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Thread: Buildidng a Detached Garage...questions I should ask from contractor?

  1. #1
    DoD Army bjferri's Avatar
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    Question Buildidng a Detached Garage...questions I should ask from contractor?

    I will be getting estimates from contractors to have a 2-car garage built. Iíve received a verbal estimate at 100k, one at 15k, but more averaged around 30k. These are w/o going into any detail about materials and processes. I donít know what to askÖ All I know is what roofing, siding, windows and doors to go with. I have no clue about anything else.

    What questions should I ask to determine who would build me a better garage?
    Brian

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Some things that would affect cost are if there is to be any electrical service, water, sewer, or if there is to be any add-on rooms, an attic, maybe a bathroom or maybe a bedroom or workshop in the building. Unless one bid was for say brick or stone facings and extra rooms, my feeling is that they hi-balled you because they don't want to do the work, but if you chose them, the high profit margin made it worthwhile. If all the bids were for the same design and features, somethings wrong with the way outside average bid unless it also included a bunch of extras. If there needs to be a lot of fill, or the soil or location needs a lot of foundation work that is not common, it's not viable. Does one include a new driveway? Something other than asphalt? A poured concrete, maybe stamped, or pavers or brick can add up quickly.

    Review the details of the bids to understand what they include, or give them a set of plans on exactly what you want rather than say I want a new garage...then, you can compare apples to apples.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Nuclear Engineer nukeman's Avatar
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    I agree with Jim. Also, if you just tell them you want a 2-car garage, they may not be even talking about the same physical dimensions (depends on how much extra room you want in there). If the space is going to be heated, then you'll need to add insulation too.

    Basically, it depends on what you are looking for. Do you want something basic, mid-range, or over-the-top?? The better you can lay out exactly what you want (dimensions, materials, elecrtrical service, heat/cooling, level of drywall finish, etc.), the better you can narrow down your choices.

    30k sounds about right for a detached 2-car garage, but things like labor rates, actual size, and features all impact whether the quote is low, high, or in the middle. Assuming that all contractors are bidding the same thing, usually the quotes that fall in the middle are what the going rate is for that construction in your area.

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    DoD Army bjferri's Avatar
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    Are poured walls better than block walls? What about 4" foundation of 3500 PSI concrete. Is this standard or should I ask for 5" and higher PSI? I just want to make sure the garage is standing in a 100 years. Thanks.
    Brian

  5. #5
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    For 100K, it should come with a finished basement.

    But seriously, if you want a 100 year garage, it should be fully excavated and have a footing and frost wall, not just a slab.
    Last edited by cacher_chick; 05-16-2011 at 03:41 PM.

  6. #6
    DIY Member jdon88's Avatar
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    I just had a 3+ car garage built in PA, 26' X 40'. It came without electric, insulation, or interior wall coverings. It has 3 bay doors, 3 windows, and 1 regular door. Poured concrete footers below frost line, block walls to about 8" above floor, 4" concrete slab then 2X6 framing. Some extras I asked for was a vaulted ceiling in the center bay along with 6" slab to support future automotive lift. Insulated bay doors and high lift center door. Walls were sheathed with OSB, roof sheathed with plywood. price was 36K, driveway with stormwater drainage pit was an additional 10K. Before contacting any builders I contacted the township zoning officer to see if there were any potential issues. I found out the 100 year flood zone (determined by FEMA) crosses my property and township required structure to be built 3 feet away from zone. I contacted 5 different builders for estimates. 3 of them never called back, the other two were similar in price but I went with the local builder who was already familiar with the township requirements like height, setbacks, etc. I believe this speeded up the process and avoided potential issues. With good weather they were finished in 5 weeks. The builder should have pictures of completed projects and if local may be able to take you to see their work in person.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Until you know EXACTLY what you want in the garage, EVERY estimate will be just that, an guess at what the contractor thinks you want. And that is why you will get a 15K estimate and also a 100K one. If you want it to last 100 years and still be usable build it with masonry. You are not going to be parking tanks in it so you do NOT need highway grade concrete.

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