Garage Floors and Coatings: 7 Interesting Facts Worth Knowing

garage floors and coatings

It wasn’t until the last couple of decades that homeowners gave much thought to their garage floors.

For ages, it was just that utilitarian, ugly gray surface with cracks, stains, and other imperfections that you parked on and didn’t get too worried about if a spill occurred on it. 

In short, if you looked up the word “drab” in the dictionary, the typical garage floor might very well be pictured.

That’s no longer the case for many homeowners. Garage flooring is increasingly being recognized as a part of the house worthy of some attention and care.

7 facts about garage floors and coatings 

It’s no surprise that both the garage and its flooring have risen in prominence when it comes to home makeover opportunities and priorities. 

After all, garages are one the hardest working areas in homes. 

The foundation of that hard-working space and the products that can help you get the most out of it deserve some attention.

Let’s get better-informed about garage floors and coatings with some interesting facts you might not know about them.

1. Garage flooring can (and should) look beautiful

When entering and exiting their house, 55% of homeowners do so through their garage doors, according to a Chamberlain Group study.

The garage has become a more heavily used home space and essentially “the new front door” for many of us. Clearly, that unattractive garage floor that’s uneven, cracked, scuffed, stained, and devoid of any style just isn’t going to cut it any longer.

A garage floor’s physical condition and appearance have a huge effect on the overall look and feel of a garage. Ask any garage makeover expert and they’ll tell you the application of a new floor coating is one of the key elements in transforming the appearance of the room.

There are plenty of great decorative floor coating options available nowadays to transform your garage floor into a beautiful, modern-looking surface. Epoxy and higher quality polyaspartic floor coatings are the two most common types.

That’s why in spaces where aesthetics matter (like automotive showrooms and retail spaces), professional floor coatings are used, in addition to the floor surface protection they provide. 

garage floors and coatings blue car in garage

2. Neglected garage floors can be unsafe

Neglected garage floors aren’t just an eyesore, they’re often a safety hazard. Your ability to safely walk in your garage can be adversely affected by floors that are uneven, damaged, slippery, and strewn with clutter.

Why do garage floors develop cracks, become uneven, and end up looking unsightly over the course of a number of years? Here are a few things that can cause these issues:

  • floors can sink due to soil displacement beneath the garage foundation
  • a garage floor’s foundation and concrete surface were poorly prepared and applied
  • temperature changes put stress on the concrete floor as it contracts and expands
  • a garage has water drainage problems 
  • floors will commonly just settle over time
  • general wear and tear from spills, leaks, and foot and vehicle traffic

Adding a coating to your garage flooring will leave the surface smooth, unbroken, and safer to walk on. Some coatings even allow an anti-slip additive to be mixed in that improves foot traction.

Another option is to use a coating that has decorative flakes broadcast on the floor before a top coat is applied. This creates a textured surface that provides better traction, while also enhancing a garage’s décor.

3. There are numerous floor coating choices

When it comes to garage floors and coatings that can be used to restore their appearance, numerous options are available that vary in cost and quality.

Acrylic garage floor paint is the cheapest option, which makes it a popular choice for homeowners. Unfortunately, they soon find out that most DIY floor paints don’t do much to protect their floor, look very good, or last longer than a year or two before a reapplication is needed.

Some people choose to just use a clear garage floor sealer as a means of protecting a floor’s surface. This option has varying degrees of effectiveness depending on the quality of the product, but does nothing to improve a garage floor’s appearance with any sort of decorative upgrade.

Professionally applied or DIY epoxy floor coatings achieve better results in terms of both looks and surface protection, but can’t match the quality of a polyaspartic coating in either department.

Garage Living uses Floorex™ polyaspartic floor coatings for its superior quality that provides durable floor protection and a high-end look.

4. Coatings protect garage floors

Upgrading the appearance of their garage floor will be one of the main motivators for anyone looking to get a floor coating.

But it’s the protective benefits of floor coatings that warrant an equal amount of attention.

Think of how much activity occurs in your garage over the course of a year. If you’ve added efficient storage systems to eliminate floor clutter and allow for vehicle parking, your garage floor needs to be resilient enough to handle all of that foot and vehicle traffic.

Better quality coatings provide a stronger bond with your existing cement floor and have a higher percentage of solids by volume (meaning less of the applied material evaporates, leaving a thicker coated surface). 

A high quality floor coating should have excellent resistance to chemicals, abrasions, and impact. Also look for a floor coating that has a higher heat tolerance (to minimize tire marks) and can provide a waterproof floor seal. 

5. Proper preparation is critical

For any successful garage floor coating application, proper preparation is absolutely critical. 

Making mistakes or cutting corners with any aspect of the floor prep before a coating application inevitably leads to poor results (as can using a cheap product).

Preparation and application mistakes with DIY epoxy coating kits is a common occurrence. A polyaspartic coating product has a more complicated application process that leaves less room for error, so it’s best left to the pros.

