Basement Garage?

qwibbledMarch 29, 2010

What does everyone think of basement garages? A lot of times basement space is underused, so if building a house why not landscape to have the garage in the basement? Smaller footprint for the house, better use of the basement if a lot of it would otherwise sit unused. Biggest downside I can see is having to climb stairs with lots of groceries. Sporting equipment would just stay in the garage. The noise of the garage door might be annoying. Anyone have a basement garage?

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I wouldn't make light of hauling groceries up a flight of stairs even if you are young. My house in NJ had a detached garage and the back door was a half flight of steps down from the kitchen. I was 20 years younger, then, and it was a pain to transfer groceries (and baby paraphernalia, babies, etc.) that half flight of stairs.

Having a basement garage is more than "landscaping" if you don't have a lot with enough slope.

Just my 2 cents - Jo Ann

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 3:50PM
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Many people disregard a house without a main level garage when house hunting. In my neighborhood/bracket, most have a main garage and some also have a lower garage. We have 3 up/1 down, but don't have a driveway going to the lower as it's used for DH tool, etc storage. He can drive there if he wants (over pine bark mulch). The driveway can be extended if wanted.

Rooms over garages end up hearing the door every time it goes up/down. There was a thread recently on GW about this - pretty sure it was in the Building forum.

For resale, I would not suggest only having a basement garage... and don't think you don't have to worry about resale, because one day, you will. ;)

fwiw, we had a basement garage in our last home. We were there 20 years. For the most part, I did not mind, but looking back, it was a big PITA. I am so glad we don't have one in our new home.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 4:33PM
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This house near us has a two car basement garage, plus a one car in the front of the house. Unfortunately when people see the house, it looks like it only has a one car. I personally love the style of this house. It does have a 3 car, but it's deceiving since you can't see it. It may hurt re-sale as it did this one. It's been for sale for over two years and they have dropped the price over $200k already.

Here is a link that might be useful: house w/basement garage

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 6:09PM
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I can't imagine the basement garage is that bad. Our neighbor had one and they were in their 60s. It did have a dumb waiter elevator for groceries. You really have to have the right slope. My wife wouldn't let me do something so unconventional but it would have allowed all sorts of things with the footprint.

As far as sound - you would just do a lot to seal it. 2 layers of drywall and either foam or cellulose. Sound is not unsurmountable.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 8:03PM
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Don't forget to think about trash and recycling . . . I am in and out all day long for that!

Dumbwaiter is a good idea if you have a large family like we do. I can't imagine all the trips with all the groceries we buy.

Of course it is all what you get used to. My sister lives in a historic area and has no garage. I am sure she would love to walk down a flight of stairs to a warm-ish dry garage :)

It certainly would not be my first choice, though, and I think resale would be a problem.

I might prefer it to a front load garage however for aesthetic purposes.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 9:10PM
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Wouldn't do it if you have an option not to. The downside (hauling bags) is a HUGE downside. My parents' friends (in their 60s) just built a house like that and for the life of me I can't figure out what they were thinking ($ certainly not an issue). Those stairs are just going to become even more inhospitable with time.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 11:01PM
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I have had all kinds, basement only, main only, main and basement with a large parking pad.

I would never again ONLY have a basement garage. A total pain to carry groceries, kids, stuff, etc....etc. Not to mention the wear and tear on the stairs.

If you can, do a main level and basement level garage, that way you get the both of two worlds. :-)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 6:11AM
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When I first read this, I though "no way", but now that I think of it, the house we just left was a split. So I was going up and down those stairs all the time. Our laundry room was down there, our bedroom and bath, an extra fridge and freezer, and our rec I was lugging groceries up and down, as well as laundry, and trash.

I think you might consider making the stairs have a landing. A nice big landing. And I'd probably consider a dumb waiter.

