Baseboards in the Garage, Did You Know?

1 car garage, markham - hercke upper wall cabinets, punched aluminum wainscoting baseboard

You may not have considered the baseboards inside your garage. Yet, as you will soon see, these baseboards serve very important functions as well as providing an aesthetic touch.

2 car garage, stouffville, pvc garage floor tiles, punched aluminum baseboardFirst, let’s begin with a working definition of baseboards so everyone is on the same page here.  The baseboard is, in its most general sense, the covering over the lowest part of an interior wall.  You may encounter different terms for this wall covering; everything from skirting board, floor molding, or even a mopboard.  In most cases the baseboard is constructed of wood, no matter which name is used. In your garage, you will find the baseboard (if there is one installed) at the bottom end of the walls at the floor level. Typically, the baseboard is from 4” to 6” in height.

The baseboard in your garage serves a couple of functions.  Perhaps the most important function is that of protection. If your baseboard is installed properly, it protects the interior of your garage from foreign invasion.  To understand why this is important, consider how your garage is built.  You have a vertical wall sitting on top of a concrete floor.  The joint (seam) between the wall and the floor is typically 1/16” to 1/8”. 

1 car garage, markham - hercke upper wall cabinets, punched aluminum wainscoting baseboardIf left unsealed, this joint can become a liability.  For example, no matter how small, insects will consider an unsealed floor joint to be an open invitation to come on in.  Also, depending on the exterior structure of your home, an unsealed floor joint could become a source of water getting inside (water intrusion). The answer of course is to make sure this joint is properly sealed.  During a garage flooring makeover, our professional installation team carefully applies a caulking compound to this joint before any baseboard is installed.

Another function of your garage baseboard is aesthetics.  In other words, with a garage flooring makeover, many homeowners choose to finish the floors with a baseboard trim.

Since the typical garage for a new home does not have baseboards installed, a garage renovation project is the perfect time to look at how baseboards will enhance your garage.  When considering new baseboards in your garage there are a few options you will want to keep in mind.  You will notice that your floor has a slight slope.  This slope is required by the building codes used when your home is built.  This slope angles outwards, towards the exterior of your garage for proper drainage. However, a sloping floor means we need to consider the floor slope when applying a new baseboard. 

There are a few options to think about when you plan for your new baseboard.  Not surprisingly, the first choice you have is material.  Do you want to install a wooden baseboard or are you interested in a different material?  For example, some enthusiasts will install punched aluminum (often referred to as diamond plate).  Others choose to install a wooden baseboard, but they request a specific paint color or finish. 

One option you definitely want to keep in mind is continuing the floor covering all the way up the baseboard.  The polyaspartic coating we use here at Nuvo Garage can be applied directly to your new baseboard.  With this option, you are left with a seamless finish from your garage floor all the way up to the top of the baseboard.

One more choice you have with your new baseboard is how you want the baseboard to look along the floor.  In other words, do you want the baseboard to follow the slope of the floor exactly?  Or, would you prefer it to keep it square and level so that your eye doesn’t notice the natural slope of a garage floor?  Also, as hinted at above, there is always the choice for custom baseboard heights.  Some people choose to have their baseboard extended further up the interior wall to meet the slatwall.  Or, some people choose to install punched aluminum wainscoting which reaches waist height.  The advantage of a custom height, especially with the choice of diamond plate is that your interior walls are much better protected from interior damage from errant tools or toys.  If you enjoy washing your vehicles inside the garage, a punched aluminum wainscoting will protect drywall from getting wet.

As you can see, baseboards serve very useful functions in your garage.  Accordingly, if you are looking to makeover your garage, remember to consider your baseboards.

Finishing Touches for Your Garage Project, Part 1

2 car garage willowdale showcase - 4 post hydraulic car lift, garage cabinets, polyaspartic garage flooring, overhead platform storage, tire storage, satinless steel work station, flatscreen tv fixture

2 car garage willowdale showcase - 4 post hydraulic car lift, garage cabinets, polyaspartic garage flooring, overhead platform storage, tire storage, satinless steel work station, flatscreen tv fixture

Previous articles have addressed the refinishing of your garage floor.  We covered everything from the fundamental steps required for proper floor preparation to the application of your new floor covering. Next, you will want to consider what is commonly referred to as the finishing touches. In this case, finishing touches can be separated into three key areas: drywall, painting and lighting. 