Using state-of-the-art equipment, our floor coating application experts have an efficient and highly specialized process that allows floor projects to be completed in as little as a day.

Temperatures also need to be taken into account with any floor coating application. A freshly applied epoxy or polyaspartic floor coating can peel and bubble if temperature conditions aren’t optimal.

One of the advantages of using a polyaspartic coating is that it can be applied in a much wider range of temperatures and humidity conditions, unlike epoxy coatings.

Professional flooring applicators just need to make adjustments to the formulations of the base coat and top coat and the floor’s curing times.

6. Garage floors with coatings require less maintenance

We all know how tough it can be to keep a garage floor clean, considering how frequently the space is used. 

That’s why a resilient floor coating is worth the investment in more ways than one. First of all, you’ll spend less time and money in the future repairing cracks and other types of floor damage.

Secondly, a floor coating provides a smooth, seamless surface that’s easier to clean, whether the floor is being swept, scrubbed, squeegeed, or having spills cleaned up.

And finally, floor coatings with decorative flakes make dirt and dust less visible, which preserves the clean look of the room.

That doesn’t mean you rarely or never have to sweep your floor, it just means your garage floor won’t look unclean as quickly as it did before.

garage floors and coatings man wiping spill on floor

7. A garage floor upgrade boosts your home’s value

If you’re looking for one more reason to justify getting a new garage floor coating, how about the fact that it can boost your home’s value?

A professionally applied high-end coating will serve you well for years to come with a high gloss flooring finish that won’t peel, flake, or yellow.

You can take pride in opening your garage doors instead of cringing at what the neighbors will think of your unsightly garage floor.

And when you eventually sell your home, a nice garage floor really stands out to prospective buyers who already place a high value on the garage as a home storage space.

Transform the look of your garage floor

Higher quality polyaspartic garage floor coatings are the coating of choice for discerning homeowners wishing to create a luxurious, beautiful garage space.

Applying high-performance Floortex™ floor coatings is just one of Garage Living’s many specialities when it comes to garage improvement solutions.

Schedule a free in-home design consultation with us and you’ll be on your way to soon having an attractive garage floor you can be proud of.

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7 Garage Organization Projects to Take on This Spring

With spring finally here, many homeowners will be turning their attention to organizing what is commonly a house’s messiest room – the garage.

How common? Well, exactly half of those polled by the National Association of Professional Organizers named the garage as their most disorganized home space.

That’s not a surprise, considering the garage has traditionally been a dumping ground for odds and ends that usually end up becoming annoying clutter.

garage organization projects

7 garage organization projects to transform your space

Getting your garage organization projects started can be admittedly be difficult.

Sorting through years of clutter is a daunting task, but it’s worth it for the benefits that come with having a tidy, clean, aesthetically pleasing garage space that actually feels comfortable to enter. 

If you’re tired of having a disorganized garage you can never find anything in and are never able to use for parking, make some meaningful changes this spring.

Get one or more of the following garage organization projects rolling to optimize your garage’s functionality.

Here are seven ways to accomplish your goal of owning a garage space you can be proud of. 

1. Discard the clutter and organize everything else

A thorough garage decluttering can take some time, especially if you’ve been putting off the task for a few years. Set aside at least a full day and, more ideally, the entire weekend.

Keep focussing on that end goal of a tidy, functional garage space that will make your day-to-day routine easier.

The best approach is to empty the entire contents of your garage and then start evaluating what is worth keeping. Toss, recycle, or donate all of the junk that’s overstayed its welcome.

When you’ve eliminated the unnecessary clutter, group the items you’re keeping together in order to stay organized and get a better understanding of how much storage space you actually require.

garage organization projects, wheelbarrow and garden tools

2. Maximize your garage wall storage 

Now that you’ve streamlined your garage’s inventory, it’s time to give your belongings a proper home with the best garage storage systems.

When it comes to maximizing your storage space, keeping things accessible, and providing flexibility when it comes to your changing storage needs, you can’t do better than a slatwall storage system.

Slatwall panels with hanging accessories are effective for keeping your garage floor clutter-free. They’re perfect for hanging things like:

  • yard tools
  • small hand tools
  • bikes and sports equipment
  • ladders
  • power cords

garage organization projects, woman removing bin from storage rack

3. Utilize your overhead space

Slatwall makes great use of your garage’s underused wall space, but that’s not the only part of your garage that could be better utilized.

You’ll find an ample amount of storage space in your garage’s upper reaches, just waiting to accept those bulky items that are clogging up your floor.

Have your garage makeover professional install some heavy-duty overhead racks in order to maximize your garage’s storage space even more. 

garage organization projects, storage cabinets

4. Stay organized with garage cabinetry

Not everything being kept in your garage is suited to being hung on slatwall panels or stored in overhead racking. That’s where garage cabinetry comes in.

