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Old 07-05-2018, 02:26 AM   #1
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Designing a garage for an RV

I am in the early stages of planning and designing the construction of a detached garage on my property. There seem to be so many considerations, so I want to see if anyone who has been through this process has some recommendations. What did you do, or would have done differently?

Here are some details:

1. We currently have a 19’ Escape. As much as we love it, there may be a replacement someday. I don’t think we would go bigger than say a 24’ footer. I like tow behinds but have an interest in 5th wheels. Considering this, what would be safe dimensions for the garage?
2. What size and type of garage doors are ideal?
3. The garage (ADU) will be two stories. There will be living quarters on the top floor, with an efficiency layout.
4. We will want full hookups while stored, so plumbing and power has to be properly integrated.
5. Our lot is relatively small, so we are trying to keep a small profile and footprint. Less than 250sqft is probably ideal.
6. The storage space doesn’t necessarily need to be enclosed.

What other features could be added? I am hoping to share concept plans soon. Meanwhile, some feedback would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:18 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Daubsy View Post
I am in the early stages of planning and designing the construction of a detached garage on my property. There seem to be so many considerations, so I want to see if anyone who has been through this process has some recommendations. What did you do, or would have done differently?

Here are some details:

1. We currently have a 19’ Escape. As much as we love it, there may be a replacement someday. I don’t think we would go bigger than say a 24’ footer. I like tow behinds but have an interest in 5th wheels. Considering this, what would be safe dimensions for the garage?
2. What size and type of garage doors are ideal?
3. The garage (ADU) will be two stories. There will be living quarters on the top floor, with an efficiency layout.
4. We will want full hookups while stored, so plumbing and power has to be properly integrated.
5. Our lot is relatively small, so we are trying to keep a small profile and footprint. Less than 250sqft is probably ideal.
6. The storage space doesn’t necessarily need to be enclosed.

What other features could be added? I am hoping to share concept plans soon. Meanwhile, some feedback would be greatly appreciated!
Hi: Daubsy... Small on the out side/ big on the inside works for the trailer build and Asian autos. A garage OTOH needs walking space around it and height above it. A 12' door would be min. for a future 5.0TA... However big you think a garage should be... build it bigger!!! Alf
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:20 AM   #3
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250 sq ft footprint is a non-starter IMHO. A really narrow garage would be 14 foot wide. Make it 28 foot long to fit a 24 foot trailer with a little (not that much) walk around access. Thats 392 sq ft, and most would go wider than that. You would need a really straight shot at the garage for backing in.

We have a carport for our 19. Backing in access is mediocre, so its 18 foot wide, by 25 foot long. Or 450 sq ft. And thats for a 19. And its a carport, so no door on the front. Add a garage door on the front, and we would need something wider, say 22 foot wide (2 foot clearance on both sides of the door, and an 18 foot door) and taller.

Now if we had a straight back-in carport, 12 foot wide would have worked.

Our carport has a 10 foot eave height (effectively a ceiling height in a garage), with more clearance in the center, more like 14 feet. A garage door is going to need clearance for the door, its tracks, and the opener. If I was designing a garage, I'd probably go with a 14 foot ceiling height. Figure roughly a 14 foot ceiling height is going to have 12 foot clearance at the door opening (basically the door itself will be the lowest point so its going to be a little lower than that). And realize a 14 foot ceiling height doesn't really mean you have 14 feet of clearance. When the door is up, you are going to lose some of that clearance.

Roll up a garage door sometime. Check the height of the opening, then look at the lowest point on the door when it is raised, probably the framing.

And if you ever buy a traditional trailer, figure the trailer will be significantly wider and probably taller too (particularly a traditional fifth wheel).

Try backing your trailer into the area you are going to build the garage. Put stakes in the ground, representing the width of the door opening. See how 10 foot, 12 foot and 14 foot work for you. One advantage of a carport is there is no door, so I have a full opening. My 18 foot wide carport has an 18 foot wide opening. An 18 foot garage max would have a 14 foot opening.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:35 AM   #4
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One of the great parts of having a covered space for a trailer, is the ability to work on the top, out of the weather. Make certain your garage is tall enough that you can do that.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:55 AM   #5
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For starters, have you talked to the planning office to make sure you can build as desired. I know here there are lots of limits to overcome. Good to start there before you get too far in planning.

Yeah 250 sf is a no go. A 25' trailer would need to be at least 27' long to just fit inside the walls, and be 14' wide to gain even modest access to the sides. This 378 sf allows absolutely nothing else to be stowed inside. A comfortable size would be to add at least 2' to the length and 4' in width which will allow a standard 16' door to be installed. This would be 522 sf and what I would do as a minimum.

A 10' high door would fit in any Escape, and a lot of other bumper pulls, even with A/C. This means another 12" of headroom to the ceiling allowing room for an overhead door. Add to this the floor joists, at least 8' of living space and another 4-6' of rafters and you are getting quite tall.

Here in Calgary the maximum size of an outbuilding is 75 sm, or 807.3 sf, and I would be pressed to do anything smaller myself. I might even consider applying for relaxation to that size. Oh, and I still would not put my trailer in there, it would be for a shop. The trailer would likely get a carport type covering.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:37 AM   #6
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+10 a tall RV garage with an apartment above is going to really tall. Many cities have limits on height. And depending on the height of your house, it could look really strange. Here there is a limit on the size of any freestanding building.

I greatly prefer keeping the camper under cover when not in use. In some cities and some lots, this means parking off-site. We are fortunate to live in a rural community where real estate prices are low and lots are large.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:59 AM   #7
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+10 a tall RV garage with an apartment above is going to really tall. Many cities have limits on height. And depending on the height of your house, it could look really strange. Here there is a limit on the size of any freestanding building.

I greatly prefer keeping the camper under cover when not in use. In some cities and some lots, this means parking off-site. We are fortunate to live in a rural community where real estate prices are low and lots are large.
If you have living quarters in an outbuilding many jurisdictions require you to conform to the building , fire and plumbing regulations especially if you are storing vehicles on the lower level which can make it cost prohibitive
In our area if you have sleeping quarters in an outbuilding you have to have a bathroom that is connected to your sewer system , the ceiling of the garage area has to be fire rated and you have to have two means of egress from the upper level ( Outside stairs )
My neighbor just built a garage as you described and the cost was over $60,000
It would be less expensive to just build a pole barn
I got a quote last week for a 30 ft x 40 ft pole barn with a 10 ft x 18 ft garage door and no utilities for $20,000
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:12 AM   #8
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Don't forget to consider the width with the door open, and the length with a bicycle or equipment rack attached to the rear. I also made room for tall storage cabinets to hold seasonal items like our propane fire pit, generator, and extra camping chairs, plus infrequent maintenance items for the trailer.


Basically the stuff I don't want to schlep around in my truck every camping trip.
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:31 PM   #9
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I built a 24 x 26 with a 12’ clearance for our 21 and other odds n ends to be protected
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:17 PM   #10
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Building

My wife went with 24X32, 12 foot sidewalls, 18 foot wide overhead door, full 10 feet high. Dead flat concrete floor, full width 6 foot apron. We wired in a 30 amp RV outlet and lights and outlets from a panel in an adjacent building. We like the fact that if we come in wet we can deploy the awning and dry it well. 1/2 hp opener on the overhead door and a steel utility door that opens out. Here’s a couple pics.
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