Drywall is an established garage wall covering material found on both existing and newly constructed homes.  Unfortunately, in many cases the drywall installation is only about fifty percent finished.  That is, when the home builder was done with the garage, he may have left the drywall both unsanded and unpainted.  Now understand this is a common practice and totally above board.  The builder is simply following the building code and completing what he needs to do to complete the job. 

Yet unfinished drywall is not just found in newer homes.  Actually, there are quite a few existing homes out there where the garage hasn’t actually been touched since the builder left.  That’s quite common, and now that you have decided to move forward and upgrade your garage you can be sure it’s done right, the way you want. 

You see, the time you have set aside to refinish your garage floor gives you the perfect opportunity to take care of that drywall.  Here are a couple of options for you to consider.  First, imagine the scenario where the drywall is already installed and thoroughly covering your garage walls.  With this scenario, the existing drywall might only need to be sanded and painted.  Also, there may be a few areas where the existing drywall needs to be patched or repaired and then re-mudded. “Remudding” is just contractor speak for applying new joint compound to the seams between the drywall sections.  Remember, the point of the “mudding” process is to make the joints invisible so that your wall looks smooth and uniform.  Of course, at this point you will want to choose a paint color complimentary to your home exterior and garage floor covering. 

1.5 car garage, etobicoke - slatwall, overhead platforms, polyaspartic floor coating, shelves bike racks - before

Another scenario is when the drywall installation doesn’t cover as many walls as you want or is damaged in one or more areas.  When this is the situation, you can choose to install drywall over any other areas you want as well as replacing or patching any damaged drywall.  One thing to keep in mind with new drywall installation is that the building code requires newly installed drywall to be at least 5/8 inch think and fire retardant.  After the correct drywall is installed, the same “mudding” process, sanding and painting procedures needs to be completed.

Once you have addressed the drywall in your garage, now you will want to consider painting.  Of course, if your garage walls are drywall, they will have been painted as explained above.  But what about exposed concrete or exposed brick walls?  You will be pleased to learn that both of these garage wall surfaces are prime candidates for a new coat of paint.  There are combination paints that serve as both a sealant and paint. We’re experts at making your garage interior match your home’s exterior as well as garage flooring, so whether you already have garage flooring or coloured cabinets, we can recommend colours which will make your garage match the rest of your home when the door is open and being enjoyed by your entire family during the warmer months. 

T8 LED tube light

Lighting is the third area I’d like to discuss when considering finishing touches for your garage. The typical garage lighting is modest at best.  Often times, there are either one or two incandescent fixtures with a single bulb.  While that may be all right for the builder, it may not look so good once you refinish your garage. In fact, most people who choose to transform their garage use this opportunity to upgrade their garage lighting. 

There are two popular options available to you when you decide to upgrade your garage lighting. Your first option and the most popular choice is replacing the incandescent fixtures with fluorescent lighting fixtures.  One precaution to be aware of is to make sure your fixture includes T8 rated bulbs.  The ‘T8’ rating indicates those bulbs are designed to work in colder temperatures.  Fluorescent lighting is the fast and economical upgrade recommendation to your existing garage lighting.

On the other hand, the alternate lighting option is to install recessed lighting or what the home builders refer to as “pot lighting”.  Recessed lighting or pot lights need an opening or recess to accommodate the new fixtures and is most commonly found in garages with finished ceilings or often, under our custom overhead storage platforms where we again have the space to recess the pot lights and run the electrical wiring.

Next month, we’ll review additional finishing options such as baseboards, casings and doors.  

Garage Flooring, The Rest of the Story

after - 2 car garage flooring, oakville

2 car garage, north york - garage flooring, recycle bins, workbench

With our most recent post, the crucial steps to properly preparing the floor for the application of a new finish was thoroughly discussed. Now that the existing garage floor has been properly prepared, the actual finishing process can begin.  At this point, it is time to get into high gear and ensure best practices are followed to install the best floor finish possible.

