Top 10 Fall Home Maintenance Tips Everyone Should Know

fall home maintenance

Photo by Sarah Jane from Pexels

Like the springtime, the fall season is a great time to pay a little extra attention to your home’s maintenance needs.

If you live in a cold weather climate, some fall home maintenance is extra important in order to get through another snowy winter with as few issues as possible.

But even if you live in a warmer climate, a number of these fall home maintenance tips will be beneficial for your house.

10 fall home maintenance tips you’ll find useful

Regularly scheduled inspections of your home in the spring and fall don’t require much of your time. Some of these home maintenance tasks are also inexpensive or cost nothing.

Investing a little bit of time and money now in some preventative home maintenance reduces the likelihood of expensive home repairs in the future.

Ensure your house is ready to handle the changing seasons with these 10 fall home maintenance tips.

1. Improve your home’s energy efficiency

Improving your home’s energy efficiency matters all year round, whether it’s hot or cold outside.

There’s a lot more awareness nowadays about the importance of home energy efficiency. Better products and services are also available to help homeowners reduce their monthly hydro bill with upgrades. For some homeowners, however, there’s definite room for improvement.

Pay special attention to your windows and doors. They’re some of the worst offenders when it comes to letting heat escape from your home in the winter (and cold coming in) and vice versa when it’s hot outside and your air conditioner is running. Energy efficient windows are well worth the investment.

Ensure your window and door weatherstripping is intact and providing an effective seal. Door sweeps on your exterior entry doors will also help.

Use caulking to seal up larger gaps and cracks around window and door frames, as well as your home’s exterior and interior foundation. Don’t forget to check areas where any wires and pipes enter your home.

To pinpoint areas of your house that you may not be aware are hurting your home’s energy efficiency, consider getting a home energy audit. A professional’s assessment of your home may be well worth their cost.

2. Boost your garage’s energy efficiency

An attached garage that’s been neglected can be another reason a home’s energy efficiency is poor.

Take the time to make sure all gaps and cracks on the wall that connects your garage to the rest of your home are properly sealed. Along with saving energy, you’ll also make your home safer by getting rid of potential entry points for carbon monoxide from your vehicles.

If your garage lacks wall and ceiling insulation, adding some can be a big boost to your home’s energy efficiency. This includes using garage doors that have insulation, which also provides sounds insulation. Garage door sweeps are another way to provide an airtight door seal.

Having a garage floor coating applied can also help to provide a better floor seal that prevents cold air from coming in through cracks.

This includes having a “baseboard” type of coating application done around your garage perimeter. It creates a seamless seal between the floor and the lower part of your garage walls. This also helps keep critters out of your garage.

3. Rake those leaves and fertilize your lawn

Colorful autumn leaves may be picturesque when they’re attached to their trees, but you’re probably less fond of them when they make their way to your lawn.

Not raking or using a leaf blower to clean up fallen leaves can cause problems beyond just detracting from your property’s looks.

A leaf-covered lawn that’s left all winter will require more work on your part to get it in shape come springtime.

Another step you can take to improve your lawn’s health and looks is to add a fertilizer that protects it from damage during the winter.

4. Check your smoke alarms

Across the U.S. and Canada, October is designated as the fire safety awareness and fire safety prevention month.

Include the testing of your home’s smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on your fall home maintenance checklist.

Change their batteries and test their safety features twice a year. Check to see if your alarms have passed their expiry date. Typically, they have a lifespan of 8-10 years.

If your home has a fire extinguisher (which it should), give it an inspection. Check that its expiry date is still good. If the extinguisher has a pressure gauge, make sure it’s maintaining pressure.

5. Roof inspection

Your house’s first line of defense from the elements is your roof, so a yearly roof inspection is essential.

Check your attic for signs of a leaky roof that perhaps hasn’t become evident when looking at your ceilings on your home’s top floor.

If you’re not comfortable giving the top of your roof a visual inspection using a ladder, find a neighbor or family member who is, or hire a professional.

Look for shingles that are loose or missing altogether and check that your roof vents are working properly.

The lifespan of roof shingles is anywhere from 15-50 years due to numerous factors, including weather conditions and shingle quality.

6. Clean eavestroughs and downspouts

If you’re checking your roof, that’s the perfect time to tend to your eavestroughs/gutters as part of your fall home maintenance chores.

Eavestroughs that can’t drain because they’re excessively clogged with leaves and debris like shingle grit can cause major damage to your home’s roof, siding, and foundation.

Check that your gutter hangers and brackets are secure. All of your eavestroughs should have gutter guards to keep debris out and save you a lot of maintenance time.

Once your eavestroughs are cleaned, focus your attention on your home’s downspouts. Verify that they’re draining properly a minimum of five feet away from your house.

Use downspout extensions if necessary to keep draining water a suitable enough distance away from your home’s foundation.

7. Get your garage organized

An organized garage is a functional garage.

Too much clutter in the garage prohibits you from using the space for parking your vehicles, which is a real convenience when the temperature drops.

To get your garage tidy and make it easier to keep organized, look at adding some of these effective storage systems:

A floor coating that provides an effective seal also protects your garage floor from damage caused by spills, abrasions, and general wear and tear. It also upgrades the appearance of your space.

