LATEST TRENDS: The Great Growing Garage

© 2006 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Fall 2006
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Pages 52-53

The Great Growing Garage
The Latest Census Statistics Bring Good News

The latest new-home statistics confirm a continuing trend: garages are growing in size. And bigger garages typically mean bigger–and more–garage doors.

Since 1992, when the U.S. Census began tracking the number of homes with garages for three or more cars, the percentage of homes with these larger garages has doubled. In 1992, 11 percent of new homes had garages for three or more cars. By 2005, that number had grown to 20 percent, according to new census data released in June.

Bigger Garages Out West

Regionally, the West and Midwest are seeing the largest percentage of the three-plus car garages. In the West, one third (33 percent) of homes built in 2005 and 32 percent of new Midwestern homes have garages for three or more vehicles.

In the Northeast, the larger garages are fewer but are still increasing, from four percent of new homes in 1992 to 11 percent in 2005. The trend in the South is similar, also increasing from four percent in 1992 to 10 percent in 2005.

The Shrinking Lot Size

Garages may be growing, but lot sizes are shrinking. According to census data, lot sizes have dropped from a median of about 10,000 square feet in 1990 to 8,500 square feet today.

Smaller lot sizes can mean that more homes are being built with front-facing garage doors. A smaller lot size yields less room for a long driveway that reaches around to a garage door on the side or rear of homes.

“It seems reasonable that homeowners would be more likely to upgrade a garage door that faces the front,” says Tom Wadsworth, editor of Door & Access Systems. “If the door is hidden from view, why invest in an upscale door?” He thinks that shrinking lot sizes represent a positive trend for the garage door industry.

Exterior Wall Trends

One new-home characteristic that may influence future garage door design is exterior wall material. “Certain garage door designs provide a better complement to certain wall materials,” added Wadsworth.

In general, the use of brick and wood exteriors has declined, but stucco and vinyl siding have become more popular. Vinyl siding is now the most-used wall exterior.

Between 1975 and 2005, all-brick exteriors on new homes declined from 32 percent to 20 percent. In that 30-year span, wood exteriors have seen the greatest decline, dropping from 36 percent to 7 percent.

Meanwhile, use of stucco as an exterior wall material grew from 10 percent of new homes in 1975 to 22 percent in 2005. Vinyl siding, which the census began tracking in 1992, increased from 23 percent of homes in 1992 to 34 percent in 2005.

For more statistics, go to and look for “Selected Characteristics of New Housing.” For the latest U.S. Census data, go to