What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Drive Under Garage?

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what are the pros and cons of a drive under garage

Drive under garages are also sometimes referred to as basement garages. The style is described as when the home is built directly over the garage. For reference, most other garage styles are considered attached garages.

A drive under garage is usually one that is located at the low end of a sloped driveway. Because it is sloped and below ground level, you’re driving under the home to park.

The advantages of drive under basements are that they don’t count toward your home’s square footage, making them easier to build. Other pros include separation from the rest of your house for privacy, the ability to use it as a gym or storage, and in some cases can be used as livable space. Disadvantages include the high cost to build, the smell coming up to your house, and possible safety hazards like fire or electrical failures.

Drive under garages can be converted into additional living space or simply be effective parking spaces for your cars. Ultimately you will need to make the decision of whether potential benefits outweigh the risks of a drive under garage.

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What is a Drive Under Garage?

A drive under garage is attached to the home, but more specifically, drive under garages are typically directly below the house. In most cases, they are essentially acting as both a basement and a garage in one. Thus, a drive under garage can be beneath ground level or on the ground but will still be considered the home’s main or first level.

Beneath ground level is not to be mistaken with underground. In the case of these drive under garages, they are simply garages placed at the bottom of a sloped driveway. If you were to be standing on the street, facing the home, there would be a descent into the garage. At the same time, you would be eye level with the main floor(s).

Drive under garages can be built as a stylistic choice or as a functional one. Oftentimes, dense cities will utilize drive under garages as they don’t take up much space. In places where space is a commodity, drive under garages may be the only choice.

However, in other areas, such as sprawling suburbs, drive under garages can be used for stylistic purposes. Drive under garages can also be used for convenience factors in some cases, which align with the pros listed below.

Pros of Drive Under Garages

Various pros could make the drive under garage worthwhile for specific households. However, it’s important to remember that every situation is unique and will therefore require different things.

Potential Convenience

Drive Under Garages can be highly convenient. If you’re planning to use the space as a workshop, this is especially true. Drive under garages usually have a set of stairs that connect them to the main home. Because of this, it can be the perfect opportunity to maintain proximity to home while still having a bit of distance.

If you consider the alternative of a detached garage, a drive under garage makes the most sense. When working in a detached garage, or even just parking in one, you will need to travel from the garage to the home each and every time. If there is adverse weather or you have groceries and children with you, that can be a significant inconvenience.

A Space Saver

Having your garage be directly below your home is going to save space. When you build up, rather than horizontally, you’re essentially maximizing free space, rather than space you’re paying for. Now, if you’re simply purchasing a home as-is, this may not be that big of a deal.

This is because chances are if your home has a drive under garage, it’s located in a big city. Heavily populated cities are limited on space anyway. But if you’re building your dream home, this may mean extra space for a garden or room for a pool. So it’s important to consider all of these options if building a new home to ensure you have room for what matters.

Weather Shield

As is the case for most garages, you’re sheltered from adverse weather. This can include extreme heat and, of course, rain and snow. If you’re opting for a drive under garage, however, you can expect completely shielded access to your car and the house.

It Can Be Converted

If you decide you would prefer your drive under garage to be a family room, it’s a relatively easy transition. Well, in most cases, that is. Of course, it will depend on your local zoning laws. But, for the most part, your drive under garage can become an extended living space seamlessly. The flexibility aspect is a major draw for many, particularly growing families.

It Won’t Count Towards Square Footage

One of the greatest benefits of the drive under garage is that the space doesn’t count toward square footage. Because of this, you can find loopholes in most zoning laws to do what you want with the space. So long as it is considered below ground, it may be easier to build and occupy.

Cons of Drive Under Garages

Equally as evident as the pros are cons. These cons will vary depending on every unique situation. In general, however, these detriments can be applicable to most scenarios involving drive under garages.

Safety Concerns

One of the major issues with drive under garages is safety concerns. If your car were to spontaneously catch fire, your home is directly over it and vulnerable to the flames. The same goes for any workshop projects, electrical failures, or other issues relevant to a garage.

Many unmonitored, hazardous parts are strewn about a garage or a workshop, and these things pose a constant risk. Because of this, there is amplified potential for things to go wrong. With one of your most prized possessions in harm’s way, it is not ideal.

Fumes & Sounds

Another major con of having your garage directly below your home is the smell. Fumes from garage projects are prone to traveling upwards into the living space. This can make it miserable, if not toxic in some cases, for a family to live while comfortably.

For example, families across the country keep their garbage cans in their garages for safekeeping. Imagine the smell on long summer days, the very afternoon before pick-up days. This scenario is not ideal but one that will be a reality for some.

It’s important to think about your living style and whether strong noises and smells will be coming from the garage at all hours of the day. If so, it may be best to opt for another type of attached garage or even a detached garage or carport.

Can Be Inconvenient at Times

Though the underground garage can be highly convenient, there are some times when it is not. Usually, with a drive under garage, there are stairs to the house. Consider it is cold and rainy outside, and you’ve just wrestled groceries and kids into the car.

When you get home, the last thing you want to do is climb a staircase with all of those things to get into your own home. Though when it comes to drive under garages, this is often the case.

Who Would Benefit from Drive Under Garages?

Those Looking to Save Space

Individuals who are looking to conserve space may benefit from a drive under garage. As mentioned before, building upwards allows you to save space for the things that matter most.

Those Who Want a Workshop

Anyone looking for a workshop space will love the ease of a drive under garage. Because it is located so close to the home, many find it easy to sneak away for a few hours to get work done. You may even find that the staircase is a deterrent for well-meaning loved ones who want to check-in. However, you’ll have to be careful not to make too much noise or do anything too smelly!

If you have more questions about garage styles and costs, check out How Much Does it Cost to Build a 24 x 24 Garage and 30 Different Types of Garages for more inspiration!

Do You Need to Hire Garage Builders or Contractors?

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Related Questions

Will I hear everything from the main level?

A few fundamental issues that drive under garages may cause your home, as listed above. A major one being noise. You may find the noise of the garage opening and closing to be a nuisance. Additionally, if anyone is working in that garage, it will be easy to hear the commotion, especially in the room above.

Will there be insulation issues?

An improperly built or insulated garage can lead to temperature issues within the home. If not insulated correctly, the rooms above the garage may be colder in the winter and hotter in the summer. This is due to the outside air seeping into the garage and up into your home.

Will a drive under garage count toward my square footage?

Garages and basements usually will not be factored into your total square footage. If your drive under garage is built below the ground level, it should not be factored into the total square footage.

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