Creative Solutions to Four Unique Garage Storage Challenges

In my last post we addressed two storage challenges you might be might be facing in your garage. Storing oversized items like building materials, winter tires and canoes can be a real pain. This problem is compounded if you have lots of space that feels “unusable,” like tight, odd corners or wasted overhead space.

We discussed four ways to make use of “unusable” space in your garage: custom-built overhead platforms; custom-built or customizable cabinetry; custom-built slings; and other custom-built options. Now let’s explore how Nuvo Garage has used these creative solutions to combat storage issues.

Client Dilemma #1: Cluttered garage with wasted overhead space

retractable attic ladder garage mezzanineThe client’s garage had become a cluttered space where the family dumped anything that didn’t have a designated space or that they weren’t using. The garage had finished walls and a peaked ceiling, but not much else. The family needed room to park one car and all of their bicycles, tools and assorted sports equipment.

Garage Storage Solution: A snazzy second-floor mezzanine

To create the storage space that these clients required, we took advantage of the peaked ceiling by constructing an overhead rear wall mezzanine. We framed the mezzanine with a glass and aluminum railing for safety. A retractable ladder was installed to allow access to the mezzanine without sacrificing floor space. See the complete transformation here.

Client Dilemma #2: An outside-the-box storage solution that didn’t quite work

rear wall, overhead storage with glass safety railing 1024x768The clients had already purchased a car lift to be used as a “second story” of storage. While it did provide a bit more storage space, this option didn’t meet the clients’ needs. They needed a viable storage solution that would allow them to take advantage of the considerable ceiling height in their garage.

Garage Storage Solution: A second-story storage space accessible via car lift

We incorporated the car lift that the clients had already purchased into the design. Rather than using the car lift to store additional items, it serves as a lift to raise people and things from the ground floor to the second-story mezzanine. Two tables were built to create additional workspaces on the second-story mezzanine. The raised platform was framed with an elegant, tempered-glass railing. This was important to the clients because the raised platform can be seen through the garage door window.

Client Dilemma #3: Oversized items were taking the garage over

2 car garage oakville overhead storage platform slatwall organization system hooks camlock baskets tire storage racks afterThe clients were busy professionals with a young family and lots of oversized items to store. They required storage for two sets of winter tires, a Thule roof rack and leftover house siding in addition to the family’s bicycles and all of the other typical items one stores in a garage. The walls were bare, concrete block, so the family stored all of their items on the floor around the perimeter of the garage. This only permitted them to park one of their two vehicles inside the garage.

Garage Storage Solution: Rack ‘em up

First, we framed the concrete block walls and installed slatwall so that the family could neatly store bikes, balls, tools and more on hooks and shelves as well as wall-mounted baskets. We installed two racks on the wall, each with the capacity to hold a complete set of winter tires. A custom-built ceiling platform was installed to store the leftover siding safely overhead. Finally, a custom-built sling was created to keep the Thule roof rack stored overhead and out of the way. Yet, the sling also made lowering the rack onto the vehicle a breeze. See the full transformation here.

Client Dilemma #4: 1 Car garage needs to store 7 bikes and a BMW

after - garage wall storage - household supplies - 1 car garage - North TorontoThe client had never parked in his narrow, one-car garage. As an avid cyclist, he owned seven bicycles that had to be stored in the garage. Additionally, the family had garden tools and a variety of other items that required storage. When the client purchased a new BMW, he wanted to park it safely in the garage while also finding space for all of his other important items. The client also had a challenging item on his wish list for the garage: a workbench for bike maintenance and repair.

Garage Storage Solution: Custom shelving and a hideaway workbench

To achieve the client’s goals, we used nearly every square inch of available space in the garage. Custom shelving attached to the sidewalls creates a wealth of storage space for bike repair and gardening tools and accessories. Workbench for One Car GarageAdditional storage space for seldom-used items was created by installing custom-built overhead storage platforms. Though the garage was narrow, it was deep enough to accommodate the storage of five bikes hung vertically on the back wall and the storage of two others on a sidewall horizontally. See the remarkable transformation here.

Are oversized items or “unusable” spaces creating a storage challenge in your garage? Discover the amazing results you’ll get when we use creative solutions to transform your garage.

Four Ways to Make Use of “Unusable” Space in Your Garage

rear wall, overhead storage with glass safety railing 1024x768

Several items are commonly stored in garages: gardening tools, automotive supplies and winter weather accessories. Yet, the configuration of your garage, the space available therein and the items you store there are unique to your individual lifestyle. Let’s explore two common issues that frequently create a storage challenge in garages.

Storing Oversized Items in Your Garage

When clients are unable to park their cars inside the garage, it’s usually due to one of the following reasons:

  • Too many items stored in the garage;
  • Oversized items have taken over the garage;
  • Inefficient use of available space.

retractable attic ladder garage mezzanineIn this post, we’ll address the last two issues: storing oversized items and making efficient use of available space, since these two issues are frequently connected.

Is the storage of winter tires, kayaks, building materials or other bulky, oversized items preventing you from parking in your garage?

If so, you’re not alone. Whether you have a small, one-car garage or a large three-car one, your garage contains a finite amount of space. Yet, as the years go by, we continue to acquire what feels like an infinite amount of goods; most of which, ends up vying for space in the garage.