Before we begin, here is a quick note about your choices of materials and why professional garage designers Nuvo Garage recommends using polyaspartic coatings.  As you probably know, there are two other popularly recommended materials for garage floors: paints and epoxy based coatings.  The challenge with both of these choices is twofold.  For one thing, both paint and epoxy only coat the top most layer of your concrete.  Whether you open the pores or not, paints and epoxy based materials essentially sit on the top of your floor. Alternatively, water soluble materials such as polyaspartic coatings actually penetrate deep down into the concrete pores.  Of course, now you can see yet another reason that opening the pores in the preparation phase is such a crucial step.

A second issue with paints or epoxy materials is that they are not so forgiving when your concrete floor moves.  You see, whether its apparent or not, your garage floor is subject to thermal expansion and contraction. The term thermal expansion and contraction means how your concrete actually swells up and expands in the heat.  In cool weather, the opposite effect occurs; your concrete floor actually shrinks or contracts.  Oftentimes, it is these expansion and contraction cycles that tend to lead to cracking and peeling from painted or epoxy coated floors.  Alternatively, polyaspartic coatings are significantly more forgiving. Polyaspartic coatings tend to move with your floor instead of breaking apart. 

Now it’s time to get back to work. At this point, the professional installation team applies the first application of your new polyaspartic coating.  One thing to note here is that polyaspartic coatings actually dry extremely fast.  Don’t be surprised if you see the installation teams pick up the pace a bit to complete the next steps before the drying process completes.  They know they have to be deliberate and focused as they work to apply the first coating.  Once this first coat is applied, the installation team brings out the color flakes you have chosen.  Remember, you have an incredible array of colors to choose from, we’ll help you with a choice that matches your garage and home exterior.  Just make sure you’ll be happy with your choice for a while.  You will see the installation team applying the color flakes as the base coat is curing. Applying the color flakes at this stage allows the flakes to become firmly and permanently embedded.  At first, it will look like your floor is covered with these color flakes.  That’s okay, though, it’s all part of a professional installation.

Next up, the floor needs to be cleaned up. You will see the installation team fetching their brooms and scrapers. Once the polyaspartic coating with the color flakes has dried, the team works to clean up any loose flakes.  First, you see the team take a broom to sweep up any excess.  Next the team carefully goes over your floor to scrape off any rough edges going both ways, that is up and own.   Now, your floor is vacuumed to remove any remaining flakes or other debris on the floor so that your floor is ready for the remaining steps in this process.

Now you are in the home stretch, where a specialized sealant is applied as the last stage in your floor refinishing project.  This sealant is carefully and methodically rolled onto all sections of your garage floor.  You will be pleased to learn this sealant serves as a final lockdown for your new floor finish. Think of it as a protective shield. At this point in your floor refinishing project, a specialized sealant is applied as a top coating.  This sealant is “rolled” on to your floor and serves as a final lockdown for your new floor finish.  It serves as a protective shield.   The sealant includes an Ultraviolet (UV) ray inhibitor which protects the floor from fading in the bright summer sun.  This sealant is allowed to thoroughly dry.   You will see the installation team conduct a final walk through to make sure the new floor finish is complete and ready for your enjoyment.

 Now that the project is complete here is a little bit more about your new floor finish.  The polyaspartic floor is good for the lifetime of your garage floor.  Unlike some of the other garage floor refinish options that must be redone every 3 to 5 years, you can count on your new polyaspartic floor finish for the lifetime of your garage floor.

Garage Flooring, The Untold Story

2 car garage willowdale showcase - painted garage floor, cement block floor

2 car garage willowdale showcase - painted garage floor, cement block floor

Nowadays many homeowners who want to refinish their garage floors start with online searches or queries with the neighborhood big-box store.  Oftentimes, these inspired homeowners walk out with a do-it-yourself recipe that is sadly lacking a few key ingredients.  Much like leaving out a key ingredient such as yeast when you want to bake a loaf of bread, it’s the missing ingredients that can make or break the success of your garage floor refinishing project.

 The Facts about Proper Garage Floor Refinishing

You have undoubtedly heard the wisdom from the old days about how it’s all about the preparation. That is especially true with your garage floor.  The initial preparation steps are essential to properly finishing your garage floor.

