A garage remodel can be a big undertaking, especially if you’re doing a top-to-bottom makeover.
Remodeling a garage isn’t exactly a casual home improvement project for the weekend carpenter, however.
There’s some serious expertise required in order to have your finished garage function safely and efficiently, while also providing an upgrade to its looks.
Don’t make these 11 garage remodel mistakes
Renovating a garage involves many important decisions and actions in order to attain the most successful and satisfying outcome possible.
When it’s time to start your garage remodel, don’t make these 11 common mistakes.
1. Doing a garage remodel yourself
Many homeowners will tackle a garage remodel themselves for any number of reasons, including:
- budget limitations
- the challenge of completing the project
- confidence they have the skills for the job
- the satisfaction of doing your own renovation
Working with a limited garage remodel budget is a common issue for many homeowners. Unless you really know your way around a toolbox, however, it’s best to wait until you can afford for the project to be done properly by a professional.
Zillow, a U.S. real estate and rental marketplace website, conducted a survey that found nearly 40% of homeowners who had done a DIY project regretted taking it on.
Overestimating your skill level with a DIY garage remodel could result in a botched project. By the time you add up the initial cost of the project and what it costs for a professional to fix any mistakes, it might just cost more than if you’d hired a pro in the first place.
2. Failing to have a strategic garage remodel plan
Starting a garage makeover without having a solid, strategic plan can lead to all sorts of headaches. It’s imperative to have a clear, achievable design plan in place, the know-how to execute the plan, and the resources and tools to get the job done properly.
For a home improvement novice, facing obstacles they hadn’t expected to encounter are a given. One also needs to consider the amount of time a complete garage remodel will require.
As with any DIY reno, you can count on the project taking more time (and probably money) than you anticipated. That’s worth considering when it comes to a makeover involving the garage.
Where do you store the garage’s contents while the renovation is being done? Are you willing to put up with the inconvenience of not having use of your garage for a couple of weeks or more?
The pitfalls of taking on such a major home improvement project yourself only highlights the wisdom in hiring a pro for your garage remodel.
A professional garage makeover company like Garage Living has lots of experience when it comes to the complications and logistics involved with any garage remodel. Trusting a pro with your project will be worth the investment.
3. Choosing an inferior garage floor coating
A damaged, drab garage floor has a serious negative impact on a garage’s interior appearance.
When it comes to options for repairing and restoring garage floors, a lot of homeowners opt for a cheap fix like garage floor paint.
While it’s inexpensive and easy to apply yourself, floor paint doesn’t look very good, provides virtually no floor protection, and won’t last long. You can count on the paint chipping and flaking off much sooner than you’d like.
DIY epoxy garage flooring kits cost a little more and might seem like a practical option, but not necessarily. Store-bought epoxy garage floor coatings offer a limited amount of floor protection and don’t always leave you with a perfectly smooth and even floor surface when applied yourself.
Neither of these two garage flooring options remotely compares to what you get with a professionally applied polyaspartic floor coating like Floortex™. It’s superior in every way when it comes to durability, looks, color choices, and protection for your garage floor.
Garage Living knows that successful garage transformations start from the ground up. That’s why we’ve invested in state-of-the-art equipment for our flooring applications and only use Floortex™ – the best garage floor coatings on the market.
4. Using a garage remodel to create extra living space
It might seem like a good idea to use a garage remodel to create extra living space in your home. After all, it’s cheaper than building an addition onto your house.
But check any survey listing the features that homebuyers look for most and “garage parking space” is sure to be included in the top 10.
Using your garage for its intended purpose – parking vehicles – has all sorts of benefits. And let’s not overlook the importance of the garage as one of your home’s most valuable storage spaces.
Sacrificing these two critical functions of your garage (or cutting back on your space for these uses) to add an extra room can have long-term consequences. For many homebuyers who want a garage to park their vehicles in, it will be an automatic dealbreaker.
Garages that are converted into living spaces can also be challenging to keep efficiently heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. So think twice before trading in that garage parking space for an extra bedroom or man cave.
5. Buying cheap garage cabinets
Just as with your garage floor coating, you get what you pay for.
Cutting corners with the quality of your garage storage cabinets just to save a few bucks will inevitably catch up to you. Cheap cabinetry will start showing its deficiencies quickly. Functional issues like drawers and doors not closing smoothly and properly will crop up. Doors and cabinetry enclosures will begin to sag and lose their proper form.
Then there’s the rusting problem, of course. Cheaper cabinet systems are commonly constructed from steel and aluminum manufactured overseas that’s inferior to North American-manufactured metals.
Cheap metal will rust a lot faster, which is obviously a major concern with cabinets that are located in an environment like the garage that gets its fair share of moisture.
Unless you’re willing to replace your flimsy and inexpensive cabinets in just a few years, opt for a higher quality garage storage cabinet system.