I'd also make sure the basement foundation was extra tall, to allow for some extra ceiling soundproofing. Our dining room was over the garage at the old house, and you could certainly tell the difference. It was a little colder in the winter, and you could hear (and feel) the garage door.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 11:59AM
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that is such a cool project!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 1:45PM
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our new home which is almost ready has a garage walk out basement it will be unfinished but insulated it will be for storage and the cars we have plenty of room for bonus room/s when the time comes.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 8:20PM
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before we started building my dh wanted me to see a property. it was idyllic with a wide stream running through the rear of the 12 acre parcel. the house needed a bit of remodeling but nothing would fix the basement garage. there was no way i could see myself, two young kids in tow ...up and down the stairs at LEAST six or seven times to haul up a weeks' worth of groceries. besides the groceries, there's the early morning routine to get out the door for school. on any given day someone is ALWAYS running back in the house, upstairs to their room because they've forgotten something. i'm in and out several times a day and while i have no aversion to exercise that kind of hassle is just not worth it. a friend of mine has lived with her basement garage for three years and she is currently looking for a new home. i'm surprised she lasted this long.
a basement garage doesn't seem like such a bad idea but it's not a very good one either. just my .02, but no thank you deal.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 11:43PM
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when our garage was poured i was ecstatic to walk in and realize ...ONE step into the mudroom! you have no idea how beautiful a sight that was for me after our detached garage and four steps up to the rear porch at the old house! HEAVEN.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 11:53PM
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Some do both....well in this addition I am adding it worked best to add below under the new Fam Rm, Kitchen, Dinette.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:23PM
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I have a basement garage. I bought the house this way, I would prefer a first floor garage with mudroom. The big drawbacks are hauling the groceries up and getting the trash out. We actually keep our trash cans right outside the garage and drop the bags out of a window into the cans!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 10:49AM
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We have a walk out lot, so stacked the garages one over the other. The lower garage is great for DH toys, etc.. I would never want that to be a main garage... I couldn't imagaine hauling stuff up and down.. our other garage is two steps to our pantry and a few more to the kitchen..

Upper Garage

Lower Garage
(the windows over, are in our upper garage)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 11:28AM
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I grew up in he northeast where basement garages are the norm. The lots are small in the NE so that makes sense. Then I lived in Texas where there are no basements and no basement garages. Now I'm in the midwest where there's a combination.

I agree with the majority, I would have at least one main level garage. In fact, we are going through alot of trouble with grading not to have steps from the garage to our mudroom. It's so nice to just step into the house. This is space you are using multiple times a day, so I think it should be a priority.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 4:25PM
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Personally, I like the idea of basement garages as it saves space, building materials and forces me to get a little more much needed exercise.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 11:40PM
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I also considered a basement garage for a sloping lot. I don't need much basement space, and I estimated that I'd save at least 75% on the cost of the garage. However, I concluded that the main level garage was probably worth the extra cost. A basement garage would be a daily aggravation, and it might depress the resale value beyond the initial savings.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 1:47AM
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I was researching basement garages and found this post. I have a home on a slope and the basement is a walkout but the main level is a full flight up already We are considering creating a garage in the basement. We tried to sell a few years ago and having no garage was a huge issue for people. We currently have a family room (with icky 1970 's paneling) in 1/2 the basement and just a standard basement area in the back. We would move the family room to the back and make the front a 2 car garage. People seem to think it is a little crazy but I have been hauling groceries for 5 years already and really a main level garage is not possible on our lot. Wonder if in our case it makes sense to others?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 10:31AM
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I plan to build a house with a basement garage when I do build. I lived in a house previously with a basement garage and loved it. I do plan on having a dumb-waiter for heavy loads, but more stairs = more exercise. Really all we want in the basement is space for a movie room, so otherwise we have what? There will already be a play/rec area upstairs. Extra storage space?

For me, I think it also has a lot to do with the look of the house. I am in love the look of old victorians, and plan to have that be the style of the house. Old victorians do not have first floor attached garages, period. I think that is one of the things that makes newer styled victorians looked decidedly un-victorian.