Periodically, it’s a good idea to assess what’s in your garage and eliminate unnecessary items. Purging your garage of unneeded items frees up valuable storage space. Still, the unusual size and bulky nature of items like canoes or leftover house siding make it difficult to store them in the garage without impeding the car’s entry.

What’s a frustrated homeowner to do?

Make Use of “Unusable” Space in Your Garage

rear wall, overhead storage with glass safety railing 1024x768Is your garage saddled with “unusable” spaces like high ceilings or oddly-shaped corners? Is your central vacuum sitting smack in the middle of a wall where you’d like to install a bank of cabinets? These types of situations create storage challenges that homeowners find extremely frustrating.

However, as a garage renovation specialist, I know that these challenges are easily overcome by applying creative storage solutions. Here are four possible creative solutions to storing your oversized items:

Custom-built overhead platforms – Looking for a solution to the dilemma of what to do with oversized items? Just look up. Many garages have open space overhead that seems “unusable.” However, a custom-built, overhead platform creates the perfect place to store items that aren’t frequently used. If the garage ceiling is high enough, a full mezzanine can be built across the back wall of the garage which allows for another level of storage and workspace.

hercke garage cabinets - wall storage systemsCustom-built or customizable cabinetry – Perhaps you’d like to install cabinets along the back wall of your garage, but a recessed or curved wall makes it difficult? Nuvo Garage has met this challenge by either custom-building cabinetry designed to fit that unique space or by installing cabinetry with customizable design options. A poorly located central vacuum can either be relocated or hidden inside of a cabinet. The final result is aesthetically-pleasing cabinets that have nice, clean lines, even when the walls behind them don’t.

Custom-built slings – Canoes and rooftop sports equipment carriers for your vehicle provide an additional challenge. overhead storage, kayak or canoe slingAn overhead platform would provide storage space. However, the item would be difficult to access. A better option is a custom-built, overhead storage sling. Sturdy chains are used to provide maximum holding power. In the case of a canoe sling, the chains are covered to protect the finish of the canoe as it is lowered or hoisted into place overhead.

Other custom-built options – In a small, tight garage it’s nearly impossible to add a traditional workbench. However, a custom-built workbench that is tucked in an otherwise unusable corner or that folds up against the wall when not in use fits perfectly in a limited space.

There are many creative storage solutions available. However, it can be difficult to visualize how those solutions might work in your space. In the next post, we’ll explore specific storage challenges and examine the creative solutions used to resolve them.

Want to see how Nuvo Garage can fix your garage storage dilemma? Request your consultation today.

Creative Solutions for Storing Sporting Goods in Your Garage

overhead storage, kayak or canoe sling

The change of season presents a challenge when it comes to garage storage. Last time we talked about creative solutions for bike storage. However, now that it’s officially summer, the bikes probably aren’t the only sports equipment taking over your garage.

Balls, bats, knee pads and helmets abound. Yet, you can never find the piece of equipment you need. The absence of designated storage space is usually the culprit.

Most homeowners want an organized garage with designated space for everything. However, in a typical garage consisting of three blank walls, it’s tough to accomplish. That’s where a garage renovation specialist can be invaluable.

A garage renovation specialist will help you determine your family’s storage needs now and in the future, based on your lifestyle. Your garage design pro can devise a plan that fits the way you live and then make those plans a reality.

Let’s explore storage options available for the sports equipment you use throughout the year.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

sports equipment storage slatwall camlock hooks baskets mesh netting bins shelves balls skates rollerblades skateboards golf clubs camping gearEvery sport has a variety of required accessories. Some are small, making them easier to store. Unfortunately, it also makes them easier to lose. Ever spent an afternoon hunting down a pair of shin guards or someone’s “lucky” ball? Have you ever purchased a second (or third) pair of baseball gloves because the first pair went missing? It’s a common occurrence. Yet, there’s a better way.

Nuvo Garage uses a professional-grade garage wall organization system to maximize storage space. Strong, durable, grooved slatwall panels are the basis for the wall organization system. Since this grade of slatwall is waterproof as well as mold and mildew-resistant, it’s tough enough to weather Canada’s four seasons. Slatwall panels are installed on the existing wall. They can even be installed over a concrete or brick surface. Camlock hooks, wire baskets, specialty racks and shelving in a variety of sizes can be inserted into the grooves. This makes the system highly configurable.

A basket can be installed on a back wall for storing balls and other items. Since the slatwall accessories are easily interchangeable, you can dedicate a basket to a single sport and/or individual. For instance, the baseball basket takes the primary position during baseball season. In winter, shift this basket to a more obscure location and put the ski accessory basket front and center.

Skateboards, Scooters, Skis and More…Oh my!

sports equipment storage slatwall camlock hooks baskets mesh netting bins surf boards skateboards rollerblades helmetWhat about storage options for items too big to fit neatly in wire baskets? Skateboards, scooters, baseball bats, lacrosse sticks, rollerblades and other sports equipment cause a tripping hazard when strewn carelessly in the garage. These items also need designated storage space.

The flexibility and configurability of slatwall makes storing these items simple. Skateboards can be suspended from their wheels flat against the wall or hung horizontally. Scooters, hung by their handlebars, can lay flat against the wall. sports-equipment-storage-slatwall-camlock-hooks-water-skis-snowboards-snowshoes-1024x768Baseball bats, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, rollerblades and anything with a hole or a straight edge can easily hang from lockable Camlock hooks secured to the slatwall. Specialized accessories make it easy to hang snowboards and other items.

