For most people, inclement weather is an inconvenience when getting out of a vehicle and entering a home. When it rains, you use an umbrella or get wet. When it snows or sleets, you have to watch every step or suffer a slip and fall. But for people with a disability or mobility limitations, these seemingly ordinary weather conditions present a significant danger. Negotiating stairs or even a wheelchair-accessible ramp escalates the risk of a hard impact fall.
Those are powerful reasons new construction home designs call for attached garages. A smartly designed garage that accommodates residents who use wheelchairs, walkers or are beginning to experience natural muscle strength decline in their legs would be far safer entering a new home through an enclosed space. That being said, these are ways builders can include accessible attached garages that broaden homeowner demographic appeal and keep valued community members out of harm’s way.
How Do Accessible Garage Dimensions Differ?
The size of an attached two-car garage runs about 24 feet wide by 24-30 feet most times. Some may be larger or smaller depending on buildout designs that include additional storage space or home workshops, among others. Most plans center garage doors so the space on either side is about equal. They typically include a space cushion of 5-8 feet down the center for car doors to swing open. A similar space allowance is usually integrated between the vehicle and the interior home wall.
The standard two-car garage layout can be retooled as a wheelchair-accessible space. Homeowners need only stop parking a vehicle in the bay closest to the interior door. A wheelchair or walker ramp can be installed if the interior door is above the garage floor grade. Many building codes require at least a 6-inch elevation.
Another new construction option is to build out an oversized one-car garage. Many one-car garages run a slim 10-12 feet wide and tend to be a tad cramped. Expanding to 16 feet with the automatic garage door positioned away from the home, for example, reduces the construction cost while providing increased accessibility. Other design ideas include installing a double-wide automatic garage door that delivers symmetrical curbside appeal. New construction homeowners can exit their vehicles without worrying about the dangers of hard falls or not being able to navigate an icy ramp.
Attached Garage Ramps & Entryways
Attached garage doors generally add to property values and are popular among new home buyers of many demographics. Beyond modest dimension modifications, the entryway distinguishes a truly accessible attached garage.
Although many building codes require the height of the interior door threshold to be above garage floor grade, builders can usually secure a variance based on accessibility enhancements. If local officials are not inclined to agree, raising garage slab heights might be more persuasive. If neither option meets building regulations in the area, interior door heights are likely to be less than one foot.
Building a wheelchair-accessible ramp with an automatic interior door opening mechanism proves beneficial for aging community members, people with disabilities, and a wide range of others as well. Any new construction homeowner would enjoy a spacious attached garage with a convenient entryway. Employing a safe and convenient, accessible attached garage blueprint only widens homebuyer demographics while adding listing price value.