Pre Built Garages - The Limitations of Modular Garages

Pre built garages are the certainly the quickest and easiest way to add indoor storage or parking space. They are delivered to you already assembled, and are simply rolled off of a trailer onto your foundation. They can be set up and ready to use in a matter of one to two days. However, modular garages aren't the ideal solution for all situations, and they have some limitations.

As mentioned on my Modular Garages page, they are limited in size. If you need a 36' x 36' garage with the doors offset to one side, it probably isn't feasible to get a modular garage kit. The same thing goes if you need a full 2-story garage with an apartment overhead.

Also, many multi-car pre built garages have partial interior walls or posts between the bays, which can get in the way. This is especially troublesome if you plan on doing automotive repair or restoration work in the garage. It will also be difficult to find a modular garage kit that has enough height inside for a vehicle lift.

Delivery charges can get very expensive if you are very far away from the factory. All pre-built garages are considered wide loads, and 14' wide sections can be several hundred dollars more expensive to deliver than 12' wide units. Many suppliers offer "free" delivery within a certain number of miles from the factory, but beyond that range it will likely cost you several dollars per mile. It is usually best to "buy local" with prefab garages.

Speaking of delivery, since prefab garages come to you in large units, the building site must be readily accessible by a truck with a large trailer. If you live 2 miles up a winding, narrow mountain road, the truck and trailer may not be able to get the building to you.

Do you have a gate at the entrance to your driveway with stone posts set 10 feet apart? Are there fences, hedges or trees that would be in the way of a truck and trailer? If so, a modular garage kit may not be practical. You will need as much as 50-60 feet of level, open space in front of (or behind) the building site in order for the building to be delivered.

Here is a video that gives you a good idea of how the delivery process works. This shows how the two halves of a two car garage are delivered, set up and joined together:

One thing to keep in mind when comparing pre built garages to other building types is that the dimensions listed for modular garages usually include the overhangs. Most other building types list outside wall dimensions, and don't include the overhangs. A 24' wide modular garage kit may be more than a foot narrower inside than a 24' wide stick built structure or pole barn kit.

Another point to consider is that most prefab buildings are designed and built with a wood floor. If you are going to use the building for automotive work, a concrete floor is a much better choice. A prefab building can be specially built to be set onto a concrete slab, but some sort of a floor structure still has to be in place in order to transport the building.

What that means is that they have to build the garage with a temporary floor structure that then has to be removed once it is on your site. So a prefab building without a floor can actually be more expensive than one that includes the wooden floor!

If you can live with the limitations, a modular garage kit is certainly the quickest and easiest way to put up a garage. The cost is usually less than you would pay a contractor to build the same size building for you from scratch. Plus you don't have to deal with the mess that construction creates, or deal with the hassle of having strangers coming and going for weeks on end while a conventional structure is being built.

There are some really neat designs available - some have a big loft with a full-size stairway, and you can get as many bays as you want lined up side-by-side with some designs. Pre built garages are an attractive choice for getting it "done" so you can move on to other things.

To read more about prefab garages, visit my page on Modular Garages. You may also be interested in looking at prefabricated garage kits and the different prefab garage kit types. Take a look at our Related Pages menu on the right near the top of this page for information on other building types. A pre built garage sure is a quick and easy option, as long as it suits your particular situation.

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