Getting a floor coating is especially worth considering if you live in an area that gets snow. You know how much a garage floor has to endure with the salt, ice, slush, and snow that gets tracked in by vehicles.

fall home maintenance slatwall

Get your garage organized by hanging floor clutter on a slatwall storage system.

8. Air conditioner and furnace maintenance

Just as checking your smoke alarms should be a regular part of your fall home maintenance tasks, so too should changing your HVAC filters.

Your central air conditioner and furnace should have their filters changed (or cleaned if they’re reusable) in the fall in order to make sure the units are working at peak efficiency.

Have your furnace inspected and your heating ducts cleaned periodically by a trained professional.

Also have your air conditioner looked at yearly. Parts like the unit’s inner and outer coils and condensate pump need occasional cleaning. If your air conditioner won’t be used for several months, cover the unit for the winter.

9. Clean your dryer vent

While you’re having your ducts cleaned, don’t forget to check your dryer vent. At the very least, check that your exterior dryer exhaust vent is unclogged and the cover is intact to keep pests out.

A buildup of lint in the dryer’s lint trap and vent causes the machine to work harder, which can shorten its life.

More importantly, lint buildup can become a fire hazard. Thousands of fires occur every year that are caused by static electricity igniting dryer lint that’s built up in vents.

10. Store hoses properly and shut off outdoor faucets

Don’t wait until freezing temperatures arrive to discover you forgot to shut off your exterior faucets and a pipe has burst.

Never leave a hose connected to an exterior faucet during a cold winter. In addition to hose water potentially backing up into your faucet and pipes and causing damage, it also shortens the life of the hose.

To prolong the life of your garden hoses and prevent them from cracking and leaking, ensure they’re fully drained and unkinked before storing them indoors for the winter.

Don’t forget to make sure all sprinklers, watering wands, and other watering accessories are properly drained, too.

Fall home maintenance now can save money later

Spending some time now to take care of these fall home maintenance tasks that keep your house in good working order can save you money in the future.

For expert help to get your garage organized and looking beautiful during the fall or any other time of the year, Garage Living is the professional to trust.

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

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Garage Cleanup Tips: 9 Things to Get Rid of Now

You open your garage doors to start your garage cleanup project and immediately feel a sense of dread at the daunting task ahead.

As you stare at the stacks of clutter that have accumulated over the years, you wonder where to even start.

24% of homeowners who are embarrassed to even open their garage doors, according to an Impulse Research survey. If you’re in this group, we have some tips that can help!

Tidy 3-car garage with cabinets, tire rack, blue Maseratti.

Get rid of these 9 things during your garage cleanup

When you’re worried about what the neighbors will think about your clutter-filled garage, that’s a sure sign it’s time to take some drastic cleanup action.

Keeping useless clutter at the expense of being able to park inside your garage doesn’t make any sense.

A garage cleanup can be a big undertaking but is well worth it to reclaim your garage space once again to be used more meaningfully for parking and efficient storage.

Start your garage cleanup by getting rid of these nine common items that are responsible for much of the clutter found in garages.

1. Old sports and fitness equipment

old sports equipment and bikes in garage

At one point or another, you or someone else in your family went on a health kick that involved buying some fitness equipment.

Maybe that enthusiasm has faded or perhaps it belonged to one of your kids who has moved out. The bottom line is that the equipment is just sitting unused in your garage, taking up valuable space that a vehicle could be parked in.

Whether it’s an old weightlifting bench and set of weights, an ancient NordicTrack machine from the 70s, a rusty exercise bike, or a broken treadmill, get rid of them.

The same goes for old bikes and old baseball, hockey, football, and golf equipment.

Donate or sell the equipment if it is still functional. Otherwise, add the equipment to your garage cleanup “junk” pile.

2. Broken and old tools

During your garage cleanup, decide which of your tools are in good enough shape to keep.

Rusty garden shovels, rakes with missing tines, plastic snow shovels that are cracked, a rusty hammer, a leaky and cracked garden hose…the list of old tools in your garage that you never use can go on and on.

By now you’ve probably replaced your old tools with something newer. Keeping those old tools around only makes your garage more disorganized.

They also give you more things to look through when you’re searching for a specific item.

3. Old children’s toys

old children's toys in garage

When kids inevitably lose interest in their toys and want the next trendy thing, their old toys tend to end up in the garage.

Obviously, donating them to a charity should be your first course of action if the toys are gently used and in good condition. As with any donations, the charity of your choice should be able to give you a tax receipt.

For broken toys or toys that are simply no longer usable, your only option is to throw them in the garbage. Unfortunately, the materials in most plastic toys are too difficult to recycle.

4. Old paints and chemicals

All of those half-used paint cans and partially used containers of different solvents and cleaning products in your garage aren’t just a flammable or ingestion hazard.

They’re also probably unusable if they’ve been sitting there for any length of time. Temperature changes will alter their consistency and effectiveness.

Round them all up, take them to your local hazardous waste disposal facility, and make your garage a little safer (and emptier).

5. Old tires

Old, useless tires are another garage clutter staple.

Whether it’s old tires from your bicycles or vehicles, you’ll likely need to dispose of them at a proper tire recycling facility. In most parts of the U.S. and Canada, old tires can’t just be discarded in a landfill.

Here are just a few things your recycled tires can be used to make:

  • rubber mulch
  • tire-derived fuel
  • rubberized asphalt
  • steel
  • carpeting

If you’re thinking about selling any of your old tires or using them eventually, keep in mind that they do have a shelf life.

