The Garage Living Care Guide

The Garage Living Care Guide was created as a handy reference for Garage Living clients who have had their garage transformed with one of our makeovers.

Proper care and maintenance will ensure anyone who has had a garage makeover done will enjoy years of benefits from their upgrades. This guide will assist you with tips for taking care of your Garage Living Floortex® floor coating, cabinetry, and slatwall organizers.

Read this guide thoroughly and refer to the Levels Of Cleaning section towards the end of this blog post to gauge which cleaning products and methods will provide you with the best results.

Immediate Floortex™ floor coating care

After your Floortex® floor coating has been applied, this 3-step timeline will guide you through how to proceed in the following days:

1. 12-24 hours after coating*: Garage doors must remain open a minimum of three inches for the next 12-24 hours, ensuring the bottom of the garage door does not touch the wet/curing floor coating. Please do not walk on the garage floor for at least 12-24 hours after the coating has been applied.

2. 24-48 hours after coating*: Light objects such as garbage bins and recycling bins can be returned to the garage after 24-48 hours.

3. 4-7 days after coating*: For optimal curing time, allow 4-7 days for cars, SUVs, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, and heavier items such as toolboxes to return into the garage.

*Cure times will vary based on climate and weather conditions at the time of application. To confirm these times, please speak to your local design consultant or install technician.

Ongoing Floortex™ floor coating maintenance

Garage Living’s environmentally friendly Floortex® floor coating is incredibly easy to keep clean, regardless of where you live or the weather conditions you drive in each day.

From slush to mud, you can keep your beautiful floor looking like new year after year following these three simple steps:

1. Sweep to remove dirt and sand. Car tires and footwear typically track in debris, but you can easily remove the dirt and sand simply by sweeping or using a leaf blower. Over time, however, the dirt may accumulate and cause floor stains. When this occurs, move on to the next step.

2. Wash + rinse your floor using water or a gentle yet effective neutral cleaner, which is safe for a Floortex® floor coating and leaves a beautiful shine. A mild neutral cleaner won’t harm plants or grass and is both biodegradable and phosphate-free. After applying this effective cleaner, rinse with a garden hose and scrub with a Garage Living squeegee brush.

3. Squeegee to remove residue and dry the flooring surface. Just like with windows, squeegees are a great tool to dry and remove residue from garage floors.

Cabinetry and slatwall care

Cabinetry care: Garage Living cabinetry can be dusted and cleaned with a clean, dry soft cloth or a light duster. Use water on powder-coated cabinetry or a neutral cleaner for grease, grime, and dirt build-up. For stainless steel doors, use a stainless steel cleaner to remove fingerprints and dirt. Wipe in the direction of the natural metal grain using a clean, soft cloth and buff with a soft, clean cloth for a streak-free shine.

Countertop care: Refer to the Levels Of Cleaning section below to select the right product for the best results. For your butcher block countertop, do not soak the countertop with water or it may crack and warp over time. For your stainless steel countertop, clean, polish, and protect it with a stainless steel cleaner.

Slatwall care: Brush the slatwall crevices with a clean white cloth or light duster brush. Window cleaner can be used on your slatwall. For a wet spill, use a dry cloth. For a dry spill, use a damp cloth. Follow with a paper towel, which allows you to dry and buff the surface of the slatwall.

Levels Of Cleaning

Dust: Remove surface dust by wiping or brushing. Use a clean white cleaning rag or a duster with fibers that can trap and remove dust in any crevices. Ideal for Garage Living cabinetry, slatwall organizers, and countertops.

Squeegee: To clean the garage floor surface, use a broom, leaf blower, or a Garage Living squeegee. There are two Garage Living squeegees available, which both have a 60-inch long wooden handle. Ask about our 30-inch wide squeegee or the 22-inch wide squeegee with a brush edge.

Water: For dried spills, use water to dampen a white cleaning cloth to re-emulsify and remove spills. Ideal for Garage Living cabinetry, slatwall organizers, and countertops.

Mild soapy water: Fill a bucket with warm water and a few drops of mild dish detergent. Wet a clean white cloth, wring out the excess water, and wipe the surface. Dry immediately with a paper towel and buff the surface. Ideal for Garage Living cabinetry, slatwall organizers, and countertops.

Neutral cleaner: Neutral cleaners combine powerful cleaning performance with naturally derived biodegradable plant-based ingredients, no harsh chemical fumes, or residue. Read the manufacturer’s labels thoroughly. Test on small inconspicuous areas first. Repeat if necessary for desired results. Perfect for light stains such as grease, oil, grime, dirt, soil, and grass. Ideal for Garage Living cabinetry, slatwall organizers, countertops, and Floortex™ floor coating.

Stainless steel cleaner: Cleaners such as Weiman® Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish cleans, polishes, and protects stainless steel surfaces like Garage Living cabinetry and stainless steel sinks. Wipe in the direction of the natural metal grain using a clean, soft cloth to remove watermarks and fingerprints. Buff with a soft, clean cloth to shine. Read the manufacturer’s labels thoroughly. Test on small inconspicuous areas first. Repeat if necessary for desired results.

Grease Magnet by CLR: A fast-acting powerful cleaner formulated to quickly clean stubborn stains such as tire marks, grease, stubborn oil, and tar. Read the manufacturer’s labels thoroughly. Test on small inconspicuous areas first. Repeat if necessary for desired results. Caution: Do not use the regular CLR product, which may damage surfaces. Ideal for Floortex™ floor coating.

Other: Call your Garage Living representative if any area you’re trying to clean is presenting a challenge.

Download Care Guide

Download a copy of the Garage Living Care Guide in PDF format (5.3 MB).

Download Garage Living Care Guide

20 Pro Tips to Fulfill Your Resolution for a Nicer Garage Interior in 2020

Garages provide room for parking, storage, function as the main access point in and out of the home, and can be used as a hobby space.

Or at least they should be able to do all of these things.

Unfortunately, excess clutter sitting in many garages limits their functionality and makes this part of the home (which is already overlooked when it comes to making décor upgrades) look visually unappealing. 

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve your home in some way, why not focus on transforming your garage’s interior look from drab to fab?

blue car surrounded by tidy garage interior

20 steps to a nicer garage interior

Owning a home with a nicer garage interior is something most homeowners want, but too few take action upon to make happen.

Only 11% of homeowners don’t want to improve their garage in some way, according to a Wall Street Journal survey.

Junk-filled garage interiors with cracked and stained floors, unfinished walls and ceilings, and virtually no sense of décor are why a quarter of homeowners in an Impulse Research survey feel embarrassed leaving their garage doors open.

Get 2020 off to a productive start by turning your garage into a part of your home that’s as functional, comfortable, and attractive as the rest of your living space.

Here are 20 pro tips that will create a nicer garage interior in any home.

1. Toss the junk

The best justification for getting your garage organized is this:

Why is junk that’s covered in dust and barely (or never) used taking storage priority in your garage over your expensive vehicles that are being used daily?

It’s a simple fact that having a nicer garage interior doesn’t happen unless the junk that’s been accumulating over many years in the space is eliminated. Follow the “one year rule” that can be applied to any space being tidied up, whether it’s a closet, workspace, or junk drawer: if you haven’t used an item for a year or more, do you really need it? 

Tossing your junk to free up floor space and also make the garage easier to clean automatically makes the room more aesthetically appealing. But that’s just the first step. Now it’s time to really transform the garage into a home showpiece!