First of all, before any real action starts, the garage floor must be tested for moisture content.  Some of those D-I-Y recipes often fail to mention how important is to determine how much water there is in your concrete floor.  The professional installation team here at Nuvo Garage begins each and every floor refinishing project by conducting a moisture test at various sample points around your floor.  You see, without the appropriate strategies to prevent water seeping up into your new floor finish, any existing moisture may well propagate through the concrete and lead to pop ups, peeling or even cracking.  Knowing how much moisture is already there tells the installation team how best to proceed when your new floor coating is applied.

Now that the moisture content has been checked and recorded, the real preparation work begins.  This phase of the project is referred to by the professionals as “opening up the pores”. For now, here’s what you need to know about this process.  You might have seen or heard some recommendations to use muriatic acid to clean or open up the pores in your concrete floor.  This is a lousy idea for a couple of reasons.  As you know, muriatic acid is a hazard.  You do not want to be using this chemical in an enclosed space, or certainly, not without the proper breathing attire, hand and eye protection, that sort of thing.  But more importantly, muriatic acid does not actually perform well on older concrete to clean or open up the pores.  Muriatic acid reacts with existing organics in or on your floor to bind them or lock them into the cement.  Organics are substances such as oils, greases, plant matterand so on. When organic compounds are bound in place, instead of being chemically removed, it does not allow concrete pores from being opened up for a long lasting floor application.

concrete floor preparation grinderProfessional garage floor preparation is best accomplished by an abrasive grinding process which removes the top 1/16 of an inch from the top of your floor.  Understand this grinding process is not even possible without the proper equipment.  The commercial grinder used by professionals is equipped with a large circular carbide blade which removes the uppermost layer of the existing floor.  Additionally, these industrial grinders are equipped with a continuously running vacuum which captures any resulting concrete dust.  You will see the installation team wheel this monster tool into your garage and then carefully grind the entire floor.

The newly exposed concrete is now ready for the next phase of the project.  At this point, the installation team does an exceedingly careful inspection of your garage floor.  They look for and carefully identify and mark any cracks, voids, pitting, etc.  These areas are then carefully repaired one by one with hydraulic cement, a common concrete material found at the big box stores.  This patching material is a fast-curing concrete repair material.  This repair material is allowed to dry, which takes less than an hour.

At this point, your preparation steps are just about complete. The installation team carefully sweeps up any loose material, smoothes out any rough repair material and ensures the entire surface is ready for the next step.  After removing all the loose material, the team  works on the  moisture barrier.  In this case, the moisture barrier is a solution that is carefully and methodically applied to the entire surface of your floor.  This highly specialized sealant material penetrates through the freshly opened pores of the concrete to bind the sealant and create that essential water barrier that prevents floor coatings from lifting.  Once it is dry, this sealant protects your floor and your new floor covering from moisture intrusion.

Does all of the above sound like a lot?  Well, for a homeowner or a weekend D-I-Y ‘er, it might be, but for the professional installation team here at Nuvo Garage, it’s all in a day’s work.

Next: Once the floor is prepared, how is the new floor coating applied? 

Garage Flooring – Prepare & Protect

concrete floor preparation grinder

concrete floor preparation grinderSpring has arrived and we’re looking at everything in a new light.  That includes the garage. Time to pull out the broom and give the floor a much-needed sweep to rid it of the debris collected over the winter. But does that sweep reveal issues that cannot simply be removed with a broom?  Bare concrete floors are prone to cracking over time as well as pitting from the effects of our Canadian climate.  Cement is a natural dust generator.  As often as you sweep, the dust will just keep returning with a vengeance.  Maybe it’s time to look at options for garage flooring?

The big box stores carry various floor coatings and some of my clients have been tempted to go with an inexpensive, do-it-yourself option.  While many of these coatings are fine, the downfall is the concrete floor must be properly prepared in order for the product to adhere well and last.  And unless you have access to a professional floor grinder to smooth out the concrete, you will never achieve a satisfying result.  Coatings applied to floors that are not properly prepared are likely to flake and peel.