Golf equipment can be secured against slatwall, too. Camlock lockable hooks are sturdy enough to support heavy golf bags and other sports equipment. Not keen on the idea of your beloved golf clubs and bag being suspended from a hook? Consider adding a lockable golf cabinet where your golf equipment and shoes can be securely stored.

Large Item Storage That Won’t Rock the Boat

overhead-storage-kayak-canoe-sling-1024x768Large sporting goods like kayaks, paddle boards and roof racks designed for carrying bike and ski equipment require lots of real estate in your garage. Their size, coupled with their limited, seasonal use make them excellent candidates for overhead storage.

High garage ceilings have lots of wasted space which can easily be converted to make room for storing kayaks, canoes, roof racks and paddle boards. Your garage designer can build a sturdy sling for these specialized items which will allow you to raise and lower them whenever needed.

Overhead storage is ideal during the winter months when kayaks and canoes aren’t in use. However, during the summer season, when these items see frequent use, kayaks and canoes can be secured to slatwall using specialty hooks and accessories.

A garage wall storage system that uses slatwall as its base is highly versatile and can be configured to accommodate your active lifestyle during any season of the year.

The space in your garage is limited. Still, the storage capacity of any garage can be increased with an organizational plan that’s designed to fit your family’s unique needs. Nuvo Garage sells a professional-grade slatwall organization system for do-it-yourselfers who prefer to tackle their own installation. However, we specialize in full-service garage transformations.

Tired of sifting through a jumble of sports equipment in your garage? Contact a garage renovation specialist to discover creative ways to store your sports equipment.

Reclaim Your Garage with Creative Bike Storage Solutions

sports equipment storage slatwall camlock hooks baskets mesh netting bins shelves balls skates rollerblades skateboards golf clubs camping gear

Summer hasn’t officially begun and already you find yourself climbing over bicycles to get into the house. Worse, perhaps you’ve run over a bicycle left in the driveway.

It’s difficult to find room in the typical garage for everything your family needs to store. No wonder homeowners often surrender the garage to their kids’ bikes during the summer months. However, surrender isn’t the only option. An organized garage that can accommodate your active family and your vehicles is possible.

The storage capacity of any garage can be increased. However, your family’s lifestyle dictates your storage needs. So the first step to finding the right bike storage solution for you is to assess your family’s overall needs.

Determining Your Family’s Needs

In addition to parking your vehicles and safely storing the family’s bikes, you might also require space for tools and gardening utensils. Perhaps you’d like a workbench or space to store the kayak you’ve always wanted. Your garage renovation plan should accommodate all of these factors. If that seems overwhelming, consider hiring a garage renovation specialist to devise and execute your plan.

Once you’ve got the complete plan in mind, it’s time to choose a bike storage option that works for your family’s lifestyle. Let’s review three possible storage solutions to see which one will work best for you.

schoolyard-style-floor-standing-4-bike-rack-1024x768Schoolyard Style Bike Rack

Remember riding your bike to school and locking it to the bike rack? A similar style of bike rack can be used in your garage. The traditional (or schoolyard-style) bike rack is easy for kids to use. They simply roll the front wheel into the rack and engage the kickstand.

However, the traditional rack has a large footprint, requiring lots of valuable floor space. A schoolyard-style bike rack requires enough space to accommodate the rack and the bikes that will be stored there. This style of bike rack works well, if you have a deep garage with sufficient space along the back wall. schoolyard-style-floor-standing-bike-rack-1024x768Another option is to park one vehicle outside and utilize that space for the bike rack during the bike riding season.

As garage renovation specialists, our goal is to help you store all of your bikes and vehicles inside of the garage. However, over the summer, some clients choose to park one vehicle outside in order to make bicycles easily accessible to small children. During the winter months, the bikes are stored along the wall or overhead so that the vehicle can return to its space inside the garage.

Horizontal Bike Storage

A second option is to hang the bicycles flat against the wall. horizontal-bike-storage-on-slatwall-camlock-hooks-102x768This requires the installation of strong, durable slatwall panels which come in a variety of attractive colours. When paired with compatible Camlock hooks, shelves, baskets or racks, slatwall creates a completely customizable organizational system.

Bike racks can be inserted into the slatwall to hold each bicycle. The bike must be lifted onto the rack. Therefore, the height and physical ability of each rider determine the height at which the slatwall and racks are installed.

Since the bikes hang flat against the wall, horizontal storage is ideal for sidewalls. Another option, which also relies on slatwall panels, is hanging bikes vertically.

Vertical Bike Storage

slatwall camlock hook rear wall vertical bike rack storageAs with horizontal wall storage, storing a bike on the wall vertically requires lifting the bike. However, since vertical wall storage requires that the front tire be hung on a hook, lifting the bicycle this way is physically challenging.

Vertical bike storage can be quite attractive. However, because of the strength required, it isn’t recommended for anyone with weaker upper body strength, including young children. Some families use vertical bike storage to store bikes during the winter months while using a traditional, schoolyard-style rack for the summer months.