2. Put your makeover project in the hands of a pro

Do you want to know what the single biggest decision you can make is when planning how to achieve your goal of a nicer garage interior? It’s who you choose to do your garage makeover project. 

Successfully and efficiently executing a plan for a garage remodel requires years of expertise. Over the past decade-and-a-half, Garage Living has completed thousands of makeover projects across the U.S. and Canada.

The professional, high-end look of the garages pictured here and on our website are the result of all that experience and because of the high-quality products we use. 

Bring us your design ideas and we’ll work together within your budget to make your garage a destination you’ll enjoy driving into every time you return home.

3. A showroom-quality floor creates a nicer garage interior

An attractive garage floor has a much bigger impact on how the space looks than you might think. Until the past 10-15 years, a garage floor was seen as a grey and featureless utilitarian surface.

Modern floor coatings that are professionally applied have been a game-changer for garage aesthetics, however.

High-quality products like Floortex™ polyaspartic floor coatings add a clean, consistent look to a garage’s floor surface and can be customized with designer colors that produce a showroom quality appearance.

If you live in a colder climate, you don’t have to worry about delaying your garage makeover project until the spring or summer in order to have the floor done. One of the many advantages that polyaspartic coatings have over epoxy floor coatings is that they can be applied year-round, in virtually any type of temperature.

closeup of blue car on garage floor

4. Eliminate floor clutter

Okay, so you’ve tossed all of that junk that was hindering your ability to do much in your garage. That’s only half the battle when it comes to having a clutter-free garage, though. 

For all of the yard tools, hand tools, automotive supplies, and other things you need to store, establish a set-in-stone rule that the garage floor is off-limits for any storage. 

That may go against the conventional wisdom you’ve lived with your whole life, as well as how most people use their garages. But unless you have a very small single-car garage space, there’s room to store everything in your garage and not have a single stored item aside from your vehicles touching the floor. Really. Just keep reading to find out how to make this happen. 

And with an empty garage floor, you won’t need to worry about causing damage to items left on the floor or your vehicle when driving in and out of the garage. You’ll have ample space to comfortably park and get in and out of your car or truck. 

Besides, if you’ve invested in getting a shiny new garage floor coating applied, why would you want to cover it up with clutter anyway?

5. Use the garage walls for more storage

A garage can have the latest and most stylish décor, but that won’t mean anything if there aren’t proper storage systems in place so the room stays tidy.

Using high-quality storage systems to keep tools, sports equipment, and other items off the floor goes hand in hand with establishing and maintaining a nicer garage interior.

Garage walls are commonly used for hanging storage, but not to their full ability. Slatwall panels that are precisely cut to fit your garage’s dimensions (including cutouts for wall switches, outlets, central vac tubing, etc.) will add a wealth of storage space, making floor clutter a distant memory.

They’re not just functional, either. Our PVC slatwall panels give an unfinished garage a clean and finished look, which is a lot more desirable than having exposed studs or unpainted drywall that’s scuffed and dirty.

6. Use hanging storage that’s more versatile

It’s nice to have the wall hanging space you need to store your things. It’s even nicer to be able to change your wall’s storage layout with ease to accommodate your ever-changing storage needs when seasons change or new tools need a home.

The horizontal groove design of slatwall panels and slatwall hanging accessories makes it a breeze to rearrange how your things are hung up, especially when compared to cheaper pegboard panels and hanging accessories.

And with the more than 40 types of hanging accessories Garage Living carries, you won’t have any issues finding the perfect specialized accessory to satisfy most of your wall hanging requirements. 

hanging organized tools ensure a nicer garage interior

7. See all that empty ceiling space? Use it!

Not only are most garage walls underutilized, so are their ceiling spaces. You only have to look upwards in most garages to discover unused space that can be converted into valuable storage.

Adding overhead ceiling racks further enables you to keep the garage floor clutter-free, particularly because they can store items that are bulky and heavy.

Here are just a few items that are tailor-made for ceiling rack storage:

  • out-of-season patio furniture 
  • camping and sports equipment
  • plastic storage bins
  • off-season tire sets (wall-mounted tire racks are another option)

8. Cabinets keep things tidy and hidden

Not everything has to hang from the walls. Adding cabinets to your garage is a great way to store smaller items, trash and recycling bins, a shop vac or compressor, and valuables or dangerous chemicals you want locked up. 

Custom cabinet systems are worth the extra cost. Compared to off-the-shelf cabinets from big box stores, they provide a more precise fit in your garage, look nicer, and use higher quality materials for smoother functionality and a longer life.

Another overlooked reason to use more cabinetry storage in the garage is your stored items are kept hidden. Eliminating visual clutter preserves the orderly appearance of a garage.

silver garage cabinet system

9. Create storage zones so things are easy to find

One of the most frustrating things about trying to function in a disorganized garage is the amount of time that gets wasted looking for things.

Setting up storage zones with your storage systems that groups like items together is a practical time-saver that removes the guesswork with locating a specific tool or accessory when they’re needed. 

Of course, the system only works if things are actually put back in the right place, but that becomes easier to do if everything has a dedicated home that is easily accessible.

For items that don’t need to be moved due to a change in season, use labels to mark their permanent homes. That makes it even harder for anyone using the garage to not put something back where it belongs!

10. Protect the garage floor

A good floor coating doesn’t merely contribute to a nicer garage interior look, it also provides much-needed protection for a garage’s concrete floor.

All of that wear and tear on a garage floor from cars coming and going, foot traffic, dirt and dust buildup, water, road salt, and spills or leaks from damaging chemicals takes a toll. 

Without adequate surface protection, the floor will slowly begin to crack, crumble, and wear away over time, producing dust-like fine particles that make the garage dirtier.

Pitting is one example of how the surface degrades, as many small indentations start to show on the floor. Spalling (where the surface crumbles or flakes away) is another example.

Floortex™ floor coatings are engineered to keep a garage floor looking pristine for many years. Their structural durability includes providing much better resistance to impacts and abrasions than epoxy coatings. The occurrence of permanent markings caused by hot tires is also minimized.

garage floor spill being cleaned up

11. Repaint for a nicer garage interior

A garage’s wall and ceiling colors have a big effect on the room’s lighting conditions. That’s no small consideration in an area where you’ll be parking vehicles, searching for items, or using tools.

For parts of the garage that aren’t covered by slatwall or a cabinet system, a fresh coat of lighter paint will reflect light better and can do wonders to make the room brighter and more welcoming. Keep in mind, however, that a lighter shade will also make dirt and grime more evident.

If a lighter shade is preferred, a semi-gloss paint is a wise choice. Semi-gloss paint makes dirt less evident and is better for cleaning without showing any wear.

Neutral colors like grey, beige, or tan will be easier to clean and maintain than a white shade. They also offer more design flexibility. Speaking of design flexibility…

12. Bring out the best in your garage’s décor

One of the best reasons to work with a company like Garage Living is we know how to bring out the best in your garage’s décor.

The design flexibility that comes with customized products allows you to complement various features in the garage interior for a cohesive, professional, and appealing look.

For example, the color chosen for the floor coating can help accentuate and complement the colors or your parked luxury vehicles or the styles of cabinets and slatwall added to the garage. 

When it comes to having a nicer garage interior, the small details matter, too. That includes things like using color-matched screws for installed slatwall panels. We’ll also work with some of our clients to create a unique look for their cabinet systems by wall-mounting them for a unique “floating” look, as opposed to having them freestanding on the floor.  

