How to build your own garage for cheap

Updated February 21, 2017

Design a garage to build inexpensively by constructing a one-car structure with an A-frame roof pitched to harmonise with your home's existing roof line. Steer clear of building a flat roof to save money, since you don't want to detract from your home's value. To build cheap, you will need to enclose the garage in exterior-grade masonry siding versus brick or breeze blocks. An inexpensive garage is more doable by utilising some recycled materials as well. For example, you might use windows someone removed from their home during a remodel.

Decide the exact perimeter of the garage and dig footings for a concrete pour. Hire a builder to lay a short foundation wall around the perimeter. Have him construct the wall by using mortar to lay just two rows of breeze blocks directly on the concrete footings. This wall will support the wooden garage framing to be built. When foundation blocks are laid, be sure to leave a drive-in opening for the car at ground level. Put down 7.5 cm (3 inches) of gravel on top of the dirt to make an inexpensive floor.

Begin framing the walls and roof area by installing the first row of lumber around the breeze blocks. Use 10 cm (4 inch) concrete nails to secure 5 x 20 cm (2 x 8 inch) boards (lying flat capping the block perimeter) to the blocks. Place metal flashing between the wood and the breeze blocks. Frame the garage walls with 5 x 20 cm (2 x 8 inch) timber to include openings for windows and a walkout door. Buy roof trusses or build your own rafters onsite with 5 x 20 cm (2 x 8 inch) timber. Nail exterior masonry siding into place to cover the exterior. Secure siding with 10 cm (4 inch stainless steel flathead screws. Fit the pieces as tightly together at the seams as possible and caulk seams.

Install doors, windows and guttering next. Find a used garage door and used windows to install, if possible. Trade with friends or place an ad in a local paper. Refinish rough garage door and windows by sanding and painting before installing. Find a side door to install as a walkout door on the garage. A side door is essential since a garage can catch fire and you'll need an escape route.

Install roofing and surrounding materials. Install 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) exterior-grade plywood to cover the roof and box in overhangs. Nail shingles into place. Hang guttering with 25 cm (10 inch) guttering nails. Install downspouts and lay pre-made concrete splashblocks. If you don't want to invest in downspouts and splashblocks, create an inexpensive way to carry off rain. A corrugated hose material attached to top guttering can serve as a downspout. Use a large barrel to catch the rain.

Hang the garage door on hinges after you've installed extra framing at the door opening to hold the weight of the door. Install tracking for garage doors, if you want to include it in your budget. Spend time to make the garage door either swing open easily on strong hinges or fine-tune the tracking so the door will rise easily. How well the garage door works will make using the garage much handier.


Cut the price of roofing by using recycled tin you've painted. If your local building regulations aren't strict, you can roof the garage with corrugated plastic sheets. Create a rain-tight roof with any inexpensive materials since water leakage defeats the purpose of housing a car and stored items in the garage. To build cheap, construct the framing well so you can replace materials in a year or two. Go online to learn creative ways to utilise all types of inexpensive building materials.


Paint or stain the garage to match your house. This is one area where buying correct colours is important to keep from devaluing your home. Use a paint or stain in a complimentary hue if you can't match it exactly. Roll on the paint or stain with a 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) nap paint roller. Paint trim with natural bristle brushes for a smooth finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Building permit
  • 5 x 20 cm (2 x 8 inch) timber boards
  • Concrete
  • Breeze blocks
  • Mortar mix
  • Masonry exterior siding
  • 10 cm (4 inch) stainless steel flathead nails
  • 10 cm (4 inch) stainless steel flathead screws
  • Electric screwdriver
  • Asphalt shingles
  • 25 cm (10 inch) guttering nails
  • Exterior grade plywood
  • Paint or stain
  • 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) nap paint roller
  • Various sizes of paint brushes
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About the Author

Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.