When storing bikes on the wall vertically, the full height of the bike extends from the wall. Therefore, vertical bike storage is usually only recommended for back walls. If installed on a side wall, the extension of the bikes might impede vehicles from entering the garage.

Overhead Bike Storage

overhead-motorized-pulley-5--bike-rack-storage-system-lowered-1024x768Look up for the third option. The area overhead in a garage is often wasted space, but it has lots of potential. However, since it isn’t easily accessed, overhead space is typically reserved for storing items not frequently used.

Sounds great for storing bikes during the winter months, but is it feasible for the months when your bikes are in constant use? Absolutely! Bike pulley systems enable bikes to be stored overhead and easily accessed. Motorized pulley systems can store up to five bikes. Many feature one-touch control, so anyone can operate them.

overhead-motorized-pulley-5--bike-rack-storage-system-1024x768Overhead bike storage is an excellent use of wasted overhead space. However, in order to install the five-bike overhead pulley system, the ceiling height must accommodate the height of the bicycles plus allow for 60-inches of clearance. Since this type of overhead pulley system requires a high ceiling, it isn’t right for every garage.

An alternate option for overhead storage is the two-bike pulley system which stores the bikes overhead flat against the ceiling. Therefore, it doesn’t require as much clearance space.2-bike-ceiling-mounted-motorized-pulley-storage-system-768x1024

Which bike storage solution is right for you? A garage renovation specialist will help you choose a creative bike storage solution that fits your space and unique lifestyle.

However, bikes aren’t the only sports equipment stored in the garage. Next time we’ll discuss creative solutions for organizing the other sporting goods stored in your garage.

 

Five Ways to Maximize Garage Storage

1.5 car garage, etobicoke - overhead platform storage, garage cabinets, slatwall organization system, camlock camlok hooks, polyaspartic floor, cement block coating - before

There are a few basic steps that will help you create a neat, organized garage. Last time we discussed the first step, creating related zones in your garage. We discovered why it makes sense to create separate zones for auto accessories, household supplies, garden tools, garbage and recycling bins, tools and workstations and sporting equipment. Now let’s discuss how to keep the items in each zone neat and organized by using a variety of tools and accessories designed just for this purpose.

Slatwall – The Key to Getting Everything Off of Your Garage Floor

1_5-car-garage-etobicoke-overhead-platform-storage-garage-cabinets-slatwall-organization-system-camlock-camlok-hooks-polyaspartic-floor-cement-block-coating-afterMaybe you’ve never heard of slatwall, but you’ve probably seen it in your local retail store. It wasn’t the item being sold. However, it was likely used as the base for the baskets and hooks that held merchandise. Slatwall (also called slotwall and slat board) isn’t limited to use by retailers anymore. It is frequently used in garages as a hanging system that enables homeowners to get everything off of the garage floor.

Slatwall comes in panels which are installed on the walls of the garage. The grooves in the slatwall hold hooks, baskets and other organizational products and give the homeowner the freedom to easily move these items as needed.

Your local big-box store might sell a basic slatwall system. However, slatwall sold there is typically composed of MDF. It doesn’t have the durability and weight-bearing capacity of sturdier, PVC-based slatwall available to professional garage renovation specialists and other contractors.

Getting professional-grade slatwall installed provides the base for organization in each zone of your garage.

Baskets and Hooks

Once professional-grade slatwall panels are installed on your garage walls, corresponding baskets and hooks can be inserted into the grooves. These baskets and hooks will provide wall storage for everything ranging from garden tools and sports equipment to snow shovels and bicycles.

Just think of all of the possibilities!

Rather than the garage being a dumping ground for everyone’s in-line skates or softball equipment, each item can be hung neatly in its designated spot. You won’t spend half an hour searching for your snow brush when the first snow of winter hits unexpectedly. Instead, you can walk right over to the automotive zone in your garage and take the snow brush of its hook.

Best of all, since the hooks and baskets can be easily moved, you can adjust the configuration to better accommodate the items you’re storing at various times of the year.

Shelving

Slatwall can also accommodate shelving. Like the corresponding baskets and hooks, the shelving used with slatwall can also be relocated at any time. This provides endless possibilities for storage on your garage walls.

Shelving can be particularly useful when it comes to storing window washing fluid, automotive fluids, household chemicals or flower pots. Create shelves high on the wall to store items that should be kept out of the reach of pets and children. Create low shelves for items that should be easily accessible to children.

Overhead Storage Solutions

One area frequently overlooked for garage storage is the space overhead. However, with a bit of imagination and essential expertise, the overhead space in your garage can safely store household items that aren’t frequently accessed, like seasonal tires, holiday decorations or roof racks used for carrying luggage or sporting equipment. Bicycles, kayaks, leftover wood or siding and other large, bulky items can also be stored overhead with the right custom solutions.

Overhead storage solutions can be tricky to handle on your own. A variety of factors must be considered: height, clearance and weight-bearing capacity, to name a few. If you aren’t completely confident about designing and installing heavy overhead storage solutions, contract a professional garage renovation specialist to handle a job of this magnitude instead.

Custom-built Storage Solutions

You can purchase any number of pre-built storage cabinets, workbenches and overhead shelves for your garage at your local big-box store. However, you’re limited to the sizes and configurations that they have available. If you have unique challenges in your garage, like curved walls or odd spaces, you might find it difficult to incorporate pre-made storage cabinets into your space. However, a garage renovation specialist can assess your space and custom-build cabinetry and workbenches to perfectly fit your lifestyle as well as the unique spaces of your garage.