13. Gain parking space with a car lift

If space is at a premium in your garage, it gets tricky trying to fit all of your cars inside of it and store everything else.   

A costly garage expansion or paying for yearly off-site vehicle storage might seem like your only options to gain more room. Instead, consider investing in a 4 post car lift. A car lift allows you to park two vehicles in the same space, effectively doubling your parking space.

In addition to everyday use vehicles, car lifts are also useful for storing cars that are only driven during the year’s warmer months. With an attachment, car lifts can also store boats, jet skis, snowmobiles, and other bulky seasonal items.

And if you’re the hands-on type with your auto maintenance, car lifts are useful for doing work on the underside of vehicles.

silver car raised on car lift in garage

14. Upgrade your insulation and add climate control

When we refer to a “nicer garage interior”, we aren’t just referring to creating a more upscale look in the garage. Your comfort level while using the garage is important, too.

Outfitting the garage with new insulation (or adding to your existing insulation) in the walls and ceiling makes this part of your home more functional when it warms up or cools down.

Don’t forget about having insulation in your garage doors and sealing door and window frames, as well as outlets and ducts, to prevent drafts. These upgrades will reduce heat loss in the winter and also make your home more energy-efficient when the central air conditioning is running when it’s warmer.  

To boost your comfort level in your garage, you could add climate control systems like a heater or air conditioning. These systems will obviously reduce the savings from any energy-efficiency upgrades, but might be worth it for you if your garage gets more use than the average home.

15. Add some unique extras that stand out

Another way to set your garage apart from the rest of the homes on your street is to add some unique extra features that illustrate the high standards you have for your garage’s interior appearance.

One of the ways Garage Living adds visual flair to a garage is to add perimeter LED lights below the lower accent strip of installed slatwall panels (seen in the first photo below). It creates a distinct, sophisticated look and adds ambiance to the room.

Floortex™ Coated Steps are another unique feature we offer (pictured in the second photo below). This process coats the steps leading into your main living space with a Floortex™ coating that matches the rest of the garage floor. We can also do the same treatment on the base of your garage walls.

These applications provide a more consistent and seamless look for the garage’s décor and give the space a more effective seal against drafts and exterior moisture.

garage wall base and LED lighting 

steps into home with floor coating

16. Upgrade the garage doors

Okay, admittedly your garage doors would be considered an exterior feature but they have a back, right? Pulling into a beautiful garage and staring at garage doors that look outdated, scuffed, and weathered (even from the back) just shouldn’t sit right with you.

And say you’ve made your garage a more multi-functional room and have set up an area with a workbench or for working out. Those doors will be down much of the time to maintain privacy or because of colder weather. There will be no escaping their visual shortcomings then, either.

Upgrading the garage doors represents one of many ways to enjoy your garage’s interior more and gives you one of the best returns on investment of any home improvement project.

17. Improve the air quality

We’ve listed many reasons to get rid of garage clutter and improving the room’s air quality is yet another one.

Stacked cardboard boxes and plastic storage bins of junk and items like old furniture and appliances may not be getting used at all, but there are two things they do very well – collect dust and obstruct airflow.

That contributes to a musty-smelling garage that can’t be thoroughly cleaned, which means the garage’s air quality suffers. 

Once all of that clutter is removed, consider going one step further and installing some type of air exchange system to consistently keep the garage’s air fresh. 

Passive wind-powered roof turbines are one option. For a more impactful result, have an “active” air exchange system installed that’s electrically powered. 

18. Install new lighting

A cost-effective solution to make a garage interior look nicer is to simply upgrade its lighting.

Relying on a couple of 60 or 100 watt incandescent bulbs to illuminate an entire garage is so yesterday. Not only is the lighting quality poor, it’s also not energy-efficient.

Add lighting fixtures like our 4 foot LED light or pot lights for a more modern look and better illumination for the entire room.

open garage at night with parked SUV

19. Upgrade your garage tech

One way to get more out of a garage is to upgrade the room’s tech and include the same types of electronics found elsewhere in the home. After all, one of the main reasons to create a nicer garage interior is to make it a more useful extension of your living space.

A smart TV can be mounted in a cabinet system and a smart speaker is easy to move around anywhere. Charging devices and extra outlets could also be incorporated into a custom cabinet design for more convenience.

A keyless garage entry system, smart garage lighting, and a smart garage door opener that allows your garage doors to be remotely monitored and operated via a smartphone app are just a few of your many options.

Naturally, getting a strong WiFi signal in the garage will be essential to use most of your tech. Get some tips on boosting your home’s WiFi signal here.

20. Maintain your transformed garage space

Once your better-than-new garage is set up and looking pristine, the work doesn’t stop, unfortunately.

To keep it looking that way, get in the habit of decluttering and cleaning regularly. Every two or three months should suffice for your garage cleaning needs. Give it a more thorough cleaning (including washing the floor) at least once a year.

Luckily, keeping it organized will require less effort on your part if you use the storage and organization systems suggested here.

Also, be conscious of limiting all but essential new purchases of items that will be stored in the garage. Exercise more restraint during sales and don’t buy those things you might use one day, just because the price was too attractive.

This good practice will serve you well in preventing clutter from accumulating once again in the garage. 

Create a nicer garage interior with these stylish upgrades

With everything we’ve covered about what’s required to achieve a nicer garage interior, we’ll leave you with one final thought: don’t forget that an open garage impacts your curb appeal. 

Neighbors and passersby notice a garage interior that’s messy, left unfinished, and has décor that’s outdated. This is a big reason 52% of homeowners want to own a garage their neighbors envy, according to a Thompson’s Company study.

Schedule a free design consultation with us this new year to start planning a strategy to create a nicer garage interior you’ll enjoy for many years to come.

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See also:

17 Essential Goals Savvy Homeowners Have on Their Garage Wish List

garage wish list, parked blue car

Just 11% of homeowners say they’re content with their garage and wouldn’t want to improve it in some way.

That’s according to a Wall Street Journal survey. And a Peachtree Consulting survey found that over 50% of homeowners plan on reorganizing their garage within the next two years.

These numbers aren’t surprising, considering the garage is typically the most disorganized room in a house. It’s also usually the most overlooked room when considering home improvement upgrades.

So what essential ideas and goals should be on a garage wish list for anyone looking to transform this space?

17 must-have goals for your garage wish list

If you’re thinking about upgrading your garage, your garage wish list may only have a few items on it. But if you’re planning your dream garage, why not dream big?

These are some of the most common ways homeowners are looking to make improvements to their garages:

  • gaining more storage space
  • having less floor clutter
  • making the room look nicer
  • creating more parking space
  • adding modern features and conveniences

All of the above are huge benefits of having a garage makeover done. There are other areas that merit attention when planning a garage remodel, however.

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of 17 ways to make any garage stand out. Hopefully, you’ll get a few more ideas to make your garage wish list more complete.

With a little extra thought and the expertise of a reliable garage makeover pro, you can far exceed your original vision of how your garage looks and functions once the project is completed.

1. A garage that looks tidy and clean

The biggest pet peeve of anyone who is unhappy with their garage is that it always looks like a mess.

Having garage floor clutter might feel like one of those things in life that you just have to accept. It’s actually not difficult at all to eliminate it. All you need to do is use better storage systems (like slatwall panels) that keep things organized with less effort.

Storage systems can be set up to hang tools and accommodate all of those infrequently used things (such as bulky seasonal items) that are permanently clogging up your garage floor.

Even using more hidden storage space with cabinetry gets rid of the visual clutter that a bunch of items stored on open shelving creates in a garage.

