How Much Does A Cinder Block Garage Cost?
Adding a garage can be one of the best home improvements to increase the value of your home. Cinder blocks are an easy building material to use to build a new garage, as well as sturdy. But, how much do they really cost?
Depending on your project location, cinder block walls cost on average $9-12 per square foot. However, the walls are just a portion of the total cost. The average garage costs about $49/square foot (sf). The average two-car garage, about 400 sf, is around $20,000. Hiring a contractor will be an additional cost.
We’ll break down everything that goes into building a cinder block garage. We’ll also cover the approximate cost for common materials as well as the total.
Cost of Cinder Block Garage Materials
Buying materials yourself and building your garage is the cheapest way to build a garage. However, the task is not easy, time-consuming, and can become costly. Factor in a lot of miscellaneous supplies and tools as well as design and permit fees if required by your city.
Here’s a breakdown of the most common costs of cinder block garage materials:
|Material||Cost per Unit|
|Cinder blocks||$1.20-$2.50 each|
|Cinder block walls (blocks and grout)||$9-12/sf|
|Foundation (slab on grade)||$3-4/sf|
|Garage Door (single)||$350-1000 each|
|Garage Door (double)||$750-2000 each|
|Lighting (each fixture)||$25-100|
|Exterior Vinyl Siding||$4-6.50/sf|
How Big of a Garage Do You Need?
To determine how many materials you need to buy, first determine how big of a garage you’ll need. Consider other uses you might need beyond parking your vehicles. Garages are often used for storage, workshops, laundry, or mechanical equipment.
Evaluate the types of cars you and your family like to drive. If you only drive compact cars, you can build a smaller garage. But, if your family leans towards large trucks or SUVs, you might want to build a bigger garage.
A single car garage is about 12’ wide and 20’ long. This doesn’t allow for much space for storage. A two-car garage is typically around 22’ wide and 20’ long. If you have larger vehicles or want more space for working, consider adding 2-6’ on each dimension.
Garage doors come in distinct sizes, like a 9’ or 10’ single door for one car, or maybe a 16’ wide door for two cars. If you want an extra wide two-car garage, consider installing two, single garage doors for each vehicle.
Building A Block Garage
How to Estimate the Materials You’ll Need
Estimating the total cost of building a cinder block garage doesn’t have to take a long time. With a rough idea of how big you might want your garage to be, sharpen your pencils and break out a calculator.
Calculate the area you will have in your floor, walls, and roof. For example, a small two-car garage that is 12’ x 20’ is approximately 240 square feet. A larger two-car garage that is 18’ x 24’ is 432 sf.
The foundation of your garage will be the footprint of your garage. Using the total area of your garage, you can estimate how much your foundation will cost.
Typically, the foundation will be a post-tensioned or poured concrete slab. Post-tensioned slabs have less concrete due to the reinforcing tendons in the slab. Poured concrete slabs are typically cheaper, despite being thicker.
Post-tensioned slabs cost between $4-5/sf, while poured concrete slabs cost about $3-4. For our two-car garage example of 450 sf, the foundations would cost between $1,350-2,250.
Cinder block walls are easy to build. Grout keeps the blocks together so that the bricks stack like lego bricks. Sometimes the contractor inserts rebar through the blocks to reinforce tall walls. The contractor may also fill the openings of the blocks with additional concrete.
Cinder block walls average between $9-12 per sf. To estimate how much the walls will cost, find your wall area. Measure the length of the walls from the perimeter of your foundation. Then, consider how tall you want your garage walls to be. Normal garages are around 9-10’ tall. Multiply the length by the height to find the area.
A two-car garage that is about 22’ x 20’and is 9’ feet tall will need about 756 sf of cinder block walls. The approximate cost of cinder block walls would be about $6,800 – $9,075.
To provide shelter for the contents of your garage, you’ll need a roof. There are many roofing options to consider. A simple gabled roof will provide shelter and protection for a reasonable price.
Trusses, which frame the room, attach to the top of the walls. Plywood sheathing goes on top of the structure, with the roofing material on top of that. Shingles are common and easy to install.
