Tag Archives: pole building garage

What is the Minimum Size for a Two Car Garage?

Reader REBECCA in PEYTON posed this question: “What is minimum size you would recommend for two cars?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

As my lovely bride tells people, “the cost of putting up a new building is deciding to build at all. Once one has decided to build, put those four corners as far apart as possible.”

There is a lot of wisdom in her statement and she followed it herself when (before we met nearly 20 years ago) she had a two car garage built for herself which was 32 feet square.

Sadly home builders, over recent years, have tended to try to cut corners to reduce the sales price of their homes by doing things such as reducing the size of garages. I’ve seen pole barn garages as narrow as 18 feet and as shallow as 20 feet promoted as being two car garages. Depending upon how small your vehicles are they indeed might be two car garages. However for the majority of American drivers, two SUVs, pickups, vans or a combination thereof are just not going to comfortably fit in something so small.

When it comes to designing a proper sized pole building garage I would always recommend planning for the possibility of vehicles larger than what one might currently own to be able to be not only parked, but parked without swinging doors into adjacent vehicles or walls.

Realistically, 24 feet square becomes a bare minimum sized pole barn garage. This allows for two vehicles which may be at or approaching eight feet of width to be able to yet safely open their doors. It also provides for some wall space utilization (which there is never enough of).

For doors, a single 18 foot width section steel overhead door (if located in the peaked endwall) or two 10 foot wide doors in a sidewall provide enough width so as most drivers can preserve their vehicles’ mirrors. And, although every standard production vehicle will fit through a seven foot tall door, going to eight feet of height certainly provides for more options (such as things on roof top racks).

In planning for function, having entry (person sized) doors four feet in width keeps the skin on knuckles far better when trying to maneuver things such as wheelbarrows through. If considering a workbench or needing space for a motorcycle, snow mobile, four wheeler or multiple bicycles then at least one of the dimensions should be increased to 30 feet or greater.

For an investment difference which is typically just a few hundred dollars, do it right the first time and you won’t have regrets later.


When Should You Build a Larger Garage?

Pole barn garageMaybe you’re currently parking your car on the street or struggling to get enough storage space out of your single-car garage. If you have the space on your property, you may be thinking about expanding your current garage or even adding something totally new like a pole building garage or pole barn carport. A garage can add value to your property if and when it comes time to sell; depending on the market and garage size, it may add as much as $15,000-$30,000 to your home value.

Of course, increasing your home value isn’t the only reason to expand or add a garage: you may simply want the practical benefits of this storage space. Below are a few situations in which building a larger garage may be worthwhile for you.

You Need to Park an Additional Vehicle

If you’re currently leaving a car, motorcycle, or ATV out in the open, you could be leaving it vulnerable to the weather, falling tree branches, or even theft. And if you live somewhere with four seasons, you know that parking your car on the street can leave you with a blisteringly hot vehicle in the summer and a snow- and ice-coated windshield in the winter.

Going from a single-car to a two-car garage may be the best option if you’ve recently gotten a second vehicle. However, if you’re just looking for a covered space for your vehicle, you could also purchase a pole building kit for a carport, which has a roof but no walls.

You Want to Set Up a Workstation

If you’re someone who likes to tinker with your car or work on DIY projects that can’t easily be done inside the house, you may be daydreaming about having a designated workstation. Building a larger garage will give you enough room for a counter or table, workbench, and additional tool storage. This workspace can be particularly good for projects that might be too messy for the house—such as painting or woodworking.

You Need Additional Storage Space

Home starting to feel cluttered? Installing a pole building garage is an inexpensive way to get more storage space without having to perform home renovations. You could use your new pole barn garage to store bikes, kayaks, Christmas decorations, or other items that are currently taking up space in your basement or a storage unit. You could also move your washer and dryer to the garage, freeing up more space inside your home for additional storage.

You Want a Multi-Use Space

A pole barn garage doesn’t just have to be for car storage. Maybe you want a place to set up a ping pong table, contain your kids’ messy arts and crafts projects, or even set up a home office (after all, Apple, Amazon, and Google all began out of garages). Whatever you need additional space for, a pole building garage can provide a cost-effective solution.

Garage Mahal

True confessions time (yes, I know people love it when I confess)…..I do not watch television.


When apparently popular series’ such as “Friends” and “Seinfeld” ended, I truthfully went, “Huh”? Having never seen an episode of either, the events were meaningless to me.

Garage MahalIt appears I may have been missing out on something…..the DIY Network has had a series called “Garage Mahal” co-hosted by former NFL player, pro wrestler and car buff Bill Goldberg and Brian Corsetti.

This series could be fun – where the series features unbelievable garage makeovers.

I believe the Garage Mahal concept needs to start way before it is time for a makeover. A well thought out and artfully crafted pole building can afford the ability to create the personal dream Garage Mahal.

