While building your dream detached garage, it is common to design the structure around your plans for its use, even those dreams not yet realized.

For the car enthusiasts, an auto lift might be something you consider as you build your new garage. Becoming more commonly installed in residential garages, there are various elements involved in such an investment and it all affects the design of the building.

Before selecting and purchasing the auto lift, it is important to identify its purpose. That will ultimately guide a portion of the design process to ensure that those requirements have been met.

There are multiple types of auto lifts to consider, each operating differently and requiring their own unique installation.

Most installed in a residential garage are the 2-post or 4-post auto lifts. Both require concrete slabs at least 3.5 inches in depth, potentially thicker if the lift is considered heavy-duty.


The 2-post auto lift is made up of two posts, parallel to one another to support the weight of the car evenly. These lifts can handle approximately 2,500 pounds a post.

Both posts must be anchored correctly and safely reinforced to the concrete foundation.

Utilizing powerful hydraulics, these two posts can both raise and lower the vehicle, however it is not encouraged for storing cars.


Adding two extra posts, these auto lifts are more commonly utilized to store, or park, additional cars for longer periods of time.

While they take up more space in the garage, they are typically easier to use and sturdier than the 2-post options, holding up to 4,000 pounds per post.

Although recommended, the 4-posts do not need to be anchored to the foundation.

What To Consider Prior To Purchasing

Taking into consideration clearance height, dedicated floor space, and placement is important to address during the design phase.  This is when the structure can be modified to meet the requirements for the potential auto lift.

Clearance Height and Garage Size

Prior to determining what you can and cannot build, it is necessary to find out what the municipal guidelines are for building in your area.

When designing the height of the structure, the ceiling needs to be at least 12 feet, if not higher, taking into account the height a car add will add when raised.

Dedicated Floor Space and Placement

Most commonly aligned with the entry doors, the lift posts should be installed at least three feet from any wall.

While the addition of an auto lift is an important detail to work around, it is necessary to remember that the garage is also utilized for other purposes. For example, the addition of cabinetry or additional storage will require extra space in order to navigate around the lift safely and comfortably.

You may not be prepared for the additional purchase at the time your structure is being constructed; therefore planning ahead helps to eliminate or minimize future costs.

To learn more about how HGB can help create that design for you, or for a FREE consultation and estimate, contact Heartland Garage Builders at HeartlandGarageBuilders.com or 224-326-2698