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Attached Vs Detached Garage

A garage is a great addition to just about any home. They’re not only a place to park but also an area to work in, store things or keep an extra fridge or freezer. They offer lots of open space, increase home value and don’t add much to your taxes compared to living space. Garages come in two main forms, attached and detached. It’s important to understand the difference when comparing an attached vs detached garage because each has there own Pros and Cons. An attached garage is connected to your home. It shares a wall and features direct access into the house. A detached garage is a free standing structure and completely separate from the home.

Both attached and detached garage’s come in lots of different sizes ranging from one car to three plus. They can be one story or two, have windows, be insulated and may even include plumbing and electric. Pretty much everything about them is basically the same other than how they’re built. Detached garages are freestanding buildings and attached garages are not.

  • An attached garage is connected to your house and has a door going from the house into the garage.
  • A detached garage is a standalone structure on the same property of your house but not attached.

Even though the two designs are functionally similar, there are some big pros and cons of both an attached vs detached garage. Ultimately which one you decide to build will depend on your needs and taste.

Ahead we’ll discuss an attached vs detached garage design and their Pros and Cons.

Is It Better To Have An Attached Or Detached Garage?

Whether or not an attached garage or a detached garage is better depends on many factors. How you’ll use the garage, your lot size and the style of your home are just a few.

An attached garage is much easier to access than a detached garage. It’s more convenient and easier to go back and forth between the house and garage when they’re connected by a single door. Detached garage’s can be far away from the house which makes quickly going between them inconvenient.

An attached garage is connected to your home. It shares at least one common wall with the house so you can have a door leading from the garage into your home. A detached garage is not connected to the home. It’s a completely separate structure.

Even though both an attached garage and detached garage are functionally the same, there are some big differences that we’ll go over below. Hopefully by the end of this list you’ll know which garage design is best for you.

Modern style home with an attached garage featuring a rooftop deck.

Modern style home with an attached garage featuring a rooftop deck.

Pros Of An Attached Garage

Attached garages are a relatively new design that didn’t become popular until the 1950s. Most houses built before then had a detached garage. That’s the way homes have historically been built in America because a garage used to be for storage, tools, work or animals. A detached garage was actually a large shed or stable. There was no need for an attached garage because cars weren’t mass produced until the early 1900s.

There are plenty of benefits to having an attached garage which is why they’ve become so popular. The biggest benefit being convenience. It much easier to access your car or other things inside the garage if it’s attached to the house. And they typically open into a mudroom, laundry, entry hall or kitchen which makes coming in from the rain or snow easier.

Sizes vary, but attached garages normally have one to three bays. This provides plenty of extra space for cars or storage. Something almost every homeowner says they need more of. In fact, the majority of garages we’ve built aren’t even used for cars.

Attached garages allow you to access your cars and storage stuff without ever having to go outside. This is a huge benefit if you want to avoid the weather or need more security. In some areas having a locked garage for your car is a must have option.

An attached garage is generally less expensive to build than a detached design because you’re building onto an existing wall and foundation which saves some money.

Attached garages work better for some lots than a detached design because of setbacks. Having two separate buildings on one lot is sometimes impossible to achieve by code. However, with some lot designs that are narrow and deep, a detached garage is the better option.

Avoid The Weather

An attached garage lets you avoid the weather. When it’s raining, snowing, really cold or crazy hot, you’ll be glad the garage is attached. Your car will be inside when you leave or protected when you get home. There’s no need to step outside into the elements.

An attached garage is always dry and can be temperature controlled. But even when the garage isn’t heated or cooled, it’ll still be warmer, or cooler, than the outdoors and shielded from wind. In a hot Summer, you can turn on the car’s A.C. and avoid hot sun. Your car and seats won’t get super hot. In Winter, the car won’t get covered in snow and ice and will always be warm when you get in.

Most of these benefits are true of detached garages as well, but to get there you have to walk outside into the elements. That’s the big advantage of an attached garage. You can go directly from the car into the house or vice versa.

Easy Access

It’s easy to access a garage that’s attached to the house. An attached garage is as easy to access as any room in the house. It’s much faster and easier to go back and forth between the house and garage when all that separates them is a door.