An organized, functional garage is only a few steps away. Start by creating related storage zones. Then, give everything a specified place within its zone. And finally, be sure to return items to their designated spaces after each use.

Want the gorgeous garage, but don’t quite have the time to make it happen? Contact a professional garage renovation specialist to explore the possibilities.

Organize Your Garage with Dedicated Zones

2 car garage oakville overhead storage platform slatwall organization system hooks camlock baskets tire storage racks 190x143 after

2 car garage oakville overhead storage platform slatwall organization system hooks camlock baskets tire storage racks afterThis time of year our garages can easily descend into a den of chaos. The kids are digging out the bikes and rollerblades. You’re sifting through sleds, snow shovels and Christmas decorations in search of your garden tools. Meanwhile, one (or both) of your vehicles is stuck outside because there’s never enough room to squeeze it inside the garage.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Creating some level of organization in your garage doesn’t need to be a complicated or costly affair. Optimize the space in your garage by creating related storage zones. Why are dedicated zones essential to a well-organized garage? Let’s reconsider the scenario above.

If your winter tools and sports equipment, holiday decorations and garden tools are all stored in the same area, it makes life difficult, especially when the seasons change. You’ll have to search through the winter items in order to reach the garden tools which are now in the back. This type of system breeds chaos and makes us less inclined to do the yard work.

Now, close your eyes and envision your garage as a well-organized space with separate zones for related items. The effect is similar to what you experience when you go to a hardware store. The shovels and winterization items are in one section. The garden hose and tools are in a separate location. You can easily find either type of item with minimal fuss or confusion. With that in mind, let’s apply that same system to your garage.

Like that hardware store, there are a few basic zones into which the items in a garage can typically be categorized. Let’s examine each zone and what items would best fit there.

Automotive Accessories

Create a small section to store items used to maintain your vehicles. In this zone, organize items like car wax, motor oil, windshield wiper fluid, a bucket and chamois cloths for cleaning the car. Group tools used during winter months, like snow brushes. If you keep an additional set of tires in the garage for the winter weather, these might require a separate tire storage solution.

Household Supplies

Perhaps you keep items like household cleaners and paint thinner (but not paint!) in your garage. First, be sure to safely store household chemicals in your garage. Create a dedicated zone for these items. Use a cabinet or shelf that will keep these items out of the reach of your children and pets.

Garden Tools & Supplies

Homeowners often hire a company to maintain their yard and keep it looking beautiful. Others find great pleasure in maintaining their own yards. Planting flowers and shrubbery requires lots of hard work (and tools). The last thing you want to do before a long day of work in the yard is to spend an hour raking through your garage to find your garden tools.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Instead, create a zone in your garage dedicated to storing your yard essentials: hoes, shovels, trowels, fertilizer, garden gloves, flower pots, potting soil and other yard accessories. Then you’ll be able to put your time and effort into making your yard gorgeous, rather than searching for your gardening tools.

Recycling & Garbage Cans

Garbage cans and recycling bins are frequently stored in the garage. It might be necessary to keep these items in your garage. However, if not stored properly, waste bins are open invitations to vermin. They can also detract from the aesthetics of your garage and cause unpleasant odors.

Keep recycling and garbage cans together in a single zone. Store waste in cans with lids that fit tightly. This discourages smells from escaping and pests and vermin from entering the waste cans.

Tools & Workbenches

The garage is often home to a workbench and a variety of tools. Perhaps you’ve always wanted a workstation in your garage, but don’t believe you have the room for it. Even smaller garages can accommodate a custom-built workbench or workstation. Keeping tools organized is made simple with the right toolbox, pegboard or more sophisticated storage solutions. However, recycled items are also useful. For instance, an old muffin tin makes a good place to store nails, bolts and screws. You’ll be helping the environment and organizing your garage.

Sports Equipment

Most garages are brimming with sports equipment: bikes, skis, kayaks, rollerblades and balls. If you have school-aged children, you know how quickly these items accumulate and overtake the space that was once reserved for your car. When spring comes everyone starts digging out their sports equipment. Any semblance of organization you once had descends into chaos.

That’s why sports equipment requires its own separate zone in the garage. Use hooks, baskets or other organizational tools (which we’ll discuss more next time) to organize sports equipment.

Bicycles are large and bulky, usually requiring a separate storage solution. There are a variety of solutions for bike storage ranging from a traditional school yard-style bike rack to sophisticated overhead pulley systems.

It’s clear why separate zones in your garage make life easier. Now that we’ve reviewed each zone, you might be wondering how to keep the items in each section neatly organized. In the next post we’ll discuss all of the neat solutions that will keep each section of your garage looking its very best.

Do you want an organized garage, but just don’t have the time to do the work yourself? Consider hiring a garage renovation expert to organize your garage.

Seven Ways to Make Your Garage More Green

home electric car charging station garage

Today, the world is celebrating Earth Day, a day for renewed appreciation of the earth and the environment. It’s also an excellent time to examine ways that we can live a more earth-friendly lifestyle. We often consider how to make our homes greener. Yet, an important part of our homes is often overlooked: the garage. However, there are several ways, big and small, that we can incorporate our garages in the plan to make our homes more eco-friendly.

