Don’t worry, more than a few recently RV buyers have thought about how to build another structure to keep their RV safe in the winter and summer. When you consider the investment of an RV, you also need to consider how comfortable the RV will be to get into if you leave it outside, and in some cases – whether you can legally park an RV in your driveway.
If you are a serious do it yourselfer, the cost of building a garage is up to materials. In most cases, people don’t build their own garages and hire outside help like contractors for the purpose. This article assumes you hire help.
Building an RV garage can cost anywhere from $20,000 up to $100,000 depending on what you want and the size. RV garages are larger than the average garage and will cost more. We’ll break down some costs for you in this article.
Why an RV garage?
Why go through the process of building an RV garage?
Whether you live in the north or south, hot weather and cold weather can make your RV uncomfortable to climb into. Cold or humid, your experience in an RV might be unpleasant in the first few minutes before you get it running and the air conditioning or furnace going.
People do break into RVs. Having a garage prevents them from readily accessing your RV in the driveway so long as the garage itself is secured.
Long Term Safety
Another option is an RV cover, but if you have the money a garage might be a better investment that doesn’t require you to throw your RV cover over the RV or climb up top. If you like a clean looking, dent free RV, you should consider a garage.
So, what does an RV garage cost?
First, we are assuming you are going for a detached garage. The biggest advantage to a detached garage is not having the risk of harmful fumes from a running engine seeping into your house. RV garages also tend to be large and don’t work especially well as attached garages without creating unique shapes.
Excavation and Site Prep – $3000.
This normally involves having an excavator (like a big, gas powered shovel) dig the right side hole in the ground to pour your foundation into. The company first has to have an often government agency come out and ensure there are no water, gas, electric, or otherwise lines running under the area.
For many owners, this is the absolute beginning of the process of literally breaking ground on a new RV garage.
Foundation – $4600
With the site excavated and flattened, you can make a foundation. Most garage foundations are made of poured concrete. The contractor should carefully make sure the ground is level prior to pouring, and use a method like lasers of ensuring the poured concrete is level enough to build a frame around.
The foundation is very important because it’s the strong, stable piece that holds everything else together.
A metal or wood frame is built in the shape of a garage. The frame will hold the walls and roof. The most expensive and time consuming part here is that you’ll need lots of lumber to build the frame. The frame also involves heights which can take a while longer to build.
You’ll often have several works involved in building a frame, possibly along with an engineer who helps determine how many beams and posts the garage will need to hold a future roof.
Ok, so prices are going down a bit, but so is the workload. Most people will want to put drywall up, which is attached to the posts within the frame. The materials here are primarily nails, drywall, and some wood.
You can also build brick walls, though it will be significantly more expensive and also impact your foundation needs.
Having a concrete floor is acceptable. You can also add flooring, ranging from coatings and coverings that help funnel away moisture and have good grip. Concrete is acceptable for most people though.
If you want a really unique garage floor, you can do an epoxy design that involves paint and a thin but very dense layer of plastic over top.
Siding is mostly for looks and to protect the frame from damage. Siding is usually vinyl or aluminum in just about any colors. The price of siding a garage should be a bit less than a house unless your garage is truly huge.
While siding looks easy to put on, layering it correctly, cutting it and attaching is actually a fairly intensive process. Along with materials, you’ll be paying for lots of labor here.
Roof – $3500
Most people will want their garage roof to match their home’s roof shingle pattern and colors. Part of the price paid here is having people climb into your roof with large boxes of shingles. The roof, of course, protects the garage overhead from rain, snow, and anything else falling.
Your selection of the type of shingle will also have an impact on the cost. Regular asphalt shingles work well and are the cheapest. You can also choose cedar shingles, metal, or rubber. All of these cost more, though they tend to last longer and to some eyes, look better.
The roof type is up to your tastes.
Assuming you want lights and working wall outlets in the garage, you’ll need electrical. This will also most likely be added during the phase in which you are adding walls. Electrical also helps you trickle charge your RV battery while the RV sits.
