Determine Your Storage Needs and Style

As homeowners, we often give little thought to garage décor. After all, outfitting a garage to store our cast offs and rarely used “stuff” isn’t nearly as exciting as picking granite countertops and hardwood floors out for the kitchen.

Still, just as we have a preferred style inside our homes, we tend to have a preferred style when it comes to the aesthetics of garage storage. To determine your storage style, let’s first consider three important questions.

How would you like to use your garage?

1 car garage parks bmw plus 7 high end bicycles, portable workshop and all toolsStart by assessing your garage in its current state. Is it neat and organized or is it a hodgepodge of items not easily found? Now consider how you would like to use your garage. Most homeowners want to achieve one of the following three goals:

  • Park the vehicles inside and still have room for storage.
  • Create a dedicated workspace for gardening or other tasks.
  • Make the garage an extension of their home.

Which goal aligns with your needs? Once you are clear on the primary ways in which you’ll use your garage, you are ready to address the next big question.

Who will use the garage?

bike storage solutions - bicycle wall rack storageAccessibility is a key consideration when it comes to garage storage. After all, it doesn’t help to have a well-organized garage if you can’t reach anything when you need it. A variety of factors should be taken into consideration when designing garage storage space. Height, age and upper body strength are a few of the factors that should be taken into consideration when determining item placement.

For instance, storing bicycles vertically is aesthetically pleasing. This storage option works well for riding enthusiasts who are in excellent physical shape and own several bikes. However, if you have small children, the upper body strength required makes it difficult, if not impossible, for them to store their own bicycles this way. Vertical bicycle storage can also be prohibitive to older riders or anyone who has limited upper body strength.

Safely storing chemicals where they cannot be easily accessed by pets or small children is another matter to consider. Households with pets or small children will want to invest in a lockable storage cabinet or store potentially dangerous household chemicals well out of reach.

Once you’ve addresses issues regarding the functionality of the space, it’s time to consider how you want the space to look.

Easily accessible or out-of-sight and out-of-mind?

sports equipment storage slatwall camlock hooks baskets mesh netting bins surf boards skateboards rollerblades helmetClose your eyes and visualize your ideal garage interior. For some, their ideal vision includes every item neatly displayed in its designated space using open shelving, hooks and baskets. Everything would be easy to find and easy to access. Others, however, prefer to see the space lined with cabinets which would house all items behind closed doors.

Which option is more appealing to you?

Likely, you have a strong inclination toward either closed or open storage. Or perhaps you’d prefer a blend of the two. For instance, you might prefer open storage for sports equipment and gardening tools while everything else is tucked away behind cabinet doors.

Now you know how you want to use your garage, who needs access to items stored there and which storing option is most appealing to you. However, there are a few other factors that could have a bearing on your final decision of whether to go with open or closed storage in your garage.

Weighing the pros and cons of open and closed storage

1_5-car-garage-etobicoke-overhead-platform-storage-garage-cabinets-slatwall-organization-system-camlock-camlok-hooks-polyaspartic-floor-cement-block-coating-afterOpen storage makes retrieving items quick and easy. Your family can see exactly what is stored there and access it. Open storage typically incorporates shelving, hooks and baskets as part of a garage wall organization system. Many homeowners like the punch of color and visual interest created by items neatly arranged in open storage. Lastly, open storage is a budget-friendly option whether you decide to hire a garage renovation specialist or try to tackle the project on your own.

Closed storage requires cabinetry. This is preferable to homeowners who don’t like seeing all of the items stored in their garage. There are a variety of cabinetry choices:

  • High-quality laminate cabinets (similar to those found in most kitchens)
  • Modular steel cabinets
  • Custom aluminum cabinets

contur-cabinets-red-doorsEach style provides homeowners with a different pricing option. Still, installing cabinets will certainly cost more than installing shelving. However, if you prefer a clean, neat, closed-door look, storage cabinets will give you the polished look you desire.

Garages come in a variety of sizes and configurations. Modular or custom cabinetry can be configured to take advantage of the storage potential in odd-sized nooks and corners. While custom cabinetry can be pricey, the results are stunning.

Understanding your unique needs and preferred storage style will help you get the most out of your garage, whether you decide to organize it yourself, or hire a garage renovation specialist to do so. Need help discovering your storage needs and style? Request your no-obligation consultation today.