Even if they still have a deep tread, the tire rubber will degrade over time (known as tire dry rot or sidewall cracking). Most vehicle tire manufacturers suggest a maximum service life of 7-10 years for their products.

6. Broken patio furniture

Your garage cleanup effort might uncover some old broken patio furniture that got buried by the rest of your garage clutter over the years.

It’s probably rusty, cracked, faded, or has a hole in it, so the only reasonable thing to do is to toss it.

Chances are, your old patio furniture will be tough to recycle or be worth donating.

7. Old building materials

If you live in a house for long enough, you’re sure to accumulate some building materials and supplies left over from one or more of your home improvement projects.

Maybe it’s half a bundle of roofing shingles, some broken patio stones, or extra interlocking stones from the driveway you redid.

Perhaps some of your garage floor space is being taken up by leftover building supplies you’ll never use, such as half a box of roofing nails or a partially used pail of driveway sealer that’s so old its contents are as rock solid as the driveway it was used on.

Any materials or supplies that can still be used could be donated to a worthwhile charity like Habitat For Humanity. They may be able to use some of your donations to help in their efforts to build housing for the less fortunate.

8. Old appliances

In garages overrun with clutter, you’re virtually guaranteed to find large or small appliances needlessly taking up space.

The garage is where small appliances like a slow cooker that’s been used once or an old coffee maker that still works go to die. If they’ve been stored in boxes or storage bins, give them new life by donating them.

A broken old stove, fridge, or washing machine might have been sitting in your garage for years because you just didn’t feel like dealing with disposing of them.

Now that you’re in full-on garage cleanup mode, now is the time to finally give this garage junk the heave-ho. If a charity won’t take your old appliances, look for a local business that can pick up your appliances and save you the hassle of getting rid of them.

Here’s another reason to get rid of your old larger appliances – they’re perfect breeding grounds for pests like mice.

9. Old bundles of newspapers and magazines

Walk through most neglected garages that have become a home’s catch-all space and there’s probably a bundle or two (or three, or four) of old magazines or newspapers in there somewhere.

But if you haven’t looked at any of those saved magazines or newspapers in the past 5-10 years, chances are you never will.

On top of the fact they’re probably dirty, dusty, and yellowed due to temperature fluctuations and exposure to moisture, here are a few more reasons to recycle them:

  • any information in them is probably outdated
  • they’re a fire hazard
  • information in the reading materials can easily be found online
  • stacked clutter is a tipping hazard

While you’re at it, recycle any old books you’ve had sitting in the garage for a long time. Let’s face it, you’re also likely never going to read them and they also won’t be in the best shape after years of garage storage.

Get your garage cleanup project started

Once your garage cleanup project is finished, you’ll want to ensure your tidy garage stays that way.

Consider adding PVC slatwall panels to your garage. This is a great way to get things off the floor and onto the walls to maximize your garage storage space.

PVC slatwall garage storage in 2 car garage

A garage makeover professional can also make other aesthetic upgrades to your space, such as adding new garage flooring. Your previously messy garage can truly become an organized, visually appealing extension of your living space.

Schedule a free in-home consultation with a Garage Living design expert to find out how our garage storage solutions can keep your space well-organized. We can also tell you about our junk removal services.

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13 Essential Garage Safety Tips You Should Know

Garages are meant to be one of the home’s most functional spaces.

And it’s because garages are so active that they also require diligence and effort in order to keep them as safe as possible.

Things are constantly getting moved in garages, work is getting done inside of them, vehicles are regularly coming and going…the list goes on and on in terms of the safety considerations this busy space requires.

How a garage is designed and put together also brings up other safety considerations that warrants some attention from any homeowner.

13 garage safety tips for a safer home

Take the time to thoroughly assess how safe your garage is for you and your family by going through our list of 13 garage safety tips.

These garage safety tips are even more important to follow if you have children. Take the time to educate your kids on any safety hazards that may exist in your own garage.

See how your garage and how you use it measures up to our list of recommendations.

1. Lock up hazardous materials

All garages contain many different types of hazardous material products that need to be stored responsibly. Fertilizers, pesticides, gasoline, cleaning products, pool cleaning supplies, car maintenance fluids, and paints and solvents are just a few examples.

Store any hazardous chemicals and materials in an appropriately safe spot, either up high and out of the reach of your kids and pets or in locked garage cabinets.

A locked shed with adequate venting might also be ideal for certain items, like bags of fertilizer or extra propane tanks. Makes sure to read the storage instructions on each product.

garage safety tips cabinets

Keep hazardous materials like car cleaning products and antifreeze containers locked up in the garage.

2. Store power tools safely

An unsupervised child might feel the urge to try out that big, noisy power tool they see mom or dad occasionally using in the garage.

Eliminate any safety concerns by making sure any power tools kept in the garage are properly stored so your kids can’t access them.

Garage storage cabinets with locks are the ideal solution and also help keep your expensive power tools more secure from theft.

For larger power tools that can’t be locked in a cabinet like, say, a stationary band saw or a bigger portable table saw, make sure their safety locking mechanisms work properly.

For an extra level of safety protection, you could also disconnect the stationary tools from their power supply when you’re not using them.

3. Keep sharp tools safely stored

In addition to ensuring safe, secure storage of your power tools, take the same care to make sure any sharp yard tools or hand tools are stored safely.