Modern garage storage system additions and dècor upgrades have a huge impact on the appearance of garages. For example, there’s no comparison between how much cleaner a polyaspartic-coated floor looks compared to the typical garage floor, which is cracked, grimy, and dull grey.

And naturally, a clutter-free garage is that much easier to clean.

2. More garage storage space

Any garage wish list will have more storage space as a top priority.

Some homeowners resort to making their garage larger, buying a shed, or renting a self-storage unit to fulfill their storage needs. Choosing any of those options is unnecessary, however.

The main key to maximizing your garage’s storage space is actually rather simple – just choose the right storage systems and utilize the walls and ceiling areas more efficiently.

Your garage’s underused vertical space is your best friend in the battle against floor clutter. Slatwall panels are a great storage solution and can be personalized to your needs with hanging accessories that can be arranged in an endless number of configurations.

Wall-mounted and overhead storage racks for bulky things like tires, patio furniture, storage bins with holiday decorations, and other seasonal items will help to get the most out of your garage’s storage capabilities.

A more organized garage means parking vehicles will be easier, but you can even take advantage of your unused ceiling space to add a car lift for storing another vehicle.

Make no mistake – if you have years of collected junk in your garage, it’ll require a healthy investment of your time to purge your belongings down to only what’s really needed. Once that’s done, though, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a part of your home that’s able to be a lot more functional.

items hanging on garage wall

A garage’s walls have a wealth of storage space just waiting to be properly utilized.

3. Looks that your neighbors will envy

When it comes to curb appeal and garages, your garage doors might seem to be the only thing that affects how neighbors, visitors, and passersby view your house’s appearance.

They’re unquestionably important, considering garage doors can account for as much as a third of a home’s front exterior.

Don’t forget about what’s behind the garage doors, however. Whenever those doors are open, your garage’s interior appearance reveals to others the standards you have for your entire home.

For many homeowners, it’s not something they’re eager to share with the rest of the world. An Impulse Research survey found that 24% of homeowners are embarrassed to leave their garage doors open.

A garage remodel not only takes care of the clutter that makes garages an eyesore, you can also create a unique, high-end look that stands out amongst the other homes in your neighborhood.

Owning a garage the neighbors wish was their own is more common than you might think. Just over half of those who participated in a study by the Thompson’s Company wanted to own a garage their neighbors envied.

4. A reliable pro to do your garage makeover

Unless you’re super handy, a major garage remodel is not exactly the kind of home improvement project you want to DIY.

It’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed about how to successfully pull off a successful garage makeover. That includes worrying about finding a contractor that can do the job right.

As with any home improvement project you’re undertaking, hiring a professional with expertise, trustworthiness, and great products will result in a completed project you’re completely happy with.

You need to work within your budget, of course, but remember that first-rate work and high quality products are worth the extra cost.

Garage Living has been specializing in garage redesigns for 15 years, with thousands of completed projects under our belt across North America. That kind of experience and our high quality of work has made us an industry leader in garage makeovers.

5. A durable, nicer-looking floor

How your garage floor looks can make or break the room’s overall appearance.

Let’s face it, any garage with a concrete floor that’s grey, stained, pitted, and cracked (which describes most garage floors, unfortunately) is fighting an uphill battle when it comes to projecting an appealing look.

Applying floor paint to an ugly garage floor is the equivalent of treating the symptom and not curing the disease, to quote the old expression.

DIY epoxy floor coating kits will produce better results than floor paint, but are still vastly inferior to polyaspartic garage floor coatings.

Here’s why a polyaspartic floor coating like Floortex™ should be on the garage wish list of anyone planning a makeover:

  • polyaspartic coatings provide superior protection for the concrete surface
  • they’re extremely durable and long-lasting
  • coated floors are sealed to protect from long-term damage caused by water and chemical spills
  • a Floortex™-coated floor is easy to clean
  • the shiny surface and customized colors give your garage a stylish appearance that complements your interior décor
  • the decorative flakes provide improved traction

silver car parked in garage

Great garage makeovers start from the floor up!

6. An organized space where things are easy to find

“Garage organization” might seem like an oxymoron to those with category 5 garage catastrophes on their hands.

Messy garages end up frustratingly costing you hours of wasted time every year trying to find things. When your garage is set up with a proper organization system that simplifies how things are stored, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to correct the problem.

Establishing storage zones that keep things together by category helps, as does making your most often-used items more accessible.

For example, let’s say you live in a northern climate. From the spring until late fall, yard and gardening tools should be hung on an easy-to-access spot on the slatwall. Bikes and sports gear that are frequently used during this time of year would also be candidates for prime slatwall storage space.

When winter comes, rotate out the things stored on those wall hanging spaces and replace them with items like snow shovels and winter sports equipment.

For the most infrequently used items in the garage, put them up high and out of the way in overhead racks. Something like bulky plastic storage bins filled with Christmas decorations will literally only need to be retrieved once a year from the garage. Why let them take up floor space against the garage wall for 10 or 11 months of the year?

Hand tools often get lost because they’re small and don’t have a dedicated storage area. In addition to the aggravation of not being able to find that one tool needed for a particular job, lost tools end up getting repurchased. With a cabinet storage system, tool organization worries become a thing of the past.

When everything in your garage has a home, there’s less guesswork involved finding things. The chances that your belongings will get put back in their rightful location are also greatly improved.

7. Plenty of parking space

A garage’s main purpose is for parking vehicles, yet according to a Sparefoot survey, just under half of the 1,000 homeowners polled said they had problems parking in their garages

A U.S. Department of Energy study found that 25% of people with 2-car garages don’t park in them at all. A third can only park one car. There’s a good chance your garage wish list includes headache-free parking as a goal.

Dealing with your clutter opens up your garage once again to accommodate vehicle parking and enjoying all the benefits that come with garage parking. Remember that your vehicles should own the space on your garage floor, not a bunch of dusty, seldom-used clutter.

And don’t settle for just enough space to barely squeeze your cars into the garage. Freeing up all of your floor space enables you to drive in and out of the garage (as well as enter and exit vehicles) comfortably.

To supplement the amount of garage parking space that’s available, consider getting a car lift. This convenient and easy-to-use product can store one car on an elevated platform, while allowing you to park another vehicle safely below it.

8. More garage functionality

In addition to parking and storage, garages are prime candidates to be used for other purposes that make them an even more functional part of your home.

Many of our clients have asked us to design garages that made room for:

  • a workshop outfitted with custom cabinetry
  • doing vehicle maintenance (which 25% of homeowners surveyed by the Wall Street Journal used their garages for)
  • a home gym
  • working on crafting projects
  • doing gardening tasks

Heating and air conditioning systems can be added to any garage to make the room more comfortable when the weather is hot or cold.

Because our makeovers result in the garages being so clean, modern-looking, and tidy, it’s even ideal for use as an entertainment space. You can have your buddies over to watch a sporting event on the TV that’s mounted in the garage’s cabinet system.

9. An easier to clean garage

When you think of most garages you’ve ever been in, the word “clean” is not exactly the first word that comes to mind to describe them.

You’ve heard the expression “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature”? Well, just like floor clutter, a musty smell and dirty floor don’t need to fall into that category in every garage.

That’s the old way of thinking. Modern garages that have gotten the makeover treatment look so much cleaner because their décor has gotten a refresh and they’re simply much easier spaces to maintain.