Garage cabinet systems provide a practical alternative to keeping things stored on wall-mounted shelving or standup racks. Cabinet storage keeps dust and grime off your belongings, hidden from view, and allows for valuables and hazardous materials to be locked up.

And if you want to create a garage workshop, you can take your setup’s functionality capabilities to the next level with a cabinet system. It also doesn’t hurt that cabinetry modernizes a garage’s décor.

garage organization projects, car lift

5. Double your parking space with a car lift

One of the main goals of these garage organization projects is to free up space so you can use your garage for parking. And we’re talking about parking comfortably in the garage, not just being able to barely squeeze one or two of your vehicles indoors.

If you’re adding one or more of the aforementioned storage systems, you’re well on your way to being able to do that. But here’s another garage parking solution you may not have considered – a car lift.

Car lifts essentially double your parking space by allowing you to park one vehicle underneath another raised vehicle.

garage organization projects, parked white car

6. Transform your garage floor

A clean garage with stylish décor only makes an organized garage space look that much better. Therefore, don’t overlook the importance of making sure your garage floor adds to the look of the room.

A visually unappealing gray garage floor that’s cracked and stained will detract from the appearance of even the most immaculately organized garage.

To make your garage floor stand out and protect its surface, invest in a high quality polyaspartic floor coating. And if you’ve recently had a new floor coating applied, give it a good sweep and wash this spring to refresh your floor surface’s appearance.

garage organization projects, man using tire rack

7. Add the perfect finishing touches

The last of our ideas for spring garage organization projects involves adding the right finishing touches to further upgrade your garage’s appearance and add even more functionality. Here are some suggestions:

  • have a garage heater installed
  • upgrade your garage lighting
  • add garage wall bumpers to protect vehicles from scratches and dents
  • replace your garage doors to boost curb appeal
  • add a wall-mounted tire rack for storing seasonal tires

Get your garage organized this spring

If you’re feeling the inspiration to take on some of these garage organization projects this spring, there’s no better place to get expert help than Garage Living.

We’ve transformed thousands of garages across North America since 2005. Our experienced team of designers and installers will ensure that your garage makeover is done to your complete satisfaction.

Schedule a free design consultation to get your garage makeover started. One of our design experts will come to your home to discuss your project, evaluate your garage space, and provide you with a complimentary quote.  

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6 Ways to Get Better WiFi in Your Garage

wifi in your garage, open garage

There’s an ever-increasing reliance on internet connectivity with so many aspects of our daily lives.

Getting the most out of your smart tech products and mobile devices in your house means having a good WiFi signal if you don’t have a data plan or want to limit your data usage while at home.

That can be a hit-or-miss thing, however, especially when it comes to getting reliable WiFi in your garage or some of the far-reaching areas of your property.

Why is the WiFi in your garage so poor?

Uneven WiFi coverage in the garage and other parts of your home and yard can occur for a number of reasons.

Here are several factors that may be causing those frustrating WiFi “dead spots”:

  • your network hardware is in a bad location
  • the network hardware you’re using is outdated
  • the firmware of your network devices hasn’t been updated
  • your network and router settings aren’t configured properly
  • signal interference from other electronics
  • your home has extra thick walls and floors
  • certain home construction materials (like metal, concrete, and brick walls) are obstructing your signal

Here’s how to boost your home WiFi signal

If you’re struggling to get reliable WiFi in your garage, there are a number of solutions available to fix the issue.

There are many variables involved with why or why not a particular home gets effective WiFi coverage.

For example, you might have your router or WiFi extender in the perfect spot and have a fast internet connection. Despite this, you may experience poor WiFi coverage in some areas of your home due to physical obstructions like walls or floors that are particularly thick.

Maybe you have uncommonly thin walls and your WiFi signal is weak due to your networking devices being very old, or because they’re located in a less-than-ideal location.

Here are several solutions to make your garage and home more network-friendly so you can experience reliable WiFi connectivity for your mobile devices and smart home products.

Solution #1: relocate your router

When your WiFi signal strength just isn’t cutting it for all areas of your home and property, your first step should be to try a different location for your main router (or router/modem combo).

Clearly, a centralized location in your home is best in order to provide more even WiFi signal coverage. That means moving your router out of the basement if you live in a two or three-storey home and putting it in as central a location as possible on the main floor.

That can be easier said than done if you have a poorly located main internet connection into your home. If that’s the case, you could run an ethernet cable from your main signal input to change where your router/modem gets located, but that won’t be practical in some cases.

Nobody wants an unsightly tripping hazard like a cable running through the main part of their home.

And running cable through your walls and ceiling can be tricky business if you don’t know what you’re doing. Contact your internet service provider or an electrician for help in this area.

Solution #2: upgrade your hardware

Resolving your issue with having weak WiFi in your garage and other parts of your home may be as simple as getting a hardware upgrade.

