Designing your own garage is an advanced project for the serious DIY-er. In a world where professionals can and do offer custom garage designs, designing your own garage is often less practical than going with a professional. On the other hand, you know what you want, and putting in labor yourself can cut down on costs. Assuming that you’re going to go ahead with this, here is what you need to do—and what you have to avoid.
Do: make sure you’re up to the task
Before designing your own garage, make sure you’ve got what it takes. You should be experienced with drafting, making mock-ups, and visualizing what you want your space to look like. You should be able to take accurate measurements of the space, etc. Once you know that you have the skills to draft a working design and blueprint, you have to ask yourself how far you can take this.
Even if you design it yourself, can you handle the carpentry? Do you have what it takes to finish the roofing, the plumbing, and the electrical wiring? This isn’t just a matter of willingness, but a matter of meeting code. If you’re not certified in certain areas, you have to hire people who are. Before you begin, map out the work that you’re able to do and find out what work would fall to professionals.
Don’t: rush ahead to get permits
The fatal mistake that many people make is rushing out to get permits. Designing your own garage can take a long time. You should only apply for permits when you have a strong idea of when you’ll be able to build. Also, make sure that you read the coding requirements several times to be sure that you understand them. Failure to meet code can cause expensive, unforeseen delays and costly fines. It’s cheaper and more sensible to wait to get permits until you’re sure you have your ducks in a line.
Do: make it right the first time
As you’re designing your garage, design the garage that you want and you’ll be happy to have. You shouldn’t have to live with anything that you don’t love. If you’d like to have a tile floor, for example, find a way to put the tile in while you build. Putting in a concrete floor now and thinking you’ll tile it “later” is a great way to live with something you’re unhappy with for years. DIYers are great at getting things done, but even the most dedicated have unfinished projects lying around.
Designing your own garage is a great way to have complete control over your space. If you want it to double as a work space, it’s nice to have input. Just make sure that you’re capable of fulfilling all the tasks assigned to yourself. Are you sure you have professionals lined up to fill in where you can’t? Don’t rush ahead for permits—get everything ready first. Lastly, make sure you’re building the space you want to have—it’s now or never.