After a long day of yard work, it’s easy to get a little careless and just lean your tools or a ladder against the garage wall, or just stash them in a corner.

But rakes, shovels, pruners, and many other types of yard tools with sharp edges become garage safety hazards when they aren’t safely put away.

Invest in a proper storage system that allows all of your yard tools to be stored in a safe, organized manner.

A slatwall storage system works best for this purpose and keeps your garage floor clear (and therefore safer) by creating hanging space on your garage walls. Sharp hand tools can be stored in locked or upper garage cabinets.

4. Maintain a safe garage workspace

If you have a garage workshop, you’ll need to pay even more attention to how safe you’re leaving your garage.

In addition to following the aforementioned garage safety tips related to storage of your tools and hazardous materials, clean up your garage work area when you’re finished for the day.

Sweep up any spills, sawdust, and debris on your garage floor to prevent anyone from slipping. And properly dispose of any oily rags that may have been used during your work session.

Always use the appropriate eye, face, mask, and hand safety protection when working. And it’s also smart to keep a first-aid kit close at hand.

5. Inspect your garage doors and opener

Considering a garage door is a home’s largest moving object, it only makes sense to give it some close attention when you’re evaluating how safe your garage is.

Here a few garage safety tips for your garage doors:

  • periodically inspect your garage door springs and cables for excessive wear
  • keep garage door opener remotes out of the reach of children
  • know where the emergency release handle for your doors is and how to use it
  • check that your garage door photo eye sensors are properly aligned, clean, and unobstructed
  • test the auto-reverse safety feature on your garage doors and opener monthly

6. Deal with your garage clutter

Garage clutter doesn’t only make it difficult to find things and prevent you from parking your vehicles in the garage. All that junk also poses several safety hazards.

First, there’s the very real danger of clutter that’s stacked too highly falling over and injuring someone. Even brand new cardboard boxes aren’t the most stable storage container to be stacking and they only deteriorate over time.

Secondly, too much garage clutter (especially boxes, newspaper and magazine bundles, and flammable materials) also makes your garage more of a fire hazard.

Leaving too much clutter on your garage floor is also a tripping hazard.

Get your space straightened up and clutter-free by making use of the numerous helpful garage storage systems available, such as slatwall, storage racks, or a cabinet system.

7. Dispose of old paints and chemicals

If you’ve lived in the same house for awhile, you’re sure to have compiled a collection of empty and half-used paint cans, solvents, cleaners, spray paint cans, and other items that can’t just be thrown in the trash.

And if you’re the hands-on type and like doing your own vehicle maintenance, there are probably a few old car batteries, vehicle parts, and tires lying around your garage.

Taking the time to deal with what may be many years worth of accumulated hazardous materials clutter in your garage will free up valuable space.

Finally taking these old hazardous materials to your local recycling or disposal depot will also remove potential poisoning and fire hazards from your garage.

Garage safety tips old paint can

Photo by Jack Douglass on Unsplash.com

8. Use well-anchored storage systems

Proper garage storage systems will help you stay organized, but they need to be up to the task of handling the heavy weight capacities of the items you’re storing.

That means making sure the garage storage systems you use are well-anchored, whether they’re wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted.

Say you’re storing your extra set of winter or summer tires on a wall-mounted tire rack, for example. The weight of a 17″ tire with a rim is around 40 lbs. Multiply that times four and you’ll see why safely anchoring your storage system is so important.

For overhead garage storage of large, heavy items, the safety considerations for your overhead storage racks is just as important.

Garage Living use racks with heavy gauge steel construction that can support up to 600 lbs, which we install to adhere to the strictest safety standards.

9. Garage lighting

One of the less obvious garage safety tips you might not have considered is to simply improve your garage lighting.

Relying on one or two incandescent light bulbs or a flickering fluorescent light to illuminate your entire garage is an outdated concept.

There are many modern garage lighting ideas available that can make your garage easier to function within, which makes it safer.

A modern LED light fixture or two, for example, will provide better energy efficiency and more uniform lighting for your garage.

Everything from driving in and out of the garage, working with tools, and finding a specific tool becomes that much easier when you can actually see what you’re doing.

10. Take proper fire safety measures

garage safety tips fire extinguisherHopefully you’ll followed a few of these garage safety tips to remove some fire hazards from your garage.

Even if you are keeping garage fire hazards to a minimum, take some additional proactive fire safety measures. A heat detector alarm or smoke alarm are a wise investment for your garage.

Another great investment is a fire extinguisher for the garage. If you live in a colder climate, make sure to get a model that can be stored in lower temperatures.

Otherwise, keep a standard fire extinguisher just inside your home’s garage access door. Make sure anyone old enough to operate the device is properly trained on how to use it.

11. Limit your garage’s carbon monoxide exposure

Carbon monoxide from vehicle emissions doesn’t pose a health risk in the small amounts that are generated by vehicles being started and parked in garages.

It’s when vehicles are left to run for longer than recommended periods in the garage that safety becomes an issue. That’s why you should think twice about warming up or idling your vehicles indoors for extended periods, even with your garage doors open.

This harmful odorless and colorless gas can also build up if you’re running any gas-powered tools or recreational vehicles in your garage.

If you’re doing maintenance on a lawn mower, grass trimmer, or anything else run by gas, be mindful of not running them for too long in the garage.