Tech experts recommend updating your router, modem, or router/modem combo every 3-5 years. If you’re using something older than that, speak with your internet service provider to see if they have newer networking devices available.

If you use a separate router and are looking for a new model, the range of choices and features can be rather dizzying and performance can vary widely.

Do your homework, look for a reliable brand, and keep in mind that online product reviews aren’t always trustworthy.

If you have your router in a good location and still aren’t happy with how it performs, exchange it for a different model that will hopefully produce better results.

wifi in your garage, person plugging into router

Improving the WiFi signal strength in your garage could be as simple as upgrading your network hardware.

Solution #3: ensure everything is set up properly

It’s possible your hardware is fine, but it’s simply not configured properly or requires a firmware update.

Tinker with the settings until you achieve a level of performance you’re satisfied with. Most modern routers have 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless frequencies. Try switching from one frequency to the other to see if you get better results.

While the quality of help you get can be quite hit or miss, use your ISP’s tech support if you’re having a difficult time figuring things out.

If you’re not tech-savvy, fixing your internet network issues may feel somewhat overwhelming.

And if tech support isn’t of much help, have your ISP send a technician to your home to fix your network issues. Another option is to hire a home network professional to help you achieve optimal results with your setup.

Don’t forget to keep your home network protected by securing any new network devices you’re adding.

Solution #4: use a WiFi extender

Another solution to improve the strength of the WiFi in your garage and the rest of your home is to use a WiFi extender. This device is also known as a WiFi repeater, booster, or relay.

Whatever it’s called, these devices all essentially do the same thing – they simply extend the range of the WiFi signal from your main router. You can use more than one extender to expand your WiFi signal’s area coverage.

Performance in these devices will be affected by features such as the quality of antennas and processors used by the manufacturer.

Higher quality WiFi extenders that feature dual radios or dual routers will minimize the speed loss that WiFi extenders typically experience.

Other features to consider are whether or not the device is universally compatible with most routers and if the extender comes with intelligent roaming capabilities. The latter improves the reliability of the wireless signal when using your mobile devices.

Solution #5: add a powerline network adapter

Powerline network adapters (also known as just a powerline adapter or powerline ethernet kit) are another option to add internet access and WiFi in your garage.

These adapters use your home’s electrical circuit to transmit your internet signal. They’re easy to install – here’s how they work:

  1. Plug one adapter into a power socket close to your router.
  2. Connect that adapter to your router with an ethernet cable.
  3. Plug a second adapter into an outlet in your garage.
  4. Run an ethernet cable to whatever smart device needs internet access.

Hardwiring a particular device in your garage or throughout your home isn’t always practical, so you could also pair the second adapter with another router to give you a usable WiFi signal.

Note that factors like the quality and age of your home’s electrical wiring, the distance a second powerline adapter is from the main router, and interference from other electronics can all affect your signal quality.

Solution #6: install a home mesh network

Adding a mesh network is another way to improve the WiFi coverage in your home.

It’s similar to a WiFi extender in that it takes your router’s WiFi signal and sends it to additional strategically placed hardware devices (called nodes) to expand your signal range.

Unlike most WiFi extenders, however, a mesh network is less prone to certain performance issues. For example, they provide faster network speeds. Mesh networks are also far more reliable with delivering a consistent WiFi connection when you’re using mobile devices while roaming about your home.

Performance benefits aren’t the only reason mesh networks have increased in popularity with homeowners in recent years.

Aesthetics have also played a part. Mesh network hardware has a more modern, stylish look than traditional network hardware devices like WiFi extenders and routers. They’re also smaller and less conspicuous.

Get a WiFi bar boost for enhanced garage functionality

Having a strong WiFi signal allows you to do things like use your mobile devices to check sports scores, the news, or reference an instructional YouTube video while working in your garage.

And now that you know how to get better WiFi in your garage, you can take advantage of the numerous smart garage products available.

Garage Living carries LiftMaster garage door openers that feature innovative MyQ smart technology. The MyQ tech is hooked up to your WiFi and allows you to monitor and operate your garage doors remotely from a smartphone app. You can also get alerts sent to your phone if there’s suspicious activity with your garage doors.

In addition to these smart tech features, a garage door opener upgrade is worth considering if your current opener is more than ten years old. Modern garage door openers are more energy efficient, have better security features, and operate more quietly.

Here are three more smart home tech products worth considering that can use the WiFi in your garage:

  • security camera
  • lighting
  • climate control

Yes, setting up and troubleshooting some smart home tech products and the network they run on can require a little patience. But when everything works perfectly, you can definitely simplify some aspects of your life with the conveniences they offer.

Improve your garage’s overall functionality

Upgrading your garage’s tech capabilities isn’t the only way to get more functionality out of the space.

Improving the storage systems and appearance of your garage will transform it into a part of your home that can serve your family better.

