In many ways, having a detached garage can offer a lot of advantages. Generally speaking, a detached garage can offer you more space for hobbies, projects, or storage, and they can minimize the various hazardous (from weather damage or any potential fires) that come from having an attached garage.
One of the biggest downsides, however, is the walk from your house the garage each time you want to take your car out, access your personal workshop, or retrieve anything in storage. The entire purpose of a garage is to provide sheltered storage for important belongings, but when there’s no connection between the home and the garage, the lack of shelter on the walk over can start to get tiresome.
Fortunately, if you’re ready to put an end to a rainy walk to your car before you drive to work each day or to avoid getting snowed on each time you need to pop out to the garage to work on something, creating a tunnel from your house to your garage is a fairly simple project with relatively minimal time, effort, and money required.
Is This a Potential DIY Project or Should You Hire a Pro?
If you search around online, you’ll find that there are various tutorials and/or blog posts documenting other people’s projects that give you a pretty good idea of what the process entails. However, even if the steps required seem simple on paper, there are several aspects you need to consider before setting out to buy some supplies and get started.
Whether or not you should DIY this project depends on several factors, including:
- Do you have the building experience to construct a long-term, stable structure?
- What kind of breezeway are you looking for:
- Posts and a roof only?
- A complete connection/hallway between the home and the garage?
- Are the supplies for the project readily available to you at a price that’s less expensive than paying for builders to complete the work?
- What is the weather like where you live?
- How soon do you need the project to be complete based on your need and any weather constraints?
- How much money do you have for the project?
- Are there any restrictions your Home Owner’s Association could place on your project materials and final appearance?
As you can see, based on the above list of questions, deciding whether to go the DIY route versus the professional one can require some deeper thought than you might think. That’s especially true, since, no matter how lenient your HOA might be, a shoddily done breezeway could seriously downgrade the curb-appeal of your home, which is something neither you or your neighbor will appreciate.
Based on your home’s design, the climate where you live, and your budget, you’ll be able to determine which of the upcoming options works best for you. We’ll work our way up starting with the least complicated option. And, we’ll review which scenarios have the potential for DIY work as well as which ones are best left to the experts.
Ranking Breezeway Options: Least to Most Expensive
Let’s review your options for a new tunnel between your home and the detached garage. As we move up the list from least to most involved projects, we’ll note what aspects will make each version of the project cost more time and money. Additionally, we’ll go over what aspects of the layout/design of your property can make some of the options less feasible for you than others.
Several of these designs build on one another, structurally speaking, so let’s start with the simplest option, the detached covered walkway.
Option #1: Detached Covered Walkway
When creating a new walkway between your home and garage, building a detached structure using simple supports and flat roofing material is the simplest and most cost-effective method you can take and your best option for a DIY approach.
Unlike some of the other options, a detached walkway can be adapted to many different styles and orientations of properties. The biggest consideration would be where the existing doors of the home and garage are located. In most cases, a house with a detached garage will already have a door directly across from the garage itself.
All that’s needed to construct it are support beams, which can be either manmade material, metal, or wood, with some kind of roofing material supported on top. The overall design would be very similar to a carport, but of course, you would lengthen and modify the path based on the distance between and relative orientation of the outer doors of your house and garage.
Option #2: Roof Extension Walkway
This next option is also relatively simple, conceptually, but could end up costing you quite a bit more. Many people with detached garages have them in lots that were designed to have the front of the structure in-line with that of the main house.
In this case, the often short distance between these structures and the alignment of their usually matching roofs makes it a simple enough job for most roofing company’s to handle. Of course, the longer the distance between the two structures, the more material (including supports) and money that will be required.
Option #3: Semi-Enclosed Walkway
The next best option to consider is making a semi-enclosed walkway. This is another approach that can potentially be a partial or complete DIY, depending on your experience level and willingness to learn.
The biggest portion of this project will be building full wood framing to create the overall shape of the structure. Because this version is only semi-enclosed, you won’t have to worry about creating windows or doors or adding insulation. However, if you decide to do the work yourself, you will need to make sure to properly secure and connect the structure to your home to prevent water damage in the future.
There are even more options that you can consider trying, but generally, these will cost you quite a bit more thought, time, and money:
Option #4: Connecting Porch Walkway:
An upgraded, luxury version of the roof extension that creates an outdoor living space between the two structures.
Option #5: Fully Enclosed Walkway:
A way to be completely protected from the elements, and something that can be used for additional storage as well.
Option #6: Hallway Extension:
Essentially building an extension onto the home between the two structures, including adding insulation, electrical, and HVAC to framing to create a full entryway and potential mudroom between your home and garage.
Each of these options offers a wide variety of customization options that can allow your new walkway to fit the style of your home and your budget. Before deciding to do any DIY or hiring builders, make sure to do as much pre-planning and research so that you’re happy with the final result.