It starts with the elimination of floor clutter and all of that useless stuff that hasn’t been touched in years. Getting rid of that junk has a direct impact on the garage’s cleanliness in these ways:

  • there are fewer things for dust to collect on
  • less clutter reduces the likelihood of pest problems
  • an empty garage floor without obstacles is easier to sweep and give a deeper cleaning
  • the garage’s airflow improves

People that own houses are a lot more conscious about the air quality in their homes these days. That’s why an increasing number of homeowners have added ventilation system upgrades to improve the exchange of air in their garages.

Have you ever tried to clean an old sheet of drywall? Good luck. PVC slatwall panels, on the other hand, can be easily wiped down with a damp cloth.

How about spills on the garage floor? Previously, they’d be difficult to clean because the floor surface might not be intact or spills that weren’t dealt with quickly would set into the unprotected concrete.

One of the nice features of a Floortex™ floor coating is that it not only provides great flooring protection, you can also easily clean up spills involving most household and automotive fluids.

Bonus Floortex™ features: The topcoat seal minimizes the amount of dust and debris produced on a concrete floor from wear and tear. The decorative flake design also makes dust and dirt less visible.

man wiping up oil spill

Floor coatings create less dust than bare concrete floors and are easy to maintain.

10. More convenient garage features

Quality of life improvements in the form of more modern, convenient features should be on every garage wish list.

We’ve already mentioned adding climate control systems and a TV to the garage. That’s just for starters. Here are some additional ideas:

  • keyless garage entry
  • smart home tech products
  • outlets for charging mobile devices
  • floor drainage
  • extra electrical outlets (including higher voltage outlets for power tools or a car lift)
  • a sink for cleaning up
  • more vertical space by raising your garage door’s opening height with a high lift conversion
  • improved WiFi

11. High quality garage storage solutions

There are a lot of cheap products for the garage out there that don’t stand the test of time.

Thin pegboard wall panels with unimpressive load-bearing capabilities that chip easily and flimsy storage cabinets that quickly rust and start to buckle immediately come to mind.

Then there’s the DIY shelving or repurposed kitchen cupboards that are found in a lot of garages. You can do better than this!

Invest in higher quality storage solutions for your garage and you won’t be replacing those storage systems for a good long while.

Garage Living’s slatwall panels have an industrial rigid cellular PVC construction with a 5/8″ thickness and load capacity of 300 lbs per panel.

Cheap garage cabinet systems don’t last because they commonly use lower gauge steel manufactured overseas. These steels are less sturdy and rust quicker than higher grade steels made in the U.S. and Canada.

All five lines of our cabinet systems are constructed with high quality materials, including powder-coated finishes to protect against rusting. Our heavy-duty overhead storage racks are also powder-coated to prolong the life of the product.

12. Garage décor and storage system customization

Anyone planning a garage wish list has a specific vision for how they want their garage to look. They want it to reflect their style and have all the features and functionality they’ll ever need.

Satisfying these requirements doesn’t happen with off-the-shelf storage systems and products found in big box stores. The professional handling the makeover needs to have the ability to customize your garage design.

Having a variety of colors and styles to choose from for the flooring, slatwall, cabinets, and garage doors are an obvious must-have.

Look beyond these obvious décor-related considerations for more ways to make a garage space unique.

Can the cabinet system you have in mind be customized to accommodate things you want to hide in the garage like a central vac system or electrical panel?

If the colors you want for certain parts of your project aren’t among the standard offerings available from your garage makeover pro, can they come up with a custom color that meets your needs?

How about creating a more seamless look between your garage floor and walls by adding a coated application to the wall base and steps into your living space?

Garage Living can do all of these custom features and much more. Just ask us. One of our teams even created an indoor basketball court in a large garage!

13. Better garage lighting

What good is having a beautiful new garage interior if it’s difficult to see?

Upgraded lighting is a cost-effective (and just plain effective) way to improve the appearance and comfort level of a garage.

LED light fixtures or pot lights will significantly improve your lighting coverage and be more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. Undercabinet lighting in cabinet systems provides useful task lighting.

How about adding some perimeter LED lights below the lower strip of your slatwall panels to boost the room’s ambiance and create a distinct look?

Lighting upgrades don’t just help to show off your makeover – parking becomes easier, finding things is less of a chore, and it makes the garage safer to navigate in.

empty and organized garage

New pot lights and LED light strips below the slatwall panels make this garage a brighter space with more ambiance. A security camera mounted in the back corner of the garage on the right provides peace of mind and will deter burglars.

14. Improved garage and car security

The best car theft prevention measure you can take is to park any vehicles you own in the garage. Garage parking also protects against weather-related damage and other potential problems, such as body damage from tree sap.

If you’re using an ancient garage door opener, consider upgrading to a newer model that’s more reliable, secure, quieter, and energy efficient.

Many modern garage door openers come with high-tech features like enabling remote garage door access via a smartphone app. This allows you to control and monitor your garage door when you’re away from home. You can use the feature to let delivery drivers drop off packages inside the garage instead of risking having them stolen by a “porch pirate”, as is becoming commonplace nowadays.

A garage security system with one or two low profile cameras protects one of your home’s more vulnerable access points and deters burglars, without detracting from the room’s appearance. It’s a smart investment that ensures your valuables stay safe and provides you with some peace of mind.

15. A safer garage

So far, we’ve explained how reducing tripping hazards with less floor clutter, better lighting, and more secure storage systems makes your garage safer.

A polyaspartic coating’s smooth floor surface is another way to make a garage safer, with better traction and no worries of walking on a damaged, uneven surface.

Don’t just stop there!

Locks can be added to a cabinet system’s drawers and doors. That not only protects valuable tools, it keeps kids safe from hazardous items in the garage.

Smoke alarms should be replaced every ten years. Ideally, they should be tested monthly or, at the very least, once per season. Having a fire extinguisher close to the garage is another good idea.

Having backup emergency lighting in the garage is another safety measure worth considering.

16. Better energy efficiency

Better energy efficiency in the garage isn’t just good for the planet, it’s also good for your wallet (well, not initially, but in the long run).

You don’t have to break the bank by adding a fancy solar panel system to power your garage. Simply upgrading the room’s wall and ceiling insulation will make a big difference in the energy efficiency of the entire home.

Insulated garage doors with a bottom seal minimizes the transfer of warm and cold air in and out of the garage. Door insulation also limits the transfer of noise between the outdoors and the garage.

If your garage still has old single pane windows, upgrading to energy-saving windows is worth a look.

To reduce drafts, use weatherstripping around window frames. Apply sealants or foam insulation around wall outlets and light fixtures, pipe inlets, and air ducts for additional draft protection.

Maybe the access door into your living space could use an update. Besides replacing it with a more energy efficient door, you could add weatherstripping around the frame and make sure the door sweep is doing its job to keep drafts out.

17. Upgrades that add value to your home

Anyone putting together a garage wish list and having a pro transform their garage not only wants to improve their home, they want to add value to it, too.

Cosmetic and functional upgrades for the garage do just that. If your family and neighbors are ultra-impressed with how your new garage looks, imagine how prospective homebuyers will view it in the future.

Messy, unattractive garages with insufficient storage can be dealbreakers for buyers. A Braun Research survey of realtors found that garages ranked higher as a desirable storage space for homebuyers than basements or attics.

An attractive, organized garage that stands out from the pack is a feather in your cap down the road when it comes time to sell your home and set an asking price.