Simple roofs cost around $8.50 per square foot. Our 22’ x 20’ garage has an area of 440 sf, but the roof will have slightly more area due to the slope. If the point of the roof is 2’ taller than the walls, the total area will be about 450 sf. Therefore, the garage roofing costs about $3,000.
It’s important to also consider insulation under the roof. Insulation will keep your garage cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Check out our post on different types of insulation – remember that wall insulation is similar to what can be used under the roof as well.
When shopping for garage doors, consider if you want your garage door insulated or not. You can also choose doors that have windows, or ones with custom finishes on the outside. High-end garage doors may also have Bluetooth integration to control the door through an app on your phone.
The more features you add, the more the door will cost. Single garage doors cost between $350-1000, while double garage doors cost between $750-2000.
Electrical Components and Lighting
A garage doesn’t just need a floor and walls. Having an electric garage door, or code required lighting, will mean you’ll need electrical equipment.
We discussed how to add a subpanel to a detached garage in our post here. We noted that it costs around $1,200 and up to $5,000 to add a subpanel, not even including labor. Conduit, wiring, power outlets, and lighting all will add to that total cost.
Low-cost light fixtures average about $25-50 each, but high-end light fixtures could cost $100 or more. If you want a lot of light in your garage, you may need to spend about $200-500 in lighting.
If you use your garage as a workshop or plan to install a washer and dryer or an HVAC unit, you may need plenty of large or specialty outlets.
With cinder-block walls, you have to route the conduit on the exterior of the blocks. If you are not finishing the inside of your garage, you will need surface mounted outlets, conduits, and panels. To hide the wiring, you may want to install drywall on top of the cinder blocks for a finished look.
The cheapest way to build a cinder block garage lays bare the cinder blocks. However, adding finishing touches means adding finishes to the structure. Exterior finish options include stucco, siding, bricks, or other types of veneers.
Interior walls are usually constructed of drywall and paint. All these finishes add cost to the total project. Vinyl siding costs about $4-6.50/sf. Stucco may be a bit cheaper, around $3-6/sf. In our two-garage example with about 750 sf of exterior walls. Exterior finishes for a cinder block garage would cost about $2,250-$4,875.
The interior walls have slightly less area due to the thickness of the walls themselves. A similar area would be about $1-3/sf for drywall and $1-3.50 for paint, for a total between $1,500 – $4,500.
Design and Permit Fees
Some cities will require that homeowners obtain a building permit to build their garage. Be sure to call your city’s building department to ask them for a checklist.
- Do they need construction plans (blueprints) that are stamped by an architect or contractor?
- Can a homeowner build their structure, and if so, what are the limitations for reselling the home?
- What do permit fees cost?
- How long does the permitting process take?
Getting this info before you start your project can save you time and money. No one wants to get flagged to a city inspector and fined for building without a permit.
What Does a Contractor Charge to Build a Garage?
The cost of constructing a cinder block garage yourself will be much lower than hiring a contractor to do the work. However, hiring a contractor has many benefits, including:
- Experience – the right contractor will have relevant experience that demonstrates their skills constructing your project
- Time – contractors and subcontractors can typically perform the work in far less time than someone who doesn’t do it every day.
- Manual Labor – hiring someone to do the work will save yourself the physical work, which may be a benefit especially if you’re not in peak health.
- Accountability – an experienced contractor should provide satisfactory results. If something doesn’t work or fails within their warranties, you can ask them to fix or repair it.
Many contractors in your area would be willing to provide a cost estimate free of charge and without commitment to hiring them for the project. An easy rule of thumb is that labor typically adds 1-2x the cost of the materials. If your garage costs about $20,000 to build yourself (without permit fees), the labor might be another $20,000-$40,000.
Cinder block walls are an easy and sturdy way to build a garage. You can estimate the cost of building one yourself or hiring a contractor, with this guide. Construction costs will vary depending on the demand of the market, availability of labor, and even the location of your project.
Let your creativity run wild while you imagine the workshop garage of your dreams. With a design that fits your budget, you can add value to your home with this simple addition.
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