You most likely know that there are plenty of garage door designs and garage doors, but there are also many types of garages available. Some are better suited for families with a single car while others are huge enough to double as a workshop on top of storing your car without running out of room.
If you’re considering buying or building a house and a garage, you want to decide which option will work best for your needs. Not all types of garages will offer you the design or space you need, and some can be too big. We’re going to break down the most popular types of garages that you can have in your home, and you can decide which one sounds the best for you.
Garages come in a huge range of sizes and shapes that can really impact how functional the space is for you. This is why you should really weigh your needs when you decide which one will work best. Garage by Ali West / CC BY 2.0
1. 3 Car Garage
A three-car garage is a luxury that you won’t get on most standard homes. However, if you’re going to build a new garage and you have enough room, this type of garage usually won’t cost much more than a more traditional two-car garage. It will boost your storage space by a lot. This garage comes with three wide garage bays, and you have several options when it comes to the door design. You could install three single doors, one very large and wide garage door, or a double door with a single door next to it. The configuration for your door will depend on how you plan for your garage to look, but how you want to use your space will also factor in.
If you have two cars that you want to store, installing a double door can make it much easier to drive your car in and out of the garage. The leftover single bay can transform into a storage area or a workshop with a single door leading into it. This works better than installing a huge door that spans all three spaces because you can open the door to get to your cars while leaving the third slot closed and secure. It also means that if you plan to put in a workshop in the single bay, you could fit a workbench against the door with the intention of leaving it closed all of the time, and this gives you more working space.
2. 4 Car Garage
You tend to see four car garages with people who routinely collect cars as a hobby or on more grand homes. This type of garage will take up a significant amount of space on your property, and it comes with a shallow and wide shape that looks like two double car garages set side by side. You can also get a four-car garage that looks like a double-width garage in the front by building a square-shaped garage that fits two cars parked in front and two parked in back.
Just like with a double-length garage, this type of garage can be a challenge if you want to park all four cars inside because two cars will end up getting blocked in by another car. A square four-car garage is much better suited to use as a double-width storage space or a garage with a workshop at the back and space to put two cars alongside one another up in the front.
3. Attached Garage
An attached garage is a type of garage that you build into the side of your home, and in most cases, they have a door adjoining the garage to the house so that you can get into the garage without going outside. This is a very nice benefit because it means that you can get into the car and leave without having to stop and chat with any neighbors or having to face the bad weather in colder planting zones.
Almost all attached garages get built at the same time as the main home so that they blend together seamlessly as part of the whole look. The wall between your garage and the main house will be insulated so that the colder temperatures in the garage don’t negatively impact the temperature of your home. The door between the garage and the house will also be a fire door to keep any occupants in the house safe from any accidents that could happen in the garage. However, one issue to keep in mind is that noises from the garage can travel into the house.
4. Barn Garage
A barn type of garage is a detached model that has a loft space to give you additional storage room. This space makes them a fantastic choice if you don’t have a large enough plot of land for a big garage but you need the additional storage space. A bar garage allows you the freedom of storing your tools and vehicles on the ground floor and keeping lesser-used things like holiday decorations up in the loft.
You’ll get a more traditional style that keeps well with classic-looking properties, and it can be a nice option if you want a new varae that doesn’t look too modern in a direct contrast with your home. You can paint the siding and shingles on the barn garage to match your home’s exterior. This type of garage can be a more expensive investment compared to more traditional garages, but they can improve the curb appeal, increase your property’s character, and boost your resale value.
A barn garage is usually a much larger structure that is detached from the house, but it gives you a decent amount of storage space for your items without taking up space for your vehicles. NH Petroliana – Catching Up from Fall -IMG_3838 by BEV Norton / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
A carport isn’t technically a type of garage, but it works well to store cars. A carport typically, but not always, is attached to your home on the side so that the home’s exterior wall forms one side of your carport. The other walls on the carport will feature a support roof with corner posts. Carports come with open walls, and this means that they don’t offer complete protection for your car because snow or rain could still get in if it comes down sideways or at an angle. However, it does offer more protection than being exposed in the driveway.
If you can get into your carport without having to go outside, you can get into your car without getting wet if it rains, snows, or storms. This is important to some people. Unlike a traditional type of garage, a carport won’t give you storage space for your tools and items because the open walls don’t offer you a way to secure things and they’ll look messy as they’ll be on full display. The main reason people pick out a carport is because this is a much more budget-friendly option, but they won’t increase your property value like a fully enclosed garage would.