There are tons of reasons why accessibility is an advantage.

  • A garage is a great place for an extra fridge or freezer.
  • Many people use the garage to make crafts or as a workshop.
  • Most garages don’t have a bathroom so it’s convenient when the garage is attached.
  • You can keep the door open when you work in the garage so you can hear the kids inside or vice versa.
  • When you’re in an attached garage you’re still technically inside the house.
  • When the garage is attached to a mudroom it makes taking off dirty boots easier and cleaner.
  • I keep all my house storage in the garage. It’s so easy to get to things when I need them because the garage is right there.
  • Many homes keep things like fuse boxes and water heaters inside the garage. Accessing them is easier when the garage is attached.

All of these scenarios become more convenient when the garage is attached to the house.

Curb Appeal

An attached garage can make your house appear larger from the street. A garage can take up a lot of square footage. They generally range from one to three cars bays wide but can get even larger. This can add a lot to a houses overall size when looked at from the street. And some garages have rooms built on top which makes the home even larger.

If you buy nice garage doors and add decorative features like lighting and roof overhangs, a garage can be really attractive. You can seamlessly tie the garage’s style into the home because they’re attached.

With a garage also comes a driveway and generally walkways leading to the front door. This area can be landscaped and lit at night. All of this greatly adds to a home’s curb appeal.

Many people will only buy a home if the garage is attached. You’ll notice when you drive around in a community if the garage’s are detached or attached to the house. If you’re building a home with the intent to sell, give the buyers what they want. Maximizing curb appeal is a great way to sell the house fast and for a good price.

Increased Yard Space

An attached garage can save on usable yard space. Since an attached garage is connected to the house, you don’t have to worry about setbacks on at least one side. The garage and home are joined which takes up less space in the yard. It’s a much more space efficient design. You don’t actually gain square footage, but you typically get more usable space. For example, if a detached garage is built 5-6 feet from the house, this area is generally wasted.

By attaching the garage to the house, the extra open space can be used for a garden, pool, patio, grill area or deck.

Cheaper To Build

Attached garage’s are easier to build. Since the garage is connected to the house, at least one wall is already built. Typically the roof connects ties into the home too. These common areas make an attached garage easier to build and more cost efficient. They’re not standalone structures like a detached garage is.

When a home is built, the foundation is marked by a surveyor. Here in New Jersey that costs around $1,000. Since the attached garage is part of the home’s footprint, it’s included in the price. However, if you’re building a detached garage that’s two buildings on the same lot. So you’ll have to pay more to get it marked.

Utilities are more expensive too. Most garages have electric and sometimes plumbing. It’s easy to run utilities because they come off the home. But if your garage is detached you have to run utilities from the home, underground and to the garage. This is a lot more expensive. especially if the garage is far from the main home.

If you have an attached garage and decide to add heating and air conditioning, this is cheaper and easier too. Sometimes you can run ducts right off the main lines instead of installing an entirely new system.

Cons Of An Attached Garage

Even though there are lots of great reasons to attach the garage, there are still a few drawbacks. No design is perfect for every situation or homeowner. Here’s a list of some cons you may want to consider.

An attached garage can be a higher security risk because you’ll most likely have a door leading from the garage right into your house. It’s easier for intruders to enter your home from this door because once inside the garage they’re already within the perimeter of the home.

Attached garages can also be harder to build on older houses because most older homes won’t be laid out for one.

Privacy

An attached garage is less private. Whether or not this is a disadvantage depends on how you use the garage. A detached garage provides more privacy because it’s separate from the house. If you only use the garage to park your car and store some extra stuff, this probably won’t be a problem.

However, if your garage includes some extra living space, a home office or a workshop, you may enjoy the extra privacy a detached building provides.

Noise can be a big privacy concern if you use the garage for things like playing music or working at night.

Some people rent their garage bays out for storage space. If this is something you do then you’ll probably prefer a detached garage’s extra privacy. The further away the garage is from the home the more privacy you’ll have.

Hazards

Gas emissions can be hazardous. Car emissions and other things like paints, pesticides and chemicals can emit hazardous fumes. These fumes can may there way into the home when you open the door to go inside.

