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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Garage?

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May 13, 2022
11 min read
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A garage isn’t just a place to park your car. It can be a workshop, a home gym, the base for a new office, or a place to put all that joy-sparking stuff you just can’t let go of. A well-constructed garage can raise the value of your property significantly, so you’re going to want a baseline of how much it will cost to build. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to garage costing, so let’s get to know the different options you have to store your car (and all the extras) in style.

Average cost to build a garage based on type of garage

You wouldn’t pay the same amount for a diamond ring as you would a rhinestone. In a similar way, each variation in garage type, style, material, labour, environment, and size can impact the cost. The construction of a garage in Canada can cost anywhere from $23,000-$90,000 — with higher costs for turnkey construction projects (more on that later). Each modification can impact how much it costs to build a garage.

Where you live matters, too. In downtown Toronto, you’ll pay a lot more for a permit than you will in rural Manitoba. Landscaping, permits and contractor fees can vary dramatically, even within a short drive outside of a major city. We’re also living in a time of supply chain and labour shortages. Less workers and delays in shipping can impact your garage cost across the board. 

What is a turnkey garage construction?

Some garage constructions are built with a “turnkey” model — the idea is that you’re hiring someone who will take care of it all — you just show up and “turn the key.” If you’ve booked a vacation with a travel agent, you get the idea; someone thinks through every step, and you know exactly what you’re paying for. With this hiring model, you choose a contractor, establish the scope of work, and they’ll oversee the entire construction from start to finish. 

A turnkey construction typically costs at least $20,000 more than a contracted garage construction with separate hires. So why do it? Turnkey projects can save you money on materials, extra labour, and more specialized services like skilled tradespeople. This protects you from the stress of hiring a host of people, and puts your project in the hands of one qualified contractor or company. If you’ve hired an experienced contractor you’re confident in, turnkey can be a great way to ensure the planning, construction, labour, and materials are all synchronized and that your vision  is fully carried out. 

It’s also nice to know what you’re getting. Knowing how much your project will cost can be helpful when mapping out the money you’ll need.

Before you calculate costs or hire a contractor, begin by assessing your needs and goals:

  • How many cars do you require space for? 
  • What will you be using the garage for — is it only for cars, or are you in need of extra storage space? Could an extra bedroom or office above the garage add extra value to your home?
  • How might your needs change in the future? If you’re planning on having a family, will you have a minivan in addition to the car you own? Do you need room for other interests like a motorcycle or overhead space for a canoe?
  • Do you want the garage to be attached to your house? A detached space may be cheaper, but consider whether you’ll want to walk outside to reach your car. What are the local permits needed? Compare contractors and ask them for estimates.

Any major construction project requires permits (including an inspection of the building site) and has corresponding costs. Each jurisdiction has different permitting requirements, building codes, and timelines for new construction. Understanding local guidelines and bylaws will also help you establish the legal limits of what you can build.

Labour costs to build a garage

The right team matters. Labour alone can be 15-25% of your total cost of building a garage. But if you’re cringing at the cost of a garage and hoping to cut corners, consider this: a badly built or installed garage will just cost you more money in repairs down the line, so it’s important to choose workers who are experienced, certified, professional, and skilled. Most people employ a contractor or architect to draft and plan construction in accordance with their local bylaws. Planning itself can cost anywhere from $2,000-$7,000. Aside from a general contractor, you may need to hire engineers, electricians, planners, and builders. 

Single-Car Garage Cost

A single-car garage should be a minimum of 240 square feet to hold one compact to medium-sized vehicle. If you live in Calgary, you might be able to build a simple, single-car garage for $25,000. But in more pricey regions like the GTA, you’re looking at a cost at or over $55,000 for materials, labour, and installation. In Canada, a single-car garage costs an average range of $45,000-$70,000. 

2-Car Garage Cost

A two-car garage usually ranges from 400-700 square feet. A bare-bones two-car garage construction has a starting cost of $32,000, but on average, expect to pay $85,000-$130,000 or $212-$325 per square foot.

3-Car Garage Cost

If you have a fleet of cars to accommodate a large family, are into collecting them as a hobby (or both), a supersized garage may be required. To house three cars comfortably, you’re looking at an area around 700-950 square feet, and can expect to pay a starting cost of $65,000 for a bare-bones style garage. For a mid-to-high end garage design expect to pay an average of $90,000-$200,000 (same price range per square foot), and possibly higher in more expensive cities. 

Attached vs. Detached Garage Cost

Attached Garage Cost

Just as the name suggests, an attached garage is physically connected to your house and opens directly onto your home via a doorway. This allows you to access your car without going outside. 

The cost of an attached garage is typically lower since contractors can use one or more walls from your existing home as part of the structure. It’s often possible to use the electrical wiring or plumbing from the house, so it will likely be more affordable to add a sink or electrical function. That said, since an added garage is technically an extension of your home, it may be subject to different boundaries and bylaws. 

Detached Garage Cost

A separate garage structure is typically more expensive, as you’re essentially starting from scratch by levelling a foundation and building a garage from the ground up. Contractors may not be able to access the existing power from your home, so you’ll need to hire an electrician to wire the new lighting, and planning and permits may be more expensive. 

Why build a detached garage? 

  • A detached garage may cost less if you already have an existing garage structure that you can tear down and rebuild. Your contractor can deconstruct and use the existing structure as a starting point, potentially making planning simpler and more cost-effective
  • If you’re adding a studio or office to your garage –– or building one above it –– a detached garage might offer more privacy during your Zoom calls, or simply provide a refuge when you need it. 
  • Want to add space for more cars, or expand the structure in the future? A detached garage could give you more options to grow in either direction. Look into local bylaws if this is your plan; you may need to keep a certain amount of space between your home and neighbour’s property. 