 

 

Create a Gardening or Craft Station in Your Garage

Workbench for One Car Garage

During summer the typical garage is a hub of activity. In addition to being the primary storage space for most outdoor sporting equipment, your garage also houses gardening tools and supplies.

Many homeowners look forward to working in the yard. After all, gardening can be relaxing and enjoyable. However, hunting through a disorganized garage for gardening supplies is exasperating. Doing so leaves one exhausted before the real work has begun.

Has this ever happened to you?

garage cabinets - rolling workbench, chopping block workstation, slatwall wall organizers, garage windowIf so, you know how frustrating it can be. Locating essential tools and supplies is just the first step. Finding a suitable workspace is quite another. Gardening, bike repair, crafts and hobbies all require a flat work surface. Yet, few garages have dedicated workspace for gardening or other tasks.

Such tasks are handled easily and efficiently in a designated workspace. A reserved workspace also eliminates the need to attempt messy gardening jobs, like planting seeds or re-potting plants, indoors.

A dedicated workspace for gardening and other hobbies can be created in your garage, even when space is at a premium. Like landscaping, it’s a project that homeowners can tackle themselves or hire a professional to handle. A garden workspace can be achieved relatively inexpensively by re-purposing old furniture, cabinetry or reclaimed wood. However, if you require a more comprehensive solution, a garage renovation specialist can help you achieve your vision.

Planning Your Gardening Workspace

after - left corner - workbench, workstation, slatwall organizers, shelving, hooksAs with any project, it’s imperative to have a concrete plan before work begins. Start by assessing your specific needs for a gardening or craft workspace. Ask yourself:

  • What tasks will be performed in the workspace?
  • How much flat surface area is required?
  • What tools and supplies are needed? Where and how will they be stored?
  • How much wall space is necessary to house workspace and supplies?
  • Is the current garage lighting adequate? Is special task lighting required?

If this level of planning is more work than you’re willing to take on, consider hiring a professional to create the space for you. A few of the workspaces Nuvo Garage has created for our clients are pictured. However, if you’re thrilled by the idea of creating your own garage workspace, let’s look at some inexpensive options for doing just that.

Create a Gardening Center in Your Garage

Ultimate Garage Workbench - butcher block top, cabinets & drawersWith your plan in hand, you’ll have an idea of how much wall space is required to create your gardening workspace. Reclaiming this space should be part of an overall garage organization strategy which relies on zones for the storage of related items.

To create a workstation for gardening, or your hobby of choice, you’ll need a flat work surface. Here are a few options for creating one:

  • Get a no-cost work surface by reclaiming an old desk or dining room table taking up space in your attic or garage.
  • Acquire a used table or desk from a garage sale or resale shop.
  • Purchase two relatively inexpensive base cabinets (with doors or drawers for storage). Space them apart. Then lay a flat piece of wood, an old door or a purchased countertop across them to create a flat work surface.
  • Buy a modular or pre-made workbench with space for storage underneath.

Your flat work surface will be the foundation of the space. Next, consult your plan to see what additional storage is necessary.

Workbench for One Car GarageThere are a variety of creative ways to address storage needs. Shelves, baskets and hooks can hold everything from flowerpots and gloves to assorted gardening implements. When coupled with a professional garage wall organization system, shelves, baskets and hooks can be easily moved or adjusted to accommodate any season or craft.

Need to store small items that are easily misplaced? Clear plastic boxes or reclaimed jars provide storage that is easily accessible while keeping contents clean and dry.

All you need is a small space, a well-thought out plan and a few pieces of equipment and accessories to create an organized and highly-functional gardening center in your garage. Creating your own gardening workspace in your garage can be a fun, do-it-yourself weekend project. However, such a space can be part of a larger garage organization and renovation project.

Not quite sure how to make heads or tails of the collection of belongings in your garage? Contact your neighborhood garage renovation specialist for a no-cost, no-obligation estimate.

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.

Garage Renovation Obstacles

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

With any garage renovation project it is fairly common to encounter situations that require a bit of creativity in order to set up the best storage solutions.  These situations can be broadly classified into two main categories: those that involve movable objects or materials and those situations when it becomes necessary to work around appliances or other fixtures that are for the most part not readily movable.  As you might expect, situations involving movable storage obstacles are fairly straightforward to address.  On the other hand, storage obstacles arising from immovable storage solution obstacles need a bit more creativity and planning.  However, as you will soon see there are options available for both.

There are a few optimized storage obstacles that show up with any garage renovation project.  Each of these must be handled with proper planning and foresight to achieve the optimized storage you desire. 

