Leaves are falling from the trees, and with weather in the mid 50’s, there’s no denying that autumn is here! 

Leaves in fall

I love watching the change of seasons. When the weather starts to drop like this, I can’t help but think of all the holidays right around the corner. 

In fact…I have a little confession to make. After living for years in Africa with our family, I get so excited for Christmas in Pennsylvania. Why?

Because of the snow!

Don’t get me wrong- we loved working with folks overseas. The good feelings from helping out the community, and building much needed infrastructure, made everyday feel like we were part of a Christmas miracle. But having been raised around sleigh bells and silent nights…well, waking up to 80 degree days in December made me appreciate, and long for, Christmas here in the states. 

Ever since we set up our company, the sound of those crunching leaves and blustering chill of autumn air makes me fall back in love with Schuylkill County every year. Our crew is so busy catching up projects before our clients have friends and family at their own homes, I plan for our own celebrations far in advance. 

Which means I’m sometimes that neighbor who gets out the Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving weekend. 

But what makes the season real for me is that wonderful white snow.

This might seem an odd introduction to an article about garages, but the truth is most homeowners aren’t swooning over snow every winter like me.

Snow and Ice are dangerous.

Especially if you aren’t set up to handle it.

This time of year we get a lot of questions from homeowners about building a new garage. Questions like:

“How big of a garage do I need? How do I know what will fit on my property?”

“What’s the best way to match a garage addition to my new house?”

“Is there an easy way to build a garage so I don’t have to slip on ice while hauling in the groceries?”


“When is the best time to build a garage addition?” 

Just imagine: 

…No more standing in the cold to scrape down your windshield wiper…

…Getting the kids settled into their car seats without getting soaked with sleet… 

…Never worrying about ice and hail damage again…

Sounds amazing, right? Well, let’s start with this question first:

“What’s Better? An Attached or Detached Garage?”

There are two styles of garages to choose from, each with different pros and cons. Let’s take a moment to break down the structural differences between each. 

Attached garages are built onto the home. 

When you think of a garage, this is the design that comes to mind. It blends in seamlessly with your home, matching both the siding and roofing. This garage is most often accessed through a door in the kitchen or side of the house. 

On the other hand, a detached garage is a structure separate from your home. 

It’s usually constructed near the back of your home, but can be built wherever there’s room. You see this style often on historic homes, or on homes who’ve built additional space to accommodate an RV or extra vehicle. 

Today we’re going to look at some of the biggest benefits and drawbacks of each style. First, let’s dive into the attached garage. 

Attached Garages: The Convenient Addition

Attached garage on home

Did you know that in 2019, 93% of new homes were built with an attached garage or carport

American’s love attached garages! The style was invented in the early 1940’s and the popularity just keeps growing!

The biggest pros for this style of garage is: 

    • Creates extra living space
    • It makes life so much easier for everyone!

With an attached garage, you can access your car without ever exposing yourself to the elements. 

That means:

….never running through the rain to get to your car

….never trying to wrangle and buckle a squirming toddler out to a car while it’s blowing -10 windchill on your face

….and never trying to unload and carry groceries over the snow or ice.

It’s convenient and comfortable. Period.

But the structural elements of adding an attached garage to an existing home can get tricky. 

When building attached garages, it’s built as another addition to your home. In order to create a cohesive look, that often means adding a space above the garage. 

Take this attached garage for example: 

Attached garage with living space

This garage was built with windows and a second story. 

Or look at this home: 

Garage addition with dormers

This home’s garage sits lower from the house’s roof, but the dormers offer a stylistic look that blends into the rest of the home. Adding dormers is a great way to create more home space, and we love seeing different approaches to this classic design. 

But this selling point (i.e more space!) is also one of the biggest setbacks when it comes to choosing a style of garage. Let’s look a little at the drawbacks to this home addition. 

Cons of Attached Garages

Garage addition

Before a homeowner comes to us with a project, they’ve usually done their own research. We love this! It makes discussing your new project easier. An informed homeowner is a smart homeowner, and we love all the feedback we can get.

There’s lots of great resources out there for homeowners- but you can’t take everything on the internet at face value. 

When it comes to attached garages, this is one of the most common misconceptions we hear: 

“Attached garages are cheaper, since you only need to build three new walls, instead of four.” 

And this would be true, if the extra wall accounted for the majority of building costs. But the truth is, that’s only a fraction of the expense of a new addition. 

A new attached garage is a completely new addition to your home. It comes with all the extra expenses of a new addition. 

Expenses like:

  • Electrical for outlets and lighting 
  • Matching your roofing and siding to the pre-existing structure
  • Retrofitting your home’s interior to accommodate a garage door

So when it comes to cost? Building an attached vs. detached garage isn’t going to save you as much as you think. In fact, the true cost of both options varies depending on your lot, your existing home, and your materials. 

It’s not to say an attached garage is a bad decision- far from it. 

In fact, this style of garage has an 81% return on investment. That’s the same ROI as a new bathroom addition! 

It’s the perfect upgrade for the money if you ever plan to sell your home. And for homeowners that have settled in for the long haul? The new space addition is a game changer. A place for your car in winter and extra living space? Yes please!

Detached Garages: History’s Favorite 

Detached Garage Addition

Did you know that garages used to only be at the back of the home? 

Original “garages” were converted carriage houses, accessed by an alley and hidden from view. 

Instead of seeing a garage when you pulled up to a house, porches served as the central focus of the home. As cars grew in popularity this design style changed, creating the attached garage. 

Upgrades are constantly being made in the world of construction. Vinyl siding pushed out aluminum. The rise in metal roofing continues to grow. Who knows what will change in the next 100 years of construction history?

Most construction innovations come about because we’ve learned from history. 

The detached garage is a great example of this. At first, they were replaced by the convenience of an attached garage. But now? Homeowners are falling in love with their outside spaces again. 

And when you build a detached garage? You can leave space for a porch upgrade down the road. 

Our love of the Pennsylvania outdoors isn’t the only reason the detached garage is growing in popularity. Consider this:

  • Detached garages are better for your lungs and health, According to the American Lung Association
  • In case of a break-in, the garage does not offer access to the rest of your home 
  • Detached garages can be built anywhere on your property

And although costs of attached vs. detached are variable…the cost of a detached garage is often lower than an attached garage! 

Because it’s a separate structure it doesn’t need to blend in seamlessly with your home. This offers more flexibility in construction materials. You also won’t need to change your home’s access points.

The Best Garage for Your Home

So, which garage is the best installation? Attached or detached?

Both are great options. Both protect your car and give you a little extra comfort in the winter. The right choice for you comes down to three factors: 

  • Your budget 
  • How you plan to use the space
  • Your home’s layout

For some homeowners, the increased living space is a big selling point. For others, building a detached garage means they can get a bigger space for hobbies and recreational vehicles for their budget. 

If building a garage is in your future plans- let’s talk! Vern and the crew can visit your home, hear your thoughts, and make a few insightful suggestions. Then our in-house architect can draw out your best option and give you material options that leave flexibility in your budget. 

We honestly want to build the best for our clients, which is why we always go the extra mile in making sure you feel comfortable with your choice before starting on a big project. If you still have questions about either style of garage, we’d love to talk with you. If you have a Pinterest board of ideas, we’d love to help conceptualize and start on your dream garage. 

Winter is just around the corner. Give us a call at 570-345-0436 to get started on your project before the snow starts!

Never miss an article! Keep up with the latest at Martin Roofing and Siding by signing up for our email list here: