Garages have always been designed to keep cars, that’s the primary purpose and the reason they were first added to our homes. In the days of your father and/or grandfather, they were used for that purpose and that purpose only. That steadily changed though and they became junk rooms, places to store Christmas decorations and other clutter that we don’t really use.
Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. Garages are still rarely used to store cars, but rather than being superfluous junk rooms, they are now thought of as additional rooms in our homes. A good garage can raise your property value significantly and it can also offer you a wealth of opportunities for turning your house into the home you’ve always wanted.
In this article we’ll help you with that process, showing you how you can turn this space from a boring junk room into a modern garage.
5. General Repair
Garages are often neglected. The average US garage is full of rust, mold, malfunctioning openers and other signs of neglect and misuse. So, your first step should be to make sure everything is up to scratch. Clean away the cobwebs, scrub away the oil and other detritus of neglect, oil the hinges, replace the springs and give everything a good dust and clean.
Depending on how much you have neglected it and for how long, this might be sizable task. But it’s best just to get stuck in and not give it too much thought. Procrastination is your enemy and the only thing stopping you from getting the garage that you want.
4. Ventilated, Heated and Insulated (
Most homes have old, rickety garage doors. They do their job and most homeowners will not change them unless they are hanging off by the hinges. But older garage doors don’t just pose security problems and accessibility issues. They also let in the cold and the wet; they let out the air conditioning and the central heating.
So, invest in a new garage door that leaves fewer gaps, is thicker and stronger, and doesn’t damage the integrity of your garage and the rest of your home. You can also insulate your garage door to increase its effectiveness. This can be done cheaply and without much trouble, and it can save you a fortune in utility bills.
You can also add central heating and air conditioning to your garage to make it just another part of your house, bringing some of that relieving cool in the summer and that comforting heat in the winter. Ventilation is key as well, especially if you air seal your garage. Air sealing is an essential aspect of insulation and will help to reduce energy bills, while ventilation will minimize the risk of carbon monoxide building-up from that air-sealing.
Once you follow all of these steps then your garage will be just like another room in your house. You can then turn it into a spare room, a games room, an office, a den or whatever else you want. So many homeowners waste thousands of dollars moving up on the housing ladder just to get an additional bedroom, when they could simply convert their garage and get that bedroom for less.
So, before you think about sinking an extra $20,000 to $50,000 just to get a house with an extra bedroom for your new child or an extra office for your new business, focus on your garage first.
3. App-Operated Garage Door Opener
Automatic door openers were once the must-have thing for all homeowners. They were everyone’s favorite gadget before the age of smartphones—nothing looked cooler than driving up to your home, flicking a switch on your remote and then watching as the door automatically swung open.
This simple tech was a huge breakthrough back then, but it’s now commonplace and much more advanced. You can now get a garage door opener that connects to your smartphone and allows you to open and close with a press of the touchscreen or a voice-activated command. Not only will these devices open and close at your command, but the app can also be used to discover if your garage door is open or closed at any given time.
This may sound like a redundant feature on the face of it, but it’s actually a very useful security feature. It will tell you if someone, you included, has returned home and has forgotten to close to garage door.
You don’t need to spend a fortune buying new fangled plastic and veneer shelving units and tools just to have a fully functional, working garage. You can turn this space into an eco-friendly one without sacrificing effectiveness. You can even save yourself a lot of money doing it.
You can buy paints that are not as toxic and are more or less completely safe; shelving units that are made from recycled plastics or renewable wood; furniture that has been up-cycled; and power tools that are energy conscious. Here are a few other key areas that can help you to make your garage completely eco-friendly:
- Lighting: Many US homeowners use energy efficient light bulbs in the main rooms, but completely neglect the garage. It may not be the most lived-in room, but it can still benefit you and your annual budget to install a LED or CFL bulb in your garage.
- Storage: You should avoid storing dangerous tools and machinery in your garage. You wouldn’t store things like lawn mowers and cans of gasoline in your living room or bedroom and because they are as much a part of your home as your garage you shouldn’t store them there either. Keep them in a shed instead.
- Get Rid of Unused Appliances: Many Americans have an extra refrigerator or freezer in their garage, even though they actually use it. This appliances consume a lot of energy and are far from environmentally friendly. So, if you don’t use it then get rid of it. And storing a few bags of vegetables or boxes of processed meals don’t count as using it. You’re paying a lot of money to run that appliance and to keep those minimal products—it’s just not worth it.
1. Safe and Secure
Finally, your new, modern garage needs to be secure. Whether you’re using it as a bedroom, an office or even just a place to store your car (the retro method) then you’ll want to make sure everything is safe. The garage door will play a big role in this. The better it is and the more attention you pay to maintain it, the more secure it will likely be.
You may also want a fire-door from your garage to your house, as well as an alarm, a smoke alarm and even a carbon monoxide alarm if you’re worried about a buildup of this toxic gas. These are all commonplace in the rest of the home but are often overlooked where the garage is concerned. If it’s an empty junk room then this is fine, but if you’re filling it full of electronics, if people are going to be spending more time there and if there is more things of value in there, then you’ll need to make sure it is safe and secure on all fronts.