Modular Garages - Quick and Easy Pre Built Garages
Need a garage in a hurry? Modular garages are the quickest and easiest way to get a garage and be done with it! Modular building kits have a number of advantages over more conventional building methods:
- You don't have to deal with a contractor or multiple subcontractors.
- Installation can be done in 1-2 days (once you have the foundation prepared).
- Less chance for delays due to inclement weather.
- Factory built means that everything should be square and plumb.
- Usually less expensive than a stick-built garage of the same size.
Single car pre built garages are usually delivered completely finished. Since there are no separate sections to join together, single car modular garages can be simply rolled off of a trailer, fastened to the foundation, and you're done! The most common width is 12 feet, and the maximum width in most cases is 14 feet due to load width limits on public roads. Modular buildings in general have a length limit of 40 to 48 feet, again because of trailer length restrictions.
Two-car modular garage kits are delivered in two halves, and usually come in widths of 20, 24, or 28 feet. 28 feet is the maximum width to have the vehicle doors on the gable end, because of the 14 foot width limit for transport on most roads. Just like single car pre built garages, the length limit is 40-48 feet.
There are some manufacturers that offer multi-car pre built garage kits with the vehicle doors on the eave side instead of on the gable end. This allows you to have three or four garage bays if you want. It can be done in two different ways. One way is for each 12' or 14' wide bay to be built separately, and then the bays are rolled off the trailer(s) and set next to each other. The other way is to build a 12' or 14' deep front half of the garage with three or four vehicle doors, and then attach a back half to it. Need a three or four car garage built quickly? This is the way to do it!
One thing you need to keep in mind when looking at the different sizes is that typically, the size listed for a modular building includes the roof overhangs. With a traditional building, a 24 x 24 size actually is 24' from the outside of one wall to the outside of the opposite wall, and the roof overhangs extend beyond the 24' distance. If you are looking at a modular building with 12" overhangs all around, a "24 x 24" garage may actually only be 22' from outside wall to outside wall. Make sure you pay attention to how they are defining the size of any modular building you are looking at.
Modular buildings can be ordered either with or without a wood floor. The advantage to a wood floor is that it can be set on a pad of crushed stone or compacted gravel, which is less expensive than a concrete slab. The disadvantage of a wood floor is that it is not really the best type for automotive repair work. The wood surface will be damaged by fluid spills and by floor jacks or jack stands, which concentrate a heavy load on a very small area. A concrete pad is preferable for a garage in most cases.
Modular garage kits are not limited to single story structures. A number of sources offer pre built garages with a loft or a second floor. The structure is built with the roof connected to the side walls by a hinge mechanism. The roof is laid flat for transport, and then raised into place after the building is unloaded from the trailer. The gable ends are then put into position, and the building is set onto the foundation. If you need extra height inside and don't need a loft, some of these can be ordered with a cathedral ceiling instead of the second floor.
Here is a video showing how the process works. The interesting part starts at about the 2:45 mark:
Another option for a modular garage is a panelized building. With a panelized structure, the factory builds the walls in sections or panels, including the exterior sheeting. The panels can be framed using regular 2x lumber just like a stick-built building, or they can be made of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). SIPs are made of two sheets of OSB with a thick layer of solid foam insulation sandwiched between them.
The panels typically are made with the door and window openings already framed in. The wall sections are delivered to the building site along with roof trusses, roof sheeting, doors and windows. Sometimes the exterior siding and roof shingles are included too.
The panels are then stood up and attached to the foundation or floor, and to each other to form the walls. The rest of the structure is then built like a conventional stick-frame building.
A panelized building goes up much quicker than a conventional stick-built structure, but obviously not as quick as the buildings above that are essentially just delivered and set into place. One advantage of a panelized building is that there aren't really any size limitations like there are with the fully-built structures.
Modular garages certainly have some advantages, but they aren't really practical for every situation. To find out why, visit my page on the limitations of Pre-Built Garages. Take a look at our menu of Related Pages for information on other alternatives. You may especially be interested in looking at prefabricated garage kits and the different prefab garage kit types. If you need a garage built in a hurry though, you really can't beat having one of the modular garages above delivered to your door!