Weekend Warrior: Garage Makeover
This story is found in the Summer 2019 edition of Park City Home.
You can most likely think of better ways to spend a summer weekend than by giving your garage a mini-makeover. But trust us, none of those may prove to be as useful or satisfying. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
What to toss
The best way to begin a garage upgrade is with a no-mercy purging. The general rule is that if something hasn’t been disturbed in the past year it should go: a table lamp whose shade is missing, the gear for a sport you may someday take up again, the bicycle of a child who moved out of the house a decade ago. Equally good candidates for removal are items that should not be stored in a garage in the first place. In addition to obvious hazards, such as propane tanks, these include anything that can be damaged by heat, cold, humidity, or vermin. Paint and solvents dry up, canned goods spoil, wine goes bad, old photos stick together, papers, fabrics, and stacked firewood make a welcoming home for critters. Clear it all out and you may discover there’s finally room for…a car.
Shelves and bins
Once a garage has been cleared of everything extraneous, ensure that small items such as bike helmets and garden tools are not scattered around the floor, where they might be tripped on or run over. Cabinets, with their ability to hide things, create the cleanest storage solution, but can be pricey and may require professional installation. Almost as effective are open shelving systems that can be easily assembled in a few hours and used to hold plastic bins; label these to remind you what’s inside. Add a simple hook-type or snap-in wall-mount organizer for larger items, such as brooms and rakes, and most of your clutter will be gone.
Garage door insulation
Replacing a garage door with one that’s better insulated is a wise investment, but it can be expensive. Alternatively, consider adding insulation to the existing door, a simple project a homeowner can do in a few hours at a fraction of the cost. It won’t be as effective as a door designed from the start to manage heat and cold, but it can make a noticeable difference. Many home-supply stores sell garage door insulation kits, which typically consist of Styrofoam-like polystyrene sheets or panels that are fixed to the inside of the door. For best results, use insulation that will give the door an R-value of 8 or higher, which is a measure of a material’s ability to resist heat flow. Adding insulation can also reduce the noise level, should there be a family member who insists on using the garage for band practice.
All sorts of electronic gadgets have appeared in recent years that can help you get your car into the garage without putting a hole in the wall or crushing a box of Christmas ornaments. The classic solution — and perhaps still one of the best — doesn’t employ any of these devices. Instead, it consists of a tennis ball suspended on a string from the garage ceiling. When the ball kisses the windshield dead even with the driver’s nose, the car is perfectly parked. Assembling the whole thing from bits and pieces you can usually find lying around is the work of minutes. Or for the excessively neat, kits are available that contain everything needed.
For space-saving storage, there are many ways to mount a bike on a garage wall. You can hang them vertically or horizontally, from a tire or seat or the bike frame itself, by a single hook or multi-bike rack, using pulleys and ropes or chains or cables that operate a mechanical or electric lift. Despite their variety, though, almost all of these bike mounts have one thing in common: To insure they will support the necessary weight, they are screwed into the wall’s studs, a task well within the capability of any weekend DIYer who has an electric drill and a tool known as a stud finder. Of the two types, magnetic stud finders are cheaper, usually costing under $10. But if the walls are much more than half an inch thick, an electronic version, costing around $50, does a far better job.
Few would argue that one of the most dramatic garage upgrades is to apply an epoxy coating to the garage floor, which can turn a concrete slab into what looks like the floor of a luxury-car showroom. Theoretically, a homeowner could
do the work in a weekend. But Richard Mularski, owner of Park City’s Wasatch Garage, says that over the past 14 years he has had to re-do so many botched amateur epoxy coating attempts that he thinks it’s a rotten idea.
Better to hire someone like Mularski and give him the five days that are really needed, with Park City’s cooler temperatures, before cars can be parked back inside. You’ll avoid all the hassle of extensive prep work, possibly getting the resin and hardener proportions wrong, having to wear a protective mask, and probably some swearing.
And you’ll have a gleaming surface that when winter comes will stand up so well to grime, including the corrosive salt sprayed onto Park City roads, that a little mild detergent will make it shiny again.
For more stories from this edition, visit the Park City Home special section.
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