage with a new one, or maybe you want to build a new garage where you didn't have one before, at some point you will have to determine which drawing format you are going to be using. Garage plans usually come in 4 different formats:

  • Paper prints
  • CAD files
  • Reproducible prints
  • Downloadable files you can print yourself

Which garage plan drawing format is right for you? Let's explore.

Using a General Contrator
If you are using a General Contractor (GC) to build your garage for you, then the drawing format will be pretty much up to whatever the GC wants. A GC should be able to work from any of the available formats though. Most GC's will have the capability to work with CAD files and they may also have a large printer or plotter that is capable of printing CAD or Downloadable files. Since building a garage is probably only a one time event for you, paper prints from the publisher are usually cheaper and will work just fine for your project as long as the GC is OK with them. Learn more about garage plans drawing formats here.

Building it Yourself
If you plan on building the garage yourself then paper prints are the way to go. There are exceptions of course, depending on your situation. The primary advantage to Downloadable Garage Plan files (usually pdf format) is the permanent record they create. CAD Garage Plan files are the only real choice if you are planning on making extensive changes to the garage plans. Both CAD and Downloadable files are also available immediately in most cases, you don't have to wait on mail delivery.

Still not sure which format drawing package to get? Learn more about garage plans here.

 
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Sign of the Times?

My Garage Plans Staff

Garage Plans People Want

A quick search through Google revealed a somewhat surprising result for the typical sized garage associated with homes for sale in the U.S. Both of the terms we used in the search phrase were entered as exact searches (enclosed in quotes), meaning we only wanted results that included the words 'home for sale' and 'x car garage' in that order. The results of our extremely unscientific poll showed:

  • 667,000 searches for "home for sale" "1 car garage"
  • 420,000 searches for "home for sale" "2 car garage"
  • 122,000 searches for "home for sale" "3 car garage"
  • 3,750,000 searches for "home for sale" "4 car garage"
  • 587,000 searches for "home for sale" "5 car garage"
  • 403,000 searches for "home for sale" "6 car garage"
  • 149,000 searches for "home for sale" "7 car garage"

These results fly in the face of what we would have expected. Before doing the survey we thought that "3 car garage" would probably dominate. But hold on, "3 car garage" was actually the weakest entry with even fewer searches than "homes for sale" "7 car garage". And who would have thought "4 car garage" would blow away the competition with more than 5 times as many searches as the next closest competitor, another shocker "1 car garage".

Generally we see more online search interest in 2 car and 3 car garage plans than any others, so we assume those are the most popular among the U.S. population. It just goes to show you one more time, don't guess when it comes to the U.S. consumer.

 
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Famous Garages

My Garage Plans Staff

Famous Garages

It’s no surprise that the rich and famous are accustomed to having a multitude of vehicles that cost more than most houses, but some of these super-rich superstars have taken their obsession with luxury automobiles to the extreme. And, naturally, they must have an equally extravagant garage to house (or tinker with) their extensive (and expensive) collections. Here’s a quick overview of two of the most outrageously over-the-top garages on the planet:

Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage
Clocking in at a staggering 17,000 square feet (that’s ten 1,700 square foot houses), Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage (as he has so lovingly named it) is probably one of the largest private garages on the planet. It has to be that big in order to keep all of Jay’s autos in tip-top shape – at last count he owned over 50 vintage and exotic cars, and about as many bikes. One quarter of the massive garage is home to a machine shop capable of fabricating parts for Jay’s vintage rides, allowing nearly all of the work to be done in house by Jay and his team of mechanics. And what garage isn’t complete without a gourmet kitchen? That’s right – when Jay isn’t busy getting his hands dirty under the hood of a car he’s busy getting his hands dirty in his state-of-the-art kitchen, right in the comfort of his own garage.

Jerry Seinfeld's Garage
Funny-man Jerry Seinfeld sank more money into his New York garage than some people make in a lifetime – $1.5 million to be exact. An avid Porsche collector, Mr. Seinfeld purchased a building near his home in New York City for a cool $1 million, while renovations cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000. That’s a small price to pay for the ability to house 20 of his most prized automobiles so close to home.

It doesn’t take millions of dollars to make a garage famous, however. There are a couple of very modest garages that played a key role in revolutionizing the modern world.

The Packard Garage
In 1939, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded Hewlett-Packard in Packard’s Palo Alto, CA garage. They kicked around several ideas for products to manufacture, and finally settled on an audio oscillator based on Hewlett’s college design. Packard’s wife, Lucile, worked in the kitchen to bake paint onto the sheet metal casings. They were not immediately successful, and actually almost gave up on their dream when an order came in from Walt Disney for 8 audio oscillators. Thus was born one of the most successful and influential businesses of the 20th century.

The Jobs Garage
Another famous garage in the Silicon Valley story is that of the Jobs family. It was here, in Cupertino, CA that Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs started up Apple Computer. This venture came after a failed attempt by Wozniak and his friend, Bill Fernandez, to introduce the Cream Soda computer which shorted out during a presentation to a reporter. This garage is personally responsible for helping shape the world as we know it today. Thanks Apple. Without you, we may actually still have to get out a phone book to look up the number for Pizza Hut.

 
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Garage Depth for Pickup Truck

My Garage Plans Staff

Garage Size For Pickup Trucks

Here's more information on how large you need your garage to be in order to handle your parking and storage needs. In Garage Size we discussed typical vehicle sizes and how they relate to garage planning and building.

This is a real world example of a pickup truck parked in a typically sized 2 car garage. The truck is an early 2000's Dodge Ram Pickup with a quad cab and standard size 6.25' bed (correction, this used to say 8' bed, but that just didn't look right. The bed is really just over 6 feet. The overall length of the truck did not change and is still correct.) It measures almost 19 feet (5.74m) bumper to bumper in length and is just over 6 feet (1.88m) wide. We weren't too concerned about the width in this analysis since most issues with garage size seem to relate to the length of vehicles. Want more information on the specs for your truck? We found what looks to be a pretty good site that has a whole bunch of pickup truck specifications at www.pickuptrucks.com.

The garage in this analysis is a two car plan with interior measurements of 23' (7.01m) deep and 18' 10" (5.74m) wide. In this particular garage the interior walls are finished but that had no practical bearing on the results of our test.

As the pictures show, the truck was parked so there was just enough clearance in the back to allow the overhead door to close with a few inches to spare. To the rear of the garage where the front of the truck is (go figure that one out) there is a 32" (0.81m) wide exterior entry door. There is plenty of room to open the door and manuever around the garage area by the door when it is open. With the rear exterior entry door closed there is quite a bit of room between the truck and the wall. Depending on how you configure your storage, you should have enough room for bikes, lawn mowers, garden tools, toys, etc., with a garage of about this size.

Truck Parked in Garage


We'll try to do some additional garage size comparisons for you in future stories.


 
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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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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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