Graber has built nearly 400 garages, each one different from the next.
Some of have been small, very basic and ultra-affordable, while others have been works of architectural art with expansive spaces and every conceivable option.
"But before we start talking with folks about garages, we always like to be up front and tell them about the three basic choices in garages," says Graber.
|Constructed in about a week
||Mass produced and comes pre-built
||Can't be built during colder weather
|Built on your site directly; no guesswork about structural strength
||You have to prepare the site and hope the garage will firmly sit on top of it
||Construction crews on your site for weeks
|Warranted up to 40 years on some parts
||Made from plastic byproducts
||Strong and durable
|Over 500 different color combinations
||Many color combinations
||Many color combinations
|Easy to upgrade later
||Difficult to modify once it's plopped on your property
||Difficult to modify once the workers leave
|Floors made of concrete to support up to 80,000 pounds
||Plywood Floors can only support up to 1,000 pounds
||Extensive building permits needed
|Can come as large as 10,000 square feet
||Most paid labor/most expensive
|Easy to change the roof height for taller vehicles
||Only offered in 2 heights; custom heights are expensive
||Available in many heights but the price for material jumps dramatically
|Lowest price/least labor and no transport costs
||Moderately Expensive/Expensive to transport
In an informal survey of our customers, Post/Frame construction (Pole Barn) garages are popular in the East Coast for these ranked reasons:
- For the same quality, durability and strength, they are the least expensive option
- The color and style combinations make them attractive and not like an "ugly old steel building"
- They go up fast and don't disrupt the customer with construction crews camping out for weeks at a time
- Able to insulate easily and heat with minimal costs
Graber's garages are in use all over the East Coast, providing security and storage for
- Tractor Trailers
- Farm Equipment
- Fire Engines
- And even Planes
Only Graber Can...
Because of the years of experience in pole building garages, Graber has mastered some of the harder requests from today's customers. Check out some snatches of conversations between our customers and the Graber team:
|I Wonder If I Could Get...
|Something that would fit both my truck AND by boat?
||No problem. For only about 5% more we can design the roof and the side walls to go up to 12 feet.
||And we know where to get our hands on those hard to find doors for taller equipment.
|A combination workshop and a garage?
||That's a smart thinking! For only a few dollars more, we can easily design a workshop at the back of your garage. You're really smart building both at the same time, because the actual cost for the workshop is comparatively cheap.
|Two large garage doors plus a few entry doors?
||That's simple. In fact, during your free chat with us, we can talk about the entry doors and where you can put them. You need at least one entry door, so you're not using a gargage door to access the building.
|Something to protect my antique car?
||Completely understood. The last thing you want is water dripping down on your prized possession. We have had great success with other customers by using our Vapor Guard Insulation on the roof prevents condensation and thus dripping into the garage.
|A garage, but with some living space above?
||Absolutely. It's just a matter of how big you want the second floor living space. We can finish off the inside so that you, your family, your in-laws, or even renters will never know they are in a garage.
|Something that's going to be well lit on the inside?
||Sure. We can either include skylights and side panel lights to let in the natural light or we can run electric into the whole building with any sized lights you want overhead. We'll just need to find out what parts of the garage you want lit so we can recommend the best type of light.
|Something that's a little more secure?
||We hear that from time to time. We suggest you either eliminate the windows or let us design your windows so they're at the very top of the walls. We also carry some extra thick, extra secure steel doors. And finally, we can install extra sheathing beneath the metal for even more strength.
|How about part garage / part useable living space?
||Now you're thinking! We do this all the time. Customers have asked us to make half their garage for their vehicles and the other half for artist studios, gyms, artist studios, craft rooms, workshops, and man caves...even a shooting range!
|A lift installed so I can work on my vehicles?
||Sure. We can purchase a lift for you and have it installed or you can put in yourself. With our sturdy concrete floors you won't have to worry about weight loads like with pre fab sheds.
Insider's Tip on Concrete Floors:
Graber points out that you can have us put in your concrete floor, or wait to have it installed later. Some customers won't ever need a concrete floor, so they can cut down on the cost of their project by electing not to have one put it. But they retain the option to add one if they change their mind down the road. Because our structures create the natural form needed to pour and set concrete, a pole building garage is probably the best bet to go with.
Don't trust your garage to just anyone! Make sure to find a builder that has years of experience in customizing, designing and building garages. For some good free advice, check out the section called What to Look for in a Builder."
Some Ball Park Estimates on Garages
"The three things that go into the cost of a garage are 1) the size, 2) the doors, and 3) the options you choose", says Graber.
Here's a comparison between 3 jobs we recently did:
"I got an estimate from a builder who wanted almost double what you guys are going to charge me. I have to ask... How Can You Guys Do it So Cheap?"
Graber has to answer this question a lot.
"There's really some savings to our operation by specializing in pole buildings. Unlike a general contractor or a jack of all trades, we can streamline our operation and rather than sitting on these savings ourselves, we pass them onto the customer - which makes us more popular.
Graber adds, "You don't have the labor like you do with traditional built structures - but I'd put one of our buildings up to those any day. We are also less expensive because we are using steel roofing and siding panels which is pretty widely available so it's affordable and you really can't get anything stronger."
Getting Started on Your New Garage:
Whether you want your garage in one month, or you think it will be a several years, give the folks at Graber a call on (610)-593-3500 and let them kick around a few ideas with you. The best thing about the
call is that they probably will point out a few things you may have not considered.
For the full story on planning your project, check out How The Process Works.
"In the past few years, we've really seen a rise in the popularity of wainscoting," says Graber. "It's a finishing touch where the bottom of the side wall is a different color than the rest of the side wall. My favorite combination is Burnished Slate color metal for the roof, trim, and wainscot, and Ivory color on the sidewall". When you speak with us during your free consultation, make sure you ask us what options you have with this.