Moisture is also an issue. If the moisture in your concrete floor exceeds 70%, any floor coating will be prone to peeling.  And if you choose a rolled rubber or vinyl flooring, you’re creating an environment under the flooring that traps the moisture and it will be constantly dirty and smelly.  The advantage of having a professionally finished garage floor is it is a one-time investment that will last indefinitely.

 

How to choose flooring that’s right for you

1 car garage, toronto - garage flooringFirst, take a look at the state of your cement floor.  If there is excessive cracking and pitting, the holes will have to be filled before a coating can be applied.  In this situation I recommend a pvc tile that will protect the floor while hiding those imperfections.

If you’ve got some minor cracking (most cement floors do), you can choose to go with a coating.  My coating of choice is polyaspartic.  It’s a little more expensive than epoxy but its more durable and far more versatile.  If you’d like one of the baseboard or wainscoting effects we talked about in last month’s blog, polyaspartic is the only way to go.

 

How we make your garage floor beautiful with polyaspartic coating

polyaspartic flooring over stairsFirst we’ll test the moisture level and, if the moisture level is more than 70 per cent, you will need a water barrier.  Then we repair any cracks and grind the floor down to get rid or minor imperfections and open the pores in the cement for proper penetration of the coating.  We’ll also apply a moisture seal if necessary to prevent water from coming through the surface of the floor.  You can then choose from myriad colour choices to complement the rest of the garage. We can even custom mix colours to match other design features.  A base coat is applied and a combination of colour flakes are sprinkled on and left to cure.  We then remove the excess flakes, chip off sharp edges, vacuum and apply a top sealer.  The whole process can be completed in less than a day.  Then all you need to do to maintain it is to clean it with soap and water or hose it down with a power washer a couple of times a year.

If you choose to do just one thing in your garage this season, think about flooring.  It’s an easy fix that makes a big impact.

Protection where Garage Walls meet Garage Floors

treating cement block garage walls & cement garage floors - before

 

Achieving a really finished look that makes the garage an extension of the rest of your home means thinking about the interior design just as you would any other room. Instead of thinking about the wall, floor or organization as their own projects, think of the wall treatment as part of a whole design especially where the wall meets the floor.

Polyaspartic Coated Wall Base & Floor
treating cement block garage walls & cement garage floors - before BEFORE – right garage wall

polyaspartic coating garage walls, wall base & cement garage floors - afterAFTER – left garage wall

You can design the space simply by finishing the floors, adding some slatwall, baskets, racks, and hooks. Or you can transform your garage into a room that your family will enjoy using by designing a stunning space with cabinets, a workbench, or even a second level. Whichever route you choose, an important consideration will be where your floor meets the wall. You wouldn’t think of laying carpet or hardwood in your house and not finishing it with a baseboard. The same is true for the garage. And depending on the type of flooring and walls you have, baseboards provide protection from dust, dirt and water seeping behind the drywall or slatwall.

When you’re choosing a baseboard, look first to what is on the walls and the floors. Wall protection is essential in garages where the drywall goes right down to the floor. Water can seep into the drywall at the bottom of the wall and cause crumbling over time. 

If your garage floor is PVC tiling, you can use 6-inch vinyl baseboards. The baseboard is glued to the wall and will protect against any water that may seep into the drywall, or under the tiles and create mildew. 

Polyaspartic flooring is always a great choice for any garage, but especially those with drywall that extends down to the floor. You can go with the standard 6-inch vinyl baseboard, or we can create a baseboard from 3/4″ plywood and then apply the polyaspartic flooring and continue it up over the wood to create a neat and unified baseboard. 

Drywall higher up can also be damaged from, spray from hoses, moisture from damp weather, or water dripping from skis, toboggans and tools. A wainscoting treatment protects against this and looks great too. 

Punched Aluminum Wainscoting
Where Garage Wall meets Garage Floor
punched aluminum wainscotting - wall covering meets polyaspartic coated floor

Punched aluminum wainscoting provides a modern industrial look that also provides great protection for the drywall. It can be used with any type of flooring. The walls are protected and the wall/floor joint is caulked to prevent any water seepage. Car enthusiasts love it because they can wash the car or spray down the aluminum and floors after using the garage as a workshop without fear of water damage to the garage or home. It also protects walls from damage when the car doors swing open inside the garage. 

