Garage Building Kits - Styles of Prefab Garage Kits
Garage building kits offer the do-it-yourselfer a quick and easy way to build a garage and stay on a budget. There are a lot of advantages to using prefab garage kits. When you purchase a building package, there should be very few surprises that pop up during the building process.
All the dimensions have been worked out, window and door placement and sizes have already been planned, and there shouldn't be very many surprise trips to the hardware store to get materials that were forgotten. Ideally, the package you are using will have been built a number of times before, and most if not all the bugs should be worked out of the design.
Even if you are going to hire a contractor to build it for you, using a garage building kit can make sense. You should be able to save a considerable amount on labor, and the building should go together much more quickly than a structure that is built from scratch.
There are a number of different types of garage building kits, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a quick run-down of the different types of packages that are available.
Pre-cut Stick-built Wood Kits - These are built with common 2x lumber just like a stick frame building, but the lumber is already cut to size for you. (2x lumber = 2x4, 2x6, 2x8, etc.) The siding panels are usually also cut to size where necessary, although on some you must cut the gable siding to fit. All of the kits of this type that I have found so far have been for small to medium-sized one or two car garages, and some have the advantage of a storage loft.
Panelized Garage Kits - Usually made of wood, the walls are prebuilt into sections that you stand up, attach to your foundation, and then attach together. These prefab garage kits can use conventional 2x lumber and wood siding, or SIPs (structural insulated panels) for the walls. This type is also sometimes called a modular kit, and most can be built very quickly with a couple of helpers. Larger versions may require a crane for setting the components into place.
Here is a video showing how a panelized garage kit goes together, using structural insulated panels:
Pole Barn Kits - The structure is usually solid wood posts set into (or on top of) concrete, with horizontal slats attached to the posts and rafters. Metal or wood siding is then attached to the horizontal slats. They can use wooden trusses, rafters, or open web steel trusses for the roof structure. Pole barn kits are usually less expensive per square foot than other prefab garage kits. A pole barn kit is one of the least expensive ways to build a garage.
Post and Beam Garage Kits - These rustic buildings use solid wood posts and beams for the structure instead of the more conventional 2x lumber. The wood is usually already cut to size, and it is assembled much like a stick built building - one board (or post, or beam) at a time. Many are made to look like an old barn or carriage house, and some have log siding.
Log Garage Kits - Usually have either a stick built frame of 2x lumber, a pole-barn frame, or a post and beam frame, with wood log siding applied. Some are real solid log structures. Wood Log Siding is very versatile and can actually be installed on many types of garage building kits. It is an interesting option to keep in mind if you have a log home.
Modular Garages - The building is already assembled and is delivered to you like a mobile home. They can be done in sections like a double or triple-wide mobile home, and some are designed where you can have as many bays as you want side by side. This is certainly the quickest and easiest way to add extra indoor parking or storage space.
One possible disadvantage with a modular garage is that the building site has to be accessible by a truck and trailer. Many modular buildings also come with wood floors, which isn't the best type of floor for doing automotive work. It can actually cost extra to have one set onto a concrete slab!
Rigid Frame Steel Garage Buildings - Best suited for larger structures, these are made from solid steel beams bolted to a heavy concrete foundation. They typically have metal siding, but can be designed for stone, brick, stucco, etc. Most will require some sort of lifting equipment to set the heavy steel posts and roof girders into place. Most have a really low roof pitch and would look out of place in a residential neighborhood.
Steel Tube Buildings - Sometimes called a slip-fit frame, the structure is made up of sections of 2x3 or 2x4 light gauge steel tubing, with the ends of the tubes slid into each other. These kits usually come with metal siding, but some are designed to accept other types of siding. They go together very quickly, and most of the components are very light weight. No crane or heavy equipment required!
Steel Truss Buildings - Similar in construction to both the pole barn and the rigid frame steel building, these prefab garage kits use open-web steel trusses and columns for the structure. For a smaller garage, you may be able to get by with just human helpers for the construction, but larger buildings will require lifting equipment for the trusses.
Steel Arch Building - These garage building kits do not have an inner structure, but are made of sections of arched steel panels that are bolted together. They are easily identified from the outside by the curved roof peak and edges. All of them are at least loosely based on the WWII Quonset hut design. Most small to medium sized steel arch buildings can be assembled without lifting equipment.
As you can see, there are a lot of different options in garage building kits. With all the different types that are available, it is likely that one (or more) will suit your needs. For more in-depth information on each of the different kit types, explore the Related Pages menu at the top right side of this page. While any garage building kit will require some compromises, the time and possible cost savings they offer make it worth your while to take a look.