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Old 08-25-2010, 07:05 PM   #1
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Dimensions of a driveway for a side-entry garage


My house has a walk-out basement, with the door oriented to the side. I want to turn the basement into a garage by knocking out the wall and building a side-entry driveway to access it. However, the side yard is 28' to the property line, so I can't really put a turnaround area off to the side. Also, there's a big old oak towards the back, so I can't extend the driveway any farther back than the width of the garage opening itself (24') without risking excessive damage to the tree's roots. Therefore, my question is this: would my 24' x 28' space (plus the space towards the front) provide enough maneuvering room, or is my dream of parking in my basement impractical?

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Old 08-26-2010, 12:46 PM   #2
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Dimensions of a driveway for a side-entry garage


I am smiling as I type this, so no disrespect intened, but there's a movie line that I have heard a guy I work with use occasionally, that goes something like "help me to help you". Anyway, yes, that much space would definitely work for me, if I am on my motorcycle. But no, that much space would definitely not work for me, if I am in my Dodge Ram 4x4. Seriously though, if you were to park your daily driver in that garage every day, I am sure that you would be severely disappointed by the end of the first week. On the other hand, if you were to park that same car in there for a drivetrain restoration, the convenience of having it indoors would probably make up for any inconvenience of jockying it back and forth once every 6 months. My suggestion would be to go to a more-or-less vacant part of a parking lot, so that you have the lines for reference, measure out the area that you have available, and see for yourself. You're the one who will live with it, but it sounds like much better space for a work shop than a garage. By the way, keep in mind that if you were to fo forward with it, you very likely would need to invest in quite a few modifications, such as fire rated doors and walls, possibly electrical changes, etc.

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Old 08-26-2010, 02:39 PM   #3
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Dimensions of a driveway for a side-entry garage


I have a 3-car side-entry garage. Here's a pic.



We do all of our parking in that first 2-car bay. The "landing pad" outside the garage extends for about 30 feet. If I hug the left side of the driveway I can get the Honda Pilot in the far-side of the 2 car bay without any back-and-forth. I can get the MINI Cooper in the nearside. (I could also get the Jetta in the picture in there)

If I had a long truck, I could probably get it into the 3rd bay.

I would say that your driveway would have to come right up the property line if you want to use this for everyday parking if you have more than a compact car.

Like the other poster said, it'll be great for a workshop type scenario. It'll be doable but not great for anything else.
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:36 PM   #4
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Dimensions of a driveway for a side-entry garage


I see plenty of side loads that are short changed on the driveway.

Most of the time the cars are setting outside.

A full exposure trumps a garage IMO , should always keep an eye on resale

value when you do things but its your house.
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Old 08-26-2010, 11:13 PM   #5
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Dimensions of a driveway for a side-entry garage


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Originally Posted by DexterII View Post
Seriously though, if you were to park your daily driver in that garage every day, I am sure that you would be severely disappointed by the end of the first week. On the other hand, if you were to park that same car in there for a drivetrain restoration, the convenience of having it indoors would probably make up for any inconvenience of jockying it back and forth once every 6 months... You're the one who will live with it, but it sounds like much better space for a work shop than a garage. By the way, keep in mind that if you were to [go] forward with it, you very likely would need to invest in quite a few modifications, such as fire rated doors and walls, possibly electrical changes, etc.
Certainly, one major reason I want this is to provide covered, conditioned space to work on the car. I was also planning not to partition it off from the rest of the basement, and turn the whole thing into a nice big workshop. I'm hoping to be able to get away without having to fire-rate the ceiling just yet, not because I'm against the idea in principle but because I plan to level the floors and install structured wiring (and maybe even hydronic radiant heating) later and want to maintain access. I wonder: would it make a difference to the city building department if I showed them plans that looked like a garage, but told them all I wanted it for was to get my lawnmower in and out easier?
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Originally Posted by moondawg View Post
I would say that your driveway would have to come right up the property line if you want to use this for everyday parking if you have more than a compact car.
I think coming right up to the property line is doable; lots of our neighbors' driveways are like that (some of them even have to share driveways!). And good news: both of our cars are, in fact, compact: we have a VW Beetle TDI and a Hyundai Accent.
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A full exposure trumps a garage IMO , should always keep an eye on resale value when you do things but its your house.
I should tell you guys more about my neighborhood: it's pretty old and urban, with (mostly) small houses on small lots. My house was built in the 40s and is one of the newer ones (the oldest houses are Craftsmans and Victorians, except for one big one on the main road that looks Antebellum; the newest ones that aren't infill are ranches from the 50s or 60s). Only a few houses (the ranches and new infill) have attached garages, detached garages are somewhat more common, but most houses have no garage at all.