Year after year when you look at lists that tell you which home improvement projects deliver the best return on investment, adding new garage doors is consistently rated as one of the best.

suv parked in garage at night

Garage upgrades add value to your home and create a space you’ll love driving into – every time!

Transform your garage wish list into your dream garage

Wouldn’t it be nice for a garage to be a space you actually look forward to driving into every time, not a part of the home that makes you cringe whenever you look at it?

We specialize in making garages home showpieces that truly feel like a desired destination and an enjoyable extension of your living space. You too can experience the feeling of luxury the moment you arrive home.

Show us your garage wish list and we’ll begin the collaborative process that will lead to a beautiful garage that you’ll cherish for years to come.

All it takes is a few seconds to schedule your free design consultation with us.

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15 Garage Disaster Warning Signs: How Many Do You Have?

clutter on garage floor

A garage disaster doesn’t just happen overnight. It is the result of months and sometimes years of neglect when it comes to garage organization and maintenance.

Your garage gets used several times each day. It’s a useful and valuable part of your home. So why is it routinely overlooked when it comes to home improvement?

An Impulse Research survey found that 24% of homeowners are embarrassed to leave their garage doors open because the space had too much clutter and a shabby overall appearance.

Is your garage a disaster?

We recently came across a messy garage that was a complete disaster. If your garage is disorganized and cluttered, the examples below will look familiar.

The garage pictured below is shown almost entirely as is. Nothing was staged, although we did have to move a couple of items in order to get decent pictures.

1. Finding items in your garage is a headache

Messy single car garage with clutter and junk.

As you can see, navigating through this garage presents a big challenge.

Some of the bigger items, like the ladder, trash can, and wheelbarrow aren’t difficult to find quickly. Finding smaller items like hand tools, empty leaf and trash bags, or hose attachments? That’s gonna take a minute or two.

Finding things when the garage gets this disorganized doesn’t just mean navigating around the clutter. You’ll often have to move things just to get to the items you’ve located, which wastes more time.

From the garage’s entrance, you’ll see the classic example of a cleared path through the floor clutter. Just behind the wheelbarrow and hose on the ground, the makeshift path leads to the home’s exterior water connection on the garage’s back wall.

2. Things are stored in the garage that shouldn’t be

2 black suitcases on shelf

Storing the wrong things in the garage is one of many ways you run out of storage space quickly and items get damaged.

These two suitcases stored on open shelving on the garage’s back wall are good examples. Textile-based products aren’t suited for long-term storage in a garage environment that experiences major shifts in temperature and is moisture-prone.

Another reason you don’t keep textile or paper-based products in the garage for a long time is because mice find them a great place to make a home.

See those small dark spots to the right of the suitcases? Those are mouse droppings. We definitely wouldn’t want to see what’s going on inside of those suitcases.

Other examples of items you shouldn’t be storing in the garage include:

  • food
  • wine
  • wood furniture
  • electronics
  • paint

3. Your garage lighting needs an update

light fixture on ceiling

The garage has two light sources that provide a decent amount of light for the room. While they’re functionally fine, their “presentation” leaves a lot to be desired.

The light fixture above is missing its plastic casing and is attached to two thin pieces of wood that are screwed into the upper styrofoam panels. It doesn’t exactly look well-anchored.

light bulb on white wallThe light’s power cable is exposed and similarly attached to a couple more pieces of thin wood attached to the ceiling. If you look closely, you’ll see that they’re not mounted flush against the styrofoam boards.

The garage’s original light is the single incandescent bulb to the right, which oddly has its electrical cable exposed instead of hidden behind the drywall.

Along with the fluorescent bulbs being used in the ceiling light, the garage isn’t being very energy efficient…and we haven’t even mentioned the insulation issues yet!

4. Garage clutter prevents vehicle parking

Parking in the garage is clearly not an option here. All of that clutter has relegated the owner’s vehicle to 24/7 driveway parking.

It’s never done intentionally, but allowing clutter to take priority over indoor parking is very common. 20% of the 1,500 respondents to a recent Garage Living poll said they were unable to park in their garage.

A U.S. Department of Energy study found that 25% of people with 2-car garages don’t park in them at all because of clutter. A third can only park one car.

Parking in the driveway under a tree (as this homeowner must do) can lead to damage from:

  • tree sap, leaves, and berries that fall on the vehicle over time
  • bird waste can eat through your vehicle’s clear coat and paint if it’s left on the vehicle too long
  • dead branches falling in windy weather

5. The garage floor needs a complete overhaul

cluttered cement floor

Another garage disaster sign is a damaged garage floor. Pictured above is your standard cement floor that’s marred by scuffs, stains, pitting, cracks, and spalling (when a concrete surface crumbles or flakes away).

Because it’s so hard to clean the garage, you can tell that it hasn’t been swept in some time.

In addition to a good decluttering and some new storage systems, a fresh Floortex™ polyaspartic floor coating would do wonders to improve this garage’s appearance and floor durability.

6. Lack of proper storage

wall-mounted red pegboard

Analyze any garage disaster and you’re sure to find that poor storage and organization systems are being used.

Pegboard panels like the one shown above are found in a lot of garages and can be useful in keeping tools off the garage floor.

This pegboard looked to be the standard 1/8″ thickness, which doesn’t allow heavier items to be hung up, however.

Compare that to Garage Living’s 5/8″ thick slatwall panels that have a rigid cellular foam PVC construction and are capable of holding items weighing up to 50 lbs.

Slatwall hanging accessories also make it easier to reorganize your hung items and provide more hanging stability, since they’re anchored over a larger surface of the panel than a pegboard panel’s metal hooks.

To the right of the pegboard is a wall-mounted storage tower that’s not terribly practical. The items stored there were covered in dust and the open shelving isn’t tall enough to even stand up the yellow oil container that’s lying on its side (and leaking oil on the manual that’s underneath it).

For smaller items like hose attachments, power tools, oil cans, cleaning supplies, automotive supplies, and other easy to lose items, cabinet storage would make more sense if the garage has the room.

7. Existing storage isn’t used effectively

bike and push mower leaning against wall

The homeowner has the right idea by making use of a part of the garage that’s traditionally underutilized for storage – the walls.

Unfortunately, that pegboard is mostly empty, probably because it’s difficult to access with all the clutter in front of it.

A stepladder and about a dozen shovels, rakes, and other yard tools that are currently leaning against a wall or sitting on the floor could be hanging up and reducing the amount of floor clutter.

2 empty wall hooksWith a sturdy slatwall system, even heavier things like the bike and push mower pictured above could easily be hung to free up some floor space.

There’s DIY shelving along the back wall that’s only being used to approximately 30-40% of its full storage capacity.

And those two empty hooks pictured to the right look awfully lonely.

8. Wall storage space is being wasted

white scuffed drywall

A significant portion of both side walls aren’t being used at all for storage in the garage.

That’s a huge wasted opportunity in any garage space and especially in small garages where space is at a premium.

Wall-to-wall slatwall on both garage walls would give the homeowner a wealth of storage space and get quite a bit of the floor clutter off the ground.

The narrow width of the garage makes for a tight fit for the owner’s car, but parking indoors is definitely doable.

While garage cabinets wouldn’t work on the side walls of this garage, a cabinet system with a smaller footprint like GL Signature Shallow cabinets might be ideal for the back wall.

9. Interior garage aesthetics aren’t a consideration

light and stored wood on wall

It’s not just a garage’s functionality that suffers when it’s neglected, its appearance does, too. A cluttered garage is an eyesore that probably makes you wince every time you open the garage door.