And operating any type of barbecue in your garage (possibly to cover yourself from inclement weather) is a huge no-no. Aside from the obvious fire hazards, charcoal grills generate high levels of carbon monoxide.

Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector that’s specifically made for garages.

12. Keep a well-maintained garage floor

Another overlooked area when it comes to garage safety is the garage floor.

A garage floor surface with cracks and missing chunks of cement doesn’t just look terrible, it also presents a major tripping hazard.

You could stub a toe or, even worse, take a serious fall without having an even and unbroken surface to walk on.

If you look around for the best garage floor coating available, you’ll find a polyaspartic garage floor coating is superior to an epoxy coating in several ways.

Polyaspartic floor coatings are more durable and easier to maintain, with a higher resistance to household chemicals and abrasion damage.

You’ll also get better traction, which makes your garage floor safer when it’s wet. It goes without saying that you should attend to spills and pools of water on your garage floor right away.

And since we’re discussing garage safety, it’s worth mentioning that polyaspartic floor coatings also emit a very low level of VOCS (Volatile Organic Compounds). Those are the chemicals found in many household products that are slowly released into the air.

garage safety tips garage floor

A smooth, well-maintained garage floor makes your garage a safer space.

13. Replace old electrical cords

The last of our garage safety tips involves getting rid of any old, frayed electrical cords that have seen better days.

They’re not just a fire hazard, they’re also a shock hazard.

Be diligent with what type of power cord you’re using with a specific tool or for a particular job. Make sure a cord with the correct gauge is being used for the tool or appliance you’re using.

Avoid overloading your garage outlets with charging devices and extension cords. And if your garage’s electrical wiring and infrastructure is especially old, don’t wait until an accident happens to get them updated.

Make your garage safer and more functional

We hope these garage safety tips are beneficial to you in order to make your garage a safer space.

For creative makeover ideas that make your garage look incredible, more functional, and much safer, book a free in-home design consultation with Garage Living.

See also:

11 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Doing a Garage Remodel

A garage remodel can be a big undertaking, especially if you’re doing a top-to-bottom makeover.

Remodeling a garage isn’t exactly a casual home improvement project for the weekend carpenter, however.

There’s some serious expertise required in order to have your finished garage function safely and efficiently, while also providing an upgrade to its looks.

Don’t make these 11 garage remodel mistakes

Renovating a garage involves many important decisions and actions in order to attain the most successful and satisfying outcome possible.

When it’s time to start your garage remodel, don’t make these 11 common mistakes.

1. Doing a garage remodel yourself

Many homeowners will tackle a garage remodel themselves for any number of reasons, including:

  • budget limitations
  • the challenge of completing the project
  • confidence they have the skills for the job
  • the satisfaction of doing your own renovation

Working with a limited garage remodel budget is a common issue for many homeowners. Unless you really know your way around a toolbox, however, it’s best to wait until you can afford for the project to be done properly by a professional.

Zillow, a U.S. real estate and rental marketplace website, conducted a survey that found nearly 40% of homeowners who had done a DIY project regretted taking it on.

Overestimating your skill level with a DIY garage remodel could result in a botched project. By the time you add up the initial cost of the project and what it costs for a professional to fix any mistakes, it might just cost more than if you’d hired a pro in the first place.

2. Failing to have a strategic garage remodel plan

Starting a garage makeover without having a solid, strategic plan can lead to all sorts of headaches. It’s imperative to have a clear, achievable design plan in place, the know-how to execute the plan, and the resources and tools to get the job done properly.

For a home improvement novice, facing obstacles they hadn’t expected to encounter are a given. One also needs to consider the amount of time a complete garage remodel will require.

As with any DIY reno, you can count on the project taking more time (and probably money) than you anticipated. That’s worth considering when it comes to a makeover involving the garage.

Where do you store the garage’s contents while the renovation is being done? Are you willing to put up with the inconvenience of not having use of your garage for a couple of weeks or more?

The pitfalls of taking on such a major home improvement project yourself only highlights the wisdom in hiring a pro for your garage remodel.

A professional garage makeover company like Garage Living has lots of experience when it comes to the complications and logistics involved with any garage remodel. Trusting a pro with your project will be worth the investment.

3. Choosing an inferior garage floor coating

A damaged, drab garage floor has a serious negative impact on a garage’s interior appearance.

When it comes to options for repairing and restoring garage floors, a lot of homeowners opt for a cheap fix like garage floor paint.

While it’s inexpensive and easy to apply yourself, floor paint doesn’t look very good, provides virtually no floor protection, and won’t last long. You can count on the paint chipping and flaking off much sooner than you’d like.

DIY epoxy garage flooring kits cost a little more and might seem like a practical option, but not necessarily. Store-bought epoxy garage floor coatings offer a limited amount of floor protection and don’t always leave you with a perfectly smooth and even floor surface when applied yourself.

Neither of these two garage flooring options remotely compares to what you get with a professionally applied polyaspartic floor coating like Floortex™. It’s superior in every way when it comes to durability, looks, color choices, and protection for your garage floor.

Garage Living knows that successful garage transformations start from the ground up. That’s why we’ve invested in state-of-the-art equipment for our flooring applications and only use Floortex™ – the best garage floor coatings on the market.

garage remodel floor application

A high quality product, the proper equipment, and an expert application process produce the best results for a garage floor coating application.

