There are a few reasons why this question found its way into your search bar. Like most things on the internet, it may have just been idle curiosity. Or you may have a more functional direction in mind. Garages can come in all shapes and sizes, but there are some standards that builders typically work within. Over the years, the functionality of the standard garage has evolved and changed. And, as you may be experiencing, the sizes of cars or storage, or tools have maybe left you questioning if the “standard” from 50 years ago is even relevant for what we need today.
As you assess your space, you may determine that an addition is in order. Or you may have questions about whether a previous owner already made changes to the garage. If you are looking at layouts or building plans, don’t be surprised if the term “standard garage size” is thrown around and yet you find yourself talking different numbers than the builder. I did some research, and this is what I found. Here are how the standard garage size measurements break down.
There are several different standard garage sizes for one, two, and three car garages. The standard garage size for one car garages varies from 12’x22’ to 16’x24’. Standard 2 Car Garage size varies from 18’x20’ to 22’x22’. Lastly, the standard three car garage size varies from 32’x22’, to 40’x30’.
Standard Garage Sizes
As mentioned before there are several common sizes that can be found when it comes to a standard garage. The year the house was built can often determine the garage dimensions. As needs of the modern American family morphed from carriage house to an attached single car garage, then to double and even triple stalls, layouts of homes changed dramatically. Finding out the era your house was built in may shed some light on why you have the size you do. And armed with the knowledge of what those dimensions are and either how you want to use them, or change them, can direct you toward your garage goals. The “what” and “how” of your space should fit your needs and be an asset to you and your lifestyle. Here is what you may see when you are checking out garage real estate:
Standard 1 Car Garage
The standard garage size for single car garages varies from 12’x22’, 14’x22’, 14’x24’, to 16’x24’. These attached garages are typically seen in homes that were built in the 1940’s – 1950’s, as most families owned a single car. Garage use during this time was usually limited simply to a place to park the car and were very basic. These garages have been renovated and transformed to suit new owners through the decades. But generally, the dimensions listed above are what is typically considered standard.
Standard 2 Car Garage
Standard 2 Car Garage size varies from 18’x20’, 20’x20’, 20’x22’, to 22’x22’, depending on the floorplan of the house. For most homes built after 1960, two car garages are the most common that you will see. Some new builds still give the option of a tandem garage (where the cars park one behind the other) but these are less common. Most garages layouts I have seen benefit from a few extra feet to open car doors or keep a tool cabinet and workbench on the back wall. These are things to consider if you are renovating, looking to purchase a new home, or building one from the ground up. More space equals more options! So 22’ x 22’ on the high end may be worth looking into.
Standard 3 Car Garage
The standard three car garage size varies from 32’x22’, 36’x25’, 38’x26’, to 40’x30’. The 32’x 22’, is sort of like the 18’ or 20’ wide two car garage in that it is going to be a snug fit if you have three cars parked at the same time. Allowing for more space is going to be ideal and will let you have more overall options when it comes to your garage and what your lifestyle will require of it.
What Do You Want to Do with a Standard Garage Size?
So, now that you are up on the basics, I’m going to take a little space to talk about a few things related to those of you buying a new home, building a new garage or renovating an old one. Here are some questions to take you through what you may want to accomplish with your space and how to accommodate your plans, hobbies, dreams, and wishes.
Things to Determine
Do you have options?
If you are looking at purchasing a new home, garage size can now be on your radar! And you can keep in mind the year the house was built (look how much you’ve learned already!) If you are having a new home built, your options may be somewhat limited to the floor plans that they have available. But answering some of the other questions below may help you decide how much space you really need. Also, if you are having an addition done, or building a more custom home, your builder might have other options for you to consider when it comes to your garage size.
How many vehicles in the household?
This is a simple question to ask in the present, but also consider how many vehicles you are going to have in the future. Consider your dreams, hobbies, and future toys that might need a place to reside within the garage. For example, if you are looking at purchasing a Hot Rod, or need a place to park the ATV, this may need to be considered for the new garage. If you want a golf cart to stroll around in, or four-wheelers to go out and ride in the desert, you need to make sure to have space to store them. A standard two car garage will not keep your toys out of the elements when not in use.
Do You need a workshop…?
If you are like me, the answer is simply yes when it comes to a workshop out in the garage. More storage? Yes. More room for tools? Double yes! With my standard two car garage size, I find myself having to back one or both vehicles out when I am working on something. A third stall for a workshop or extra storage is a functional option worth entertaining.
Would You Like Your Garage Attached or Detached?
More commonly, garages are attached to the house. But both can be found depending on where you live. An attached garage will allow you easy access to your vehicles and stored things from a connecting door to your house. It will keep you out of the adverse weather and is generally what people prefer.
A detached garage, however, does have its perks. If you work in your garage and have loud tools, having the garage further away will allow for the rest of the household to not be disturbed. You also have more location options when it comes to a detached garage since you can have it built behind the house or at the back of the property.
How Many Cars Do You “Need”?
Getting back to vehicles for a minute, I wanted to say a little more about this topic. What you own or plan to own can change what kind of space you look at. For example, if you own a truck, the shorter, standard garage sizes might not be enough to park the vehicle inside. Or if you have a kid one or ten years away from getting their driver’s license, it might be nice to think about having the space available for what they will be driving.
Some people also have car-related hobbies or professions. My dad is one of those people that always needs a project car. The art is in the deal and he really enjoys the hunt. Once he has had time to wrench on it a bit and customize it to his liking, he flips the vehicle and the cycle continues. You might want to have a car lift installed in one of the garage stalls if you are more than a hobbyist mechanic.
As mentioned before, recreation vehicles should be considered with a standard garage size. Do you enjoy getting out on the dunes or the forest with an ATV? If not now, is that a dream of yours in the future? You might want to consider that as a part of your garage plans. You might also need to consider Jet Skis or a golf cart to get around the local town.
What Will Your Garage Story Be?
This might be considered a silly question, but what I’m getting at and maybe saying again, is that dimensions matter. So, what are you going to do with your garage? Is it simply a place to park the vehicles, or is it going to be for something more? Do you have a hobby that needs the space? Do you need a place to secure your tools? Maybe simply a place to store junk so you can get it out of the house?
Do you consider your garage to be an additional living space? Are you going to get garage décor (our article on the topic), you going to paint the inside to be an expression of yourself and your interests? Are you going to make the space a lounge for you and the guys so you can have drinks and watch the game?
When we had our new house built, we were limited to two choices for the garage. With the floor plan that we picked, the standard 20’x20’ two car garage size was the choice that made the most sense for our family. We had the option to forfeit a bedroom and gain a tandem garage, but that would have meant that my son would not have a bedroom. Obviously, I couldn’t justify that having a larger garage was the primary need in the equation. But we are happy with our choice and have explored all kinds of storage options to make the workspace functional, organized, and aesthetically pleasing. Cheers to your journey!