Need some workshop space, a fortress of solitude, or a place to house your beer fridge? A new spacious garage is the answer, and this is the Instructable to make it possible. As a new homeowner and avid DIY type guy, I was up against a big challenge when tackling a brand new construction of this magnitude. Let my mistakes and sage advice steer you clear of pitfalls and heartbreak. Read on for a step by step guide to building a new garage.

The general process can be summarized as consisting of the following steps.

1. Understand your local rules and make a plan
2. Get the appropriate permits
3. Get quotes and contracts from any subcontractors
4. Order materials (don't forget beer)
5. Begin construction. Getting periodic inspections as required.
6. Get more materials
7. Continue construction
8. Curse your incompetence
9. Get more materials
10. Repeat steps 7-9 ad nauseam

DISCLAIMER: While this Instructable details my experiences building a garage, your mileage may vary. Use your brain, at your own risk.

Step 1: I love it when a plan comes together!

The key component of Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith's favorite saying, "I love it when a plan comes together!" is the plan. Take that to heart and you will spare yourself a lot of trouble when building a garage. You will need to plan the layout of the new garage within your lot, plan the size, shape, and look of your garage, plan the materials needed, plan the subcontractors, plan the permits and inspections, plan the zero-cost (beer compensated) workers, plan the timetables, plan the weather... well you get the picture. If planning is not your cup of tea, then maybe you should just write a check for ~$25k to get it done by a crew of folks who will do a fine job without you learning a damn thing.

So step 1 is simply this: do the legwork and get a plan together. Easier said than done.

Key areas to consider:
1. How big do you want the garage to be?
2. How big can the garage be (city ordinances!?!)?
3. Where and how many doors and windows?
4. What type of roof?
5. What parts are you going to subcontract?

The plan will depend on the rules in your local municipality. Since I undertook this project under the rules of a major metropolis, my example will be on the more restrictive end of the spectrum. If you live in the sticks, then you can probably build as big and awesome a garage as you like. Not me. :( So from this point forward I will be presenting the garage-building process from the point of view of a homeowner in the city of Minneapolis, which should transfer in large part to any city in the US of A.

The first thing to do is visit your city's website to learn about the permit and building plan process as well as any special restrictions in your area. Click here to go to the Minneapolis permit page.

Take the time to talk with your neighbors as well to give them a heads up on your plans for dominating the landscape with your new garage. If they don't like it then at least they can get used to the idea while you get underway. If you live in a neighborhood controlled by a homeowners association, you may need to talk to them as well. They really know how to put the ass in association. In general, as long as you do not require a "variance" or exception from city rules on such things as garage height, placement, and so forth you can build regardless of objections from neighbors.

In Minneapolis, we have alleys behind the houses in a lot of neighborhoods and very deep narrow building lots. As a result I didn't have room to expand the existing attached one-car garage. So I decided on building a detached two-car off of the alley in the backyard. The key municipal codes of interest were the required distances that must be maintained between the new structure and the property lines, adjacent structures, the alley right of way, and other urban features. Click here to read the relavant document (PDF).

You will want to draw up a sketch of your lot and your neighbors' lots so that you can get an idea of how things will fit in your yard in relation to the lot lines and other buildings. Get out a tape measure and a friend and take a walk around the yard to get accurate dimensions for the sketch. You also need to locate the metal stakes that mark the corners of your lot. These are often buried a few inches underground and are set 1 foot in from the actual lines. If you can't find the markers on your lot corners, walk around and find your neighbor's. It is permissible to use theirs as a reference point if you know your lot dimensions. I located my neighbor's corner marker two doors down which was very lucky. If you can't find these markers, you will have to commission an official survey ($$$) to locate them in order to draw up the site plan sketch. This sketch is required by the city in securing a permit, you will need to show this sketch and get the plan approved before a building permit will be issued. See my sketches below. The city of Minneapolis requires a top view building site plan with relevant dimensions as well as a series of detail and elevation drawings of the building itself. As you can tell the level of artistry involved does not need to be high.

When making the drawings, be sure to use the wonderous series of tubes we call the Internets to check the city webpage for property line and lot size information as well as using your favorite satellite imagery site to get info on the placement of buildings in your immediate vicinity . While a 3D model is not required by the city, I found Google's SketchUp to be a useful tool for visualizing how the garage was going to look in relation to the rest of the house, trees, neighbors, etc. Download it here. A sample shot of my model is below.