Get Green Garage Doors

If you have an attached garage, a significant amount of heating and cooling energy escapes your home through the garage. A lack of insulation in the garage door, coupled with its frequent opening and closing, can make your garage extremely cold in the winter and uncomfortably warm in the summer. Any room sharing a wall with your garage will experience energy loss. However, an insulated, energy-efficient garage door can mitigate the temperature difference, reducing energy loss by more than seventy percent. This results in considerable savings on your energy bill.

home electric car charging station garageEnergy-efficient garage doors are more expensive. So do your research and check the R-value of any door you’re considering. This number represents the door’s ability to resist heat flow (in or out). The higher the R-value is, the stronger the door’s insulation properties. In addition to being energy-efficient, many green garage doors are made of recycled material.

Use Solar Power to Light Your Garage

Looking for a way to reduce your energy bill while also keeping your home safe? Install solar-powered floodlights and/or lanterns on the garage exterior. Install solar-powered spotlights along your driveway. These energy-saving lights are reasonably-priced at a local big box store and can be installed fairly easily. Solar-powered lights will make your home safer and more beautiful. The energy savings you’ll enjoy can quickly recoup the cost of the lighting.

Make the Switch from Incandescent Bulbs

You might not be prepared to invest in solar-powered indoor lighting. Yet, there’s another way to go green with your indoor lighting. Make the switch from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs. CFL or LED bulbs will cost a bit more than incandescent light bulbs. However, an incandescent bulb lasts for about a year while a CFL bulb can last up to ten years and an LED bulb can last up to twenty-five years. CFL and LED lights are also more efficient in their energy use, unlike incandescent bulbs which waste up to 90% of their energy consumption on heat, rather than light.   

Use Lighting with Motion Detectors

Take the energy-efficiency of your outdoor and indoor lighting one step further by incorporating motion detectors. Exterior lighting with motion sensors provides an additional layer of security to your home. Inside the garage, lights with motion sensors will automatically shut off when there is no movement in the garage. This eliminates the energy waste experienced when someone inadvertently leaves the lights on inside the garage.

Mind the Gaps

Another place where energy is lost in your home is through the gaps between the walls and floor of your garage. Over time the garage settles and the spaces between the floor and the walls widen. Heating and cooling is lost through these gaps as air escapes into the garage. This can be resolved with a relatively simple and inexpensive fix. Get some caulk and a caulk gun and fill in the spaces. Talk to the clerk at your local hardware store to ensure that you purchase the appropriate caulk for the job.

Put your hand near the perimeter of the door between the house and the garage. Do you feel a draft? If so, cold air is seeping into the house through the gap around your door. Close this conduit for drafty air with inexpensive weather stripping. It’s an incredibly simple job that you can do in less than an hour with a few simple tools. Weather stripping will make your home warmer and more comfortable, plus you’ll see a reduction in your energy bills.

There’s one more gap that needs minding. Since there isn’t a visible gap around your electrical outlets and lighting fixtures, you might not realize that air can also seep through the spaces around them. Additionally, carbon monoxide fumes can escape from your garage into your home through those fixtures. To remedy the situation, simply buy an inexpensive package of fire-resistant foam seals made for this purpose. Remove the faceplate. Place the seal. Replace the faceplate. Voila! You’re done. After you’ve sealed all of the faceplates between the house and garage, put seals on all outlets and light switches on exterior walls inside your home for maximum benefit.

Capture and Reuse Rainwater

Take your commitment to going green up a notch by capturing and reusing rain water for jobs that don’t require potable water. For instance, recycled rainwater can be used to water the lawn, wash the car or bathe the dog. Purchase a rain barrel and then install it in three easy steps. Measure the height of the barrel. Cut the downspout. Then install the elbow that will divert rainwater into your barrel. The next time it rains you’ll be collecting fresh water. The best part? You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with a reduced water bill.

Install a Car Charging Station in Your Garage

What better way is there to make your garage greener than to switch to an eco-friendly vehicle, like a hybrid or all-electric car? If you’re considering making the switch, there’s one more eco-friendly element you’ll need to add to your garage. You’ll need to install Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE), or what is often called a car “charging” station. This allows for convenient, overnight charging of your vehicle.

Doing our part to help the environment may feel overwhelming, at times. However, a greener lifestyle doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposal. Every little bit helps. Start by incorporating one or two green initiatives into your daily lifestyle. Do the options discussed here seem like more than you’re ready to take on alone? If you want to make your garage greener, but you aren’t sure how request a garage renovation consultation. Alternately, you can start smaller. Check our most recent post for seven easy ways to go green this spring.

Five Ways to Go Green This Spring

rechargeable battery powered lawnmower

Spring has finally arrived ushering in warmer weather and a desire for fresh new beginnings. You’ve probably already begun spring cleaning in your home, but what can you do to give your garage a fresh, new feel, too? Let’s look at five simple ways you can be more mindful of the environment as you prepare for spring.

Increase the Fuel Efficiency of Your Vehicle

Just like your home, your car needs a little attention after a long, hard winter. Keep your car tuned up and use the grade of oil recommended by the manufacturer to improve gas mileage. Another, simple way to increase gas mileage is by keeping tires inflated to the optimal pressure. Check the inside of your driver’s side door jamb to see the tire pressure recommended by the manufacturer.