By the way, I would almost have to consider my proposal to be a "detached" garage because it would function that way: my house has no stairs to the basement, so I'd still have to go out the front door and around to access it. Adding stairs might be an option, but that's a question for a different thread.

Considering all that, do you still think I'm better off without the garage? My "full exposure" isn't all that great anyway; it's only got two small windows near the ceiling (and the door, of course).
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:51 AM   #6
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Dimensions of a driveway for a side-entry garage


I've lived in a house with no garage, and street parking.... so I understand the need for a garage! After all you've said, I would probably add the garage as well. (You need a warm spot to change that TDI timing belt every 100k.)
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:07 AM   #7
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Dimensions of a driveway for a side-entry garage


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Considering all that, do you still think I'm better off without the garage? My "full exposure" isn't all that great anyway; it's only got two small windows near the ceiling (and the door, of course).
Jack, I would not accept being "better off without the garage", until I had all of the facts, so...

1. I would determine the actual space that I have to maneuver in. As an example, when you said that you had 28', my mind immediately went to 24-25', but mayber you actually have all of 28'. The reason though that I shrunk it is that a) you can't route water to flow off of your property onto someone else's property, so if you pour a concrete apron, you would most likely have to stay back a few feet from the property line, or b) if you use gravel, you would most likely have to stay back from the property line in order to prevent knocking gravel into the neighbor's yard. Either way, consider those things, and then, as I mentioned earlier, measure out whatever space you will actually have in a parking lot, and see if it is doable.

2. If you think it will work, I would simply call the local building department, to ask when the building inspector(s) is in, then drop by and chat with them about it. In general, despite things that you have probably heard, inpspectors are not "out to get you", and I honestly believe that they will give you the information that you need, in order to decide whether or not this is something that you wish to persue.
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:19 AM   #8
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Dimensions of a driveway for a side-entry garage


Once you convert to a garage the fire rated ceiling is a requirement
Do your wiring 1st, then install the garage door

I'd much rather have a limited access garage then no garage at all
We had the building Dept review the lot & "approve" a garage being built before we bought the new house
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Old 08-27-2010, 03:42 PM   #9
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Dimensions of a driveway for a side-entry garage


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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Once you convert to a garage the fire rated ceiling is a requirement. Do your wiring 1st, then install the garage door
Well, like I said: I might want to do more than wiring. First of all, I need to level and stiffen the floors (they're 2x8s, 16" OC, on a 12' span). Second of all, I have delusions of grandeur: hydronic radiant floors, an interior staircase, maybe even digging out the crawlspace in the back half of the house to make a full basement! (The last would be made easier by doing the garage door first, since I could then drive a bobcat in...)

How long has fire rating been a requirement? My parents' house, built in 1993, has a "boat door" (garage door) in the basement at the back of the house, and bare joists for the ceiling.
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Old 08-27-2010, 07:27 PM   #10
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Dimensions of a driveway for a side-entry garage


No.

You need over 40 ft to construct a properly radiused turn into the garage AND not interfere with property set back laws. Remember, a two lane drive is 16 ft wide.

Side entrance garages in newer development neighborhoods are a joke. $40K to $80K worth of automobiles sitting outside in the weather while the garage holds a bunch of junk no self respecting yard sale would accept.

Maybe my opinion is a lttle too clear...........
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Old 08-27-2010, 07:53 PM   #11
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Dimensions of a driveway for a side-entry garage


My wife's Pontiac Vibe can turn a full circle in less then 18'
As can a lot of small cars
24' would be a piece of cake

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