1.5 car garage, etobicoke - overhead platform storage, garage cabinets, slatwall organization system, camlock camlok hooks, polyaspartic floor, cement block coating - beforeThe most frequently encountered storage solution obstacle is the central vacuum.  You may have noticed the central vacuum is often left hanging there on the wall taking up a lot of space. Most new home builders mount these central vacuums in the middle of a wall, either the back wall or one of the sidewalls.  Also, the central vacuum is typically mounted about half way between the ceiling and the floor. While this position certainly allows you to access the unit for service, it makes storage above and below rather cumbersome. 

All of that being said, the central vacuum is actually an appliance that can be relocated relatively easily.  The vacuum pipes coming to the central vacuum unit are simply common p.v.c plumbing and the electric is typically a standard outlet plug. Relocating the central vacuum merely means choosing an optimum location, mounting the unit and re-piping the vacuum lines as required.  Oftentimes, the best location is found to be mounted in a side corner such that the unit is still accessible but it is mounted a bit higher and out of the way. By relocating your central vacuum, you gain valuable storage space below and of course along the wall where the unit was originally located.  For example, if you relocate a central vacuum stuck there in the middle of your sidewall to the back corner, now you have the option to install slatwall, storage racks or other optimized storage solutions in the newly freed up space.

The next most frequently encountered obstacle to optimized storage is the doors and windows. Obviously, in most cases you aren’t going to be moving a door or window.  On the other hand, there are practical storage solutions that can be installed to optimize the space.

Start with the door into your garage from inside your home.  The most obvious answer is to install an overhead storage rack.  An overhead storage rack above your door will add valuable storage space that is useful, yet still out of the way.  At the same time, you want to be aware of the fact that there is an optimum way to install an overhead storage platform and there is a sub-optimum way. 

The very best solution is to install an over the door storage platform using hardware hung from the ceiling.  However, sometimes eager do-it-yourselfers will instead install this overhead platform and support it with vertical posts. While this is okay and does give you the overhead storage, the vertical posts can be an eyesore, not to mention getting in the way of other things you want to have in the garage. 

One other scenario to consider is when the door is located in the middle of the wall.  In this case, more often than not a customized solution could be the best choice.  For example, you could install a combination of overhead platforms, shelving or platforms on one side and slatwall on the other side.  Of course each garage design is unique so many who chose to renovate their garages end up selecting a custom solution.

Although windows are not really that common in most garages, customers with garage windows often are looking to optimize the space around the window.  The one big issue is often the location of the window.  In other words, if the window is in the middle of a sidewall versus being located towards one side or the other will determine the type of renovation options available. One typical storage solution option is the installation of an overhead platform with a slatwall installation to the sides and beneath the window.  This option maximizes the utility of the space around the window while still allowing the full functionality of the window itself.

garden hose reelA minor situation that sometimes shows up in garage renovation projects is the location of the fresh water hose bibb.  The hose bibb may be installed in a location that means stretching an attached hose along the garage floor and outside.  Some renovation customers may choose to have this hose bibb relocated further along the wall to a more convenient location. 

Alternatively, to save the trouble and expense of relocating the garage water supply, a more optimized hose reel and storage fixture can be installed.  The hose reel can be conveniently mounted on the wall to allow easy access and storage. 

One final situation that might be a factor is the automatic garage door opener.  The garage door opener operates off of the normal household electrical outlets. Unfortunately, there is rarely an outlet mounted in the ceiling in a convenient location for the opener.  Consequently, many homeowners end up draping an extension cord across the top of the garage and down a wall.

 Of course, this is not the best solution and is definitely not recommended.  Keep in mind that an extension cord is only designed for temporary use; it is not supposed to be used as a permanent electrical supply.  The solution is to bring in a electrician to mount an outlet close by the garage door opener.  Absent wanting to install another outlet, the other option is to more permanently affix the extension cord with cable clamps or similar hardware.

Conclusion: as you can see from the above, each and every garage renovation project presents its own challenges and surprises. However, with some simple planning along with a discussion of the best storage solutions for your situation you can have a garage that works for you.

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.  

Professional Storage Solutions – Cabinets

hercke garage cabinets - lockable storage systems

hercke garage cabinets - lockable storage systemsSlatwall is great for storing tools and equipment that you want visible, but it’s nice to also have the option of a place to keep things behind closed, and possibly locked, doors. Have a look at my blog on open versus closed storage. When it comes to choosing cabinets, all is not created equal.