Garage Material Costs

The cost of building a garage can differ dramatically based on the material you’re using and how much it costs to install it. From the foundation needed and the siding you choose, to details like electrical wiring and window installation, it’s important to understand all of the materials you may need and how they will factor into your final cost.

Garage Foundation Cost

A well-installed foundation will ensure your garage doesn’t shift or sink with changing seasons. The cost of clearing for and installing a foundation ranges from $2,500-$6,000 depending on the type of soil, debris, climate, and underground plumbing. Expect to pay a premium if you’re building on a slope or uneven terrain, since you’ll need to level the terrain first.

Once you’ve established a level starting point, a concrete foundation is typically poured on top of a slab foundation. Not every region requires footing or concrete foundation for a new garage, but Canada’s freezing and thawing climate cycle makes it a necessary step for most garages. Look into the build requirements and ask your contractor about the local guidelines for your town or city. 

Garage framing cost

Strong bones make a strong body. Framing acts as the skeleton for your garage, reinforcing the sturdiness and durability for the insulation, walls, and roof. Framing is typically constructed with wooden beams (prices vary based on the cost of lumber) or steel, which usually costs 10-20% more than wood. 

The cost of framing depends on the type of material, environment, and the size of garage you’re building. The same goes for the cost of adding the garage roof. Roof trusses (the structure that supports the roof) cost $8-$12 per square foot, but the overall cost depends on the size, structure, and the weight of the roofing material you choose. 

Garage insulation cost

Insulation keeps heat or cold from seeping through walls and regulates garage temperature. Walls that are connected to your home will need to be fully insulated (including the ceiling) and come in a few different types:

  • Fibreglass insulation is the most popular type of insulation for garages. This is that pillow-like fluff you’ve likely seen before, and at around $1-$2 per square foot it’s the cheapest insulation option. 
  • Spray foam is another popular type of insulation. At $2-$6 per square foot, it costs more than fibreglass, but has the added benefit of offering airtight coverage, making it a good option if you’re planning to build a room above the garage or want better temperature regulation. The average cost ranges from $3,000-$8,500, plus labour for a two-car garage in Canada. Compare this to $600-$1,500 for fibreglass insulation. 
  • Other insulation options include rigid foam and cellulose. 

Garage siding costs

Insulation and drywall are followed with siding, and range from $2-$11 per square foot. Vinyl is the cheapest siding material, but slightly pricier brick and cement are other options.

You’ll also want to budget for garage trim, which varies depending on whether you’re going with something cheaper like basic linear trim or a custom trim. Use our cost estimator to calculate how much the siding for your garage might cost

Garage window costs

Letting light in with some well-placed windows can up the Insta-ready appeal of your space, and help you save on electricity costs. For a window installation, expect to pay at least $550-$1,500 plus labour, depending on the garage type and size and number of windows.

Garage door costs

The material, mechanism, type of opener, style and quantity all impact how much it will cost to add garage doors. From manually opening to high-tech openers that connect to your phone, garage doors vary. 

The material for a garage door itself costs anywhere from $1,200 for single garage doors, up to $4,500 for double. The average labour cost to install a garage door starts at $400 and goes up from there, but can also increase depending on where you live. If you’re constructing an adjoining garage, you may need to pay an extra $400-$1,000 to install a door from your house to the garage. 

Garage roof and shingles cost

Whether you’ve got a Ford or Ferrari, you want a solid roof on your garage. The cost to add a roof on your garage per square foot depends on the type of shingles you use. Asphalt shingles are a low-to-medium cost shingle and typically priced at $2 to $6 per square foot in Canada, plus labour. For a 1,000 square foot garage, this means asphalt shingles for your garage roof would cost $2,000 to $6,000. Learn more about roofing costs per square foot here.

Read more: How much does a roof replacement cost?

Install gutters on a garage

Eavestroughs and gutters protect your garage and home from water damage and are especially important in Canada, where we have melting snow and rainfall throughout the year. Installation ranges between $1,000-$2,000, but if you’re planning on adding gutters to your garage, you could save money by updating eavestroughs on the rest of your home at the same time.

The Cost of Tearing Down an Existing Garage

Do you have an existing garage? Before you can build on the same site, you’ll need the garage to be demolished or deconstructed. The site will then need to be cleared, excavated or properly levelled to create a sturdy, even foundation for your new garage. Average costs for a garage tear down is around $2,700-$3,500, but varies based on a number of factors:

  • Demolition or deconstruction? A demolition requires different clearance, labour, and equipment than a deconstruction does.
  • Are parts of the existing structure salvageable? You may save money on your garage reconstruction if the foundation is able to remain intact.
  • The size of the garage being demolished or deconstructed.
  • The process of  discarding the demolition debris as certain materials are more costly or complicated to discard or recycle.
  • City or township permits for removal go-ahead.
  • If the existing garage is attached to your home or detached with the latter being a simpler to demolish or tear down.
  • The accessibility of the site for a crane or removal crew to access.

With all this in mind, you can see why a garage take-down varies so much in price. A demolition can cost as low as $1,000 for an older wooden garage structure or smaller one-door garage and exceed $20,000 if you’re removing something with a stronger frame or requires a complicated deconstruction. 

Remember that your garage should suit your family’s needs. Whether you want a bare-bones structure to store your car, a beautiful addition to your home, or a great place for storage, use this information to help inform what you tell your contractor.

Smart Reno helps you find trusted contractors

With so much to think about when it comes to building a garage, it’s important to find a contractor you can trust. Talk to an expert about renovation financing and get 3 free renovation quotes for your home or business.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgement of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.

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