Once you have a set of drawings to your liking you can take some time and head down to the Minnesota Development Review offices at 250 S. 4th St., Room 300, Minneapolis MN. As a first-timer this can be intimidating, but even though this bureaucratic organ qualifies as part of "The Machine" the people there are there to help you out. If you read and understand the rules, bring in a good site plan and drawings, they will happily inform you of any problems, give you time to correct them, and then take your money with a smile. For reference, our 440 square foot detached garage cost $300 for a building permit. I also had to lop off 2 feet of the width since the city of Minneapolis allows a maximum of 676 square feet of accessory building. My existing 1-car attached counted towards that total, a fact I had overlooked. On your way out of the review office, be sure to get a parking token. With the new permit in hand, I was ready to begin purchasing materials, locating subcontractors, and other details.

In summary:

1. Communication with the building permit office and your neighbors is helpful and important.

2. Take the time to know the city rules.

3. Take measurements of your lot and draw up your site plan on your computer. Experiments here are easier than moving foundations later.

4. Get your plan approved by the city and get your permit.
<p>I know that roofing is one of the diy projects most people are capable of doing themselves, but I've never done any of my house's roofing. We are building a shed, though, and I don't want to have to pay for roofers. I figure I can probably handle a job this big, right? <a href="http://alfsroofing.com/ " rel="nofollow">http://alfsroofing.com/ </a></p>
<p>Please stop spamming Instructables.</p>
<p>Seems like you covered most of the important parts of the roofing process in this instructable! Did you happen to check with local building code on the amount of overhang required? It may be not be required in your area, but in some areas, the overhang is around 1-2 inches. We tend to be 1.5-2 inches in our area because of the amount of rain we can get.</p>
I want to build a 24x24 garage but do it in two steps. Is it safe to use a 12 foot 2x4 wall with the ridge pole on top of that and install the rafters to just one half. I plan to build a second 12x24 section next summer. My concern is whether the roof will be strong enough with just one half built. I was planning on a 6-12 pitch. My roof framework is 2x6 roof joists on 24&quot; centers and the walls are 2x4 on 12&quot; centers.
I appreciate you sharing this! I've been trying to find a company that does <a href="http://www.adkissonconstruction.com/" rel="nofollow">commercial roofing in Champaign Urbana</a> but I found somethings I can do my self. Thanks for sharing.
That was very informative and I liked your humor throughout. I have framed a couple small additions to my cabin in the past, using a framing book for guidance. I feel very comfortable building a garage myself now. My only change to your instructions, will be to use PBR, rather then Miller lite. Thanks for your great instructions.
Thanks for sharing these tips on <a href="http://www.greatcanadian.ca" rel="nofollow">roofer calgary</a>. I appreciate it!
This step definitely seems like an essential part of the <a href="http://www.slaughter-roofing.com/services/" rel="nofollow">residential roofing greeley</a> process.
This was really interesting! I have been wanting to learn how to do roofing so I went to my friend who does <a href="http://www.craftsmanroofing.ca" rel="nofollow">roofing in Oakville</a>. He was extremely helpful.
Great tips! This made doing my <a href="http://www.rightwayroofing-nm.com" rel="nofollow">roofing installation in albuquerque</a> so much easier. Thanks for the help.
Can I get any suggestions for someone who does <a href="http://www.chisholmroofing.ca/" rel="nofollow">roofing in Vancouver</a>? I need to get my roof repaired but I don't know who to call.
Wow! This is amazing. I don't think I'd ever attempt my own <a href="http://www.chisholmroofing.ca/" rel="nofollow">roofing in Vancouver</a>... I don't have the skills for it. I'm impressed.
Just wondering if you had checked into metal roofing (like I've seen installed on primitive cabins). It seems like it would go on a lot faster, but perhaps I'm wrong.
Thanks for sharing this! I have been looking for some ideas for my <a href="http://www.greatcanadian.ca/services/windows-and-doors" rel="nofollow">windows and doors in Calgary</a>, and this was very helpful!
Brings me bag to the days when I was <a href="http://www.aaa-roofs.com/roofing-repair-oswego-illinois.html" rel="nofollow">roofing oswego il</a>.
Thanks for sharing. I need to do some <a href="http://www.greatcanadian.ca/services/windows-and-doors" rel="nofollow">windows and doors installation in Calgary</a>. Your tips have been super helpful.
This guide has really helped with my <a href="http://www.greatcanadian.ca/services/windows-and-doors" rel="nofollow">window and door installation in Calgary</a>. Even if your Instructable was only meant for showing how to build a garage, it can help with more than just that. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for the info, this is going to come in handy! I have the outline of my garage up and everything but roofing is another beast unfortunately. I am probably going through a <a href="http://www.chisholmroofing.ca" rel="nofollow">roofing service in Vancouver</a>, just to make sure the job gets done right the first time.
You make roofing look so easy and fun. I haven't done much with it. My husband and I bought a fixer upper. I think it will look wonderful once we are done with it. Do you know anything about <a href="http://www.affiliatedroofers.ca/resources/" rel="nofollow">torch on roofing in the Vancouver</a> area?
This is really incredible. I don't think I could ever roof a house on my own. But since you seem to be quite knowledgeable, would you happen to know a good company for <a href="http://www.chisholmroofing.ca/" rel="nofollow">roofing in Vancouver</a>? Any suggestions or ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks! Great article!
Sweet! Thanks for the step by step process of <a href="http://www.alleagleroofing.com" rel="nofollow">roofing</a>. My home in Portland will get done after these great instructions!
I think I'm gong to get some <a href="http://www.neumayerroofing.com/services.html" rel="nofollow">free roof estimates in Wichita KS</a> and if I don't l like anything I hear, I'll have my husband take a look at this and see what he could do. Thanks for the step by step instructions!
A good piece of advice for installing your own garage:... it's hard. I would make sure you really think through how big you want it, once you find your final measurements that you want... add three feet to it in every direction. I made a few mistakes on mine and had to hire <a href="http://www.stampededoors.com" rel="nofollow">garage door repair</a> services.
I needed to do some <a href="http://kodiakroofing.com/index.php?id=24" rel="nofollow">roofing in Sacramento</a> and your guide helped me do just that, thank you!
Great instructable! I was not really looking forward to doing the <a href="http://www.chisholmroofing.ca/" rel="nofollow">roofing on my Vancouver</a> garage, but now I am kind of excited to do it! I think it will help me feel more accomplished than I would if I just hired someone. Thanks so much for sharing this instructable!
Are you sure you don't have to be an experienced <a href="http://www.greatcanadian.ca" rel="nofollow">roofer</a> to do this kind of stuff? It can be pretty cold and slippery when it gets cold up here in Calgary and slipping off my roof would be counterproductive...
I'm creating a garage addition to the side of my house. How long does it usually take to complete this project? I think I might find experts on <a href="http://www.affordablequalityroofingkc.com" rel="nofollow">roofing in Kansas City MO</a> to help me with that part of my project.
Thank you so much for posting this information on how easy roofing can be. I have heard about <a href="http://www.waterrestorationga.com" rel="nofollow">roofing social circles in ga</a> a lot, but I'm not sure what it is exactly. Do you know where I can find more information on it? Thank you for your help!
This is great information, thank you for sharing! I've been trying to find a <a href="http://www.ridgebrothersroofing.com" rel="nofollow">roofer in Newton</a>, Massachusetts for a while. I'd like to get my roofing replaced in the spring, since we've already had some leaks this winter.
Thanks for these great tips. I am building my own garage. I might hire a <a href="http://www.hometownrestoration.net" rel="nofollow">roofing contractor</a> for that part, but the rest I will do on my own.
Thanks for the article, unfortuently we're having to replace a lot of our <a href="http://www.chisholmroofing.ca/residential.html" rel="nofollow">roofing</a> on our house due to a horrible storm. So thanks for the instructions!
You did a great job with this, thanks for sharing! I have a friend who does <a href="http://roofingcontractorhuntsville.com" rel="nofollow">roof inspection in Cross Roads, al</a> and ever since I've been wanting to know how to do it so that I can fix my roof if it needs it. I've always wanted to be more of a handy man. I'll definitely give this a shot.
Thanks for the article. I consider myself a pretty handy, tool-savvy guy, but I thought I'd hire a <a href="http://valentineroof.com" rel="nofollow">roofing contractor in Seattle</a> to roof my three-car garage that I'm working on. Now I'm considering the job myself. After seeing this, its very doable. Thanks.
Thank you so much for posting this information on how to build a roof. My husband and I are working on our home right now. Do you know anyone that does <a href="http://www.srcatl.com/roofinspec.php" rel="nofollow">roofing inspection in atlanta</a>? We would love to have someone make sure we did everything correct. Thank you for your help!
This is a great article! I've been looking for instructions to <a href="http://www.bungersteel.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=149&Itemid=426" rel="nofollow">build a garage</a>, and this is perfect. This will probably be my next big project next summer.
K. Wow. I love instructables! I love these writers. You guys are awesome. This is very detailed and helpful. I've been super worried about the Oklahoma City men in my family who think that they can go up on the roof and fix just about anything. This information on <a href="http://www.nmtroofing.com" rel="nofollow">roofing</a> helped me understand how they can be safe and that they do know what they are doing.
This was really great help! I had a problem with the corner of my house where the wind always hits and didn't want to pay for a contractor, wanted to do it myself. After reading this I realize how I personally need to get a <a href="http://www.hometownrestoration.net" rel="nofollow">roofing contractor</a> to help me out. Its not as easy as I thought I would be.