Things like an old, beat-up floor, haphazardly stored wood, and drywall that’s dirty and scuffed detract significantly from a garage’s interior appearance. Storage systems that don’t stylistically complement each other also stand out in the wrong way.

At least this garage has drywall, though. A lot of garages look even more unfinished with their wall 2x4s exposed.

Also exposed in the garage is quite a lot of wiring. Those two large holes in the wall on both sides of the electrical panel pictured in the next example aren’t exactly helping in the looks department, either.

And you can bet that if you’re wincing whenever you view your garage disaster, your neighbors are as well when the garage door is open.

Don’t forget, curb appeal is all about the attractiveness of your property. A messy open garage has as much negative impact on how others view your home as a poorly kept yard or a roof in need of repair.

10. Safety hazards

electrical panel and wires

The dangling wood pieces shown in our previous example are a clear safety hazard. There are a few more safety issues in the garage that should also be addressed.

A couple of years after moving in four years ago, the homeowner decided to have the home’s outdated fuse box replaced with a circuit breaker panel.

For some reason, the electrician left the panel uncovered. Things could get really dicey if a roof leak occurred above the panel.

The styrofoam boards on the ceiling look to mostly be held in place with little more than strips of sheathing tape that’s keeping everything held together. Did we mention there’s a light fixture attached to one of those boards?

Then, of course, there’s the fact there are tripping hazards all over the place.

11. Lack of insulation

ceiling light and insulation boards

Proper insulation for an attached garage can make a big difference to a home’s energy efficiency, both during the summer and winter.

This garage could definitely benefit from a lot more than just the ceiling-mounted styrofoam insulation boards that have numerous gaps where they meet the walls. No wall insulation is being used and the homeowner was unsure whether or not the old garage door was insulated.

The room above the garage is most directly impacted by the lack of insulation. The homeowner says the floor there is noticeably colder during the fall and winter.

Sound from the garage door opener is more noticeable to anyone inside without the sound dampening benefits of more insulation.

An HVAC duct runs through the garage in the top right of the photo. Depending on the thickness and insulation effectiveness of the ducts, a hotter and colder garage might impact the efficiency of the home’s heating and cooling system.

12. Not enough task space

workbench with wood and toolsWe’ve already established that a garage disaster severely impairs the room’s functionality. That includes simple tasks like merely finding things quickly or being able to store things with ease.

It also means finding room to do any tasks is a pain.

In this garage’s case, a small foldup workbench is set up to cut some wood.

There’s very little space around the bench to work and nowhere to even put the leftover pieces of wood and tools other than on the workbench itself.

With an organized garage, a dedicated workbench could be installed with ample storage room that keeps all your tools within close reach.

A tidy garage can also be used as a multi-purpose room that allows you to do things like work on craft projects and use the space for your workouts.

13. Bulky seasonal items are stored on the floor

patio furniture in corner of garahe

The homeowner has a small yard that doesn’t provide much room for a shed, which would be helpful for supplementary storage for his bulky patio furniture.

The three patio chairs are stacked, which saves space and the patio umbrella could have the heavy base detached to make the umbrella less awkward to store.

The large patio table is still in the backyard since there’s no room for it in the garage. One storage option would be to leave everything but the umbrella stored outside during the winter with covers in place to protect them.

Smaller overhead storage racks could work at the rear of the garage to create storage space for some of the bulky items, although the garage’s low ceiling might prove to be problematic.

That orange bag on the floor to the right of the patio chairs is a camping set that, like the suitcases, should probably be stored indoors. We’re not sure if the mice have set up shop there yet.

14. The garage door is outdated and needs maintenance

closed green garage door

This garage door has a few surface flaws, including a noticeable scrape on the left-hand side.

It’s a bit stiff when being opened and closed and left a very slight gap between the ground and the door when it was pushed all the way down.

An adjustment or replacement of the door sweep might close the gap and getting the door serviced is something that’s probably long overdue.

A full garage door replacement is also worth considering. Garage doors also have a big impact on curb appeal and a more stylish, modern-looking garage door would provide a visual upgrade to the rather plain door currently installed.

Did you know that garage door replacements consistently have one of the best returns on investment of any home improvement project?

15. Junk occupies valuable floor space

empty TV box

With any garage disaster, there’s bound to be a lot of unnecessary junk and clutter occupying a sizable amount of space.

This garage is no exception. As pictured above, the box from a recently purchased TV sits on the garage floor.

Although it’s smart to hold onto the original packaging of electronic products for a year or so in case something goes wrong with them, this box should be stored somewhere indoors, where pests and moisture can’t damage it.

Below, this old stereo hasn’t been connected to electricity in ages. Its speakers are M.I.A. and the AC cord is heavens who knows where. The homeowner has meant to get rid of it for a while and just hasn’t gotten around to it yet.

To the right is a long-forgotten box of tiles. We’re pretty sure all messy garages have at least one box of dusty tiles sitting around somewhere inside of them.

old stereo  old box of tiles

Rely on a pro to fix your garage disaster

When your garage ends up looking like the garage featured here, it’s overwhelming. Where do you start?

The easiest solution is to consult with a garage makeover professional like Garage Living. We’ll work with you and provide a solution to your garage disaster woes.

With thousands of garage makeovers under our belt, you can bet that we’ve seen our fair share of garages in need of serious help. Time after time, Garage Living has succeeded in turning disorganized, visually unappealing garage spaces into genuine home showpieces.

Garage Living is a totally professional, reasonably priced, customer-dedicated garage and work/storage space company. My garage upgrade by Garage Living included flooring, a workbench, storage cabinets, and overhead hanging storage.

Every detail was meticulously addressed by the professional, respectful, and totally competent team. I now have the showplace garage of the neighborhood, and I have recommended Garage Living to many friends, neighbors and associates. If you are thinking of upgrading your garage, call Garage Living for a comprehensive estimate.

— Robert O’Donnell

Stop living with the limitations that come with having a disorganized garage and schedule your free design consultation with us today.

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7 Simple Tips to Keep Your Parked Car Cool in Summer

Under the right circumstances (or wrong circumstances, as the case may be), even the highest-end cars aren’t immune to the misery of a stiflingly hot interior.

When it’s a scorcher outside, entering a vehicle that’s been parked directly in the sun for hours is never a pleasant experience.

Who wants to be greeted by a sweltering car interior that’s filled with a bunch of mini hazards? We’re talking about things like scalding seatbelt buckles, sizzling leather seats, and a dashboard, steering wheel, and gear shift that are uncomfortably hot to touch.

Keep reading to find out why a vehicle’s cabin gets so hot and what you can do to keep your parked car cool this summer.

keep your parked car cool car interior

Blame your hot car on “the greenhouse effect”

So why does the interior of a vehicle that’s parked in the sun feel so much warmer than it feels outdoors on a hot, sunny day?

You can blame it on “the greenhouse effect”.

You’ve probably heard of the the greenhouse effect in relation to how the Earth’s atmosphere traps heat, which enables our planet to sustain life.

The greenhouse effect is also why a car or truck feels like an oven on a hot day. The sun’s heat enters a vehicle through the windows and gets trapped inside, increasing the temperature.

The temperature increase is highest in the first 15-30 minutes after a car is left parked in the sun. The objects in a car’s interior such as seats, carpeting, and the dashboard also absorb some of that heat.

A Stanford University study found that on a sunny day with temperatures ranging from 72°F to 96°F (22°C to 35°C), the temperature was an average of 40°F higher (8°C) inside the cars they tested than it was outdoors.