In this case, the drawback of an attached garage is that any harmful airborne chemicals can easily enter the house. A detached garage offers protections against this because it’s far from the home.

Fire is another form of hazard. As a builder here in New Jersey, by code we have to install two layers of 5/8 inch drywall between a garage and living space as a fire stop. The drywall helps slow the spread of fire from the garage into the home. A lot of house fires starts inside the garage so this is an issue you can’t ignore.

Fire spreading from the garage into the home isn’t something you need to worry about as much if it’s detached. If a fire starts in a detached garage, the entire structure can burn down while not effecting the home. The further away the garage the more protection you’ll have.

Security

Attached garages are a greater security risk. An attached garage sometimes offers less protection from intruders than a detached garage. If an intruder gains access to the garage through a window or door, they’re basically inside the perimeter of the home. It’s generally easier to enter the house through the doorway between the garage and home because it’s less protected than the home’s other exterior doors.

Even though this doorway is leading into your garage, it’s still an exterior door. I recommend installing at least a deadbolt. If you have a security system, install it on this doorway instead of just on the garage doors and windows.

If an intruder enters a detached garage they’re still far away from the house.

Looks

In some cases an attached garage is an advantage and increases curb appeal. But in other cases it’s seen as a drawback.

It may look strange on older homes. Most older homes were built with a detached garage because attached garage’s weren’t popular until the 1950’s. Building an attached garage onto one of these homes can sometimes look strange and out of place.

It can be hard to build on narrow lots. Many lots are narrow but deep. In these cases it’s harder to build a garage attached the home. Generally the home is in front with a garage behind or vice versa. This is very common in cities and beach towns. Here in New Jersey lots are tight by the beach. Most garage’s are detached because the lots aren’t wide enough to attach them.

Classic style home with a detached garage in front with matching architectural style and finishes.

Classic style home with a detached garage in front. Notice how the garage matches the architectural style and finishes of the home.

Pros Of A Detached Garage

A detached garage is a traditional design. When garages first became popular, most were built detached from the home and took the place of auxiliary structures like carriage houses. Because they took the place of these buildings, they have a lot in common with them. They typically sit at the head of the driveway or behind the house.

Detached garage’s are completely unattached, self contained buildings similar to a large shed with the same features you would expect from an attached garage. They can include things like automatic overhead doors, room to park and storage space. They might have electric and plumbing and sometimes even heat and A.C.

However, just because they’re a more traditional design doesn’t mean they’re more popular. Most new homes built today have an attached garage. Home buyers generally prefer the added convenience. But there are some advantages with a detached:

  • Detached garage’s are great for people who want a work space or home office.
  • They provide more privacy and security.
  • Detached garages are great for work because they keep noise and fumes away from the home.
  • They fit better in narrow lots.

Style

It fits an older style home. Detached garages look better on many older homes because that was the style when those homes were first built. If you build an attached garage onto an older home, many times it looks tacked on and unnatural.

You want a garage to look natural and flow nicely with the overall style of the house.

Eliminates the garage dominated facade. While beautiful garage doors can be a great addition to a home’s facade, they can also dominate the home. The front door is ideally the focal point with other features acting as accents. Choosing the right garage door is very important. Especially if you have 2 or more of them. This concern is somewhat eliminated when the garage is detached.

An attached garage can sometimes take up almost as much frontage as the rest of the house. This can overpower the rest of the home’s design. Building a detached garage or facing the garage doors to the sides can help.

If you want your house to be the main feature from the curb instead of the garage, you might prefer a detached design.

Driveway options. If your garage is behind the home, the main focus from the cub will be the house. But you’ll have a driveway leading to the garage, generally running along the side of the house. This provides some great opportunities for a driveway, landscaping and lighting. These are options not available to a home with an attached garage. You can even build trellis over the driveway or a roof called a porte-cochere.

Safety

Harmful gas emissions and fire. Garages are a place people store all kinds of chemicals, cleaners, equipment, tools, gardening equipment, fertilizers, insect killers and paints. There’s always the potential they’ll emit hazardous fumes that can enter the home through the common doorway. This especially true of you work on cars in the garage. Exhaust fumes can enter the home even if you leave the bay door open.