You can go to the big box store and purchase cabinetry and install it yourself, but you might not be thrilled with the finished product. Let’s talk about the benefits of professionally sourced and installed cabinetry.


Variety

At retail stores, the choices are limited. You’ll either find fabricated wood, plastic or steel cabinets. Fabricated wood is not built to stand up to our Canadian climate. Plastic is not sturdy. It’s prone to cracking and just won’t hold up to long-term use. The steel cabinets available are a low-grade metal.

Nuvo Garage offers three levels of metal cabinetry, which I call good, better and best. Hercke is basic but it is durable, functional and attractive. Onex is a mid-range customizable cabinetry, and CTECH is a beautiful, high-end, lightweight but extremely durable product.


Flexiblity

ctech gasketloc - yellow cabinetAt the big box stores, what you see is what you get. There’s not much choice in colour, size or customization.

The Hercke brand cabinets Nuvo Garage offers has the least flexibility in choice, but is still more versatile than the big box offerings. The big difference comes in the Onex and CTECH brands. Onex comes in 21 different colours and CTECH comes in 9 colours. But both can create a custom-mixed colour for you. Onex and CTECH are also highly customizable. Unlike standard big-box style fixtures, these professional brands don’t just stock standard sized cabinets. This is particularly useful as most garages are not a standard size or shape. The Onex and CTECH cabinets can be custom ordered to fit perfectly along the length of your wall without leaving that annoying 5 inches of unusable wall at the end.  In addition, these cabinets can be customized with hardware, lighting, locks and workshop tabletops to enhance the functionality of a garage.


Quality

ctech cabinet, drawer dividersOnline reviews of the metal cabinet brand offered by the big box guys generally repeat the same complaints: They are attractive at first glance, but are flimsy metal, the screws don’t fit nicely and the finish stains easily.

Hercke, Onex and CTECH are all made of very high quality materials. Hercke, the lowest cost offering, is made of high-quality steel that stands up to heavy use in the garage. Onex is also made of steel but is a lower gauge, which is even stronger. CTECH is aluminum. It’s not quite as strong as the Onex steel but it’s more than strong enough for residential use.

Car enthusiasts are drawn to CTECH because of the quality in the design. Its look is derived from the world of professional car racing and provides a truly unique and stylish look to a garage renovation. Also, little things such as the drawer closing mechanisms of a CTECH MotionLatch make your cabinet drawers much more enjoyable to use as opposed to low quality steel doors, which probably creak, shift and become a chore to close over time.

hercke garage cabinets - beautiful garage storage & workstation

 Along with variety, flexibility and quality, another advantage of hiring a professional is we’ll arrange the delivery and installation of your cabinets. So, if you’re planning a renovation, do some research and consider your options. In my opinion, for the money, the long lasting quality, beauty and enjoyment of professionally designed and installed cabinets far outweigh the do-it-yourself option.

 

What is it that Professional Garage Designers Do?

professional garage interior designer, rick scully, spatial visualization, engineering, design, commercial tools, knowledge, experience

professional garage interior designer, rick scully, spatial visualization, engineering, design, commercial tools, knowledge, experience

If you’ve ever undertaken a large renovation job in your home, such as the kitchen, bathroom or basement, it’s likely you’ve hired a professional to do the job. Usually only the die-hard do-it-yourselfer with a lot of experience will tackle that type of project. But when it comes to the garage, many people think a few tools and a trip to the big-box store to pick up some simple shelving, cabinets and maybe an epoxy floor coating will do. There’s nothing wrong with what they sell there, but the problem is it’s likely not going to stand up to the test of time and use. A professional garage designer has access to the most durable products specifically designed for garages and the equipment, tools and expertise to create an organized garage that will last a lifetime.

 

What to expect when hiring a garage designer?

 

Space visualization

During a consultation a professional garage designer will see the potential of the garage. After doing hundreds of garage renovations, I can easily envision what’s possible in a space. Garages are much more than just four walls and a floor. They’re rarely square and a professional will immediately spot areas to maximize storage. Often there are indentations, or areas such as space above the garage door or on the ceiling to create shelves or overhead storage.

 

Engineering skills

Your garage professional will know about weight/load capacity. Shelving can be custom-designed and built to make the most efficient use of space while supporting a maximum amount of weight and protecting your loved ones and vehicles from damage.