Schedule a free-in home design consultation with us to get a garage makeover quote.

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Cheap Garage Cabinets: Why You Want to Avoid These 5 Types

Using cabinets in the garage is a great way to get more storage usage out of the space.

Not everything stored in a garage can be hung on your walls or stowed away in an overhead rack, however.

Garage storage cabinets can enhance your storage flexibility, giving you more options for where to keep things.

They also allow you to keep your stored items hidden (which makes your garage look tidier), valuables and hazardous materials locked up, and your stored items more protected from the dust and grime found in garages.

When you’re looking at your cabinet options, using cheap garage cabinets might be something you’re considering. Here’s why that’s a bad idea.

Cheap garage cabinets have a lot of drawbacks

There are several types of low-cost storage cabinets out there you can buy, but let’s face it – that low price they sell for tends to be their most appealing selling feature.

And when it comes to cheap garage cabinets, you can’t get much cheaper than “free”, like using some cabinets leftover from a kitchen remodel.

But these low-cost (or no-cost) storage products have a number of limitations that are worth knowing about if you’re currently looking to add some garage cabinetry.

Let’s look at five types of inexpensive cabinets and why taking a thrifty approach to the addition of cabinets in your garage is a mistake.

1. Repurposed kitchen cabinets

Plenty of DIY blogs will suggest reusing your old wooden kitchen cabinets in the garage for extra storage.

Repurposing your old kitchen cabinets in the garage might seem like a practical idea. There’s no cost to you, other than your time to install the cabinets and maybe refinish them. It also keeps the cabinets out of a landfill.

Here’s the very simple problem with this idea – wooden kitchen cabinets just aren’t designed to be installed in a garage environment.

Most garages aren’t climate-controlled, which means the spaces will have fluctuating temperatures (sometimes to an extreme degree). They’re also prone to humidity and moisture.

Unless they’re specially engineered (like melamine cabinets) to withstand the harsher conditions in garages, most wood cabinets won’t flourish in the space. They’ll be more susceptible to structural degradation from excess moisture, dry rot, and potentially pest damage.

Many wooden kitchen cabinets also aren’t optimal for storing the heavier things garages need stored. Some older kitchen cabinets also have set shelving heights that can’t be adjusted.

And then there’s the all-important consideration of aesthetics. Kitchen cabinets have a very specific natural, rustic look. Even if you repaint or restain them, they may lack the contemporary look you’d prefer for your garage’s interior.

messy garage with cheap garage cabinets

A cluttered garage with mismatched wood kitchen cabinets.

2. Cheap metal garage cabinets

Okay, so if using wood cabinets in the garage isn’t such a great idea, surely metal cabinets are the way to go, right?

Yes, but only when you use the right type of metal storage cabinets.

Your options for metal cabinetry will consist of cabinets made with aluminum or steel. Look online or in big box stores and you’ll find plenty of metal cabinet systems that look impressive and sturdy.

But dig into the product specs to make sure you’re buying a quality product. If the price of the metal cabinets you’re looking at is surprisingly cheap, there’s probably a good reason for it.

Always choose steel over aluminum when it comes to garage cabinets. Steel is stronger than aluminum, which clearly matters when long-term durability and the storage of heavy things is involved.

Pay particular attention to the steel gauge the cabinets use. Steel gauge is a thickness measurement that is also used in other products made with steel, like stainless steel sinks, furniture, and metal roofing.

Steel gauge uses a retrogressive scale, which means the lower the gauge number, the thicker (and stronger) the steel will be. Cheap garage cabinets found in a lot of retailers often use steel gauges in the 20-24 range. Something in the 20 and lower range is more ideal.

Also try to get a cabinet system that’s made from steel produced in the U.S. or Canada, as all of Garage Living’s high quality garage cabinet systems proudly are.

Even if their listed steel gauge number sounds good, a lot of low-cost cabinets are made with raw materials that are heavily recycled. That compromises the durability of the product and these cheaper cabinets usually rust faster.

Also note that many steels produced overseas don’t adhere to the same eco-friendly manufacturing standards as North American-made steel does.

3. Plastic garage cabinets

Next to those free repurposed kitchen cabinets, assemble-it-yourself plastic garage cabinets will be your most affordable cabinet option.

Plastic cabinets, however, really aren’t a very viable long-term storage solution for your garage.

Manufacturers may throw a bunch of impressive-sounding words at you in a plastic cabinet’s product description, such as “high quality plastic polypropylene resin”, “molded plastic design”, and “high-grade double wall resin construction”.

Don’t be swayed. Out of all the types of cheap garage cabinets listed here, plastic cabinets are undoubtedly the flimsiest, least durable option.

Sure, they may not rust or rot, but they have far lower load capacities than metal or wood cabinets. Forget about using plastic cabinets for bulkier heavy-duty equipment like a compressor or generator.