With an attached garage, all that separates your house from these fumes is a single doorway. Having the garage built away from the house is a safer design.

Fire is another big concern. Here in New Jersey, a double layer of 5/8 inch thick drywall is required between the garage and living space. This acts as a fire stop. Many house fires start inside the garage so this safety layer is very important. But if your garage is detached from the house it’s not a concern. Any fires that start inside a detached garage will be isolated and away from the house.

Security

Detached garage’s are more secure. A detached garage eliminates the access door between the garage and home. If an intruder breaks into the garage, there’s still no way for them to get into the house. In fact, if an alarm goes off, it’s better that police will respond away from the home. If an intruder breaks into an attached garage, they’re technically within the footprint of the home and working under cover. It’s easier from this point to break into the house through the entry door.

A detached garage eliminates this security problem because they’re built away from the home. You can install a security system which alerts police in the event of a break in. Motion lights are another great addition.

Privacy

A detached garage provides more privacy. Since a detached garage is far away from the home, and unattached, it’s more private. The further away the garage is built, the more privacy you get. This may not be an issue if all you do is park the car inside your garage. But if you play the drums, work on cars, have a home office or use power tools, a little more privacy can be a big advantage.

Some people even use their garage as additional living space. In this case some added privacy can be a big plus. Especially if you rent the room out.

It minimizes noise. If you use your garage as a getaway from the rest of the house, you might like the quiet of a detached garage. Noise goes both ways. The house will be shielded from garage noise, but the garage is also isolated from house noise.

Flexibility

A detached garage provides more flexibility. Most attached garages are kept as a garage. Some people build a room on top or some living space, but overall they remain a garage. Detached garages are different. They’re an entirely separate building so changing their use is much easier.

Changing your garage is much easier to do if it’s detached. Turn the garage into a home office, a gym, playroom, workshop, game room, pool house or an apartment.

Cons Of A Detached Garage

Detached garages typically take up more usable space in the yard because not much is done with the area between the garage and house.

A detached garage means that although your car is protected from the elements, you still have to walk outside to get to your car. This usually means some sort of walkway which takes up even more space in your yard.

You may also have to install new utilities, like electric, plumbing, heat or A/C because it’s a separate building from your house. Those utilities are generally run underground which means excavation and protective conduit. This means building a detached garage is usually more expensive than building one that’s attached.

Attached and detached garages both come with a set of pros and cons. Depending on your needs, one may be a better choice than the other. If you want convenience, an attached garage may be a better idea. But if you want a private place away from your home, then a detached garage may be the best option.

It’s Detached

You’ll have to walk to it. Since the garage is detached you’ll have to walk outside to and from it. This may not be a big deal on a nice day but when it’s raining or snowing you’ll enjoy the convenience of an attached garage. You’ll also like an attached design better if you keep a separate fridge or freezer or store things you need on a regular basis. Going back and forth between a detached garage can be a hassle, especially at night.

Accessibility. A detached garage is provides more privacy because it’s a separate building, but this can also be a con. When your garage is attached, it’s easy to go back in the house to grab something or to use the bathroom.If you r=frequently go in and out of the garage, you’ll probably prefer that it’s attached.

Space. A detached garage takes up more space because you have to finish four sides instead of three. You also have the walkway that usually connects the garage to the house to consider and typically a longer driveway. All this eats up yard space.

More Expensive

It’s more expensive to build. Since an attached garage shares at least one common wall and generally some foundation, an attached garage is cheaper to build than a detached one. The roof generally ties into the home or roof-line which is also cheaper to do.

Utilities will be more expensive. Running utilities like electrical and plumbing is less expensive when the garage is attached.

Running utilities to a detached garage costs more because everything has to be done twice. they’re two completely separate buildings. Power and plumbing lines are generally run underground which means excavation. In some cases a detached garage is even metered separate from the home. And it can have it’s own heat and A.C. system. All this adds to the cost.

In many cases, a detached garage needs a bigger driveway. This is the case when the garage is behind the house. It also needs more landscaping since you’re finishing four sides instead of just three. All this extra work adds to the price.