You’ll find that higher quality cabinets look and function better, give you the ability to customize, and last a lot longer.
6. Not using a reputable garage remodel company
So you’ve decided that a garage remodel is just a little too much to handle yourself and that this is a job best left to an expert.
A reference or glowing review from a family member, neighbor, friend, or co-worker can be invaluable when it comes to finding a reliable contractor.
If that’s not available, researching garage makeover companies online will likely be your primary method of determining who to choose for the job.
Take your time and do plenty of research in order to make the best choice. Check a contractor’s references, Better Business Bureau rating, and crowd-sourced review sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook.
Visit the showrooms of prospective companies to get a sense of their products and quality of service. Naturally, you’ll want to view the portfolios of a garage makeover professional’s past work and be suitably impressed.
Get several bids and don’t be swayed by the lowest bid unless you’re confident that company will actually do the best work.
Choosing a company with an established history and reliable track record is also advisable.
7. Failing to effectively utilize garage storage space
A poorly planned garage remodel can result in all of your storage systems being installed, but not leave you with a comfortable amount of room to function within the space.
Make the most of your garage’s two most underutilized areas (its walls and overhead space) to minimize this risk.
There’s an ample amount of storage space in these two areas just waiting to be effectively used. Slatwall panels and specialty storage racks such as overhead storage racks will work best.
If you take advantage of your garage’s wall and overhead space, you’ll find floor clutter is less of an issue (or a non-issue). You’ll also have a lot more freedom to add other garage upgrades, such as a car lift, cabinets, or a garage workshop.
8. Ignoring the importance of a solid warranty
Among the many reasons you’ll want to trust your garage remodel to a company that’s well-established is they’ll be more likely to stand behind their work with a solid warranty.
You’d hate to have a problem with one aspect of your garage makeover a few months or a year after it’s been completed and not have the company that did it be able to fix the issue without it costing you any more money.
That’s the peace of mind that a reliable warranty provides and it should be a key factor in your decision when searching for a contractor.
Garage Living proudly stands behind every service we offer and every product we install with written warranties for our clients. Our longevity and size (which is growing every year with new franchises) guarantees that we’ll be around years from now.
9. Not choosing flexible storage systems
One mistake that’s all-too-common with a garage makeover is failing to adequately accommodate for your future storage needs.
Anticipating what you’ll need to store in the garage five years from now can be a tricky thing to gauge. That’s why it’s smart to choose garage storage systems that provide you with some flexibility.
A slatwall storage system, for example, conveniently provides plenty of versatility for storing items on your garage wall. Rearranging items hung on the panels is easy, with an endless number of storage configurations possible. A wide range of hanging accessories also means you’ll be able to find the right accessories for your needs.
Overhead storage racks used in your garage remodel should also give you some storage flexibility. Try to get storage racks that are adjustable. It’s also a good idea to create more storage space than you require right now. Chances are, you’ll need it eventually.
10. Creating safety risks in the garage
Some aspects of a garage remodel can lead to safety risks that a home improvement novice may be oblivious to.
Electrical work will likely be required and perhaps even some plumbing work. Storage systems hung from the ceiling and walls need to be properly anchored when installed.
Installing new garage doors safely requires expertise, not least of which is because they’re the single largest moving object in your home.
Garage doors also open and close about 3-5 times per day, so they need to be correctly installed so they’re up to the task of handling heavy, everyday use.
The garage door’s springs will need to be adjusted in order to allow them to open and close properly, which can be dangerous work.
Buying the right garage door opener and knowing how to install it in the proper location also requires a little know-how. You’ll need to:
- get a model that’s suited to the weight and size of your doors
- make adjustments to the opener’s adjustment screws
- install the safety sensors in the right place
11. Not paying enough attention to garage aesthetics
As mentioned, some homeowners make the mistake of converting the garage into a living space. But if your garage remodel is done right, it can be turned into a beautiful room in your home that becomes a proper extension of your living space.
Having a garage that’s highly functional should go hand in hand with a garage that also looks nice. In addition to the aesthetic upgrade higher quality products provide, choosing the right colors for your remodel’s cabinets, flooring, and slatwall can tranform any garage into a dynamic home showpiece.
Your garage lighting matters, too. You’d be amazed at what a difference it makes to a garage’s atmosphere and appearance simply by replacing that outdated incandescent bulb fixture with one or more new LED light fixtures.
With so many homeowners nowadays using the garage as the main entryway to their house, the garage access door has essentially become the new front door. It stands to reason, then, that this busy space should have as much attention and care paid to its appearance as the rest of your home.
Trust an expert with your garage remodel
Avoid making these common garage remodel mistakes. Let Garage Living worry about the logistics and requirements to get your garage functioning and looking better than you ever imagined.
Put your upcoming remodel in the hands of the trusted garage professionals by setting your makeover process in motion with a free in-home design consultation.