And it goes without saying that the low-end look of plastic garage cabinets leaves a lot to be desired. It’s a matter of “when” and not “if” that they’ll eventually start showing that drab, discolored look that plastic products get.

open cheap garage cabinets repurposed from kitchen

Kitchen cabinetry being used to store common garage items.

4. DIY garage cabinets

Lots of people enjoy woodworking as a hobby, so DIYing their garage cabinets may be as much for someone about the fulfillment of creating something from scratch as it is about saving a few bucks.

Novice builders will likely find building their own garage cabinets a significant time investment. They’ll need the right tools for the job and may find the process to be overly frustrating. After all, instructional YouTube videos can only get you so far.

Unless you’re a highly skilled craftsperson, the finished cabinet system just may not seamlessly fit together, causing things to look a little “off”.

More often than not, DIY garage cabinets and shelving end up having a rather slapdash, patchwork look, leaving your garage’s storage systems with an unappealing and inconsistent aesthetic.

And in addition to the aforementioned shortcomings of wood cabinets, something else to think about is that they’re more of a fire hazard than metal cabinets. That’s worth considering if you’re storing a a lot of items that are flammable or plan to use a garage workshop for any welding.

5. Prefab cabinets

While not technically garage cabinetry, prefabricated build-it-yourself cabinetry is often used for storing things in a garage.

Whether they’re from a big box store or repurposed after being replaced with another storage product elsewhere in your home, prefab cabinets also make a poor storage choice for the garage.

Just as a harsher garage environment is rough on recycled wood kitchen cabinets, it’s even less hospitable to cabinets constructed with a quality of wood that’s likely inferior to what your kitchen cabinets are built with.

The lousy reputation of most pressed fiberboard (MDF) and particleboard furniture, in terms of their durability, is well-established.

These products commonly split and chip easily and their cheap, stuck-on veneer finish commonly doesn’t stay stuck.

Cabinets made from these materials also tend to lean, buckle, and warp over time, especially when they have to handle storing heavier items.

Also rethink using a piece of furniture like an old wardrobe in the garage, even if it’s made with a high quality wood. It will only look out of place.

prefab cheap garage cabinets

BEFORE: Inexpensive prefab cabinets that were being used in a garage.

cheap garage cabinets, clean garage with silver cabinets

AFTER: The addition of high quality cabinets, slatwall, and a floor coating transform the garage into a clean, modern-looking space.

Cheap garage cabinets = cheap garage look

The bottom line is that using cheap garage cabinets will project a low-grade aesthetic that detracts from the room’s appearance.

For a space that’s used as much as the garage, don’t underestimate the importance of that.

You’re also much more likely to encounter issues with long-term reliability and performance with cheap garage cabinets.

And the likelihood is that once problems arise, the short warranty cheaper cabinets come with will have long since expired.

Invest in high quality garage cabinets

Another major drawback of cheap garage cabinets is that they offer little to no ability to customize.

Avoid the aggravations and lack of satisfaction that comes with adding cheap cabinets to a garage space.

Garage Living has five lines of modular and custom-fit garage storage cabinets made with superior construction materials to ensure a long life. Fulfill all of your functionality and design requirements with a storage system that’s tailored specifically for your garage.

Features include:

  • resilient powder coated finishes in a wide variety of colors
  • durable double wall doors and cabinet shells
  • sturdy ball bearing drawer sliders
  • stainless steel, galvanized steel, or maple butcher block countertops
  • additional custom options let you add a sink, TV enclosure, locks, and more

Create your dream garage cabinet system

Garage Living specializes in making our clients’ garages a visually appealing, highly efficient extension of their living space.

We can help you achieve this goal with the addition of upgrades like high quality garage cabinetry, a new floor coating, and other smart storage solutions.

Schedule a free in-home design consultation with us to begin planning out the garage cabinet system of your dreams.

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Don’t Get Fooled by These 7 Common Winter Driving Myths

winter driving myths, car driving towards snow plow

GS-VIE [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

There are numerous winter driving myths out there.

Too many vehicle owners believe them, even drivers who have been navigating the slippery winter roads for decades.

Actually, that fact likely plays a big role in why these misconceptions and mistaken beliefs about winter driving are so common.

Drivers get set in their ways and an outdated way of thinking, stubbornness, and simple misinformation combine to make these winter driving myths become reality in some drivers’ minds.

7 common winter driving myths debunked

The truth is, being mislead by one or more of these myths about winter driving can end up costing you money and make you and the roads less safe.

If you’ve been under the impression that any of the following winter driving myths were true, we’re here to tell you otherwise (in most cases…a couple of them fall into more of a “gray” area, as opposed to having a definitive “wrong/right” answer).

Keep reading to get the straight facts about these seven common winter driving myths and misconceptions.

