Five Common Mistakes DIYers Make when Renovating their Garage

As Canadians, we’re a culture that places emphasis on value, and nobody wants to spend money they don’t have to.  Unfortunately, sometimes we cut corners and do something ourselves when it would make more sense to hire a professional.

There are risks when undertaking a construction project of any magnitude and a garage renovation is no different.  There are many things to take into consideration including space planning, materials, aesthetics and, depending on the level of the renovation, building codes.

To ensure you get the results you want, you need to do some research beforehand.  Using the wrong materials can result in not just substandard results but increased costs when the job has to be redone!


Here are the most common DIY mistakes I see:


Using Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) slat wall

Many people purchase MDF slatwall because it’s available at retail stores and at first glance, it looks like what the professionals use.  Don’t be fooled, though.  MDF is not nearly as strong as professional grade slatwall and it’s susceptible to moisture, which means that not long after it’s installed, things are going to start falling off the wall.

Commercial grade slatwall is made of thermoplastic, so it’s stronger, waterproof and mildew proof.  You can find this slatwall, but it’s a little trickier to install.  If your garage is drywalled, you have to make sure you’re screwing it into a stud.  If your garage is concrete, it can be difficult and messy to attach it directly and if you’re using a tapcon screw, you can warp the slatwall.


Garage Door Openers hooked up to an extension cord

One thing I see over and over are extension cords snaked along the top of a garage for the garage door opener.  According to Ontario Building Code, your garage door opener has to be plugged directly into an outlet – and not an extension cord.  Newer homes may have an existing ceiling outlet, but if you are in an older home, call in an electrician.


Improperly preparing the floor for paint

washing garage floorThere are special paints available for garage floors, designed to withstand heavy use.  However, it’s not enough to simply wash the floor – it has to be grinded for the paint to adhere, similar to sanding a piece of furniture that you’re painting.  If the surface isn’t prepared properly, the paint will peel off in no time.


Undersupported overhead shelving

The typical DIY overhead shelving I see isn’t properly supported.  People may build a wall-to-wall shelf and use a floor support that not only blocks room for one of the cars, but isn’t enough support, resulting in a sagging shelf.  Another issue is using plywood that’s not thick enough – it needs to be at least ¾ inch.

If space is an issue, the shelf can be supported from above.  We have used airplane wire to hang shelves, which is just as strong as a ground support.


Not taking advantage of all the space available

People often forget about the space overhead.  Either they don’t see it or they see it and don’t want to do it.  The space that people often miss is above the garage door.  This space is valuable because it’s out of the way. As long as there’s enough clearance, you can store things you don’t want to see.


If you’ve chosen to undertake your own renovation, make sure to do your research.  If you think you want to use a professional, please give us a call at 647-346-8735 for a free estimate.


  1. says

    Knowing what you have done wrong will help you save time and money in the future if you decide to have repairs or improvement done in your property. The given tips in this post reminds us that getting to know more about construction such as this one is an advantage for us. Thanks!

  2. says

    Garage renovation of one of the most common home improvement projects nowadays. Several homeowners are transforming their garages for purposes other than just to provide parking space and shade to vehicles. Thus, knowing such common mistakes will help individuals to come up with a more successfully remodeled garage. Thank you for sharing these reminders.

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