Garage Door Styles:
During your free consultations with our designers, at some point you'll need to select a garage door style. Aside from the look of the materials you select on your new building, I'd say the most noticeable part is the Garage door.
The Basic Styles to Choose From
Traditional Raised Panel Doors
- Your Choice of wood or steel
- 5 Different Panel Styles
- 3 Different Window Designs
- 6 Different Paint Color Choices
- Stain Grain on wood available
Carriage House Doors
- Shown here in wood
- Just like the historic carriage houses
- 6 door and window choices
- Paint or stain grade wood
Coach House Carriage House Door
- 2 layers of insulated steel
- Swing out appearance but with overhead operation
- 12 different design choices
- Decorative hardware options
Wood Raised Panel
- Long panels or shorter panels available
- Paint or Stain Grade Wood
- Hemlock, Cedar or Redwood
- Different window choices
- 8 different door and window styles
- Paint or Stain Grade Wood
- Cedar, Redwood, Fir, Meranti
- Extra Energy Efficient
- Design your Own door and windows
- Unlimited wood choices
- Paint or Stain Grade Wood
- Extra Energy Efficient
- Solid 2" of steel with composite
- Swing out appearance with overhead
- Over 100 unique style combinations
- Wind code available
Four Seasons Collection
- Insulated 2-layer or 3-layer sandwich construction
- Two insulation options: polystyrene or polyurethane
- Swing out appearance, overhead operation
- Long or short grooved panel designs
- 4 factory finish paint colors or Ultra-grain stained wood look
- Wind code available
The Pacific Collection
- 2 1/8" thick rust-proof aluminum frame
- 9 window options for varying degrees of light
transmission/privacy or solid aluminum panels
for total privacy
- 5 factory finish paint colors or Ultra-grain
Insulation and the steel gauge of a door are important. If you plan on spending a lot of time in your garage, having a room above/adjacent to your garage, or having a lot of activity, (such as children playing in front of the doors) then you want to consider the R-Value and the thickness of the steel. R-Value is a measurement of thermal efficiency of a door; the higher the R-Value, the better insulated the door. If there is the chance of basketballs hitting the outside of the door, you need to consider a heavier gauge steel, such as a 24 gauge. Remember, the lower the number, the stronger the steel.
If you see prices for cheap garage- make sure to check with the builder that these basic and essential parts are included. Some companies will offer a cheaper price then charge extra for both a garage door and house door.
Windows on Your Pole Building Garage
"Folks have a lot of different choices when it comes to selecting windows for their garage door, "explains Graber.
"Garage door windows are really about providing some natural light to the garage and adding some decorative value to the building.
Windows are almost always placed high on a garage door-it still gives good light inside, and it's not easy for others to snoop at what goodies you might have stored inside."
Graber installs long-lasting windows that will stand up to the repeated process of rolling up and down on a garage door- one of the reasons garage
door windows are smaller. But that's not to say that there aren't styles of door windows out there that both look sharp looking and stay functional.
By knowing what styles a specialist in garages like Graber can offer, you can create a garage door that's going to be in keeping with your home and property.
"Adding additional windows in your garage is really a balancing out two sides," says Graber. On one side you have "the function that natural light
gives and the sharper look that windows give to the outside. On the other hand you have the small cost of adding windows and a possibly security." If they know they won't or can't run electricity to the garage, then windows to let in natural light are a must. For just a few dollars
more, smartly placing some windows throughout your garage gives it a less boxy look. But by all means, if you're one of those rare cases where your garage will
be in a high crime area, then limiting the access into your building is always a smart move.
Additional windows, like the ones you find in your house, can run anywhere between $140 and $300 for a garage. Make sure to bring this up during your free consultation and hear what an expert advises you in your particular case.
Additional Doors in Your Garage
If you want faster access to your garage and don't like the thought of opening and closing the garage door every time you want to go in or out, an "entry door" makes sense. Each Graber garage includes not only one garage door, but one entry door as well. If you see a price for a cheap garage, make sure to check with the builder that these basic and essential parts are included. Some companies will offer a cheaper price, then charge extra for both the garage door and an entry door.
If you are going to have your garage do double duty, where part of the structure will be a garage to store vehicles and the other part is going to be a workshop, living space, craft room...or whatever, then you may want to think about a second entry door so that each part has its own entrance.
Most entry doors are the same but you do have a few choices to make.
In material, your entry doors can came in:
- Standard Duty steel door, with aluminum frame
- Heavy Duty steel door, with steel frame
- Raised panel or 'Flush' design
Once you select the door, you get to choose which style you like - usually determined by the number of windows. Customers at Graber can choose between a solid door, 9 light window, or a 6 panel door.
Insulation in Your New Garage
Graber buildings can be designed with an unusually high level of insulation when compared to other builders. The material they use in construction actually carries more of an insulation value than cheaper products, keeping your garage cooler in summer and warmer in winter. If you'll be using your garage for a workshop, a studio or for any kind of space where you'll be spending considerable amounts of time inside, you may want to opt for additional insulation. The most effective insulation for you garage would be install a vapor guard, or line the whole inside of the structure with #2 grade metal and then use an R-19 insulation.
Other Finishing Touches
Now that you've decided on the important structural and designs elements of your garage, there are just a few final choices to make.
Cupolas above your garage are a simple way to dress up your building, add ventilation, and make it look statelier. For about another $650, a cupola, or a $100 weathervane really gives a building a sense of class. Now if you just want your garage to cost as little as possible, I don't think I'd recommend it. But if you've already decided to spruce up the appearance by going with a premium siding choice or wainscoting, a cupola is a smart addition.