Reclaim Your Garage
A few tips and products that will help turn this valuable space into an extremely well functioning “room”:
- Clear the decks: Get rid of anything you don’t use or need. Ditto if it’s broken. And don’t be tempted to move things into a corner. They’ll just be waiting for you with a coat of duct on them next year. Things you never use, you will never miss.
- Layout: Plan the layout and traffic flow of your garage as you would any other room in your house. Plan storage according to task and frequency of use. Keep cleaning supplies, garbage bags, boots, and recycling box near the house door entrance. Keep as much off the floor as possible and transform wall space into multi purpose, adjustable storage areas.
- Using pulley systems, seasonal items such as canoes, bikes and lawn furniture can be hung from the ceiling joists.
- Garage workstation: Consider a small workbench area that can be used alternately as a potting bench or hobby table. Running an electrical outlet (GFI) and proper lighting to the bench area is not difficult. A heavy-duty extension cord from an existing outlet may be all that your require. Portable halogen lights will provide ample safe lighting. Large power tools should be on a mobile bench for easy positioning on the garage floor when not in use.
Look into a permanent organizing type system (see photo) which will help you make the most efficient use of wall space. They are easy and quick to install and go anywhere wall support is available.
The condition of your garage floors is not merely of aesthetic concern. Patches of grease and oil are potentially dangerous; moisture, dirt and other contaminants can quickly find their way into your home.
- Most garage floors are formed with poured concrete. In the winter, road salt and sand from car wheel wells ends up on the cement floor. Over time the salt will “eat” into the cement, causing significant breakdown of the surface. To prevent this, regularly remove any chunks of ice and snow that fall off your car. Temperature permitting, wash the floor with a hose or power washer to remove salt residue.
- Keep the garage floor as dry as possible. A wide long-handled squeegee can help remove water quickly. Dry garage floors can be easily and regularly swept clean.
- Eliminate grease, oil and antifreeze stains. Badly stained areas are slippery and emit unpleasant fumes. Use an asphalt & concrete cleaner to dissolve the stain. If a vehicle has a chronic oil drip, protect the concrete surface with a rubber boot tray. Gasoline leaks should be dealt with immediately by a qualified mechanic.
- Seal, waterproof and protect the concrete surface with a waterproofing sealer or garage floor epoxy. These products are easy to apply, dry quickly and resist staining, salt, mildew and hot tire pick-up.
- A non-slip surface is important for safety, especially around workbenches, power tools or stairways. Use an anti-slip additive, which can be mixed into any garage floor paint. The entire garage floor can be coated to product a tough anti-slip surface resistant to weather, impact and salts. It can be tinted to any color by adding acrylic paint in the proper ratio before application.
Helpful hint: If the temperature in the garage drops below freezing, find a safe place indoors for paints and other products that should not be allowed to freeze.
- Always keep the correct grade of fire extinguisher accessible and in full working order. Make sure everyone knows how to use it.
- Find a safe place to store hazardous materials such as fertilizers, pesticides, paint and automobile products. Plastic stackable bins make excellent storage containers, allowing you to keep the contents separate, clean and off the floor. Label each bin clearly.
- Gasoline should be stored in a shed or storage bin. If kept in a garage, it must be tightly sealed in an approved container in a safe area. Propane tanks are manufactured to ensure all weather conditions and can be stored in an outside shed.
- If you have an electrical receptacle in the garage, it should be a GFI; garage work areas can be damp, and extension cords are often run outdoors to power up tools, lights and lawnmowers, creating potentially dangerous situations.
- Store sharp tools, harden implements and the lawnmower in safe locations.
- How adequate is your garage lighting? Use inexpensive work lamps to create safe work spaces. If upgrading or adding lighting, keep in mind that fluorescent fixtures become less efficient as the temperature drops.
What’s in store
- Asphalt & concrete cleaner
- Cleaner & degreaser
- Concrete resurfacer
- Garage floor sealer
- Skid-tex paint additive
- Garage floor epoxy
- GFI outlet
- Extension cord
- Heavy-duty shelf bracket
- Tall utility cabinet
- Small tool hanger
- Organizer rail
- Stackable totes
- Golf rack
- Ski rack
- Bungee cords
- Ceiling mount bike lift
- Floor squeegee
- Sweeping compound
- Push broom
- Recycling bin
- Garbage can with wheels