Spring is here in Kansas City, isn’t it glorious? The storm doors are changed out for screens, the windows are opened and that beautiful breeze comes gently flowing into our homes. Spring is a time to refresh, revitalize and rejuvenate your home until it sparkles and shines. But there’s a room in our home that often gets overlooked. The Garage!
We spoke with several Kansas City garage experts and they shared a few ideas and trends on how people are giving their garage a makeover – from stylish organization and flooring to a full redesign – the options are endless!
From The Ground Up
Over the winter months, our poor garage becomes a bit of a dumping ground for grills, lawn mowers, sports equipment and patio furniture. With nice weather around the corner, it’s time to boost your curb appeal and get your garage back into summer shape. Pull those cars out in the driveway and put those snow blowers, shovels and winter sports gear away.
Once you have everything out of the garage, take a good hard look at your garage floor. Is it stained and dirty? Is it corroded with antifreeze and engine oil? Does it have cracks or is it uneven? At this point, you need to decide if it just needs a good scrubbing or if you would like to be the envy of the neighborhood and give that baby a full makeover. We vote for the latter, of course!
It Just Needs A Bath
For the best success, the first thing you want to do is remove everything from the garage floor that is not anchored down and sweep out the heavy dirt and debris. As obvious as this seems, there are people who don’t want to do this and think they can clean around items. Take the extra time to move these things out so they don’t end up water damaged during cleaning.
If you have painted drywall in your garage or low electrical outlets, you may want to cover the lower 3ft. by taping a few cheap plastic drop cloths to the walls to avoid water spots or shorts from electrical damage. The easiest low budget method for cleaning the garage floor is to use a concentrated concrete degreaser, a deck brush, your garden hose with a high pressure nozzle, and some good old fashioned elbow grease. If you don’t have a degreaser, Tide laundry detergent or TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) are excellent substitutes for cleaning concrete.
BIG TIP!… Push brooms make a poor scrub brush. The bristles are too long and the surface area is too large to apply good pressure. Purchase a cheap deck brush with the short stiff bristles as this works best. Have bigger stain problems like rust and old paint? A high concentration of TSP mixed with boiling water works wonders on rust as well. Be sure to let it sit on the stain for about 15 to 20 minutes before scrubbing. Repeat if necessary.
Oxalic acid is another product that is even tougher on rust stains. You can generally purchase it from your local home improvement center or hardware store. Some concrete cleaners for rust stains have it as an ingredient. It may even come in a powder form which you mix with water to make a soupy paste. Apply the Oxalic acid to the stain and let it sit for 5 minutes before scrubbing. Be sure to rinse real well afterwards. Again, repeat if necessary.
If old paint is an issue, or you are applying an epoxy coating to your floor, you could use a chemical stripper or a floor grinder. Our advice? If it’s this bad, call the experts. It’s a really great excuse to get a dazzling new garage floor!
It’s Past The Point To Help – Or You Just Want To Add Class To Your Garage
If you’ve gone to any of the Kansas City area home shows, you’ve certainly seen some amazing garage floors. You know the ones – it’s as if you could eat a meal off of them. They are GORGEOUS! Well guess what? These beautiful showpieces are more affordable than you might think.
We spoke to Greg Slicker, owner of Granite Garage Floors in Prairie Village and he gave some great advice and things to consider before you go out and buy these coatings off the shelf at the big box store. “The main thing we tell people when they are considering laying an epoxy coating down is to do their homework. Be very careful of “average coatings”. They might look great for the first year, but if you don’t pretreat your floor properly, the epoxy won’t stick and you will have a big, chipping mess on your hands that is extremely difficult to remove.” Granite Garage Floors got their start in 2009 when they felt like the residential market was underserved. “We wanted to bring the commercial process to the residential market”, said Slicker. “The key to a beautiful floor that lasts is all in the way it is prepped. We diamond grind the entire surface – 60-70% of our time is prepping the floor. It’s that important. We also use a special epoxy that actually fuses with the concrete, so it isn’t just sitting on the floor; it actually becomes a part of it. Top coats are much different than they were 5 or 6 years ago. It’s a polyaspartic (urethane) that goes on after the epoxy and is 100% UV stable, meaning it won’t fade over time.” The process makes for a beautiful outcome with a not-so-bad price tag.
Organization Is Key
Now that your floor is impeccable, it’s time to purge and get organized! From using wall rail organizers for tools to basketballs or hiding everything behind cabinets to maintain a clean and consistent look, keeping organized is easy. Keeping the garage clutter-free is hard, but not if you have the right cabinetry and shelving in place. A good color choice is gray or black, as white tends to show more dirt. Simple shelving is a great way to display items often used, allowing for easy access.
Increase That Curb Appeal
Once you get the inside of your garage beautiful, it’s time to turn some of the neighbor’s heads. Finish off your masterpiece with a new garage door! “We are installing more and more carriage house garage doors than anything else in our inventory,” said Mike Guthrie of Raynor Garage Doors in Shawnee Mission. “Many people don’t realize this, but they are actually steel, not wood. If a customer is primarily concerned about the strength and durability of their garage doors, steel garage doors are the right fit. They can withstand the elements and the wear and tear of everyday use, protecting the garage and the vehicles and belongings inside.” In addition to their reliability, traditional and carriage house steel doors will also help save on your heating and cooling bills (score!). They offer energy efficiency because of their polyurethane and polystyrene insulation. Some even feature a continuous thermal break. The insulation also ensures the doors’ quiet operation. And the style choices are unlimited! Choose from raised panel, colonial, ranch, flush or carriage house panel styles, optional wood grain laminate finishes, and decorative wrought-iron hardware to create an attractive door to complement any home.
Think Outside The Box and Look Inside To Your Garage
If you’re looking to add a little more drama than just a door and are needing more space, then it’s time to turn your thoughts to a garage addition. Renovating an existing garage to add more vehicle room for that dream car of yours is what people traditionally think of when you hear garage addition. What’s trending now, is a home expansion – renovating the existing garage to add more living space above it, an investment that pays off in the long run. “We are starting to see people “look up” when it comes to their garage space. Along with building in additional storage above the garage, customers are putting in super fun things like game rooms, second closets or man caves,” says Lynneah Gregory of ReConstruct KC. “We are also starting to pop a window in the side of our garage remodels – it’s amazing the amount of light it lets in!”
So go ahead – get a little daring this season and spend some quality time out in the garage. You and your car will enjoy it for years to come.