Is It Cheaper To Build And Attached Garage Or A Detached Garage?

It is generally cheaper to build an attached garage vs a detached garage. An attached garage shares at least one wall with the structure of your home so you only have to build three new walls. The roof also is either attached to the house or running off the home’s roof which makes it cheaper.

Utilities are another factor. Running electric and plumbing to a detached garage costs more because you generally have to excavate a ditch and then encase the utilities in hard protective pipe. It’s cheaper to run utilities in an attached garage because it’s so close to the home’s utilities.

The driveway and landscaping are another issue that’s usually more expensive with a detached garage. If your detached garage is behind the house, which is most common, then you’ll have to build a long driveway. You’ll also probably want a walkway connecting the home and garage. And then there’s landscaping and lighting. And you’ll also have landscape one more wall of the detached garage.

Then consider extras like a security system. Many garage’s use a different system because it’s a separate building. This costs more money than using the home’s security.

Is An Attached Or Detached Garage More Valuable?

Which is more valuable depends on the garage you build and the house you build it for. Overall, a detached garage is less popular among buyers than an attached garage. This makes it less valuable. But older homes were built with detached garages. Attached garages weren’t popular until the 1950’s, so if you have an older home building an attached garage can actually look wired and lessen it’s value.

On narrow lots, like we have here by the beach in New Jersey, all you can usually fit is a detached garage. The only way to attach the garage is by building the home on top of it which makes the first floor the second. Some buyers hate this design and will only buy homes with a detached garage. Remember, you generally only realize that value when you sell the house.

A big disadvantage of a detached garage is that it’s generally more expensive to build and maintain. So even if it’s more valuable, you have to factor in the higher build cost. If a detached garage is twice as much to build than an attached one, but only adds 10% in value, it may not be worth it.

Fit the garage design to the house. Some home styles need a detached garage and some an attached one. Build what’s appropriate for your lot and home design to get the most value out of your garage.

Detached Garage With Breezeway

A great way to bridge the gap between an attached and a detached garage is with a breezeway. A breezeway connects the home to a detached garage with a roof and floor. This can be a porch floor, deck, concrete, brick, pavers, tile, etc. The walls can be left open or enclosed with windows.

A breezeway is great because you still have all the benefits of a detached garage but less of the drawbacks. Since the breezeway has a roof, it’s easier to get into the garage in bad weather. Many breezeways even have locking windows so you can heat and cool it. This makes the room even nicer in hot and cold weather.

In order for a breezeway to work, the detached garage has to be fairly close to the house. It wouldn’t be very practical if the garage was 100 feet from the home.

Breakdown: Attached Garage vs. Detached Garage

Attached Garage Pros Attached Garage Cons Detached Garage Pros Detached Garage Cons
Accessibility Less privacy More secure Takes up more yard space
Less expensive Less secure Additional privacy Less convenient
Convenience Fumes and fire hazards Better for tight lots More expensive

Summary: Attached vs Detached Garage

A garage is a great addition to just about any home. They’re not only a place to park but also an area to work in, store things or keep an extra fridge or freezer. They offer lots of open space, increase home value and don’t add much to your taxes compared to living space. Garages come in two main forms, attached and detached. It’s important to understand the difference when comparing an attached vs detached garage because each has there own Pros and Cons. An attached garage is connected to your home. It shares a wall and features direct access into the house. A detached garage is a free standing structure and completely separate from the home.

Both attached and detached garage’s come in lots of different sizes ranging from one car to three plus. They can be one story or two, have windows, be insulated and may even include plumbing and electric. Pretty much everything about them is basically the same other than how they’re built. Detached garages are freestanding buildings and attached garages are not.

  • An attached garage is connected to your house and has a door going from the house into the garage.
  • A detached garage is a standalone structure on the same property of your house but not attached.

Even though the two designs are functionally similar, there are some big pros and cons of both an attached vs detached garage. Ultimately which one you decide to build will depend on your needs and taste.

Ahead we’ll discuss an attached vs detached garage design and their Pros and Cons.

If you have any questions or comments about detached garages, email any time.

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