1. Engines need a few minutes to warm up in the cold

This has to be the most prevalent winter driving myth. A shocking number of drivers still think their vehicle’s engine requires a few minutes of warm-up time when it’s cold outside.

In fact, most modern vehicles are fine to drive approximately 15-30 seconds after the engine has started. Diesel engines may require a little extra time.

Over the past couple of decades, automakers have moved to more efficient fuel injection systems in vehicles. That means a vehicle’s oil and some other automotive fluids circulate much faster upon startup compared to the carburetor engines of the past.

If you’re using a synthetic engine oil, there’s even less need for a lengthy engine warm-up. In comparison to traditional motor oils, synthetic oils are less prone to thickening up in frigid temperatures.

It is a fact that a vehicle’s fuel efficiency is slightly lower in extreme cold temperatures, partially because engines take longer to reach their optimal operating temperature. Just about all auto and science experts, however, agree that letting vehicles idle is totally unnecessary and only wastes fuel. Many parts of the U.S. and Canada have anti-idling laws to curtail excessive emissions.

A more fuel-efficient and eco-conscious mindset by car consumers has, of course, made electric vehicles increasingly popular. And automakers have implemented newer start-stop engine technology (even in non-electric and non-hybrid cars) that shuts off engines when a vehicle has stopped.

Naturally, drivers do let their vehicles warm up for longer periods in the winter for comfort-related reasons or to defrost windows. Sitting inside a frigid car or truck is admittedly never enjoyable, but here are a few ways to help your vehicle warm up a little quicker:

  • park in your garage to keep your vehicle’s engine and cabin a bit warmer (and definitely avoid excessive idling in the garage)
  • use an engine block heater instead of a remote starter
  • make use of seat and steering wheel warmers (note that using these features will slightly lower fuel efficiency)

2. Adding weight to a car trunk guarantees you better traction

Another of the longstanding winter driving myths is that adding excess weight to the trunk of a car will automatically improve your road traction.

In theory, it seems to make sense. Just weigh down the back of a car or truck to improve a vehicle’s rear traction and limit any possible fishtailing or loss of control in deeper snow, on ice, or on wet roads.

Heavy sand bags (commonly around 40-75 pounds) seem to be the weight of choice for anyone doing this. I’ve also known people who weighed down their car trunks in the winter with cement bags and cinder blocks.

The fact is, this one is actually only a half-myth because there are benefits to adding weight to a vehicle’s rear, but only in very specific cases.

For front-wheel drive vehicles, significant added trunk weight only makes a car lose traction because you’re messing with its weight distribution. A lot of experts also don’t believe most all-wheel drive vehicles should have rear weight added as a way to improve traction.

So when is adding rear weight mostly okay? Only if your vehicle is rear-wheel drive. Having that extra weight close to the drive wheels is the key to making this whole idea work, so that should improve your traction.

There are other variables involved with this, including knowing how much weight to add to a rear-wheel-drive vehicle to even get the most benefit from it.

Of course, another important factor to consider is that all of that extra weight your vehicle is carrying will obviously affect its fuel consumption (not to mention the cargo space it takes up).

We say leave the sand bags in your garage or shed and stick with winter tires if you’re looking for better snow traction.

3. Winter tires are overrated and a waste of money

Since the 1930s when they first arrived, winter tires and their worthiness have been a divisive issue.

Lots of drivers think they’re not worth the money and swear by their all-season tires as a year-round tire solution. In truth, much of the blame has to go to tire manufacturers for using the “all-season” name, which is somewhat misleading.

Yes, you can technically use all-season tires on a vehicle year-round, but they’re certainly not your best tire option if you live anywhere that gets snow and sub-zero temperatures.

High-performance summer tires would also be better for your vehicle during the spring and summer, but again, those all-season tires do get the job done. A cynic might say that to a certain degree, all-season tires are a rather “jack of all trades, master of none” tire option.

The whole debate gets even more convoluted when all-weather tires are brought into the discussion. Not to be confused with all-season tires, higher quality all-weather tires deliver superior true year-round performance compared to all-season tires. Just be prepared to pay more for them and know that they have a shorter tread life.

Make no mistake about it, however – no other tire keeps your vehicle safer on slippery winter roads than a good set of winter tires. That holds true even if you have a vehicle with traction control or own an all-wheel/4-wheel drive vehicle.

The rubber compound and treads winter tires have is engineered to provide improved grip that helps you stop, steer, and accelerate better not just in snow, but in cold weather even when the roads are dry.

Testing has shown that compared to vehicles without winter tires, good winter tires can improve a vehicle’s ability to stop faster in winter conditions by up to 30-40%.

Do note that the extra grip winter tires provide means you will see a slight decline in your vehicle’s fuel economy. You also need to make sure you don’t leave them on your vehicle too long when the weather warms up in the spring, which can cause the treads to wear down faster.

winter driving myths, snow tire

4. Snow and ice only needs to be cleared off a vehicle’s windows

We’ve all seen those infuriating winter drivers who barely even bother to clear much of the piled-up snow from their car or truck before hitting the road.