6. Carriage House Garage
A carriage house is also called a coach house, and it’s a type of garage that has an apartment on it. Traditionally, this was a genuine carriage house where you’d store a cart in the days before motor vehicles came to be. Once carts and horses were on the downward spiral for transportation, these types of garages got renovated so that the ground floor was a garage for your vehicle and the upper floor turned into a living accommodation. Today, these properties get purpose-built but referred to as coach or carriage houses due to the style.
This type of garage is a nice addition to your family home if you have young children because as they grow, they’ll want independence. You can easily move them into the top portion of this garage to give them some privacy while keeping the security of being close to the family. They also work very well in situations where elderly people need to move in with their kids but they want to keep a level of independence and dignity while the family can still look after them and be around to help if they need it. Carriage houses work as singular living spaces too, and you can easily rent it out to single people or young professionals to generate income.
7. Detached Garage
As the name suggests, this type of garage is a building that is completely separate from your home. In many cases, this garage will be close to the home, but you can build it anywhere you like on your property. So, a detached garage is a nice option if you don’t have a wide enough plot of land to accommodate the type of garage you really want, but you have space behind the house to build. You can create this garage in several different ways.
A prefab type of garage is very popular for a detached garage because the construction process goes quickly and it has a lower cost attached to it. It’s also suitable for DIYers to assemble, and this can reduce your costs even further. You can build a garage from steel frames, precast concrete sheets, or brick. If the detached garage is a later addition to your space, you can make it blend in by matching the siding to the siding on your home so it looks like it was originally part of the structure.
The benefit of having this type of garage is that any noise generated in the garage won’t travel to the house, and this is great if you have someone who leaves for work early in the morning and you don’t want them to disturb the other occupants in the house. One big drawback of this garage type is that you have to leave the house to get to the garage. If your car is in the garage and you have to go to it and it’s storming, you will get wet walking from the house to the garage.
8. Double Length Garage
A double-length type of garage is nice for helping you get more storage space if you have a narrow plot of land that doesn’t allow you to have a double-width garage. As the name suggests, this garage is narrow and long like two single garages put one behind the other. This type of garage will fit two cars in, but most people don’t use them like this because one car will always get blocked in by the car in front of it, and it’s impossible to get out in a hurry if your car is the one in back. Instead, many people use this garage for both parking and storage with the back area being a dedicated storage space for garden tools or equipment.
In most instances, this setup works well, especially if the back of the garage has a door where you can go out into the yard. This means that all of your tools will be close when you tackle your landscape projects. If you do want to park two cars in this type of garage, this won’t be the best one to pick unless you plan to have a good organization system in place so the person who leaves first is always parked in front so they’re not blocked in by the second car.
9. Double Width Garage
A double-width type of garage gets designed to fit two vehicles side by side. This garage type may also come with a very wide door, but it’s much more common to have two separate single garage doors attached, one for each side. Most people prefer to have two single doors instead of one wide one due to practical reasons, but one door may be the better choice if you have a large car like an SUV that you want to be able to maneuver out and in more easily with door frame restrictions.
This garage type is usually large enough to offer you space to store two vehicles and a range of smaller tools or garden items. However, many people with this type of garage choose to use one side for the car and turn the other stall into storage or a small workshop.
10. In-Law Suite Garage
This is the perfect type of garage for anyone who wants a home but gets tied down with local ordinances. It features a double garage on the main floor with living quarters situated above it to help utilize the vertical space while giving you a safe space to store your car. This garage type is very cost-effective and efficient, and it is a nice choice for anyone who wants a very affordable home.
Unless a professional builder takes on this project for you, it will come in a kit that you will have to either assemble yourself or hire a local builder to help. They offer details like windows all around the upstairs, vaulted ceilings, and decorative touches, and this makes it a gorgeous place to live. You’ll also have the convenience of having the garage right below you.
A garage with an in-law suite is just a garage that has a small living space over the top of it with a separate entrance. Ladd Carriage House (1883) by A.Davey / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
11. Internal Garage
An internal garage gets built right into the home, and it’s usually positioned on one side like a more traditional attached type of garage. It will take up some of the ground floor of your home though. In most instances with this garage, one or more upstairs bathrooms or bedrooms get situated above the garage.
