Making Home Improvements? Don’t Forget the Garage!

Making Home Improvements? Don’t Forget the Garage!
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Consider the garage. While most homes built since the 1940s have a garage integrated into the house, or a detached garage, it is too often neglected when other rooms or areas are improved. You may have an upgraded kitchen with granite countertops and the latest appliances, but the poor garage remains a chaotic catch-all. It’s time to change that, and give your garage the attention it deserves! The payoff will be a space that’s better organized, more functional and may even allow you to park your car there! Don’t laugh. One in four Americans admit their garage is so full and cluttered it can’t accommodate a car.

Whether you want to make improvements for your own benefit or to better attract prospective homebuyers, investing in your garage need not be expensive (certainly not as much as a kitchen or master bath). According to Kiplinger, 85% of buyers look at a garage from a storage perspective. Adding storage solutions like shelves and cabinets in the garage can be a selling point. A clean and tidy garage will also make a good impression that conveys the house is move-in ready.

Increase Storage and Improve Organization

Garage Living offers good suggestions for increasing storage. The company – which specializes in garage renovations – recommends PVC slatwall panels for one or more walls. A slatwall paneled wall can get such items as tools, cables, ladders, brooms, lawn care implements, hoses, etc., off the floor and within easy reach. Wire baskets that hang from the wall can store cans, bottles and other items that tend to be stacked on the floor or on a counter. Slatwall also creates a neat, “built-in” appearance that visually elevates the garage.

Utility shelving is another option that could be a more economical and/or practical solution that eliminates the need for installation, which slatwall requires. Freestanding metal shelving units are available in a wide variety of sizes, providing numerous possibilities for flexible storage adaptable to your changing needs. Overhead metal storage units are ceiling-mounted to increase storage even more, while leaving plenty of clearance for your vehicle(s).

However, be sure to buy the right shelving unit(s) for the job! If you’re storing heavy, bulky items – such as equipment, tool bins, etc. – you need a heavy-duty unit. Choosing a lighter-weight unit to save money is false economy, as it won’t support the items and can collapse or topple over. Visit the websites of home improvement centers to see what they offer. Their shelving unit page will feature guides that can help you choose the appropriate unit based upon weight capacity per shelf, depth, height, material and price – so you can stay within budget but be assured of getting a unit that’s up to the task.

Speaking of budgets, those who have more money to spend on upgrading the garage can add a custom cabinet system. This option requires hiring a company specializing in garage makeovers. Selections typically include modular storage, semi-custom or custom-fit cabinet systems. Speciality companies offer a wide variety of colors, styles and component design combinations. Unlike kitchen cabinetry, cabinet systems designed for the garage are built of steel or other durable materials for the cabinets and countertop, while keeping attractive design in mind. Needless to say, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the possibilities for a custom solution – as well as the price! Quality cabinet and storage systems are also sold at home improvement centers, but require you to assemble and install them yourself. Although not inexpensive either, they are priced below custom cabinetry.

Wall-mounted storage systems make optimum use of space while offering clean design. Although pricier than freestanding cabinets, they’re a definite aesthetic upgrade that will make the garage a better place to work and move about, and may ultimately make your home more attractive when it’s time to sell.

Freestanding cabinets in steel or plastic are the most economical of cabinet storage solutions. In addition to price, their advantage is the ability to be placed wherever a cabinet is needed or wanted. These cabinets are typically easy to assemble without tools.

If you haven’t noticed, we here at The Paint Manager are very safety-conscious. Items stored and/or stacked on top of one another on the garage floor are a tripping hazard, while items propped against the wall could fall over, causing injury or damaging your car. In addition, equipment that’s stored improperly can become damaged. Having a place for everything and everything in its place is essential to a safe, functional garage!

Upgrade the Garage Floor for a Showroom Look

Most homeowners give up on the garage floor, ignoring oil stains and the irregularities inherent to unfinished concrete. After all, if you do park your vehicle(s) in the garage, who will notice the floor, anyway? However, if you’re upgrading your garage, you need to include the floor!

Applying an epoxy finish is a popular way to give the garage floor a little extra panache – as well as sealing the floor, protecting it from stains and giving it a high-performance, smooth, durable surface that can last for many years. Our blog post – “Advantages of Epoxy Floor Finishes” – covers the many benefits it offers. The epoxy finish can be clear, or customized with specialty colors or decorative chip blends to mask concrete flooring cracks – or just for aesthetic effect.

While this may seem like an easy DIY project, applying epoxy is for those with experience in similar home improvement efforts, not absolute beginners. Not all concrete floors will hold an epoxy floor coating, and preparing concrete for the project can be labor intensive and tedious. Should this be the case, hiring a professional services company – such as The Paint Manager – is recommended.

As to be expected, companies specializing in garage makeovers offer floor coatings they claim are more durable and chemical-resistant than epoxy, and quicker to cure (harden) – which means the garage can be used within 24 hours, instead of the three-to-four days needed to apply an epoxy floor coating. Depending upon the company, several types of concrete coating systems are available, each providing a different textured finish. Options become more expensive subject to the materials incorporated into the coating system.

A Little Paint Goes a Long Way

Like the concrete floor, garage walls are often neglected. Painting them will provide an immediate lift to the garage’s look and the impression it makes on potential buyers, if you’re planning to put your house on the market. Even if your improvement plan includes cabinetry and shelves that mostly cover the walls, a fresh coat of paint will make the space look new and finished. Choose white or another neutral color and – of course – clean the walls first if they’re dirty or stained, and be sure they’re dry before painting.

The Take-Home Message

It’s counterintuitive to have a home that’s well-maintained inside and out, yet step into a dingy, neglected, cluttered garage. Giving the garage the attention it deserves can transform it into an attractive, safe and functional space that increases your home’s value.

Our professionals at The Paint Manager have the experience and skill to perform a wide range of home improvement and maintenance tasks. If you need help achieving your vision for your garage – including ideas for maximizing its usable space – contact us! We have served Central Florida since 2000 with quality professional residential and commercial painting services. Visit our website to learn about the many other services we provide – including pressure washing, roof cleaning and stump removal. Become a member of The Paint Manager to receive a 15% year-‘round member’s discount. We look forward to meeting you!

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