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Custom Garage Makeover - Corvette Cribs
A Beginner's Garage Make-Over
Jun 15, 2009
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Custom Garage Makeover - Corvette Cribs
Get rid of the clutter and make your car the star of the garage.
Garage doors coated on the inside with grey primer or galvanizing look drab and suck up a lot of light. Prepaint preparation started with vacuuming the accumulated dust and cobwebs. Next was scrubbing with a scotch pad to clean and rough-up the surface before paint application. The final step was a quick wipe with a tack rag.
Six aerosol cans of white Rustoleum appliance enamel coated this single-width garage door. Not only does the garage look much better, the increase in brightness and illumination aids in working in the garage. Warning: enamel overspray sticks on everything within 20 feet or more (including eyeglasses), so use dropcloths to cover the entire floor.
Rolling paint onto the floor is the easiest part of the job. H&C Silicone Acrylic Concrete Sealer has performed well for me in the past, with no peeling or chipping. A $19 gallon of Dove gray-H&C's lightest gray color-recoated a single-car garage floor. Preparation involved scrubbing with a concrete cleaner, followed by a thorough rinsing, and then letting the floor dry for 24 hours. Warning: wear a carbon-filter mask during application as the fumes are intense.
Cabinets can hide the ugly water heater and pipes, just remove their lower shelves. Hinging the front panel provides easy access if ever needed. Enclosing the water heater also helps keep its heat in, saving a little utility money. The same cabinet also hides the unsightly water filters, but still provides room for storing parts and tools in plastic tubs.
Consider making a shallow cabinet between studs (or in an old doorway), and cover the shelves with a folding door. Storing commonly used tools and supplies one or two-deep makes them easy to find. It's amazing how much clutter can be completely hidden from view, but still be right at hand when needed.
Prefab cabinets are available at Home Depot, Lowe's, and similar building supply stores. For a rough idea on pricing, a 72-inch-high, 48-inch-wide, 21-inch-deep cabinet costs about $99. Twenty-four-inch-deep cabinets enable storage of large plastic tubs and still leave enough floor space, even in smaller garages.
Target, Lowe's, and Home Depot have plastic storage tubs, racks, and baskets to provide many options for organizing items of all different sizes. Water-resistant items can be stored directly on the floor below the lowest shelf.
Quarter-inch Tapcons by 1 3/4-inches long with fender washers will securely hold the cabinets to a concrete wall. If more than a few holes need to be drilled into concrete, you'll want to borrow or buy a hammer drill to speed the job. For wood framed walls, use 1/4-inch lag bolts 1 1/2-inches long into the studs.
Cabinets that are placed next to each other can be made much sturdier by drilling holes in the adjacent sides and bolting the cabinets together. Unless the walls and floor are perfectly square, expect to shim the bottom of the cabinets to make the cabinets level and properly aligned.
Frame and hang posters and photographs to eliminate the warehouse look of a garage. A few well-placed pieces of artwork will dramatically change the mood of the space.
Can't find a place to conveniently store something like a bulky floorjack? Camouflage it. This was a poke in the eye when it was orange, but painted white it unobtrusively blends in. And it's easily accessible when needed.
An inexpensive fluorescent lamp makes a big improvement for a dimly lit garage. The fluorescent tubes produce fewer shadows, but they really show paint defects. That's an advantage if you like inspecting or finessing your finish. This lamp is positioned to shine into the engine compartment when the Corvette is driven straight into the garage, but illuminates the interior when the car is backed in.
Older pivoting doors have an advantage over the newer roll-up doors: you can store items above them. This storage area is best suited for bulky, light, and seldom-used items. The hooks in the ceiling hang removable white panels that further hide the clutter from view.
A little creativity may be needed to hide things such as a doorbell transformer or other wall warts.
An extra license plate was shaped to do the trick in this case.
Black & Decker's fold-up workbench is useful in tight quarters. It collapses to less than a foot wide for storage, and it can be conveniently moved to different work areas.
Why not add a TV? Even a medium-size color TV costs less than $100, and it provides company during mundane garage chores. If space doesn't permit a CRT model, install a flat screen on the wall and be the envy of the 'hood.
Now that the floor looks great, let's keep it spotless. A plastic light panel, strategically placed, catches any drips before they soak into the concrete. Sure, your older Corvette doesn't have even an occasional drip, but this tip may help if you know someone whose car does.
Translucent plastic tubs provide an efficient way to organize and store items, plus you can see what's in them. A friend organized his things alphabetically, but I prefer to group by a common theme: Inactive Parts, New Vet Parts, Plumbing, Aerosols, and so on.
GFI receptacles won't help the appearance of the garage, but they help keep you alive to appreciate it. One GFI receptacle can be wired to protect other receptacles on the same circuit, but place GFI stickers on them to remind you if the GFI needs to be reset. A GFI circuit breaker can also protect all the receptacles, even older nongrounded ones, on its circuit.
Here's the best reason to clean and organize your garage: to make room for another toy.
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