With material costs fluctuating, and different sizes and types of garages on the market, it can be difficult to get an idea of what a garage is going to cost you. But we also know that understanding cost is one of the most important parts of the planning stage. You need to know how much to budget.
If you’re looking for a concrete guide to what a garage is going to cost you and what you’re going to get for that price, then look no further.
Firstly – what can affect the cost of your garage project?
There are two main things here;
- Items within your control. These include the size of the garage you opt for, the quality, the finishings, the base work, electricity, painting etc.
- Items outside your control. This includes material and labour costs etc.
In this blog, we’re going to focus on costs within your control by comparing two of the most commonly sought-after garage sizes. A 4.8m x 3.0m single garage and a 6m x 5m double garage. We’re also going to cover the differences between a cheap and an expensive garage.
After reading this blog, you will be confident in reviewing different garage solutions by considering the value they provide and the cost they incur. At the end of the day, these are the two most important factors that will help you decide which garage is going to be right for you.
Now, a quick disclaimer – at Gillies and Mackay, we build timber garages. That’s right, we don’t build concrete garages, brick garages or steel garages, so for this blog, we’re going to focus on timber garages.
If you’re ready, we’re ready, so let’s dive in…
How much does a timber garage cost?
So what does it cost to construct a garage?
As we have already discovered, this is a broad topic with no right or wrong answer. It’s possible to find garages from £2,500, right through to £30,000 depending on a number of factors.
To simplify things though, we can break this question down into two parts. This way, we will get the best overview of the costs involved in installing a garage.
- Single Garage – Cheap vs Expensive
- Large Garage – Cheap vs Expensive
How much does it cost to install a single timber garage?
For this, we’re going to use the most common single garage size in the UK, 4.8m x 3.0m.
To clarify, when we talk about a single garage, we’re talking about somewhere that you can store one car and maybe a few bits and bobs from the house nestled in at the same time.
The cheapest 4.8m x 3.0m single ‘garage’ at the time of writing is £2,509. With that in mind, you can expect to pay anywhere from £2,500 to £3,000 for a cheap single garage.
A quality garage of that size, on the other hand, is going to set you back around £5,000-£6,000. That’s quite a difference that we need to explore later!
How much does it cost to install a double timber garage?
For a double garage, we are going to compare garages that are right to the building control limit of 30m2. The garages then will be 6m x 5m.
If you need two cars to be locked away, this is the size of a garage for you. Maybe you don’t even need to store two cars, but you fancy storing one and having a workshop on the other side…6m x 5m garage.
The cheapest 6m x 5m double garage at the time of writing is actually as cheap as £4,957, but that’s without any roofing material. By the time you add in felt as an additional extra, you’re looking at £5,940. With that in mind then, expect to pay anywhere from £6,000 to £7,000 for a cheap double garage.
P.S, you’re definitely going to need the felt!
A quality garage of that size on the other hand is going to cost you anywhere from £11,000 – £14,000. Again, nearly double the cost so there must be quite a difference that we need to dive into.
SPOILER ALERT – these quality double garages are great!
What are the differences between a cheap garage and an expensive garage?
You’re probably wondering why there is such a big difference between the price of cheap and expensive garages in both styles? The saying goes: “you get what you pay for”, and this is definitely the case with timber garages.
There are three factors that influence why a garage would be cheap or expensive:
Quality is the biggest topic to cover and this impacts the longevity of your building. Services are what you can expect a garage supplier to do for you during the process.
Let’s start with the big one then, shall we? Quality…
Quality of a Cheap Garage
Quality, quality, quality…it’s all about three things.
- Type of Timber
- Wall Structure
- Roofing Material
Each of these is going to play a massive role in the quality of the garage. Let’s take a look at the timber first.
1. Timber Quality of a Cheap Garage
Typically, when looking at cheap garages, you can expect companies to use European softwoods – specifically, whitewood.
Sounds like a load of garage jargon, right?
Well, let’s break it down.
European softwoods…whilst there are a lot of good timber suppliers in Europe, there are also a lot of bad timber suppliers. It’s important, therefore, to find out where the timber is being sourced. This is because the climate affects its quality.
Hotter climates facilitate faster growth and thus, weaker timber. Cold, harsh climates such as Scandinavian countries on other hand, create strong, dense timber.
If companies give a vague region, it is possible they could be trying to hide something – so always ask.
Whitewood…the age-old question of whitewood vs redwood. Luckily for you, we’ve already done a whole other blog on this that you can read below. To sum it up, redwood is grown more slowly, giving the timber grains time to compact together, making the timber denser. Whitewood, on the other hand, is grown rapidly.
This means that the timber in cheap garages is likely not as dense and therefore, not as strong.
- Related content: Redwood vs Whitewood: What’s the difference?