Thanks for making roofing a little easier. Do you need any additional <a href="http://www.roofmaster.net" rel="nofollow">help</a>? if you do, check out this website. <br> <br>http://www.roofmaster.net <br>
Roofing without a nail gun sounds miserable. I wouldn't suggest starting this task without any of the materials listed. My friend is a <a href="http://www.paramounthomesllc.com" rel="nofollow">roofing contractor</a> and said most roofing mistakes happen when an inexperienced roofers try to complete their roof without completing all of the steps.
I don't know if I believe you when you say that roofing is fun and easy. I just can't picture getting up there in the heat and having to replace hundreds of tiles. Then again I've never done it so I could be completely mistaken. Still I think I would rather find <a href="http://jandbwest.info" rel="nofollow">roofing services in Marshall County</a> to do it for me. What kind of roofing is best in an all-season area?
Thanks to your guide, I have almost all of this project done! The only thing that I really need to finish is the <a href="http://www.nmtroofing.com" rel="nofollow">roofing</a>. I believe that I have all of the supplies that I need, but I am still a little nervous about it. I will totally be consulting you guide as I finish up. Thanks again for your help!
i got to admit this <a href="http://jmsroofingservices.com" rel="nofollow">roof installation</a> process wasn't as hard as i thought it would be, it was actually very bearable and kind of fun.
Does rebar just lie there on the gravel or is it elevated to be surrounded by concrete? If lifted, what with? Does rebar have to be tied?
Hi <br>The rebar must be elevated enough so the gravel that is contained in the wet concrete will fit under it. The minimum is 1&quot; and the maximum, for a 4&quot; thick concrete, should be 1-1/2&quot;. If you've got old concrete blocks, you can break them and use the pieces as supports, but make sure you tie the rebar to these or they'll fall off while pouring concrete! Other items would be used bricks, pieces of concrete. NO organic materials that will decompose should be used! If you want to spend some $ and do it nicely, go to a contractors supply house and ask for 'rebar chairs'. These come individually and in 5' strips, which can be cut to short pieces. <br> <br>Yes, the rebar needs to be tied together. This helps to keep it in place while you're pouring the wet concrete, and it does give strength. <br>The rebar must also overlap where it is tied/spliced together. The rule for how much overlap is: 18 x Diameter (in inches). So if you're using 1/2&quot; diameter rebar, 18 x 1/2&quot; = 9 inch overlap. If using #6 bar (rebar is named in 1/8&quot;, so #6 = 6/8&quot; or 3/4&quot; diameter) the required minimum overlap is 18 x .75, or 12&quot; overlap.
Wow, these are really helpful tips for re <a href="http://www.roofmaster.net" rel="nofollow">roofing</a>. I am planning a big re roofing project for my parents' shed and I know this will help me out. Thanks for the info!
Building your own garage is tough. As soon as we got do the garage doors part of it I just let the pros come install it. <a href="http://www.thedoorworks.ca" rel="nofollow">garage doors</a>
Great article! I've never actually done any of my own roofing, but this fall I've determined to try. I'm a little nervous, so I have a <a href="http://www.torontoroofingindustries.com" rel="nofollow">roofing Toronto</a> company ready to call if I need to. The one thing your post neglected to mention was where I go to find all of this material. Will any home improvement store have them, or should I find a specialty store of some kind? Thank for the awesome advice.
Any home improvement store should carry or be able to order all the materials discussed. Shingles are typically special order, outside of a very limited selection of style and color. The key limitation to my instructions is the lack of discussion of flashing since my garage did not require any. Roof penetrations or intersecting faces are where roofing gets more difficult as you need to ensure water-tightness. Be sure you understand how to flash and waterproof all areas where there are vents, pipes, skylights, joins, etc before you begin.
I have a 50' x 50' steel building divided 2/3 is a shop with a concrete floor, 1/3 is storage room with dirt floor. It was built before I bought the property. I would like to suggest three things :........... <strong>(1).</strong> Put your big air compressor as far as possible from work area to lessen noise when compressor is on ...................... <strong>(2).</strong> Make shop floor 2 inches or so higher than driveway so water will not come into shop. We had a deluge of rain and water came in.........................................<strong> (3)</strong>. If shop is a distance from house, consider installing security alarm system with loud siren on building and hard wired small siren inside house. You will not hear alarm on building if it sounds at 3:00am, but you will hear small alarm inside house. I bought a HoneyWell with 6 zones on eBay for about $150. &nbsp;It adds a lot of peace-of-mind.&nbsp;
I actually paid a guy $500 to shingle my garage when I got to this point. The roof had an 8/12 pitch and it was worth the money to have it done in 5 hrs vs 3 days

About This Instructable


425 favorites


More by jmengel: Laser Cut Front End Loader Toy Laser Cut Ukulele Electric Brewery Control Panel on the Cheap
Add instructable to: