Spring Cleaning Tips For An Unfinished Garage

April showers bring May flowers.

April showers may also make things a little messy before you can enjoy the blooms of spring. You may find layers of dirt covering your driveway, walkways, and your unfinished garage floor, however, we have some solutions to help you manage spring cleaning with ease.

Respect for the garage

When buying a new house, often the builder’s idea of finishing the garage is to install drywall, tape, and mud it. They seldom paint the drywall and having them pour a concrete floor might be considered an upgrade. If you’re watching your budget and considering other enhancements to your new property, the garage might not receive the attention that it deserves.

There was a time, not that long ago, when the whole family left home to go off-site for education, exercise, shopping, and work returning home later in the day or early evening. We did not spend that much time in our homes, and for the most part we accepted the condition of our homes.

Now, we cannot avoid looking at our dwellings from many different perspectives. When space is at a premium for families who are bursting at the seams; basements, guest rooms, laundry rooms, and garages are prime candidates for expanding, waiting to be repurposed to accommodate home offices, online schooling, and work out spaces.

Clean up time

Bring out the hose, the rakes, and the shovels – that is if you can find them if the garage has become a dumping ground.

With the change of seasons, tennis racquets and other athletic equipment may not have not found their way back to their designated areas, if they ever really had one.

Storing sports equipment and holiday décor can become a revolving mess, and many homeowners dread the seasonal re-organization of this rarely-thought-of space – also known as the garage. Here are recommendations to make the task easier.

Garage spring cleaning checklist

You are only as good as your tools. For this job you are going to need the following:

  • Work gloves
  • A sturdy step stool for hard-to-reach places
  • 4-gallon bucket
  • Microfibre cloths
  • Stiff-bristled brush
  • Push broom and a regular broom
  • Squeegee
  • A clean spray bottle
  • Black, permanent marker
  • 5 empty boxes or bins

Label 5 boxes for their eventual destination:

  1. Donate
  2. Elsewhere
  3. Recycle
  4. Trash
  5. Dispose (for hazardous waste dispose at your local waste disposal center).

You will also need various products, in addition to hot water, to help get out stubborn stains.

  • Baking soda
  • Environmentally friendly soap
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Cornstarch or clay cat litter
  • White vinegar
  • Crystal Simple Green

End up with a clean slate

First things first – empty the garage. This is a great time to sort and donate. The key to efficient cleaning is to work from top to bottom, left to right. Sweep the ceiling, corners, and walls, and then close the garage doors and clean it as well. Hose it down and let it thoroughly dry and air out.

Now you can see stains on the cement. In a bucket of hot water, add ½ cup of baking soda and a generous amount of ecologically friendly detergent. With a good push broom, scrub the grimy areas. Rinse and let dry.

For hard-to-remove stains, re-wet the surface and drizzle with hydrogen peroxide or Crystal Simple Green. Neither of these will not harm your lawn or bordering plants when you rinse. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse the garage floor and the broom. Let dry.

Elbow grease may be necessary

Oil drips from cars, lawnmowers, and other equipment stain concrete, because it is porous, but it can also leave slick, slippery areas on the garage floor. To soak up lubricants, apply a thick layer of clay cat litter, or food grade diatomaceous earth. Let it sit for at least 24 hours, then sweep it up and safely discard it with your household trash. Keep watch during the process to ensure that it is lifting the oil as you will see grease seeping through.

Next, add environmentally friendly soap to a bucket of hot water. Scrub the area with a brush or broom, rinse and let dry.

Mold, moss, mildew, and moisture

When it comes to mold and other unwanted organic materials, sweeping alone will not solve the problem. The plant spores must be killed.

In a spray bottle mix equal parts of hot water and white vinegar. After spraying the area, scrub with a brush or a push broom. For stubborn mold and mildew, mix a ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide in a gallon of hot water, cover the area and let it sit for about half an hour. Rinse the surface and let it dry.

In colder climates, check to ensure that downspouts were not damaged during the winter, and that rainwater is being diverted away from the home and the garage. Make sure to clean up leaves and other debris, and check rain gutters. Autumn leaves can clog eavestroughs, and trap moisture around your dwelling, which can also cause mold and mildew stains on patios, decks, and walkways.

Once you have cleaned your garage and removed stains, consider applying a professional sealant to your garage floor which last years longer than DIY brands needing to be re-applied every two to three years.

Take your garage to the next level

A professionally applied floor coating looks great and is easy to clean. Rust resistant garage cabinetry helps to hide clutter and keeps everything organized. Tire racks maximize wall storage space and keep the floor clear.

Better yet, request a free design consultation with Garage Living to learn about our durable, garage floor coating system known as Floortex™. We specialize in a 5-step process to prepare and seal concrete floors. If you want a garage floor that is durable, easy to clean, and long-lasting, then a Floortex™ floor coating is your best solution.

If you already have Floortex™ floor coating in your garage then we recommend using Crystal Simple Green to remove oil, grease, tar, mud, dirt, salt residue, and tire marks. Check out our handy garage floor cleaning and maintenance guide for Floortex™ floors.

Storage solutions to reduce garage clutter forever

Our design consultants assess your needs and create an organized plan with a proper home for everything you put everything you store in your garage. Operating since 2005, they have seen thousands of cluttered garages and can provide a custom solution to solve your storage and organization challenges.

Garage cabinets are great for hiding clutter and keeping smaller items organized. Garage wall storage and overhead storage racks are often overlooked. They can increase the amount of usable storage space in your garage. Not only that, you may realize that this valuable space could also be readapted to a workshop, a craft room, a workout area, or a home office.

Re-think inside the box and let us help you with a new garage perspective.

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The Garage Floor Winter Protection Solution Your Home Needs

Garage floors work hard when dealing with constant foot and vehicle traffic. They also have to contend with exposure to dust, dirt, mud, spills, automotive fluid leaks, and rainwater.

And garage floors in homes that are located in snowy northern climates have an even bigger workload. Winters take a greater toll on those garage floors with all the snow, ice, salt, sand, and de-icing products that get brought inside by your vehicles and footwear.

Learn more about what you can do to give your home the best garage floor winter protection.

Here’s what the winter can do to your garage floor

Having an ice-cold, messy, and slippery floor isn’t the only effect winter has on your garage.

Most garage floors are unfinished, meaning they’re just bare concrete without a top seal. Concrete is actually more porous than people realize. Without a sealer, garage floors are more prone to foundational deterioration from water and chemical de-icer.

A garage floor will expand and contract when the temperature rises and falls. This natural process will endure more stress when excess water seeps into the concrete (especially via surface-level cracks) and goes through repeated thaw and freeze cycles.

Melted snow that mixes with road salt will recrystallize within the concrete, which puts additional stress on the floor. Eventually, this all results in existing floor cracks getting longer and deeper and new cracks forming. Pitting and spalling can also occur, which involves larger areas of a floor’s surface crumbling or flaking away.

Unfinished cracked garage floor with road salt damage

Unfinished garage floor with road salt damage and cracks.

Sand may be useful when it’s spread on the roads, but it’s definitely no friend of the garage floor. The very reason sand is being used for winter driving safety is why it’s bad for a floor. The abrasiveness that gives the sand its functionality for tire traction wears away at your floor’s surface, whether it’s bare concrete or has a topcoat.

And we can’t leave out road salt. All of those unsightly white salt stains and deposits on the floor will not just make a mess of your clothes, they also do damage even before seeping into the concrete. Salt that is left on the floor can cause discoloration and also acts as an abrasive.

What are your garage floor winter protection options?

When you’re considering winter protection for your garage floor, you have four viable options.

1. Garage floor coatings

An epoxy or polyaspartic floor coating is the way to go if you’re looking for the most effective garage floor winter protection solution. They will help protect your floor from the ravages of winter and offer decorative benefits that add visual appeal to a garage interior.

Epoxy floor coatings cost less than polyaspartic coatings but aren’t as durable. One reason is that a polyaspartic coating’s adhesive base coat forms a stronger bond with the concrete than epoxy coatings will. Both epoxy and polyaspartic coatings add a top coat seal that protects a garage floor from water, chemical, and abrasion damage.

One drawback of epoxy coatings is that they need to be applied in a specific temperature range, which means applications can’t be done in colder weather. On the other hand, polyaspartic floor coatings like Garage Living’s Floortex™ floor coating system can be applied in temperatures as low as -40°F.

2. Garage floor sealers

man applying garage floor sealerA sealant can be used on a garage floor to produce a clear, thick film that covers up a floor surface’s imperfections and adds a protective layer against abrasions and water and chemical seepage into the concrete.

Sealers provide a glossy finish, but any aesthetic benefits will be diminished if the color of the concrete below it is unevenly matched or if the floor shows evidence of surface repair work.

3. Winter snow mats

The cheapest way to protect a garage floor in the winter is to buy a winter snow mat (also known as a water containment mat), which comes in a variety of sizes.

The mats are typically made with durable rubber or vinyl and can hold gallons of water from melted snow, ice, and road salt that falls off your vehicles. The water can be removed with a squeegee or wet vac.

As a less permanent method of garage floor winter protection, floor mats can move around if they’re not heavy enough or anchored to the floor. Cheap floor mats can also tear quickly, especially when a vehicle’s tires are turned too much while driving over them.

4. Garage floor interlocking tiles

Interlocking PVC or rubber floor tiles are another way to protect a garage floor during the winter. They’re cost-effective, can be installed quickly, come in a variety of designs, and are easy to replace if a tile is damaged.

Self-draining floor tiles channel any water from melted snow and ice to the concrete underneath them. It’s wise to seal the floor or have some type of drainage system in place before laying down the tiles. Solid floor tiles will collect any moisture on their top surface and it should evaporate.

If you’re wondering if you can paint a garage floor in the winter to protect it, don’t waste your time. Floor paint provides virtually no garage floor winter protection. It is purely cosmetic.

The best garage floor winter protection: a polyaspartic floor coating

Man in winter coat stepping out of blue vehicle in large 3-car garage with garage cabinets.

So between all of these garage floor winter protection options, what’s the best choice to make? It’s a polyaspartic floor coating.

A Floortex™ polyaspartic floor coating delivers the best floor surface protection available for home garages. 

Floortex™ coatings protect garage floors from winter salt, melted snow, ice, and de-icing chemicals. It also protects your floor from damage that can occur from scratches, abrasions, automotive fluid leaks, and household chemical spills.

Garage Living can also give your garage a baseboard coating that creates a unique, seamless appearance between your walls and the floor, as well as sealing up any drafts or areas where water can do damage.

On top of all of these protective benefits, a Floortex™ floor coating looks great and can be customized with a color that complements your garage’s décor. The decorative flakes we use also give the floor added texture, which can provide better slip resistance when the surface is wet.

The advanced proprietary floor coating process Garage Living’s professionally trained installers use with our state-of-the-art equipment ensures every floor we refinish will last for years to come.

And because polyaspartic floor coatings have a quick curing time, it can take as little as a day to complete a floor coating application at any time of the year.

How to keep a garage floor clean in winter

Floortex™ floor coatings are very low-maintenance, but even they need some regular cleaning over the course of the winter.

Use a squeegee or shovel to remove as much snow, slush, and water from the garage floor as you can. When the garage floor is dry, give it regular sweeps to remove as much salt residue, loose sand, and other types of abrasive debris as possible. Don’t just sweep everything out into your driveway – scoop it up so it doesn’t eventually end up back on the floor.

When the spring arrives, the garage floor can be more thoroughly cleaned with a hose, squeegee, and a cleaning product that won’t harm the coating (Garage Living recommends Crystal Simple Green).

To reduce the amount of mess that gets tracked into your garage in the winter, you could remove as much ice, slush, and snow as possible in the driveway before parking inside. Another option is to clear off the vehicle once you’re parked in the garage and use a shovel or squeegee to push all that wet stuff outside.

Let’s face it, though – miserable winter weather doesn’t exactly inspire the will to be that proactive with keeping your garage floor clean. You’re usually just looking to get into your warm house as soon as possible.

Get the best garage floor winter protection solution

Man in winter coat standing in garage leaning on hockey stick.

There is no better time of year to be parking your vehicles inside your garage than the wintertime.

And when you have the best garage floor winter protection like a Floortex™ coating, there’s no need to worry about the long-term damaging effects winter can have on your flooring.

If you’re unable to park inside your garage because it’s disorganized, Garage Living can help with that, too. We have storage and organization solutions that will eliminate floor clutter and provide you with more room to park in a covered space.

Schedule a free design consultation with us today.

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Small Garage Ideas: 7 Tips to Make Your Space Feel Bigger

A small garage definitely makes it a challenge for a homeowner to get a satisfying level of functionality out of their space.

The constraints of a small garage don’t necessarily mean you have to make compromises with either of a garage’s two primary functions, however.

Parking and storage in a small garage are two functions that can co-exist – it just takes a little more ingenuity to make things work efficiently.

To get the most out of your garage’s limited square footage, use these small garage ideas and tips.

small garage ideas

Exactly how small is a small garage?

By most people’s standards, the definition of a “small garage” would be a garage that holds either one or two vehicles. A 1.5-car garage size, which is less common, would also qualify.

But just because a small garage’s description says it’s meant to hold one or two vehicles doesn’t necessarily mean those vehicles can fit in the space comfortably.

The garage’s actual dimensions, the sizes of vehicles, and the contents inside a garage also need to be taken into account.

Common 1-car garage sizes range from 12 feet wide by 20 feet deep to 16 feet wide by 24 feet deep. That ranges from 240 to 384 square feet (calculated using the room’s interior dimensions).

2-car garages typically range from 18 feet wide by 20 feet deep to 24 feet wide by 24 feet deep (360 to 576 square feet).

Older 1 and 2-car garages are often smaller than the same types of garages that are built in new homes today. One reason is that back then, having a covered space for a parked vehicle was the main priority and less consideration was given to using the garage as a home storage space.

1-car garages in old homes are also more common because families typically only owned a single vehicle in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

It doesn’t help that vehicles keep getting bigger

When you look at some older small garages, it makes you wonder how the large vehicles from a few decades ago ever fit inside them.

That’s something to consider these days in relation to your garage’s size because vehicles just keep getting bigger.

The growing sizes of cars, SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks is largely due to relatively low fuel prices and consumer demand for vehicles with lots of convenient features.

That can leave little room to spare when parking inside a small garage. Here are some small garage ideas that will help make things easier for you.

1. Get rid of the clutter

It would seem that an obvious way to get more functionality out of any garage would be to limit the amount of non-essential items (better known as clutter) that are kept in the space.

“Removing junk” ranked as the top answer from people who were asked how they could enjoy their garage more, according to a Wall Street Journal survey.

A Braun Research study found that a third of homeowners were unsure what was occupying their garage’s storage space, however. And although 75% of those surveyed wanted to have a tidier garage, almost a third of them rarely or never organized the room.

Every square foot is crucial in a small garage, which means things like old furniture, broken appliances, leftover building materials you’re not sure you’ll ever use, and old yard tools you replaced with newer versions years ago have no place there.

Taking the time to declutter the garage is worth it because it simply makes no sense to park expensive vehicles you drive regularly outside, while junk you haven’t touched in years sits inside your garage.

2. Maximize your wall storage space

fitness equipment in small garage

This small garage uses slatwall to keep the space organized and is used as a home gym.

If your garage feels too small for your needs, it might seem like the solution is to undergo a construction project to make it larger or move to a home with a bigger garage.

In many cases, such drastic measures can be avoided if you let a professional like Garage Living help you to maximize your small garage’s storage space.

One of the best small garage ideas you can use is to have a slatwall storage system installed that includes PVC wall panels and hanging accessories.

Slatwall is superior to pegboard because it’s more durable, is easy to clean, offers more storage versatility, and can handle higher weight loads. Slatwall also has a decorative functionality that gives garage interiors a nicer, finished appearance.

With a slatwall storage system that allows the vast majority of items kept in a garage to be hung up, floor clutter becomes a thing of the past. Items like yard and hand tools, bikes, sports equipment, ladders, and power cords can be kept well-organized and grouped with like items.

Wall-mounted tire racks are an additional wall storage solution that will free up the space a spare set of tires takes up on a garage floor.

3. Take advantage of your ceiling space

Overhead storage racks are another type of effective vertical storage system for a garage. Not all small garages have ceilings that are high enough to add storage racks, but if yours can accommodate them, you should absolutely take advantage of that unused overhead space that is being wasted.

Bulky things like plastic storage bins, patio furniture, spare tires, and out-of-season items that sit on a garage floor can be the difference between being able to park inside a small garage or having to park in the driveway.

Choose heavy-duty storage racks that can handle a lot of weight and are properly anchored to your walls and ceiling for safety. It’s smart to invest in racks made with high-quality steel and a power-coated finish, which will prevent rusting and last much longer.

4. Increase parking space in a small garage with a car lift

car raised on car lift in small garage

A 4 post car lift in this 1-car garage doubles its parking space.

If you have two vehicles but your garage is only built for a single car, the solution to keep both vehicles parked inside is to get a car lift.

Once again, the height of your garage will determine whether or not a car lift can fit in the space. If your garage door opens at a height that’s too low, a high lift conversion would be needed to reconfigure the height at which the door opens.

2 post car lifts and 4 post car lifts are used in residential garages, but it’s the latter type you’ll want for parking purposes.

4 post car lifts allow vehicles to be driven onto ramps and hoisted up so another vehicle can be parked beneath it. This makes it ideal for maximizing a garage’s vehicle storage space. 2 post residential car lifts are suited more for someone who prefers to do their own car maintenance in their garage.

5. Choose the right cabinets for your small garage

A cabinet system is another great option for storage in a garage, but it can be a tricky thing to fit into a small garage.

Chances are it would have to be installed at the back of the garage if the room is deep enough, instead of along the side walls. And you might be limited with how big the cabinet system can be. Even a small cabinet system with a single stack of drawers, a few cabinet doors, and a small countertop can be quite functional, however.

It’s worth the extra cost to get storage cabinets that are made with sturdier, longer-lasting North American-made steel. Many cheaper cabinet models found online and in big-box stores are manufactured with inferior materials that don’t last.

Our GL Signature cabinet system comes with a shallow depth option that is perfect for smaller garages. Working with a garage remodel specialist like Garage Living also gives you more design and color options for a cabinet system that will enhance your garage’s décor.

6. Update your paint, lighting, and flooring

blue car parked in garage

Lighter wall, ceiling, and flooring colors help make a small garage feel bigger.

Repainting a small garage and choosing specific colors can create the illusion that the room is bigger than it is.

Lighter colors help make a room look and feel larger. The effect is even more pronounced if you paint the walls and ceiling the same color or paint the ceiling one shade lighter than the walls.

Using a glossier paint that reflects lighter better than flatter paints will also help create the illusion of a larger space. Take these aesthetic small garage ideas into consideration if you’re having slatwall installed. Garage Living offers eight slatwall colors to choose from.

Lighting upgrades are another way to make a small garage look larger. Adding a number of smaller lights (such as pot lights) to a ceiling instead of having a single overhead lighting fixture will provide better light coverage and make the room feel bigger.

Many garage remodel projects involve giving the flooring an upgrade with a new floor coating. Ask your garage design consultant which coating color will work best to complement the rest of your interior décor and make your garage feel a little bigger.

7. Tidy up on a regular basis

Having the right storage systems in place will make it easier to keep a small garage organized.

You have to commit to regularly tidying up the room so that clutter doesn’t start piling up, however. If you neglect maintaining the space, it doesn’t take long for that 1-car garage to become a no-car garage.

A quick monthly cleanup should suffice and you can give it a more thorough cleaning that involves washing the floor and wiping down any surfaces a couple of times a year.

Ensure the right things are taking up your garage storage space. Here are a few things that should not be stored in a garage:

  • unused or partially used paint cans
  • food or wine
  • old electronic equipment
  • clothing and fabrics
  • old photos, paper, and cardboard

Upgrade your small garage

Hopefully these small garage ideas have shown you that you can still get plenty of functionality and enjoyment out of a room that doesn’t offer an ample amount of square footage.

Garage Living has transformed many small garages into organized, stylish spaces that make more room for parking, storage, and even hobbies like working out in a home gym.

Schedule a free design consultation with us to start your garage remodel project.

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7 Things To Look For in a Garage Remodel Company

Once you’ve made the decision that your garage needs a makeover, it’s time to do some homework and find the best garage remodel company for the job.

There is no shortage of contractors available to do the work, but what factors matter most when you’re choosing who to hire?

Reasonable pricing, a good reputation, and an impressive level of overall professionalism from a prospective garage remodel company is a high priority, naturally. 

Don’t stop there. There are a few more essential things the company you choose to upgrade your garage should bring to the table to maximize your satisfaction when the project is completed.

Is the contractor you hire capable of making the left-hand side of this pre-makeover garage look as impressive as the finished right-hand side?

Why hire a garage remodel company instead of DIYing?

Before we look at what a garage remodel company should be able to do for you, let’s quickly explain why you should entrust a garage renovation to an expert instead of doing the work yourself.

A recent Porch.com survey found that 55% of homeowners have DIYed a home improvement project, yet only 31% of them considered them to be successful. In many cases, these homeowners ended up hiring a pro to fix the work they had done.

Someone once said, “there is no substitute for experience”. Unless you’re experienced with the complicated nature of the design and installation process a garage remodel entails, it’s best to leave things in the hands of a seasoned professional.

Sure, it may be cheaper to attempt a garage remodel yourself. A garage remodel expert will get the job done properly the first time and eliminate the stress, time investment, and messy work involved when you tackle the project yourself, however.

A highly specialized garage improvement company like Garage Living also has the know-how to ensure your garage isn’t just more organized and visually appealing. They can give the space the kind of major overhaul that really adds an impressive “wow factor” to one of your home’s hardest working rooms. 

When you decide to hire a garage remodel company instead of going the DIY route, there are several essential things to look for from them to make sure your home improvement project is successful. 

1. A great reputation and positive online reviews

We all know there are many shady contractors out there who will cut corners, rip you off, and come up short in the reliability department.

You’re entrusting someone to work in your home and improve a room you will use every day. Therefore, any garage renovation company you hire shouldn’t just have a good reputation – they should have a great reputation.

Word of mouth

Good ’ol word of mouth continues to be one of the best ways to weed out the good contractors from the bad ones. A personal referral from someone you trust who has worked with a particular garage remodel company can be invaluable. Although their great experience working with a contractor doesn’t 100% guarantee yours will be the same, it’s an excellent indicator of what to expect.

Online reviews

Nowadays, reviews from crowd-sourced review sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp are how most people seek out the trustworthiness and quality of home improvement professionals.

According to research, 91% of people read online reviews on a regular or occasional basis and 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Home services websites like Angie’s List, Houzz, and HomeAdvisor are other great resources for finding reliable contractors.

2. Customization options

Having high-quality products to choose from is nice – can they be customized, though? And if so, what is the range of those customization options?

If you want your finished garage space to look exceptional, having plenty of options to customize the room’s interior décor will be essential. Only having two or three colors to choose from for your garage floor coating, slatwall, or cabinets means you’re limiting your creative options.

Look for a company with a selection of products that gives you an ample amount of customization flexibility and freedom to create a distinct, appealing aesthetic in your garage.

Our Designer Series of garage design themes is a popular option with our clients. It includes seven themes of curated custom colors and materials from our roster of products that produce finished garages with a high-end look. The series simplifies the design process for our clients and is an effective way to help them visualize what their garage can look like.

3. Impressive examples of past work

A personal referral or reading a number of online reviews about contractors will help you narrow down your list of candidates, but “the eye test” is going to be a huge factor in making a hiring decision. 

If you’re lucky enough to know someone who has had a garage renovation done recently, an in-person viewing of the work will give you a helpful up-close example of what a garage remodeler can do.

Unfortunately, that kind of opportunity will rarely present itself. The next best thing is to naturally take a look at photos of a garage makeover specialist’s past work. A garage remodel can end up looking anywhere from shoddy to serviceable to exceptional – don’t settle for anything less than the latter for your garage!

Before and after photos

Their website should have image galleries of completed garage remodel projects to give you a good idea of what kind of work they’re capable of doing. It’s worth noting that even the presentation of a garage remodel company’s website can give you some useful insight into how professionally the business operates.

messy unfinished garage

BEFORE: The unfinished garage in desperate need of efficient storage space.

Finished garage remodel.

AFTER: A double car lift allows this car collector to store four vehicles in this section of the garage.

Viewing a completed garage remodel is one thing. If you can get examples of what a space looked like prior to the work being done with before and after garage makeover photos, it gives you even more information about the competence and creativity of the contractor.

4. High-quality products

One simple way to eliminate certain garage renovation companies from your list of candidates is to look at the quality of the products they carry.

Visiting one of their showrooms or checking out a remodel they’ve worked on and seeing and using the products the company works with will tell you whether or not they have high standards.

If a garage remodel company’s products look and feel cheap, what does that say about their work quality and value of the hard-earned money you’re spending with them?

There’s a reason that polyaspartic floor coatings cost more than epoxy coatings – its quality is vastly superior, it lasts much longer, and you need professional equipment to apply it.

The same consideration regarding quality should be given to garage cabinets. Inexpensive cabinets bought online or at a big-box store may seem like they’ll get the job done, but you’ll quickly find they’re cheaply made and won’t last as long as you expected. 

Try to shop local by supporting local small businesses and buying American and Canadian-made products that tend to be of a higher quality than products from overseas and keep your spending dollars closer to home. 

5. Amazing customer service

Excellent customer service should be another huge selling point for you. A company with top-notch customer service can be the difference between a home renovation project being a pleasant experience or a headache-causing experience that’s unsatisfying for you.

garage design consultation in Garage Living showroom with man and woman

Use the previously mentioned resources to find out how effectively a contractor communicates with their clients and how reliable they are. This includes asking questions like:

  • does the company get back to their clients about quotes or other inquiries in a timely manner?
  • was scheduling convenient consultation and installation times an issue and was the company flexible and easy to work with?
  • does the company have a showroom?
  • were the installers punctual and properly clean up when they finished working?
  • does the contractor stand behind their work and products with strong warranties?
  • did the garage remodel company follow-up with the client when the project was completed and address any concerns?

Good customer service should also be convenient for you. If you’re seeking to transform your garage, the floor will likely need some work.

Unless a contractor uses a high-quality product like Garage Living’s Floortex™ polyaspartic floor coating that can be applied year-round, you’ll have less flexibility for what time of year your floors can be upgraded if you live in a colder climate.

6. Expertise and professional training

During your contractor vetting process, set a high bar for the level of expertise the company you’re considering has specifically with garage renovations.

This is where hiring a garage remodel specialist instead of a general contractor or handyman can make a big difference. The phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” exists for a reason, after all.

Having completed thousands of makeovers across the U.S. and Canada since starting in 2005, a company like Garage Living has experienced just about everything when it comes to garage remodels.

Most high-quality and reputable garage renovation professionals will:

  • give their employees the proper training to work efficiently and safely
  • know how to bring the best out of a garage space
  • use high-quality products that last longer
  • be properly licensed and insured
  • stand behind their work
  • be better equipped to deal with renovation challenges

Don’t undervalue that first point about proper training. Garage remodel pros are skilled tradespeople and although they learn much of their craft from hands-on experience, the foundation of their knowledge should start with professional training.

Be sure to ask any garage remodel company you’re considering hiring what kind of training their installers get. Garage Living has all of our installers take training courses to ensure they’re qualified to perform the work that goes into every garage remodel we do.

7. Fair pricing

One of the most important questions anyone seeking out a garage remodel company will have for their project will be the cost and whether a contractor can work within their budget.

A top-to-bottom remodel can involve many different upgrades including adding a floor coating, wall base coating, slatwall storage system, garage doors, door openers, a storage cabinet system, overhead storage racks, and a car lift.

Other potential upgrades include installing modern lighting, a heating system, insulation, drywall, redoing the ceiling, and painting the walls and ceiling.  

The size of the garage, scope of the project, quality of the products, and processes used to install everything will largely determine what the project costs. As with any home improvement project you’re hiring someone for, be leery of anyone who is quoting you a price that seems too good to be true. In most cases, it is.

If you’re more confident that one garage remodel company will do a better job than another based on examples of work you’ve seen and the fact they have a superior reputation, that’s worth paying more for if their quote is a bit higher, yet still reasonable. 

The end goal is to have a beautiful garage that you’re 100% happy with and to have the process of making that happen be as stress-free a possible. 

Hire the garage remodel company that checks all these boxes

Investing some time to find the best company to upgrade your garage will go a long way towards providing you with a high level of satisfaction once the project is completed.

Garage Living prides itself on checking all of the boxes above, to ensure that every remodel project we complete exceeds our clients’ expectations.

There’s a reason we’re known across North America as a leader in home garage storage, organization, and décor solutions.

Schedule a free design consultation with us to see what the Garage Living experience is all about!

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From Garage To Classroom: Create An Effective Home Learning Space

2020 has thrown a lot at us. One of the biggest challenges for parents and their kids has been adjusting to at-home learning.

Parents have needed to find a workable balance between being full-time teachers (or part-time educators supplementing their kids’ remote learning studies) and their own parental, work, and household responsibilities.

It’s been a lot to deal with.

With a new school year underway, lots of schools remain closed. Even if schools are open in their area, many parents and students are uneasy about returning to traditional classroom settings. As a result, homeschooling will continue on a widescale level across the U.S. and Canada for the foreseeable future.

So what’s the best homeschooling environment for your kids? If you don’t have a dedicated home study room, using the dining room table, living room, or the kitchen as a classroom may not be the most learning-friendly environment for your little ones.

Here’s a suggestion: create a learning space for your kids in your garage. A garage to classroom setup is smart for a number of reasons and you don’t need a large garage to make it happen.

Your kids’ home learning environment matters

Classroom environments have a big impact on how well kids learn. As an early childhood education expert explains here, an ideal classroom environment will “help children feel safe, secure, and valued. As a result, self-esteem increases, and students are motivated to engage in the learning process.”

Learning in high-traffic areas like the kitchen, living room, and dining room can be too distracting for kids. With families spending so much time indoors right now, the abundance of background noise from things like meals being prepared, ringing phones, and conversations makes it particularly challenging for youngsters to focus on their studies.

Letting your kids do their homeschooling from a desk in their bedroom isn’t ideal, either. Supervising them becomes more difficult, for starters.

And the same reasons medical professionals recommend adults not work in the same room where they sleep applies to students – a lack of separation between one’s work and home life leads to poor sleeping habits and lower work productivity.

Why a garage to classroom setup makes so much sense

A garage to classroom setup can provide the perfect space for at-home schooling. It’s a safe environment that’s a part of the home, while still being removed enough from the distractions in the rest of the house.

As an extension of your living space, a classroom area in the garage can improve how your children focus and learn.

A garage classroom also helps establish more structure for their daily studies. They’ll have a consistent, dedicated learning space and not be studying at the dining table one day and then moving to the kitchen for their school work the following day.

Lots of parents have made the “garage to classroom pivot” to accommodate their kids’ schooling needs.

For some parents, they’re just homeschooling their own children. If local social gathering rules allow for it, other parents are getting together with a few neighbors and friends they trust and feel safe with to create garage classroom “learning pods” for their kids, as this mother in Maine did.

How to create your own garage classroom

“How can my garage handle its normal duties as a space for parking, household storage, and function as an at-home classroom?”, you may be wondering.

It all comes down to how well your garage is set up. Since comfort is so important for a learning space, a clean, finished garage interior with modern design features is essential.

Having some flexibility within the garage so you can add something like a learning space is important as well. Anyone who has a multi-purpose garage space knows that good organization is the key to making the garage function at a high level.

A garage to classroom setup can work quite effectively in a garage of any size. This recently remodeled single car garage was well-positioned to accommodate adding a learning space with minimal effort.

garage before makeover

The unfinished garage prior to its remodel.

black car in garage with student desk and chairs

The garage was transformed into a clean, organized, and modern-looking room. Little effort was required to turn it into a comfortable home learning space.

Here’s how to make your garage to classroom setup successful.

Create enough space in the garage

A lot of garages are too cluttered to park vehicles in, which makes them little more than one-dimensional junk storage spaces.

To free up floor space that will allow a part of the garage to be used as a classroom, storage systems like slatwall panels and overhead racks are invaluable.

These storage systems utilize your garage’s walls and ceiling areas to maximize the storage space in the room, which opens up a range of possibilities for other ways the garage can be used. In the photo above, just look at how much floor square footage is freed up by storing all those bulky storage bins in the overhead racking!

The slatwall panels and accompanying hanging accessories make it a breeze to keep the garage more organized. Items like yard tools, power cords, and sports equipment and toys the kids can use when taking breaks from their learning are easily accessible.

Use cabinetry in your garage classroom

A storage cabinet system is perfect for a garage learning space, but not just for the reason you might be thinking.

Sure, cabinets provide you with room to store and organize things like school and art supplies, lesson books, and other learning materials. Our high-quality cabinet drawers are at a kid-friendly height and have full extension drawer glides to make access easy for your little ones, too.

A cabinet system is also useful for a garage classroom in the following ways:

  • incorporate a mounted TV into the cabinet system for watching digital classroom lessons and educational videos, as well as making Zoom calls with teachers and other students
  • the cabinet doors can be used to display your kids’ artwork, which builds their confidence
  • displaying artwork makes children feel more connected to their learning environment
  • they provide a backdrop for hanging up motivational sayings or educational posters
  • use a cabinet sink for a handwashing station
  • cabinet countertops function as a clean work surface and area for displaying and storing school books
  • under cabinet task lighting brightens up the countertop space
  • tablets and laptops can stay charged with the cabinet system’s built-in electrical and device charging outlets
cabinet countertop with school books

A garage cabinet system provides a clean surface to work on, drawers for storing school supplies, and can incorporate a TV and sink.

Make the garage feel more like a classroom

When you’re used to learning in a school classroom, adjusting to a different full-time learning environment isn’t easy for every child.

To make your kids feel more comfortable with their at-home schooling experience, include a few of the core familiar features of a traditional classroom.

Naturally, that includes desks and chairs. If you’re planning on doing longer classroom sessions, one option is to invest in some ergonomic-friendly desks and chairs that are more comfortable to use for extended periods.

Use some small easel-style or wall-hung chalkboards or dry erase boards, which are great for developing a child’s writing, drawing, and reading skills.

Another garage to classroom setup idea you may want to consider is keeping a clock or other type of timekeeping device visible to the students in the room. Some teachers find that using a timer for work tasks gives students a greater sense of urgency while learning and helps them understand things a little better.

Increase the garage’s comfort level

A garage with modern design upgrades is simply a nicer space to spend time in, which makes it a more learning-friendly environment.

Aesthetic upgrades like finishing the garage’s walls and ceiling will make a big difference. Upgrading the floor with a Floortex™ floor coating is a game-changer when it comes to transforming the appearance of a garage, too.

In addition to its high-end look, the floor coating is well-suited for use in a garage classroom setting for these reasons:

  • it has a safe, ultra-low level of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are chemicals found in many products that slowly off-gas
  • the floor surface is easy to maintain and keep clean with just a squeegee, some water, and a mild floor cleaner
  • Floortex™ coatings deliver heavy-duty floor protection from wear and tear, abrasions, and spills, but are also comfortable and clean enough to walk on in your socks or even bare feet

Feel comfortable in the garage year-round

You can also do a few more things to increase the comfort level of your garage.

If your garage lacks a few features, cold and hot weather make using the room year-round problematic.

To fix this issue, insulate the walls, ceiling, and doors to boost the garage’s energy efficiency. Vapor barrier might be helpful as well, depending on where you live and a few other factors.

A garage heating system or portable air conditioner will help you maintain a comfortable working temperature in the garage year-round.

And if the weather is pleasant, bring in some fresh air by partially or fully opening the garage doors.

Stay safe

With the new normal, hand sanitization has become a part of everyday life. As part of your efforts to create a safe learning environment, you can set up a hand sanitizing station. This will be even more essential if you have a small group of kids attending classes in your garage.

In the garage featured in this blog post, a bottle of hand sanitizer and tissues are kept on a slatwall metal shelf that’s conveniently located right beside the home’s access door. A mini trash bin sits below it. A paper towel rack accessory could also be hung on the slatwall.

An optional cabinet sink that can be used as a handwashing station gives you an additional way to maintain safe health standards in the garage.

garage classroom hand sanitizing station

Hand sanitizer and tissues are conveniently located beside the garage’s access door into the house.

3 final ideas for a garage to classroom setup

We’ve covered a lot in showing you how to make a garage to classroom setup work effectively and here are three final ideas worth considering:

  1. Put down a colorful outdoor rug as a base for the desks and chairs that helps make your classroom area feel like a more defined space.
  2. Don’t underestimate the importance of good lighting for the learning space. Lots of natural light is great and high-quality overhead lighting will reduce eye strain.
  3. A garage classroom will require reliable online connectivity and in many cases is going to be completely dependent on the internet to function. There are numerous ways to boost your garage’s WiFi signal so that your tablets, laptops, and smart TV have a reliable online connection.

Talk to us about making your garage a learning space

If you’re considering your options for homeschooling your kids, we can turn any garage into a learning-friendly space without limiting its functionality.

Schedule a free design consultation with Garage Living.

We’ll work with you to design a garage to classroom setup that gives you the peace of mind that your kids are getting their education in a safe space right in your own home.

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