7 ways to keep your parked car cool

Hot cars aren’t merely uncomfortable, they’re also unsafe.

It’s an unfortunately reality that negligent parents occasionally leave their kids alone in a hot car, with sometimes fatal results. Pets being left in hot vehicles is another issue we hear about all too often.

HeatKills.org is an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of leaving kids and pets in hot vehicles. Their graphic below illustrates how quickly a vehicle’s interior can heat up.

keep your parked car cool diagram

It’s not difficult to follow a few simple tips to keep your parked car cool (or at least cooler), even when it’s intensely hot outside.

1. Park smart when away from home

On a day when it’s unbearably hot and there’s nary a cloud in the sky, finding relief from the heat with some shade when parking will make your car much more comfortable to return to.

Ideally, you’d want to find a parking garage. If that’s not an option, parking beneath some trees on the edge of a parking lot or in the shade of a building can keep your car cooler and be worth the extra walking that’s required.

Keep in mind that parking in a more secluded area of a parking lot may not be advisable if the neighborhood isn’t the safest, especially if you’re returning to your vehicle after dark.

Also take into account where you’re parking, the time of day, and when you’ll be returning to your car. Just because you’re parking in shade at 11 a.m. doesn’t mean you’ll still be parked in shade at 3 p.m.

2. Park in your home garage

Giving a tip to use a home garage as a way to keep your parked car cool may make you think “Thanks, Captain Obvious”.

But are you always able to park in your garage? And have you noticed how many of your friends and neighbors park full-time in their driveways?

Your garage’s main purpose is for parking, but a lot of homeowners don’t (or can’t) use it for that function. Consider these statistics:

  • A home organization study done by Moen found that the garage was the most cluttered space in homes.
  • 20% of the 1,500 people who responded to a Garage Living poll said they were unable to park in their garage.
  • A third of homeowners with 2-car garages are only able to park one of their cars in it because of clutter. (U.S. Dept. of Energy study)

When you’re home, nothing beats garage parking as the best way to keep your parked car cool. Even if you come home and plan to go out in an hour or two, parking in the garage is smarter that staying parked in the sun in your driveway.

Aside from staying cooler, there are plenty of other big benefits to making space in your garage for parking.

The risk of vehicle theft or burglary is significantly reduced and your vehicles will be protected from the exterior elements that can shorten their life. Parking closer to your home’s entrance (via the interior garage access door) is also more convenient.

keep your parked car cool, blue car in garage

Simply parking in your home garage is an obvious solution for keeping your car cool, but something many homeowners are unable to do.

3. Use a windshield sun shade

Despite the fact that they do help keep a car’s temperature down by blocking the primary entry point for the sun, some drivers simply hate the look of those windshield sun shades. The hassle of using them is a turn-off for some people as well.

Most sun shades you see in parked cars flatten out with an accordion-style design and admittedly look rather unattractive. Their foil-like, reflective covering doesn’t exactly help them call less attention to themselves, either.

It’s completely understandable that you might not want your luxury vehicle’s sharp looks being spoiled by a cheaper-looking sun shade (or something like this laughably tacky Golden Girls sun shade).

There are more expensive, but much nicer-looking windshield sun shades out there that can help to keep your parked car cool. Some companies even offer hundreds of custom models that allow for a perfect fit and vehicle color match.

Higher quality sun windshield shade models also tout better heat-absorbing materials. This makes them more effective at reducing the entrance of thermal and ultraviolet rays into a car’s cabin.

4. Cover up your vehicle interior

If a windshield sun shade is a total non-starter for you as a car cooling option, covering up the parts of your vehicle’s interior that get the hottest is another way to go.

There are plenty of models of car dashboard covers to choose from. Like the windshield sun shades, shop around for a higher quality product that provides a good fit and effectively complements your car’s interior décor.

Your steering wheel and leather seats (especially darker colored seats) are the other interior parts you’ll want to cover up to prevent them from baking in the sun. If you’re wearing shorts or a dress, your bare legs will thank you.

If you have dark leather seats, it might even be worth using lighter colored fabric seat covers during the hottest months of the year.

For a less elegant method of covering your parked car’s interior parts, even using a blanket or two will help (make sure to use a lighter colored blanket).

5. Tint your car windows

In most cases, window tints are effective at helping to keep a parked car cool.

Better quality tints are designed to allow for a good amount of light to pass through the tinted window, while blocking out the sun’s thermal rays. The latter is sometimes referred to as the “high heat rejection rate” of the tint.

Good window tints also cut down on the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Now here’s where car window tints can get very tricky – there are widely varying laws in the U.S. and Canada for how they can be used.

Some states and provinces don’t allow any tint to be on a windshield, such as Illinois and Alberta. Other have a requirement that tints allow a minimum of 70% of the sun’s light through the windows.

It gets even more complicated if you’re driving outside of your state or province. What’s legal with your window tint where you live may very well get you a ticket when you’re away travelling.

The American Automobile Association has a handy resource here that provides a state-by-state and province-by-province breakdown of vehicle tinting regulations.

6. Crack the windows…or not

A lot of drivers still swear by the old practice of leaving a car’s side windows or sunroof open a crack to keep their vehicle’s interior temperature down.

This does let the built-up heat escape and helps to facilitate some airflow through the car’s cabin, but only a fairly modest amount.

You have to ask yourself, however – is the meager reward of a car interior that’s just a few degrees cooler worth the risk of leaving your car more vulnerable to theft or vandalism?

If you leave your car windows or sunroof open even just an inch, a skillful car thief could potentially get inside the vehicle. ABC News reports that for one thief “a car with a window cracked opened was an unlocked car”.

If you’re willing to risk cracking your windows, once again be conscious of your surrounding area. Park in visible areas close to other vehicles, ideally where there’s a decent amount of vehicle and foot traffic. Parking in view of a surveillance camera also doesn’t hurt.

And let’s not forget the other hazard of leaving your windows slightly open – the risk of a sudden rainstorm making a mess of your car’s interior.

7. Try a solar-powered ventilation fan

The last of our car cooling tips is to try a solar-powered ventilation fan, which you may not be familiar with.

The fan attaches to the outside top of one of your rolled-up window and has an outward facing solar panel that powers it. The fan blows out the hot air from inside the car, while pulling in the relatively cooler air outside the car.

Using two fans set up on the two side front or rear windows should increase the cross-ventilation airflow and decrease the temperature even more.

Higher-powered, more effective models can be purchased that have a larger solar panel that sits on your dashboard and powers the fans.

The quality and reliability of this product seems to vary widely. Some online reviews dismiss cheaper models as too gimmicky and not very effective. Consumers who left reviews for other fan models praise them as ingenious and highly effective.

When all else fails…

Using one of these car cooling methods or, even better, a combination of them will keep a parked car cooler.

But if they’re still not cooling to your satisfaction, there are a couple of other ways to get the heat out of a parked car faster.

If you don’t mind getting some strange looks from passersby, one simple method involves fanning your car door to push out the heat.

Just fully roll down the passenger side window and fan the driver side door about 6-8 times. It might sound primitive, but it’s simple physics and it works!

Start parking in your garage once again

Follow these simple tips and you’ll be able to keep your parked car cooler and more comfortable to drive.

We can help you to transform your garage into a much more attractive area of your home that makes better use of your space for storage. That means you can use it for keeping your vehicles cooler and safer.

Schedule a free design consultation with Garage Living to start getting a lot more out of your garage space.

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