4. Using a garage remodel to create extra living space

It might seem like a good idea to use a garage remodel to create extra living space in your home. After all, it’s cheaper than building an addition onto your house.

But check any survey listing the features that homebuyers look for most and “garage parking space” is sure to be included in the top 10.

Using your garage for its intended purpose – parking vehicles – has all sorts of benefits. And let’s not overlook the importance of the garage as one of your home’s most valuable storage spaces.

Sacrificing these two critical functions of your garage (or cutting back on your space for these uses) to add an extra room can have long-term consequences. For many homebuyers who want a garage to park their vehicles in, it will be an automatic dealbreaker.

Garages that are converted into living spaces can also be challenging to keep efficiently heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. So think twice before trading in that garage parking space for an extra bedroom or man cave.

5. Buying cheap garage cabinets

Just as with your garage floor coating, you get what you pay for.

Cutting corners with the quality of your garage storage cabinets just to save a few bucks will inevitably catch up to you. Cheap cabinetry will start showing its deficiencies quickly. Functional issues like drawers and doors not closing smoothly and properly will crop up. Doors and cabinetry enclosures will begin to sag and lose their proper form.

Then there’s the rusting problem, of course. Cheaper cabinet systems are commonly constructed from steel and aluminum manufactured overseas that’s inferior to North American-manufactured metals.

Cheap metal will rust a lot faster, which is obviously a major concern with cabinets that are located in an environment like the garage that gets its fair share of moisture.

Unless you’re willing to replace your flimsy and inexpensive cabinets in just a few years, opt for a higher quality garage storage cabinet system.

You’ll find that higher quality cabinets look and function better, give you the ability to customize, and last a lot longer.

6. Not using a reputable garage remodel company

So you’ve decided that a garage remodel is just a little too much to handle yourself and that this is a job best left to an expert.

A reference or glowing review from a family member, neighbor, friend, or co-worker can be invaluable when it comes to finding a reliable contractor.

If that’s not available, researching garage makeover companies online will likely be your primary method of determining who to choose for the job.

Take your time and do plenty of research in order to make the best choice. Check a contractor’s references, Better Business Bureau rating, and crowd-sourced review sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook.

Visit the showrooms of prospective companies to get a sense of their products and quality of service. Naturally, you’ll want to view the portfolios of a garage makeover professional’s past work and be suitably impressed.

Get several bids and don’t be swayed by the lowest bid unless you’re confident that company will actually do the best work.

Choosing a company with an established history and reliable track record is also advisable.

7. Failing to effectively utilize garage storage space

A poorly planned garage remodel can result in all of your storage systems being installed, but not leave you with a comfortable amount of room to function within the space.

Make the most of your garage’s two most underutilized areas (its walls and overhead space) to minimize this risk.

There’s an ample amount of storage space in these two areas just waiting to be effectively used. Slatwall panels and specialty storage racks such as overhead storage racks will work best.

If you take advantage of your garage’s wall and overhead space, you’ll find floor clutter is less of an issue (or a non-issue). You’ll also have a lot more freedom to add other garage upgrades, such as a car lift, cabinets, or a garage workshop.

garage remodel overhead rack

Safely anchored overhead storage racks take advantage of a garage’s underutilized ceiling space.

8. Ignoring the importance of a solid warranty

Among the many reasons you’ll want to trust your garage remodel to a company that’s well-established is they’ll be more likely to stand behind their work with a solid warranty.

You’d hate to have a problem with one aspect of your garage makeover a few months or a year after it’s been completed and not have the company that did it be able to fix the issue without it costing you any more money.

That’s the peace of mind that a reliable warranty provides and it should be a key factor in your decision when searching for a contractor.

Garage Living proudly stands behind every service we offer and every product we install with written warranties for our clients. Our longevity and size (which is growing every year with new franchises) guarantees that we’ll be around years from now.

9. Not choosing flexible storage systems

One mistake that’s all-too-common with a garage makeover is failing to adequately accommodate for your future storage needs.

Anticipating what you’ll need to store in the garage five years from now can be a tricky thing to gauge. That’s why it’s smart to choose garage storage systems that provide you with some flexibility.

A slatwall storage system, for example, conveniently provides plenty of versatility for storing items on your garage wall. Rearranging items hung on the panels is easy, with an endless number of storage configurations possible. A wide range of hanging accessories also means you’ll be able to find the right accessories for your needs.

Overhead storage racks used in your garage remodel should also give you some storage flexibility. Try to get storage racks that are adjustable. It’s also a good idea to create more storage space than you require right now. Chances are, you’ll need it eventually.

10. Creating safety risks in the garage

Some aspects of a garage remodel can lead to safety risks that a home improvement novice may be oblivious to.

Electrical work will likely be required and perhaps even some plumbing work. Storage systems hung from the ceiling and walls need to be properly anchored when installed.

Installing new garage doors safely requires expertise, not least of which is because they’re the single largest moving object in your home.

Garage doors also open and close about 3-5 times per day, so they need to be correctly installed so they’re up to the task of handling heavy, everyday use.

The garage door’s springs will need to be adjusted in order to allow them to open and close properly, which can be dangerous work.

