Have you been neglecting your garage? Most of us treat this space like a giant shed for storing clutter. As a result, this space can often get dirty and fall into disrepair. Here are a few ways that you can bring your garage back to life and make the most of this space.
Upgrade your doors
The doors are the most prominent feature of any garage. A good garage door can add value to your home by improving your curb appeal, whilst allowing easy access and strong security.
There are lots of different mechanisms to look into. The most basic type of garage door is the old carriage-style double door mechanism. This is difficult to automate and requires a lot of clearance space. However, for an older property, a pair of twin wooden garage doors could help to add a rustic appeal.
The swing-out door is probably the most common. This can be automated (smart technology can even allow you to open your door using your smartphone). Some swing-out doors are able to slide back and fit onto the roof.
You then have your slightly flashier mechanisms such as sectional doors and roller doors. These don’t require any clearance space and can be easily automated. They are usually more expensive but will add more value to your home.
Garage doors come in all kinds of materials – something to also consider. Wood is traditional and reliable, offering good insulation but not as much durability or security. Aluminum is a more popular material as it’s stronger and more secure. There are also materials such as fiberglass to consider to give added insulation.
Improve the flooring
You may also want to upgrade your garage flooring. Most basic garages use bare concrete. This can crack and be hard to clean stains out of, making it worthwhile adding a sealant or a protective layer.
Sealants are often the cheapest option. These can provide your concrete garage floor with a laminate flooring layer that’s easy to clean. This laminate layer also stops moisture from getting into the concrete and causing deterioration. There are lots of non-toxic sealants on the market including ones that double up as paints for adding a touch of color.
Protective layers are another option. You can buy roll-out rubber mats, which are easy to install and easy to clean. An alternative option could be to lay down tiles. You should probably avoid vinyl flooring if you’re going to be parking your car in your garage as it’s not made for this pressure – thicker plastics and rubber are better suited for a garage floor.
Keep out pests
Garages can sometimes become home to rodents and creepy crawlies. This is likely to be due to cracks in the garage walls. Anything big enough to fit a pencil in is enough for a small mouse to crawl through. You can use caulk to fill up small cracks, whilst bigger cracks may require seeking professional guidance.
Pests are more likely to enter your garage if it is dusty and cluttered. Cleaning it could put off creatures from wanting to nest there. If you use your garage to store food, this might also be attracting pests, so make sure that any food is sealed in an airtight container.
Garages can become heavily cluttered. You may want to spend some time getting rid of items that you’ve been hoarding. As for the items that you want to keep, find creative solutions to keeping these organized.
You could consider building shelves to store items on. Plastic tubs and mason jars might also be useful for separating loose items like screws, keys and instructional manuals. Alternatively, you can try using a pegboard for hanging tools on. These use up less space than shelves and may be more versatile.
There are other ways of hanging objects to consider. Magnetic strips can be useful for hanging metal tools. Wall racks meanwhile can be used for bicycles and skateboards.
Build a workbench
The garage is the perfect place to set up a workshop. The floor is better for cleaning sawdust and oil off and the big entrance allows you to more easily maneuver machinery and planks of wood in. It could, therefore, be worthwhile building a workbench in this room. There are lots of prebuilt workbenches that you can buy. Alternatively, you could try building your own to the exact dimensions of the room. Consider offering an adjustable height that might allow you to sit and stand whilst using it. You can even buy machinery for your garage such as electric saws and pillar drills.
Add more lighting
Garages can often get dark and gloomy. If you haven’t got any plug sockets, it could be worth wiring some in. This could allow you to use lamps in the room. Alternatively, you could wire in some overhead lights.
You can even consider ways of bringing in natural light. If your garage isn’t surrounded by building either side, you might be able to fit a window into the wall to let some light in. Another option could be to put a skylight into the roof and let the sunlight flood in this way. There are even meshed and slatted garage doors available that can let in sunlight.
Keep it warm
If your garage often gets cold, it could be worth making some modifications to warm it up.
Insulation is the simplest way of containing heat. There are lots of types of insulation to choose from including thermal wool and wood paneling. Some materials might require wearing safety equipment to handle (for example, fiberglass can often cause irritation to skin and eyes). Other materials such as sheep’s wool are perfectly safe to handle.
On top of insulation, you may want to provide some heating to the room. Installing an electric HVAC system could be the easiest way of doing this. Plumbing in radiators is likely to be more expensive but could be worthwhile if you plan on using your garage more frequently.
Utilise the roof
There may be ways to creatively use your garage roof. If you live somewhere hot, adding a cool roof could be handy for reflecting the heat. You might also want to use your roof to place solar panels – these could be used to generate some extra power for your home.
You might even be able to convert your garage roof into a patio terrace. This could be like having your own small roof terrace for dining out on and relaxing.
Make parking easier
You may also be able to make parking in your garage easier with a few small modifications. For helping you to park the right distance from the back garage wall, you could consider hanging a ball on a string from the ceiling so that when the back of your car hits the ball you know you’re the right distance away. This could be useful if you need a certain amount of clearance space to open the boot.
Meanwhile, if you’ve got a narrow garage, you might also want to consider adding some form of padding on the walls so that when you open your car doors they don’t get damaged. Those foam tubes in the swimming pool are great for this purpose – you could glue one to either side of the garage wall to cushion your car door when you open it.
Repurpose your garage entirely
Your garage doesn’t have to be used for storing your car in. You might not even want to use it as a storage space or a workshop.
Instead, it could be turned into an extra livable space such as a living room or a home office. It could even be turned into an extra bedroom, adding extra value to your home and giving guests a place to stay. Alternatively, you might be able to knock through the wall lead to your garage and extend another room.
Making your garage homelier could involve adding a more comfortable flooring choice such as carpet or laminated wood. You might also want to replace the garage doors with a more conventional door. Sliding doors are perfect for this space, although you may prefer to brick the space over and fit a traditional sized door or leave it completely walled over.
If your garage is in a separate building to rest of your home and is a fair size, you could even consider transforming it into a small bedsit and renting it out to a lodger. Converting your garage into such a space could be a costly job, but you could make a return by giving yourself an extra source of income in the future.
Disclosure: This is a contributed post.