It goes without saying that when a vehicle is covered in snow, only turning on your front windshield wipers in order to see where you’re driving (while ignoring your side windows and mirrors and rear windshield) is the height of irresponsibility.

A frustrating number of drivers also neglect to not just clear snow and ice from their windows, but the roof, hood, sides, and trunks of their vehicles.

Every year where you live, there’s assuredly at least one news story of a bad accident (or fatality) that was caused by flying ice or snow from another vehicle. You’ve no doubt experienced one or more scary moments with flying ice or snow while on the roads during the winter.

Take the time to brush and scrape off as much snow and ice from your vehicle’s exterior as possible for your own safety and out of consideration for your fellow drivers.

Depending on the laws in your area, you can be fined for driving with excess snow on your vehicle or be held liable for a collision caused by falling snow or ice from your vehicle. A Winnipeg man was fined over $200 for driving with an unsecured load because he had so much snow on his van’s roof.

If clearing the snow off your vehicles is getting tiresome, that’s a great reason to make space for parking inside your garage!

5. Deflating tires in winter improves vehicle traction

File this one under the category of common winter driving myths where common sense is clearly in short supply.

The rationale behind deflating your tires to get better traction in the winter is that lowering the psi in the tires will allow them to cover more of the road.

It’s fairly common knowledge that tire pressures need to be kept at a specific level, so we’re unsure why anybody would think that messing around with that would be a good idea. And especially when icy roads are involved.

This is something a lot of drivers believe, apparently. If you go to type in “will deflating tires help in snow” in Google, all you have to type in is “will defl” before the query is autocompleted.

Here’s why driving with underinflated tires is a bad idea:

  • your vehicle’s handling will be compromised
  • the tires will wear faster
  • it increases the chance of a tire blowout

Cold weather actually makes your tires lose air quicker than in warmer weather. Keep close tabs on them throughout the winter to ensure they’re inflated to the recommended psi.

6. Regularly washing a car during the winter isn’t worth it

winter driving myths dirty carThe supposed logic behind this forehead-slapping myth is that it’s pointless to regularly wash a dirty vehicle during the winter because it’ll only get filthy again right away. It’s believed by a surprising number of drivers who apparently still aren’t aware that salt and metal don’t get along with each other.

Road salt is one of the worst things for a vehicle’s body. The Washington Post reports that liquid salt brine, which is sprayed on winter roads in some areas, is even more damaging (they also advise you to “never drive behind a plow truck spreading salt and brine”). Caked-on sand that’s been used on roads can also do damage over time, as does all of that extra winter moisture sitting on your vehicle.

It’s generally recommended that vehicles get washed every couple of weeks when the weather is nice. If anything, you should definitely be increasing the frequency of your car washes during the winter.

A wash every week or week-and-a-half might be ideal when the roads are particularly messy. In addition to helping prevent rust, a regular winter wash just makes your vehicle look nicer. It also minimizes the likelihood of getting those ugly white salt stains on your clothing when you brush up against a dirty vehicle.

Along with regular washes, you can protect your vehicle’s exterior by giving it a wax twice a year. An occasional rust prevention and undercoating treatment for your vehicles could also be worth the expense if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow.

7. You can mix winter tires with all-season tires

What’s with all the tire-related winter driving myths? Well, here’s another one we can dispel.

Mixing winter tires and all-season tires isn’t recommended (especially if a vehicle is all-wheel drive).

It’s not advisable to even mix tires that are the same type (where all four are all-season tires or all four are winter tires), much less mix tires that are constructed quite differently from each other, as all-season and winter tires are.

Having four tires of the same size, tread depth and design, load rating, construction material, and inflation pressure is critical to ensure a vehicle maintains its highest level of stability and control.

When you start mixing a pair of all-season tires with a pair of winter tires, things can get unpredictable when it comes to how a vehicle might handle.

Read any online auto forum on this topic and you’ll find some drivers who say that they’ve never had any issues from mixing tires on their vehicles. Thanks, but we’ll defer to the majority of tire experts and professionals who advise against this practice.

Stay safe on the roads this winter

Doing basically the opposite of what most of these common winter driving myths tell you to do will help to make the roads safer for you and other drivers this winter. And you can potentially cut down on your vehicle emissions and fuel costs as well.

Here’s one last myth related to winter and vehicles we can debunk: that getting a garage makeover during the winter isn’t possible.

The truth is that Garage Living can do garage makeovers year-round. In fact, there are even some advantages to getting a late fall or winter garage makeover.

There’s no better time to have an organized garage for parking vehicles in than when the weather is at its worst.

Schedule a free in-home design consultation with us to begin making your garage a beautiful, highly functional space you’ll appreciate coming home to after a stressful drive on the winter roads.

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