Buying the right garage door opener and knowing how to install it in the proper location also requires a little know-how. You’ll need to:

  • get a model that’s suited to the weight and size of your doors
  • make adjustments to the opener’s adjustment screws
  • install the safety sensors in the right place
garage remodel door installation

Minimize safety risks by leaving a garage door installation to a pro.

11. Not paying enough attention to garage aesthetics

As mentioned, some homeowners make the mistake of converting the garage into a living space. But if your garage remodel is done right, it can be turned into a beautiful room in your home that becomes a proper extension of your living space.

Having a garage that’s highly functional should go hand in hand with a garage that also looks nice. In addition to the aesthetic upgrade higher quality products provide, choosing the right colors for your remodel’s cabinets, flooring, and slatwall can tranform any garage into a dynamic home showpiece.

Your garage lighting matters, too. You’d be amazed at what a difference it makes to a garage’s atmosphere and appearance simply by replacing that outdated incandescent bulb fixture with one or more new LED light fixtures.

With so many homeowners nowadays using the garage as the main entryway to their house, the garage access door has essentially become the new front door. It stands to reason, then, that this busy space should have as much attention and care paid to its appearance as the rest of your home.

Trust an expert with your garage remodel

Avoid making these common garage remodel mistakes. Let Garage Living worry about the logistics and requirements to get your garage functioning and looking better than you ever imagined.

Put your upcoming remodel in the hands of the trusted garage professionals by setting your makeover process in motion with a free in-home design consultation.

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15 Garage Security Tips That Will Make Your Home Safer

garage security tips home exterior

Law enforcement statistics show that 1.5 million home burglaries occur in the U.S. each year.

Not surprisingly, the most common entry point for thieves breaking into a house are the front and back doors. In approximately a third of those cases, the doors were actually left unlocked.

A home’s windows and the garage are the next most vulnerable entry point for burglars.

15 garage security tips you need to know

It only takes a few minutes for a thief to break into your home and make off with your personal property. If you have an attached garage, there’s even more reason to re-evaluate how secure it is.

With a little common sense, some vigilance, and a few proactive security measures, you can protect your garage and the rest of your home from break-ins.

Use these 15 garage security tips to help make your home safer and a less attractive target for thieves.

1. Think like a burglar

The first of our garage security tips might sound odd, but give it a try. Take a few minutes to walk around the exterior of your garage and the rest of your home and ask yourself, “How might a burglar get into my house?”

Which areas seem the most vulnerable? How secure is your garage? Looking at your house from the perspective of a burglar could be beneficial and enlightening.

Do this exercise at night, when you can get a better idea of how effective your home’s exterior lighting is.

2. Lock your garage doors

If you have to manually open and close your garage doors, it goes without saying that you should always keep them locked.

Most houses nowadays have automatic garage door openers, which make garage doors far more difficult (but not impossible) for a thief to get past.

If you’re going on vacation, it’s a good idea to use a padlock clamped on one of the door tracks to ensure they stay closed.

And if your door opener is a little older and doesn’t have smart tech that detects when your garage doors are open or closed, unplugging the automatic opener when you’re away for awhile is another option.

It’s also a good practice to keep your exterior garage service door and interior garage access door always locked.

3. Zip tie your emergency door release

This is one of the cheapest garage security tips we can recommend: zip tie your automatic garage door opener’s emergency release.

All automatic door openers have an emergency release lever that typically has a red cord attached to it. Its main purpose is to allow you to open or close your garage doors when there’s a power outage.

A resourceful burglar, however, could exploit that feature. By pushing in on the top of the garage door and creating just enough of a gap, they could access the cord or lever by fishing for them with a wire hook and then pulling, which would open the door.

Secure the release lever or cord with a zip tie to keep them safe from tampering. If there is a power outage and you need to use the emergency lever, simply cut off the zip tie and replace it when the power comes back on.

4. Don’t leave your garage doors open unnecessarily

How many times have you been working in your yard for a few hours and noticed a neighbor’s garage doors wide open, with no sign of them for long periods of time?

Leaving your garage doors open unnecessarily is an open invitation for anyone to enter your home. And at the very least, you’re allowing anyone passing by on the street to easily view the contents of your garage.

Even if you’re working in your yard, it takes little effort to keep the garage doors closed. And even if you live in a safe neighborhood, take nothing for granted.

Some newer models of garage door openers have smart tech that lets you check on whether your doors are open or closed with a smartphone app. You could also purchase a standalone garage door monitor to keep closer tabs on your doors.

5. Upgrade your outdated garage door opener

garage security tips, door openerIf you’re using an outdated garage door opener, your garage is more vulnerable to a break-in than it would be if you had a more modern automatic door opener model.

You’ve probably heard stories about burglars gaining access to garages using scanners that can easily figure out an older opener’s access code.

Even a neighbor who happened to have the same access code as you could accidentally open your garage doors with the press of their opener remote.

Newer garage door openers use a much more secure “rolling code” technology that generates a new code every time the remote button is pressed.

Modern garage door openers are also far quieter and energy efficient than models of the past.

6. Use a smart garage door opener

Another great feature of some modern garage door openers is that aforementioned smart technology, which lets you monitor and operate your garage doors remotely.

Using a smartphone app, Liftmaster’s innovative MyQ technology can tell you if your garage doors are open or closed. If anyone is trying to break into your garage, you’ll get an alert message on your phone.

This technology is also convenient in cases where you forget to close your garage door after leaving the house. A simple tap on your phone’s screen allows you to open or close the doors, even when you’re miles from home.