Create a Recycling Station

Recycling prevents reusable resources from ending up in overflowing landfills. It also saves energy and reduces the consumption of raw materials in manufacturing. The convenient Blue Box recycling program in most communities makes it easy for everyone to contribute to cleaning up the environment. Make recycling even easier by creating a recycling station in your home or garage. Ensure that everyone in your home understands the importance of recycling, what items should be placed in the Blue Box and how to prep items before discarding them.

Repurpose Items or Donate Items

As you go through your home and garage during spring cleaning, you’ll probably discover items that you no longer use. Some of those items can be repurposed. For instance, an old, unused kitchen table might make a good craft or workshop table. Old muffin tins in the kitchen could make a great place to store nuts and bolts in the garage.

Other items have lost their usefulness in your home, but would be welcomed in someone else’s. Consider donating items that are in good condition, but just don’t fit your family’s needs anymore.

Reduce Water Usage

Conservation is critical to the environment. One of our most important assets is potable water. Review your family’s water usage and look for ways to cut back. For instance, can you reduce the frequency with which you wash the car? If you wash the car at home, don’t use the hose while washing your car. Instead, use a bucket of soapy water. This switch alone can save hundreds of litres of water each wash.

Water your lawn early or late in the day, rather than when the sun is highest, to avoid water waste through evaporation. Also avoid watering the lawn on a windy day. Deep water your lawn. This helps to establish a deeper root system and will allow moisture to reach the roots, where it’s most needed. Water your lawn only when it is needed. Skip watering on weeks when there is a good, hard rain. Another option is to install a rain barrel and reuse rainwater to water your lawn and wash your car.

rechargeable battery powered lawnmowerEco-friendly Lawn Care

A discussion about environmentally-conscious lawn care wouldn’t be complete without examining your lawn mower. Gas and electric lawn mowers require energy consumption. Your lawn, and the environment, can benefit from less frequent mowing. So only mow the grass when necessary.  When you do cut your lawn, don’t cut it too low. A height of six to eight centimeters will help retain water and establish a deeper root system.

If you’re in the market for a new lawn mower, electric lawn mowers are more environmentally-friendly than their gas-powered counterparts. Electric lawn mowers are cleaner and quieter. They are less polluting to the environment and don’t reek of gasoline. Neither do they require the maintenance necessary with a gas-powered mower. If the thought of navigating with an unwieldy cord in tow makes you hesitant to switch to an electric mower, opt for a battery-powered electric mower instead.

Properly Store & Dispose of Chemicals

In a recent post, we discussed how to properly store chemicals in your garage. Keep chemicals out of the reach of children and small animals. Store them in their proper containers. Make sure all chemicals are properly labeled. When disposing of chemicals, check the label first. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the proper way to dispose of the chemical. Pouring toxic chemicals down the drain is harmful to the environment and can be corrosive to plumbing. Instead, make use of household hazardous waste drop-off depots in your area.

Use No or Low-VOC Products

Whenever possible, choose no or low-VOC (volatile organic compound) products to get household jobs done. Many manufacturers offer lines of zero and low-VOC interior and exterior paints, primers, stains, coatings and sealants. These products are often low or non-toxic, making them safer for the environment and for your family.

Being mindful of the environment as you prepare for spring and summer is a great start to living greener. However, with Earth Day coming on April 22nd, we wanted to examine ways to make your garage greener, too. Check back later this month for seven ways to make your garage greener.

What to Look for in a Professional Garage Designer

what to look for in a professional garage designer

You’ve decided that you’re finally ready to renovate your garage and you don’t want to do it yourself. How do you know which professional garage designer is right for you? Of course, you want to know that the person’s business is licensed and insured. However, there are several other factors that will help you decide whether a garage design professional will meet your needs. Here are a few to consider.

Experience

One of the advantages of hiring a professional garage designer, rather than trying to tackle the project yourself, is the knowledge, wisdom and experience that he or she will bring to the project. Every project is different. However, the more renovation projects the person has under his belt, the more scenarios he has encountered. This adds to the person’s overall knowledgebase, which is invaluable on a design project. Ask your potential designer how many projects he has designed. If he has a strong body of work, he should have a substantial portfolio that he is willing to share. Otherwise, your project could end up being where the designer cuts his teeth. Good for him; potentially disastrous for you.

what to look for in a professional garage designer

Testimonials and References

If the designer has a large body of work, then he should also have several happy customers who have given him glowing testimonials. Look for testimonials on the designer’s website. If there are several, that’s a good start. However, how do you know that all of that glowing praise is from legitimate customers? Ask the design pro for references from past clients who are willing to spend a few minutes talking to you. A good designer with a solid body of work, and lots of happy clients, will likely have several.

Work Style and Reliability

When talking to references, don’t just ask about the design itself. Find out what it was like to work with this designer.

  • Was he prompt?
  • Did he deliver on his promises?
  • Was the owner/manager on site?
  • Was the project on time? On budget?
  • Did he clearly communicate about any problems or issues that arose?
  • Was he respectful of their property and that of their neighbors?
  • Did he follow-up promptly with any requests?
  • Have there been any issues since the completion of the project?
  • Would they hire the designer again in the future?