I also like the idea of saving on building materials. The more materials you use, the more money spend, the more environmentally unfriendly the build becomes. Honestly, the second is more important to me than the first.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 12:01PM
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I stayed at a friend's house with a garage under the bedroom wing (split level) and I hated it. The friend's room mate would start their car in the morning (with the garage door open) to warm up the engine in the winter. The fumes came right up into the guest room. Maybe it was cheap construction (70s home) but I thought...what a mess. Thank goodness they don't have kids!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 4:15PM
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Where I live basement garages are the norm. Well actually parking on the street is the norm, but IF you have a garage it is either built under the house or detached. But then again I live in the mountains where sloping lots are common and most houses were built over 75 years ago. Right now the truck is parked in the front yard (our street is too busy and curvy to park on) because we wouldn't be able to get out of the driveway which has 9 inches of fresh Christmas snow covering it!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 10:06AM
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Make sure the floor above the garage is tight and there is a permanently wired carbon monoxide detector in the upper rooms.

One of my clients was alerted by fresh cut flowers that wilted overnight and was able to get out of the house and call for an ambulance. The chimney to a pool heater had been inadvertently blocked in the basement. If not for the flowers she would probably have collapsed and died; there is no warning.

Here is a link that might be useful: 5 die in room above garage

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 9:37AM
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A basement garage can be a terrific for age-in-place living if the house has an elevator. With the kitchen above the garage and the master bedroom above that, the homeowner has access to the bedroom, kitchen and garage with just a few steps via the elevator. It is a good floor plan for people of any age, but especially anyone older or with health issues.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 3:34PM
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We like ours. Have had several. The lot is slightly sloped, so we have easy front door access from the driveway and take groceries in there. The back garage entry to the basement garage lets the kids ride their bikes, toy cars, etc. right out onto the concrete and driveway more safely. Because it is half the basement level, we have more room. Motorcycle, shelves, work bench, lawn equip. and sporting stuff all fit easily. And no one sees into the garage from the street.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 12:19AM
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Downsides to having a garage directly under your living space:

* hauling stuff up/down is a chore
* the room above the garage is chilly in the winter
* if the bedroom is over the garage, you can hear the garage door open/close (annoying when my husband goes to work significantly earlier than I get up)

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:06PM
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One time, when I owned the home below with a basement garage I was in the driveway and didn't fully set the parking brake on my pickup. I walked in front of the truck and it lurched forward. Fortunately, it was in gear.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 6:13PM
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If my lot is not sloped very much, could it be cost effective still to have a basement garage vs. adding additional garage space on grade level? Is there a practical limit to the ceiling height in a garage? Say I want a VERY big and tall garage with a 14' high door for an RV (see photo). Is it practical and cost effective to consider a high foundation wall and tall basement garage, vs. just adding more space on grade to the floor plan?

(Yes, i read all the posts on stairs and groceries--I would have a normal garage on grade also)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2014 at 2:53PM
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Fumes from cranking a cold Diesel are very obnoxious. A basement garage has the distinct advantage of offering an enclosed attached garage without increasing the footprint of the house. Might be helpful if lot size is limited.
Most other considerations for basement garages do have some downside.
The fear of carbon monoxide is often overblown. We open the door, crank the car and drive out. Just a few seconds involved. Coming in, the door is opened, car driven in and the engine is stopped. Running the engine inside for longer periods is not necessary. Longer running can be dangerous.

Just noticed that the person posting just registered raises suspicion that the post may not be serious. But in case it is, the basement walls will need to be designed by an engineer as the additional height will be impacted by the pressure of backfill far more than walls of typical height. And the excavation will produce far more dirt that must be accommodated in some manner.

This post was edited by bus_driver on Mon, Dec 1, 14 at 13:20

    Bookmark   November 29, 2014 at 4:28PM
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