If you ask a roomful of homeowners what they would change about their existing garages – you'll hear a chorus of, "We'd make it bigger." Garages have come a long way from the converted carriage houses of the early 1900s to today's multi-use structures that serve as vehicle shelters, overflow storage and, if you're lucky, a workshop. While no standard two-car garage size exists, the dimensions should fit your lifestyle and comply with all local codes and restrictions.
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Rules and Codes
While some communities have local codes that regulate the minimum dimensions of garages, those measurements don't reflect standard sizing. Zoning regulations determine lot setbacks that range from a few feet to a few dozen feet, and the homeowner cannot build the garage on a setback. On a small lot, this can affect the size of garage.
Newer subdivisions often have covenants that control garage features, such as minimum size, cladding type and even the pitch of the garage roof. The idea is to create uniformity of design in the subdivision and covenants are strictly enforced.
Balancing Garage Wants with your Budget
The amount of money you have to spend, and what you intend to use the garage for, top the list of consideration factors. If your subdivision does not allow storage sheds, it might be wise to incorporate some storage room in the garage.
A small two-car garage that's 18 feet wide and 20 feet long will shelter two vehicles approximately 16 feet long and 6 feet wide, but door-opening space and walking area will be tight. At least 30 inches of room on both sides of a vehicle makes it simpler to get in and out. At the same time, every square foot you add to the floor plan, adds to the construction cost of the garage.
Garage Door Dimensions
For two-car garages 20 feet wide or less, a single overhead garage door is usually the best option. You can install a 16-foot overhead door in a garage that's 20 feet wide and have 2 feet on either side of the door. To install separate, 9-foot-wide overhead doors, one for each parking stall, with 2 feet of space between doors and on each side, the garage must be a minimum of 24 feet wide.
Garage door height needs vary with design and the type of vehicle you drive, but the garage ceiling should be a minimum of 1 foot higher than the top of the door to install an opener.