Most companies which provide post frame building kit packages, or are pole building contractors focus on selling lots and lots of basic “cookie cutter” buildings, rather than giving the thought to providing buildings which really solve the client’s problems and help them reach their dreams. In so many instances, the ideal dream garage becomes highly affordable, due to the practicality of post frame construction.

I have the start of my own Garage Mahal –  a three story pole building in my own back yard.

In my case, this was a tricky site, with 12 feet of grade change across the 40 feet of depth.

Due to the narrow footprint of my lot (only 60’ wide), I tried to maximize every possible square inch of space, so my garage is 14 degrees out of square to follow the lot lines.

The lowest level has 9’x8’, 10’x11’ and an 8’x7’ insulated raised panel steel overhead doors left-to-right across the west endwall. While I normally would not recommend an insulated foam block foundation (ICF – Insulated Concrete Form) to the average client, I had never been personally involved in one before, so the building was designed with 8” thick blocks (which were later poured full of concrete) for portions of the foundation.

The south wall and the non-door portion of the west have 12 foot high ICF walls. Across the east wall, the foundation steps down from 12 to four feet. Brackets were wet poured into the top of the ICF to mount the building columns.

The north 10 feet of the lower level has a nine foot high ceiling, the balance is 12 feet high, to allow for a car lift. Just recently, a bank 30’ long of cabinets (both lowers and uppers) as well as work bench space has been added along the north wall.

On the second level, the north 10 feet reflects the ceiling below, creating a three foot “step” in the floor. This area has a 7/12 slope vaulted ceiling and is used for exercise equipment and featured nine large windows which overlook a gorgeous lake.

The uppermost floor also has nine large windows looking towards the lake to the north, as well as windows and a patio door opening onto a five foot wide deck along the east wall. With a 4/12 interior slope vaulted ceiling, this 30 x 36 foot area is perfect for rousing games of table tennis, or large gatherings.

Accessed by exterior stairs from the third level, is a 12 foot square deck, on top of the roof –yes, I said on TOP of the roof –  providing extensive views of the lake and surrounding hills. The deck, and its supporting roof system, have been designed to support the weight of a hot tub, should one ever be desired to be placed there.

A unique feature of my “Garage Mahal” – the entire structure has no interior columns!! The post frame design concept allowed for structural innovations which would have been challenging, if not impossible in the design of my building.

Have a unique building site, or even better – unique ideas for YOUR dream garage/shop/man cave? Chances are post frame construction has solutions to help arrive at YOUR ideal dream building.

Why is a Pole Building the Perfect Urban Garage?

This reminds me of, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways….”?

With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, there are so many reasons pole buildings are the solution to urban garage needs.

urban-garageMost urban lots in the United States are very narrow and of small footprint. More often than not, the typical lot width, is 25 feet (if one lives in the country or suburbia, they might find this astonishing). The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) reports the average home size as recently as 1950 was 1,000 square feet (sft), which was up from the average bungalow size of 600 to 800 sft. at the turn of the century. These city lots typically have access not only by the street in front, but also by an alley in the back. Most urban cities will allow garages to be built right up to alleyways, as well as property lines, provided weather (snow and rain) coming off the garage roof, falls upon the property of the garage owner.

Pole buildings can easily be customized to any dimension, without the garage owner having to pay a premium or penalty for an “odd” dimension.

No continuous footings or foundations are required, nor is there a requirement for a “thickened” slab. This eliminates the need to bring in earthmoving equipment for excavation. Given the tight quarters on many lots, this becomes essential. It also affords the savings of thousands of dollars in forming materials, labor and concrete which would be required for stick frame construction.

Within the limits of planning and zone height restrictions, pole buildings can easily be designed for multiple stories, or with attic bonus rooms. This allows for the maximization of space, within a restricted footprint area.

Need or want to construct right up against a property line, and have a firewall requirement? Post frame buildings have approved firewall assemblies for up to three hours!

Besides the cost savings in foundations, the building framework is also going to be more cost effective than stick built. Why? In a pole building, every piece serves a structural purpose, there are no redundant members, just for the sake of having a board take a place.  Analyze many stick built structures and you will find what I call “unnecessary” pieces which do…nothing.  Ask the person who put them there and usually I hear, “it’s the way we’ve always done it.”  But that’s a subject for another discussion.

Any type of siding or roofing can be used on an urban garage. Colored steel roofing and siding, with fade and chalk warrantees available up to lifetime are going to be the easiest to install. They are also the most cost effective and most durable.  And for garage owners who desire (or are forced) to use certain materials, it is a viable option.

The best part?

In most cases, urban garage owners can construct their own buildings, with no prior special skills, no need to own or rent highly specialized equipment, and with a little help – most can be completed over a weekend of good weather!