Now, most garage floors are not level but sloped to allow water run off in the correct direction. Another advantage of using a wainscoting is the top can be leveled to the eye rather than follow the slope of the floor. 

When using an epoxy flooring, it’s best to install a simple vinyl baseboard. The product is  too thin and will run if you try and apply it to a baseboard or a wall. It’s another reason why we recommend using polyaspartic flooring. For the small cost premium, it gives you so many advantages. 

The big decisions are important when designing your garage, but it’s the small details, such as baseboards and wainscoting, that really complete the look. 

Keep your garage smelling clean

garage smell clean air fresh

garage smell clean air freshDoes your garage smell like a garage?  Summertime is the ideal opportunity to clear the air and start fresh.

As I’ve mentioned before, if you have a slatwall system and polyaspartic flooring, cleaning the garage is a breeze. But regardless of what kinds of walls or flooring you have, there are a few things you need to do to minimize dirt and odours:

Keep rodents away:

  • Seal up any spaces where animals can enter.  Have a good look at the walls and the ceiling.  Mice can get in through the tiniest holes.
  • If you must keep garbage in your garage, make sure the bins are well sealed and you wash the containers regularly to get rid of any “come to dinner” smells.

Eliminate mould:

  • Look for white spots on the walls, which indicate dampness. Mildew and mould can form and cause odours and health problems.
  • Check the roof on a garage that is separate from the house. Mould can also form from water coming in through the shingles

Prevent chemicals odours

  • Sort through any hazardous products in the garage and dispose of anything you don’t need.
  • Make sure lids are secure on gas containers or smelly solvents.  It’s best to keep this sort of thing behind doors in a cabinet.

Another important thing to note is if you have a room above your garage, make sure your garage is properly drywalled and sealed.  Dangerous (and odourless) carbon monoxide gas can escape into your room.

Need help?  Give us a call.

 

 

Easy Spring Cleaning in your Organized Garage

polyaspartic flooring system

polyaspartic flooring system

At this time of year, many of us think about giving our homes a spring clean but what about the garage?

For months, you’ve been driving salt and slush into this outdoor space, so the floor is the first thing to tackle in the garage.

Dirt stuck in cracks in the garage floor will never come out, that’s why it’s important to have a quality floor coating. In a previous post we talked about choosing flooring options. Nuvo Garage uses a polyaspartic flooring system that will resist cracks and abrasions for years to come and is 4x more durable than epoxy flooring.  And, this flooring is easy to maintain too.

Here’s how to maintain your polyaspartic flooring system:

  • Use a strong bristle broom to sweep away all loose debris and dust
  • Fill a bucket with hot water and add a few drops of dishwashing detergent, preferably one that contains a de-greaser, such as Palmolive
  • Pour the solution on to the garage floor and scrub with your broom. For more aggressive spots such as oil, use a little Varsol and scrub thoughly.
  • Rinse the floor thoroughly with clean water and remove excess water with a sponge-head mop or shop vac.

With a little TLC, a floor from Nuvo Garage will look like new each spring.

If you need more help getting your garage ready for spring and summer, give us a call.

 

The key to better looking garage floors

polyaspartic flooring system

Garage Flooring - stylish, easy to clean and installThe appearance of winter’s snow, slush and salt make unsightly garage floors a whole lot harder to ignore. Unfortunately, you can’t do much about the elements, but you can certainly improve the look of your garage floor with the right garage flooring solution.

The Polyguard Polyaspartic One Day Flooring System comes in a range of colours so you get to choose just how camouflaged winter’s debris becomes! You’ll be glad to know that this system also protects concrete floors from corrosive elements including the season’s biggest culprit – salt.

Modular Interlocking Floor Tiles are another great option that allow you to maintain a clean garage floor year-round without too much labour. Made from rugged and resilient PVC, this system is great for hiding existing unsightly stains and minor cracks in your concrete floor. When the tiles start to look a little grubby, simply hose off or power wash. You’ll have them squeaky clean in no time.

Both of these flooring options involve a pretty quick installation process that can be carried out any time of year. If you need a hand deciding which garage flooring solution is right for you, give us a call. We carry them both, and we’d be glad to answer any questions.

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