Whether you’re building a new house, remodeling your house, or looking to buy a new house – one thing for sure if you’re facing a big amount of decisions you have to make. What type of house will best suit your budget? How many bathrooms and bedrooms do you want? Do you need a bathtub in the bathroom of the master’s bedroom? Will the dining room be big enough for your holiday parties? Do you need a basement and an attic or not? And one of the biggest questions is: do you want an attached or detached garage?
The garage is one of the most essential parts of a home since it’s where you house your car/s, tools, sports equipment, and gardening supplies. A garage may be attached or detached, and there’s a list of pros and cons that come with both options. Neither is better than the other, as what works for one home may not work for you.
Let’s break it down for you:
Attached garages, as the name implies, are garages that are attached to the house. Usually, a door leads to the inside of the home, opening directly to the kitchen, a mudroom or entry hall. Attached garages are relatively new, as they didn’t become popular until the 1970s. Before then, most houses have a traditionally detached garage. Sizes of attached garages vary, but often have enough space for one to two cars.
Allows easier access
One clear and obvious advantage of having an attached garage is convenient access. It would be easier to move back and forth between the house and the garage when all that separates the two is one door. This makes carrying loads of groceries from the car to the house a breeze. Also, it means you don’t have to leave the comforts of your home when you’re using the garage as a workspace and you need to make some trips inside to use the bathroom or grab some snacks from the fridge in the kitchen.
Gives protection from bad weather
When you’re driving in while it’s raining, snowing or the wind is blowing hard, you’ll be thankful that you have an attached garage. This way, you don’t have to step in the outside and be exposed to the bad weather.
Makes it easier and generally less expensive to build
If you’re building a garage while you already have a house, having an attached garage is the simpler option. It will be like you’re just building an extension for your house. When starting an attached garage, you already have at least one or two walls that will form the garage’s skeleton. This way, it will cost less than a detached garage.
Allows you to share utilities
Adding an attached garage to your current house lets you utilize your existing heating and air conditioning systems and extend them to your garage. The same goes for your electricity, making it cheaper and easier to do so.
Makes your house look larger
If your house is small for you and you want to make it look bigger than it really is, building an attached garage can help you do so. Depending on the size, the garage can appear to double the size of the house. It can make your house look much more impressive from the road.
Saves yard space
Having an attached garage is a pro if you want your kids or pets to play on the yard space. It also gives you space to create a garden, plant more trees or build a deck or pool.
Poses a security risk
One big drawback of having an attached garage is that it can pose a security risk for your home. If an intruder gains entry into your garage, it may be much easier for them to break into your house, since there’s only a door that separates them. But if you have installed safety alarms in your garage, this proximity issue can be an advantage, since it will be much easier for you to hear an alarm going off in the middle of the night if the garage shares a wall with your home.
Poses a risk of potentially harmful gas emissions
Having a shared wall with a garage makes your house more vulnerable to smoke and fumes entering your residence. The carbon monoxide emissions of your car as it starts up can easily enter your home, especially if there’s an open window in the wall between your garage and house. Also, if something goes wrong with the paints, pesticides and other chemicals stored in your garage, the hazardous fumes it can emit or any fire that may start can make your household vulnerable.
Has less privacy
This issue depends on what you use your garage for. If the garage only serves as parking and extra storage for you, this will not be a problem. But if your garage also doubles as a workstation or a getaway from your main house, this might be a disadvantage, since you may still hear noise and distractions from the house and it’s easier for your family members to pop in and check in on you. Also, if you’re using some noisy power tools in the garage, you’d be distracting people inside your home.
Detached garages, on the other hand, are standalone garages not attached to the house. It may be a few steps away from the main house, but can also be on the other side of the property, depending on the size of your lot area. These are also often larger and more creatively built than attached garages, due to the freedom of its format. A detached garage is a more traditional option for homes, but it can also be as modern and as elegant as attached garages.
Allows more space for expansion
Right now the size of your garage might be fine, but it’s great to have the chance to expand, if ever in the future, you decide you need a bigger space. The detached garage gives you more freedom to expand, build and re-imagine your garage.
Provides safer storage for toxic and flammable materials
Your gas for lawnmowers, fertilizers, cleaners, paint, and other chemicals are better stored several feet away from your home. When properly handled and stored, these items are perfectly safe, but there is always a risk of these emitting hazardous fumes or causing fires due to some reasons. We don’t know when accidents that would cause these might happen, so it’s better to be safe. In case of a fire breaking out, flames will be easier to extinguish if the garage is not attached to the house.
Provides an added sense of security
Because a detached garage is a standalone unit that eliminates an easy access point to the house, it provides an added sense of security from potential intruders. A thief may break into the garage, and steal your car, bikes or anything of huge value, but nothing is more important than the safety of your family.
Makes your property look more appealing
A detached garage can make your lot look more appealing by the roadside or the curb. Having a detached garage automatically means you have space, which can impress people. It makes your property look like a mini estate. Your builder may even be able to build a detached garage with matching architectural details as your house, putting them together aesthetically. Also, the beauty of your house can also be given emphasis, as compared to houses with attached garages, where the huge garage door often occupies a huge deal of the façade.
Suits older-style homes better
If you own an old-style home, detached garages better suit your house, as adding an attached garage may make it look awkward and out-of-place. It doesn’t mean you can’t have an attached garage if you own an old house – it’s just that detached garages will look more natural. Also, detached garage is the better option for older neighborhoods, since residential contractors did not start adding attached garages until the late 1970s. Some infill neighborhoods may even require homeowners to build garages that would be consistent with the vintage style of the neighborhood.
Offers more privacy
Some people use the garage as a shop to do some woodworking and DIY projects, while some use the garage as a hang-out area to a full man cave. Being detached to the main house gives more privacy and keeps you from being disturbed, as the little extra walk might deter your other family members from joining you when you don’t feel like having a company. It also keeps you from disturbing others from noises you can create by using noisy power tools or practicing musical instruments in the garage.
Allows extra room for landscaping
Having your garage away from the house provides you with space for creative landscaping and gardening. You can add more flower beds around the house if you want to since there would be no driveway to keep plants and bushes away from.
Makes the entry to the house less convenient
While the little space away from the house can provide privacy, but it can be a con as well. Walking back and forth the garage and the house can be frustrating once you’re all set up only to realize you forgot something inside the house, or if you’re working in the garage and you have to visit the bathroom. Also, it’s a bit of a hardship when the weather is harsh, and you’ll have to walk from the garage to your house, exposing you to rain, winds and snow.
More costly to build
The detached garage will be a little bit more work than an attached garage because you have to build from scratch. There’s no existing wall to share – you have to build everything. This makes building it more expensive than an attached garage.
Requires separate source for utilities
If you’re planning on spending a significant amount of time in the new garage, you should expect higher utility bills for adding ventilation and electricity. Since the garage is not attached to the house, it can’t take any ventilation or electricity from the house, which means you have to provide new sources for these.
May take up excessive yard space
If you’re looking to cut down yard space that needs to be mowed and maintained, having a detached garage may be a good idea. But if you’re already a bit tight on space, having a detached garage can occupy a large part of your limited yard, leaving you with very little space for your kids and pets to play on.
Detached and attached garages can serve the same purpose, but the choice will depend on the best option for you as a homeowner. The issue of space, budget, convenience, flexibility, and versatility will be your deciding factor. Look at your priorities and consider what you will do with your garage. This will help you decide what option will best suit your needs.