2. Wall Structure of a Cheap Garage
The walls are what give the building its structural integrity. Typically, cheap garages have a one-tier wall structure comprised of two parts;
Firstly, let’s look at the weatherboard. In a cheap garage, you can expect timber that is around 12mm thick. The timber is often joined together using a shiplap profile. For framing, you can expect something along the lines of 60mm x 45mm to be used.
Now, what does that mean and is it actually any good?
Well, unfortunately, the old saying is true here…’ you get what you pay for’. We would compare this wall structure to that of an average shed…yes, a shed. Whilst this might be good enough to keep a structure the size of a garden shed standing, we certainly wouldn’t recommend it for structures that are 4.8m x 3.0m and used to store your valuable items.
- Related content: Big shed vs timber garage: what is the difference?
When looking at the weatherboard, we would recommend seeking a building that is at least 16mm, ideally 19mm at this size if it’s a one-tier wall structure – 12mm just isn’t thick enough.
Furthermore, the joints in the wood play a vital role in its quality. As mentioned, shiplap is common in cheaper examples. This is where the weatherboard simply slots on top of one another.
With timber being porous and moving small amounts from time to time, the join here is simply going to weaken and pull apart. It’s really important then to look for a tongue and groove profile, or something equivalent…more on that later.
Framing-wise, at least 60mm x 45mm just isn’t going to give the garage the support it needs. Remember, these are garages – buildings that are supposed to be big enough to store a car – they need to be structurally sound. We recommend keeping your eye out for at least 75mm x 45mm.
Side note – interlocking log garages.
These are other common types of garages that you will find on the cheaper side of the scale. Interlocking log garages are advertised as being 44mm thick. Whilst this is completely true, the structure has no internal framing and relies on the thickness of the timber to give it its thickness.
In colder environments such as the UK, this structure is often susceptible to warping and cracking – not great. You can read more about the interlocking log structure in the blog below.
- Related content: Log Cabin vs Garden Room
3. Roofing of a Cheap Garage
Last but not least, let’s talk about the roofing material on top of some examples of cheap garages
Typically, you can expect to find felt. Felt has been the standard for years now and is okay for garages, but not great. With garages being wide structures, the pitch (or angle) of the roof is quite mellow. This means that when rain lands on top, it’s not going to run off very well. This build-up of rain puts unexpected weight on the roof, testing the strength of the building. The constant build-up of rain also means that your building is going to be exposed to a lot of water – so expect to replace the felt every 5-10 years.
In some instances, we found garages that had no roofing material. Yes…none at all. Leaving bare, untreated timber constantly exposed to the elements offers no protection. In scenarios like this, the roof timber will be at an increased risk of water ingress and thus rot. This means that your garage structure is going to be compromised.
When looking for roofing materials, we always recommend trying to find something durable such as a steel box profile roofing material or equivalent.
How long does a cheap garage last?
Overall then, with the quality of the materials used in a cheap garage, you can expect a building in this price range to last approximately 5-15 years, depending on how well you look after it.
What services can I expect with my cheap garage?
It’s also worth noting that on a lot of cheaper garages, you will be left to complete the installation/construction yourself. If you don’t feel confident doing this, it’s another cost that you will have to factor in.
Phew, that was a lot…onto the quality garages now…
Quality of the Expensive Garage
Now let’s take a look at the quality of the expensive garages, remembering our three categories;
- Type of Timber
- Wall Structure
- Roofing Material
1. Timber Quality of a Quality Garage
When it comes to timber quality in a quality garage, it’s unlikely that you will find suppliers cutting corners here.
Redwood should be used in most buildings. As previously mentioned, redwood is grown in slower climates, allowing more time for the grains to compact and be dense. This means that you have a stronger, higher quality timber than other whitewood alternatives.
Secondly, a reputable timber source can often be found on the website. Some reputable sources include Scandinavian countries such as Norway or Sweden. If a company is serious about their garages, you might even find Siberian Larch mentioned – one of the best types of softwood!
2. Wall Structure of a Quality Garage
In our opinion, this is where a garage truly becomes a garage.
The cheap garages we have previously mentioned have a one-tier wall structure, comparable to that of a shed.
When looking for a quality garage, however, you want to keep an eye out for a ‘Three Tier Wall Construction’. These buildings comprise three main parts;
- External Weatherboard
- Breather Cavity
- Internal Finish and Framing
Let’s break that down…
Let’s start with the weatherboard first. In our experience, you want to look for a weatherboard that is at least 16mm thick, but ideally 19mm. It should also have a tongue and groove profile. This join acts like a lock and a key, with one slotting into the other, and is far superior to the overlapping shiplap method. This is because it gives the timber a tighter finish, preventing too much movement. The tongue and groove profile is also more resistant to coming apart if the weatherboard does move.
A breather cavity is the next part of the three-tier wall structure and is what separates the external weatherboard and the internal finish of the garage. The purpose of the cavity is to prevent moisture from penetrating the garage and coming into contact with the internal lining. A side benefit of the cavity is that it also acts as a layer of thermal insulation…
Lastly, the internal finish and framing of a garage are important. Typically, when looking at quality garages, you will find that they have a timber sheet finished between the cavity and the framing. OSB is commonly used and it provides structural support to the building, as well as another moisture barrier. Framing-wise, something 95mm x 45mm or above will be adequate enough to properly brace the building.
This type of wall structure is compliant with building control and is going to give your building the utmost protection, keeping it fresh for years to come.
P.S – there’s also usually a vapour membrane in there too which is another layer to keep the water out still.
A Five Tier Wall Finish?!
If you really want the ‘fue she-bang’, it is possible to find a garage with five-tier wall construction. These are identical to your three-tier walls, except they also contain insulation between the framing and lining on top. You could live in one of those!
3. Roofing Material of a Quality Garage
The most commonly used roofing material on a quality garage roof is Steel Box Profile roofing. The steel box roofing is often galvanised, meaning that it is protected against rust. It’s usually bolted onto the internal cladding of the building too. This means that in windy conditions, you can be certain that your garage roof covering won’t be going anywhere.
At Gillies and Mackay, we use a Steel Box Profile Roofing from Planwell in Buckie. They supply the roofing with a 20-year guarantee…but its lifespan is well beyond that.
Other alternatives include an EPDM Membrane. This is a chemically manufactured roofing type that is made from ethylene, propylene and diene. EPDM roofing has a life expectancy very similar to that of steel and is great roofing material.
How long will an expensive garage last?
Overall, the materials used in the quality garage are going to mean that your building will last a lot longer than the cheap garage. At Gillies and Mackay, we believe that if you are buying a garage, you should only have to buy it once, so keep a lookout for each of the factors that impact quality.
As well as increasing the lifespan of your garage, buying a quality garage will also improve its efficiency whilst in use. A quality timber garage will look and feel better, as well as protect your valuables inside better too.
What services can I expect with an expensive garage?
Better than that?
Most quality garages include installation in the cost. With your garage supplier erecting the building on-site, you can be sure that the full build process is in the hands of the experts who have completed the build from start to finish. The erection on site is just as important as the manufacturing in the workshop and getting this part right can also drastically increase the longevity of your building.
To conclude then, an expensive garage = hassle-free garaging.
Why is the price of a cheap garage different from a quality garage?
To sum the above up, a cheap garage will last you 5-15 years depending on how you look after it. The materials used, the structure and the services provided are far inferior to that of an expensive garage.
If you need a garage that is built to last and that you only want to buy once, a quality garage will shine. The quality garage is made of far superior materials and the services provided with it are often second to none. Quality communication, delivery, installation and brilliant after-sales. Meanwhile, your garage is going to incur fewer problems and be less maintenance.
Oh…did we mention it was going to look a lot better too? 😉
Other Costs to Consider
Now that we have covered the cost of a garage and you have a rough idea of which route (cheap or quality) you would like to go down, let’s take a look at the other factors involved in the cost.
Timber Garage Basework
To install a garage correctly, you need the correct foundations. The most common type of foundation for a timber garage is a concrete pad. We recommend setting aside a provision of anywhere from £2,500 to £8,000 for this depending on the size of the garage you decide to opt for, the supplier you use and the amount of work that needs to be done to the existing site.
If you’re in Scotland, and you’re looking for a recommended, trusted and quality groundwork team to install a concrete plinth for you, we would recommend the team at Carmichael and Baxter.
- READ MORE: What kind of base do you need for a garage?
Electricity for timber garages…
Electricity costs can vary widely and for that reason, we recommend that you seek a quote from an electrician.
Things such as where the power will be coming from, how complex the wiring needs to be, how many fixings, finishings etc your garage will have and if you decide to opt for a garage door can all vary the cost of getting electricity installed in your garage.
Timber garage round-up…
The cost of a garage is going to widely vary depending on the size and quality of the garage you go for. In this we’re more looking at the estimated cost of building a garage.
But you knew that already and that’s not what you came here for, so here are four possible scenarios.
If you’re looking to install a small, cheap single garage, expect to spend around £5,000 to £6,500. But if you want to opt for a small, quality single garage, expect to spend around £7,500 to £10,000.
However, if you’re looking to install a large, cheap double garage, expect to spend around £9500 to £12,000. And, if you’re looking to install a large, expensive double garage, expect to spend around £15,000 plus.
Your garage project can take lots of different shapes and sizes, but it’s important to remember that you pick what is right for you.
What garage is right for you?
Now that you know the rough costs of each project and the differences between cheap and quality, it’s up to you to decide what building is going to suit you best.
If you’re leaning towards a quality garage, perhaps we could help? Why not share your garage project with us during a 30-minute consultation where we will be able to listen to your ideas, understand your project and see what we can do to best suit it.