The Maryland Garage. New design, Classic feel.

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 by Sophie Haba

The Maryland Garage. New design, Classic feel.

I like working on cars and bicycles year 'round.  In spring, I need a place to tune up the lawn mower. I also like playing ping-pong on rainy summer days and notgetting slammed by inclement weather in the winter.  

Over the past 30 years, I have built garages of all types and for all sorts of uses. In Columbia, Ellicott City, Clarksville and Fulton. Basically, all over Howard County. Some detached, some with stairs to an existing basement. Some with independent heating and air conditioning for pets, even some with doggy doors!

Back home, our garage serves as an all purpose a staging area for events, imagine a mass t-shirt decorating project for the girl scouts. Having garage space for this kind of thing is simply critical.

Cars, storage, and hobbies are really just the beginning. If you are considering adding or re-modeling  a garage, I can really understand the need, I certainly spend a lot of time in mine.

Don't ignore the space above. Sometimes a 4' x 22' area covered with simple sub flooring is perfect! The additional attic storage can be a real plus.  It can also be cost effective to pre-order truss components with the attic space already built in and accessible using pull down steps that can be rated up to 400 lbs!

Each home has all kinds of garage/ attic configuration possibilities. It can be as simple as a  suspended bike rack so they can be hoisted to the ceiling, or as complex as adding a master suite above for more living space.

I have had the pleasure of designing and building garages with work space for artisans of all skill levels. a "shop" style garage can be especially challenging when specialty equipment, such as kilns, compressors, big saws, welding gear and car lifts become involved. When planning a custom garage, it is important to pay attention to the basics, and make sure they are done exactly right. For example, the existing slab may be constructed over large amounts of fill due to changing grades.  This has to be executed properly to avoid cracks and settling.  These issues can be quite expensive to repair and can create real headaches in the years to come, so its important (and easier) to do it right the first time

Driveways accompanying a garage build are just as critical.  What will the new small road be built with?

Stamped concrete driveways were once the "rage"  in Columbia and Ellicott City, many homes still feature the concrete stamped driveways we have installed over the years. Although they looked quite impressive when new, over time the concrete can be susceptible to cracking and chipping  and can be unsightly and hard to repair.

In recent years, driveways with "custom" look have become popular. I have always thought pavers (could be impervious) to be a better long term "luxury driveway."  Also consider crushed stone, asphalt, or brushed concrete, the options really are endless, have fun! But take the time to get the substrate right. 

Aesthetics are important in today's garage designs. Some garages incorporate gables on the front elevation; combined with a Portico and new shutters, garages can become a visually pleasing part of a "total exterior makeover." That can be an indispensible asset when it's time to sell and move on to your next home. 

Whatever you decide to install for your home be sure to dream big! ROI on garages is at the top of the list, but as always when building; good design, planning and follow through is king and experience counts.

What ever you do with your family, There will be plenty of memories to savor from the old (new) garage.

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