Many homes around the world have a free standing single car garage for protecting your car from the elements and increasing your storage. If you have an attached garage, it may serve as an insulating space against cold and severe winds, depending on your layout. Finally, a single car garage can offer you a small space for a workshop.
Dimensions – Single car garage
A traditional one car garage is 12 feet wide by 20 feet long. Depending on the size of your car, getting both storage space and a vehicle storage spot will take some juggling. For example, a tradition minivan runs about 17 feet in length. This leaves you 3 feet of clearance at the back of your van to safely get the door shut and get from the van into your house.
A traditional single car garage door can run from 8 to 9 feet wide. If you only have a single car garage, you will probably have to special order the 9 foot door. For those who drive larger vehicles, this wider door will be critical.
If you can’t get the 9 foot door, try to get the door slightly offset. Your 12 foot wide garage with the 8 foot wide door means two feet on either side of the overhead door. However, if you can get the door installed even 6 inches to one side, you can increase your storage options on the other side of the garage.
When getting a new garage built, carefully consider your outlet placement. If you are interested in getting a workshop table set up and creating a permanent spot for a few tools, see if you can get a few outlets installed at 36 inches from the floor. This will make plugging in your tools much simpler.
If your garage will include a lot of storage shelving, at least one outlet in the ceiling can help. You’ll probably need a dedicated outlet for your garage door opener. You can also simplify the power question by setting up your empty shelves and plugging in a surge strip before loading up your boxes and bins.
In addition to shelving along the sides of your garage, you can add storage up high. Proper storage above your vehicle will need to be
- extremely stable
- well organized
- accessible by a removable ladder
A standard minivan is 6 feet tall, but the hood is obviously lower. Depending on the placement of the man-door in your garage, you could build a stable attic for storage above the hood space and gain several cubic inches for more storage. Brace this carefully from below the attic; the walls will probably not support a lot of hanging support and bracing it once it’s loaded will be too late.
Take care with the containers you keep in your garage. Cardboard is cheap and convenient, but over time it may grow damp, be eaten by mice, and draw spiders. Plastic bins can keep out pests more effectively and be easier to move when needed.
If you put in metal shelving with adjustable shelves, do your best to make the top shelves a bit closer together. This lessens the risk that someone will place the heaviest items on the highest shelves.
With a little planning, you can put some workshop space in a one car garage, though it may have to be portable. You can keep the space flexible with simple tools, such as
- adjustable, folding sawhorses
- short shelving that can serve as a layout space
- wall brackets that provide lumber storage
- easily accessible power
If your garage is not heated, go to the trouble to set up a place to hang your metal tools. A warm car, cooling in a cold garage, will create condensation in the space. It only takes a little corrosion to ruin your favorite hand tools. If they’re hanging up, they’ll likely stay dryer. If you don’t have a spot to hang them, add heavy wire baskets to the bottom of some sturdy shelving to improve airflow, and consider adding desiccant packets to your hand tool storage spot.
Access, Light and Air
Adding a window or two to your single car garage may seem excessive, but getting air moving through the space will reduce moisture build-up and keep the space a bit brighter. Do go to the trouble to add some visual protection to avoid drawing in thieves.
Obviously your garage will have one big door. If it’s a free-standing garage, makes sure you also have a single-passage door, often called a man-door, installed. When the power goes out and you can’t open the automatic door from the outside, the man-door will be a great help!
A single car garage can offer more than car storage. These useful spaces can offer a huge amount of storage and even a spot to build a few things. Get the power installed where it will serve you best now and in the future.