Detailed Proposal

Within a few days of meeting with you and seeing your space, your potential garage design professional should come up with a proposal. If you’ve wanted to renovate your garage for a long time, the moment you get that proposal can be truly exciting. You begin envisioning your new space. Take a hard look, though, at the proposal itself. Is it a simple sketch with few details? Did the person jot down a few ideas on the back of a napkin? A competent garage design professional will provide you with a detailed proposal that clearly defines the scope, timeline and estimated cost of the project.

Customized Solutions

Look closer at the proposal. Does it reflect that the designer took the time to get to understand your lifestyle and what’s most important to you in your garage renovation? Does the proposal make the most of your unique space? Is the designer simply planning to install “out-of-the-box” cabinets and shelves, or are you getting a space designed to fit your specific needs? An experienced design professional will maximize your space by building custom storage solutions that take advantage of overhead space and other areas of the space you probably hadn’t considered. A good design pro will ensure that the renovated space fits your lifestyle and specialized storage needs. For instance, if your family is active and has bicycles, kayaks and other sporting goods, the space will be specifically designed to house those goods.

Service Follow-up Spelled Out in Contract     

You expect, of course, that everything will turn out well on a project. However, it is important to address what happens when things don’t go exactly as planned. What kind of follow-up does the garage design professional offer? Is a warranty offered on the materials that will be used in the renovation, like slatwall, shelving, cabinetry and flooring treatments? Does he guarantee his work? If so, for how long? While such scenarios aren’t pleasant to consider, the possibility of paying for an expensive renovation and being left with shoddy work or materials, and no recourse, is far worse.

Planning a garage renovation is exciting. A well-designed garage can organize your life and beautify your home. However, it is well worth it to do your homework when it comes to choosing the garage design professional that will transform your space.

Would you like to see what an experienced garage design professional can do for your space? Request a consultation today.

Should I Hire a Professional Garage Designer or Do It Myself?

standard 2 car garage blueprint - Nuvo Garage

Home and garage renovation projects can be fun. For anyone inclined to try his or her hand at it, there’s no shortage of DIY books and television shows to help. Completing a renovation project yourself can offer a potential savings. However, it doesn’t always work out that way.

The Hidden Costs of Doing It Yourself

One of the primary reasons we tend to take on a renovation project ourselves is to save the cost of labor, which can be considerable. We hope to trade a few weekends and a little elbow grease for a renovated space at a fraction of the cost. However, when unexpected issues arise the DIY cost advantage can quickly disappear. Here are four factors we often fail to consider when doing a renovation project:

  • The value of expertise and experience. We can learn a lot from a half-hour television show or a how-to book. However, neither is a substitute for an experienced professional on-site.
  • The project always takes longer than expected. Ever planned a quick weekend project that ended up taking a month of weekends to complete? Time is your most valuable asset; the only one which can never be replaced. Make sure the trade-off is worthwhile.
  • The cost of specialized tools. Many garage renovation projects, like applying polyaspartic flooring, require expensive, specialized tools. Purchasing such an item can wipe out the savings you hoped to achieve while leaving you with a tool you won’t likely use again.
  • The cost of fixing mistakes. Remember those episodes of The Cosby Show where Cliff would try to fix something and inevitably make it worse? He’d eventually have to call a plumber in to fix it. In the end, it cost more than if he’d let the plumber do it in the first place. When flooring, cabinetry and other garage projects go wrong, it can be quite costly.

Renovating the garage yourself seems simple enough, but doing it wrong can cost a lot more time and money than you ever imagined. An experienced, professional garage designer will get the project done right, in less time, and offer exciting new possibilities.

The Professional Garage Designer Advantage

Creating a customized garage design that fits your space and meets your unique needs can be challenging. Here are a few of the advantages of working with a professional garage designer:

standard 2 car garage blueprint - Nuvo GarageKnowledge and Experience

Garage renovations pose unique challenges. While every garage is different, the extensive knowledge and experience that a professional designer brings to the project provides a distinct advantage. A pro designer is current on construction codes, understands how garages are constructed and is familiar with the latest garage storage and décor products and materials. Additionally, the experience of working on a variety of garage design projects gives a pro designer an extensive knowledge base from which to draw when planning and completing your renovation project.   

Innovative Space-saving Solutions

Garages offer limited floor space. Then there are odd spaces that homeowners never quite know how to use. With a growing number of possessions and limited space in which to store them, it can be difficult to envision how to get all of your things in your garage along with your vehicles. However, a professional garage designer can see the potential in your space and offer innovative solutions like slatwall, movable shelving and overhead storage to maximize available space.  

Design and Engineering Skills

Garage design professionals know how to use available space efficiently while also following fundamental design and engineering principles. Therefore, the proposed renovation will fit your lifestyle while resolving perplexing design issues, like what to do with an odd corner space. Custom-designed overhead shelving and other storage structures will be well-made and safely installed. The selection of colours and finishes will truly enhance the space.

Turning a chaotic garage into an organized space that houses your car and all of your belongings can be a challenge. Doing it yourself might seem like the cheapest solution, but DIY garage reno projects can quickly go awry. A knowledgeable, experienced professional garage designer can maximize your space so that it’s organized, functional and safe for many years to come. Interested in what a professional garage designer can do for your space? Request a consultation.

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