The price of electrical depends on how many amps you need and how many outlets you desire. If you are looking to turn the RV garage into a full on workshop, you should consider more outlets. Talk to your building professional about these needs.
Perhaps most important in colder climates, having an insulated garage is among reasons why you would want an RV garage. Insulation is relatively cheap because installation often involves insulation bats, staples, and a few hours.
Insulation prices vary based on the region you are insulating against. Northern climates tend to have higher “R” values needed to block cold from coming in, which is usually also at a higher price.
Note that the price of a garage for an RV will be higher than even a 2 car garage. RVs can range from 20 feet long to past 40 feet long and require a lot more material to keep it out of the elements.
RV Door $3000
The door for an RV garage is going to be bigger than the average garage door – both in height and width. You’ll also need a more powerful garage door opener than average to get that whole door off the ground and safety on the track into the rafters.
The price can vary wildly. You can have a simple door and lock with a remote or passcode to get in. Some will add other things to the garage and make it worth getting a security camera or security system.
Heating or Air Conditioning
Not all RV owners add heating or air conditioning to their garage, so we aren’t going into price specifics. RV owners who plan to spend time working on their own RV or otherwise don’t like walking into a hot or cold garage could consider adding either a heat pump or a window air conditioner too.
Window air conditioners are relatively cheap though they’ll take more electricity. Adding a complete air conditioning system will prove more expensive but far more effective.
RV Garage Dimensions
An RV garage typically needs to be at least 14 feet tall and up to 45 feet long. This is to have enough room to drive the RV into the garage without damaging it, and making the fit comfortable. Add a few feet around the outside to make it easier to maneuver out once you exit the RV. You can review correct dimensions with the people who are developing plans for your RV garage.
Can I get a do it yourself kit?
Of course, you can. The price of a do it yourself kit ranges from $7 per square foot to $25 per square foot depending on the building materials you want. $7 will basically be a hut for your RV while $25 will get you a complete building with siding and a wood frame.
These are generally precut, and in some ways add to the cost of construction materials, though precut materials will save the average do it yourselfer lots of time from measuring twice and cutting once.
A do it yourself kit also assumes you either already have tools like an excavator and the large number of small tools needed to drive nails and add insulation – or you could hire a contractor to put a do it yourself kit together, too.
What am I paying for with the above list?
Most of the cost of building a garage is in materials. Labor tends to run 15 to 30 percent of the project cost while the materials take up the other part. At the current moment, the price of materials is also rather high due to shortages in lumber and other materials. This could change by the time you read this – we hope.
If you get a do it yourself kit, the cost of labor depends on who you hire to help, if anyone.
You should also ask the people you hire to build the garage what their labor rates are so you can compare them with other quotes.
Are there any parts I don’t need?
If you are in a southern climate, you might be better off getting good ventilation and possibly attaching air conditioning on some level instead of insulation. Keep in mind though that insulation does tend to do a good job of keeping heat and cold out, so think that part through.
Some RV garage builders don’t really need a special floor and have cars drive directly onto the concrete foundation.
When cutting some costs, you certainly shouldn’t cut anything truly meaningful to you. If you wanted to keep your RV charged, ensure it has electrical.
Get more than one quote for your garage
You don’t need to work with the first person to give you an idea how much it will cost to build the garage. Shop around and ask a couple companies to come out and develop a plan – then compare those plans. You do have the option of telling companies how much each other are charging in an effort to get a lower price too.
Shopping around is normal. Some companies will also give you a deadline to take their “offer” to keep you from looking around for too long.
RV garages can be really great to have to keep your RV safe and secure – while also keeping it warm or out of the extreme heat.
An RV garage is also a big investment that could cost more than the RV itself. If you are planning to be an RV owner for a long time, it could certainly be worth building one to keep yourself comfortable as both the RV and you get older. An RV garage can also both positively and negatively affect your home’s resale value, depending on the area you live in. An RV garage can be a great addition for a new buyer who has an RV.