The advantages of this type of garage is that it won’t increase your property’s footprint, and this is great if you have a smaller property. However, you do have to note that it means the living space in the upstairs portion of the house will be bigger than your downstairs living space because the garage intrudes on it. This can mean that you end up with enough bedrooms to accommodate a larger family, but you may find that you’re all fighting for space when everyone is downstairs. Properties with this setup also usually lack storage space because of this design, and the garage is typically used as storage.
A second disadvantage of this garage style is that the noise you generate in the garage can disrupt other people in the home, especially if the bedroom is above the garage. An internal garage has to get built as you build the house to give it a seamless look with the rest of the property, and you can’t add this garage style later unless you forfeit some of the living space and convert it.
One thing many people do when they have houses with this type of garage is to renovate it and turn it into a self-contained living space to rent out to people or have an elderly family member move in. You could also flip it into more living areas to increase how much space you have on your ground floor.
12. Motor Port Garage
If you have a boat or RV, then you know how critical it is to take good care of it and ensure that it lasts for years. Boats and RVs are investments and it’s essential that you set up a safe space to store them when you’re not using them.
It’s not common for people to custom-build a garage at their home for these items since a garage can be very expensive to build for a single item. Many people choose to buy a steel frame carport that is designed to hold these larger items. They come with a very durable fire-retardant and waterproof polyethylene cover that means you won’t have to worry about any damage happening to your boat or RV when you store them in here.
13. Portable Garage
A great option for any homeowner who needs to protect outdoor gardening equipment or a car but doesn’t want to build a permanent garage or carport is a portable carport or garage. They work to protect your items from bad weather and keep them in one place to improve how your property looks. There are many neighborhood associations that have rules and regulations that dictate boats, outdoor equipment, cars, and RVs be under a type of covering to reduce visual clutter to stop home values from dropping.
Portable garages are fast to install, easy to scrub and hose off when necessary, and strong enough to last for years due the the triple-layer woven fabric and the bolted-together brackets they feature. This ensures that any tear or snag won’t rip open right away and require costly repairs. You should have a chat with your local permit office before you order one to make sure that you’ve filled out the proper forms before you set up this type of garage.
The windows, floors, and doors don’t get included, and you’ll have to buy any exterior materials you want to use. They get made to withstand heavy snow and winds, and this will keep anything you store inside, including your vehicle, safe from bad weather conditions.
14. Portico Garage
A portico type of garage is one that is separate from the house but it has a covered area or walkway joining the two structures. If you decide on a detached garage and it’s close to your home, you can create this garage type by building a low roof that stretches from the exterior wall of your house to the garage. This will then give you an area where you can freely walk between the house and the garage while staying mostly out of the elements.
You can make a portico from a wooden frame with roofing felt covering it, corrugated plastic, galvanized steel, or a waterproof material. If you want to create a drier or more private spot to store your outdoor things, you could add walls to the portico to make it more secure. This will give you a nice spot to store muddy boots, bicycles, and other small items.
15. Single Bay Garage
This is the smallest type of garage on the list, and you commonly see it built with single-family homes. This garage will comfortably fit one car, and it only has very limited space around it. Once the car gets parked in the garage, there is only enough space for a few garden tools to hang on the wall, like rakes or shovels. So, you can rule out storing your snow blower or ride-on mower in this space.
A lot of people who have this type of garage will end up using it as storage space for tools, bicycles, and garden equipment while they keep the car out in the driveway. If you don’t have a lot of outdoor items or tools, a single garage could work for you. However, if you’re hoping to use the garage for storage as well as a place for your car, you’re better off going with a bigger garage.
A single bay garage is a very small setup that has room for one car to go in and not much else. You won’t have a lot of storage space available. Garage by Kara Babcock / CC BY 2.0
16. Workshop Garage
The final type of garage on the list is the workshop garage, and they’re great if someone in the family likes to take on DIY projects like restoring cars or renovating furniture. This setup will give you space to use your tools and get messy outside of your home while giving the benefit of a roof over their head and privacy from the neighbors.
If you want to convert your current garage into a workshop, you’ll need to make sure that the garage has power so you can operate your tools and have lighting. Shelving is ideal in this space to give you a place to store your tools and hardware and keep everything organized. A workbench is also nice because you’ll need a surface to work on. If you have a bigger type of garage, you can partition an area for your workshop so that you’ll have space to store your lawnmower, bikes, and garden equipment.
We’ve outlined 16 types of garages for you to consider if you’re building a new one or buying a house. Some will be more practical for everyday needs, and some are luxury options. You can carefully weigh the pros and cons of each type of garage and select the one that is going to work best for your needs.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.