7. Cover your garage windows

These garage security tips are all about taking precautionary measures to make any burglar’s job as difficult as possible.

Between the garage door windows, side windows, and the exterior garage service door window, thieves could have any number of ways to get a good look inside your garage.

And they won’t just be looking for tools or other valuables to take –  they’ll also be looking for vehicles to see if anyone is home.

Take that into consideration when choosing new windows for any of these parts of your garage. Covering the windows completely is one option, or you could install window blinds or curtains specifically meant for use in the garage.

If you like getting some sunlight in the garage, you could put translucent film over the garage windows. Windows with a frosted glass design also allow sunlight in, while obscuring the contents inside the garage.

8. Improve your exterior lighting

A house with poor exterior lighting becomes a more appealing target for burglars. Ensuring all entry points into your home are well-lit will go a long way towards keeping your house a lot safer.

Nowadays, motion-activated exterior lighting is the popular choice for homeowners.

Yes, the lighting may occasionally come on when the neighbor’s cat wanders past, but it’s both an effective and cost-effective way to protect your home, not to mention energy efficient.

Make sure the lighting is strategically placed around your garage and home perimeter so a burglar can’t deactivate it. Installing any lighting approximately 10-12 feet above the ground is ideal.

Include an exterior lighting inspection as part of your yearly house maintenance checklist.

While you’re paying extra attention to your home’s exterior, also make sure your hedges and bushes are well-maintained. Thick, overgrown foliage around your home’s exterior only aids a burglar.

9. Ensure your garage doors are in good condition

Old garage doors that are warped, have faded paint, and don’t provide a tight door seal aren’t just detracting from your curb appeal and hurting your home’s energy efficiency.

They’re also a home security liability. Any gaps or openings a run-down garage door might cause make it that much easier for a burglar to break into your garage.

Replace your outdated garage doors with any of the wide selection of modern styles available to update your home’s exterior look and keep your garage more secure.

Steel garage doors, in particular, are a popular choice because of their durability and the numerous custom design options homeowners can choose from.

garage security tips, wood garage doors

Making sure your garage doors are in good condition keeps your home more secure.

10. Upgrade your garage service door and access door

With the quality of your traditional garage doors in mind, don’t forget to pay the same attention to your garage’s other doors.

Your home’s front door and back door are probably sturdy solid core doors that have secure deadbolts. Your garage service door (which opens into the garage from outside) should be just as secure.

The garage’s interior access door that enters into your home should be equally sturdy, with a deadbolt lock. For extra security, you could also install door jamb reinforcement kits to the doors.

Keeps these doors locked, even when you’re home. According to U.S. Department of Justice statistics, 28% of house burglaries occur when an occupant is home.

11. Don’t leave valuables in your garage or vehicles

Here’s one of the more common sense garage security tips: simply avoid leaving valuables in the garage or inside your vehicles.

The garage can become a catch-all space for items you can’t find storage room for elsewhere in your home. Just be mindful not to keep high value items stored among those items or in your parked vehicles.

Even if you’re diligent and keep all of your garage’s doors locked, why take an unnecessary risk?

12. Use a remote opener on a keychain

garage security tips remote openerOne item that also shouldn’t be left in your vehicles is your garage door remote opener. While it may not necessarily be a high value item, it is essentially a key into your home.

Many homeowners still leave their remote openers attached to their car’s sun visor or in their glove compartment.

Eliminate this potential home security risk by using a remote opener that’s attached to a keychain. They’re widely available, cheap, very convenient, and can come with you when you exit your vehicle.

13. Be a good, vigilant neighbor

Being a good neighbor means many things, including keeping an eye open for suspicious activity around your neighbors’ homes.

Maintaining good communication with your neighbors about any security issues in the neighborhood also helps keep the area safer. Chances are, if you have a good relationship with your neighbors and are vigilant when it comes to their homes, they’ll happily return the favor.

Help one another out by having a neighbor pick up your newspapers while you’re on vacation. They could also park one of their vehicles in your driveway while you’re away to make it less obvious no one is home. Do the same for them when they’re away.

14. Lock up your tools

If you’re regularly out in the garage working with tools, it may not be practical or convenient to be lugging them back and forth every time you need them.

One smart option for keeping all of your tools secure in the garage is to use custom garage cabinetry with locks.

Our GL NEOS Elite, GL Hayley, and GL Custom Steel cabinet systems give you the option to add locks to your cabinet drawers and doors.

garage security tips cabinet drawer

Keep your tools safe in the garage by using a cabinet system with locks.

15. Install a garage security system

Studies show that homes with clearly visible security systems in place are far less likely to be targeted by thieves.

An alarm system for your garage makes just as much sense as it does to have an alarm system that monitors the rest of your home.

Security cameras above your garage’s entry points are another effective deterrent for thieves. Affordable, high quality motion-activated video cameras with feeds that can be watched on your smartphone make it easier than ever to monitor suspicious activity around your home’s exterior.

Protect your home with these garage security tips

There’s no worse feeling than coming home and discovering your garage or another part of your home has been broken into.

The number of home break-ins also spikes during the summer months, so there’s no better time to make use of these garage security tips to keep your house better protected.

Schedule a free in-home design consultation with us for expert help in making your garage more secure, functional, and visually appealing.

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