 

Design skills

Garages can be beautiful too. A garage professional will pay attention to the look of the space just like any interior designer would for a room inside your home. Choosing a combination of colours and finishes for the wall, floor, cabinets and shelves can really enhance the overall look of the space. Also, an experienced professional will be able to offer suggestions to solve any design dilemma.

 

Tools

If you’ve done DIY projects, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of starting a job and realizing you don’t have the right tool. A garage professional will have tools and equipment needed to complete a quality job. One essential piece of equipment for finishing the floor is a commercial cement floor grinder. In order to achieve a floor coating that will last, the floor needs to be ground down to remove pitting and other imperfections. A floor grinder is an expensive piece of equipment that is usually not available to rent. A nail gun, the right saws and screwdrivers also make for an easier job. Unless you’re doing a lot of construction projects, it’s unlikely you’ll have these types of tools on hand.

 

Knowledge

There are a lot of things involved in renovating a garage that are not always considered by the average homeowner. Garage professionals know about things such as construction codes, checking moisture levels in concrete before applying a floor coating, and have access to trades such as plumbers and electricians. They can also easily estimate how much space you’ll need to store things. You may look at all your gardening equipment and figure you’ll need a lot of storage room while an expert will know immediately that you’ll only need about six feet of space.

So the choice is up to you. Do you want a temporary solution or do you want to make an investment in your garage that will last?

 

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. 

Custom Fitting

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

Off-the-shelf storage products are great as a simple solution to organizing your garage. But custom-built storage can turn your garage into a room with truly functional storage and workspace.

Just because it’s custom-built doesn’t mean it has to be more expensive. Having a storage unit designed specifically to fit an area of your garage often costs no more than buying a read-made product that may not fit as well in the space.

Custom-built is all about creativity and effective use of space. Here are some ideas:

 

Workbenches

Workbench for One Car GarageIf you’re a gardener, car-enthusiast or DIYer, a workbench is a nice addition to any garage. Workbenches can be designed to any size or shape. A workbench that folds up to be stored when you aren’t using it is a great space-saver for small garages.

 

 

 

 Overhead platforms and mezzanines

1 car garage, central toronto - custom attic mezzanine storage areaAs I wrote in my previous blog, overhead storage is a great way to create extra space in garages with high ceilings. It can be as simple as a plywood platform to store seasonal items or as elaborate as a full mezzanine, which allows for another level of storage and workspace.

 

 

Ladders

retractable attic ladder to custom mezzanineLadders or stairs are useful if you have a mezzanine or just need an easy way to access overhead storage. They can be designed to save floor space by pulling down when you need them and retracting out of the way when you’re done.

 

Thule or canoe slings

custom storage overhead of canoes & kayaksThe best place to store canoes, kayaks or Thules is overhead. We build slings out of sturdy foam-covered chain with loop-and-eye hooks to safely and easily hoist these bulky items up and down.

 

 

 

Baseboards

custom platform - finished slatwall sidings, floors, baseboardsHaving a custom-built baseboard in your garage not only looks good, it protects against water leaks and rot.  Wood baseboards allow polyaspartic flooring to wrap up the sides of the drywall.  Stamped aluminium is a great modern, industrial look and provides excellent water protection.

 

 

Custom-built boxes

electrical panel, 3 car garageThere are often unsightly items in the garage that can benefit from being covered up. We’ve built boxes to cover irrigation systems, electrical panels and central vacuum canisters. They can be finished to fit seamlessly into the rest of the garage design.

 

 

Designs for irregular-shaped spaces

1.5 car garage, etobicoke - overhead platform storage, garage cabinets, slatwall organization system, camlock camlok hooks, polyaspartic floor, cement block coating - afterAs mentioned before, garages are rarely standard squares or rectangles. By having something custom-designed and built, you make the best use of all nooks and crannies and odd-shaped corners. When I visit a garage to do a consultation, or often when I’m on the job doing the renovation, I spot areas that would really benefit from a custom-built solution so I’d be happy to make a few suggestions.

 

 

Custom finishing

garage interior design - home stagingFinishes really up the wow factor in any garage renovation. We’ve done everything from finishing slatwall panels in an oak stain, in keeping with the cottage-look of the house, to installing custom wood worktops. We can even custom-mix paint chip colours to make the perfect shade of polyaspartic flooring.

 

Have a look around your garage and see if you have any odd-shaped areas or things you want to change. If you do, a custom-built storage solution is what you’ll want to consider to maximize the storage capability of your garage.

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