Forecasters and scientists agree that we can reasonably predict one sure thing about winter 2020-2021: unpredictability. Winter may be desperately cold in the Northeast and Midwest with relatively mild conditions elsewhere. Droughts in dry regions of the U.S. are on track to grow markedly worse, and conditions and temperatures may be most erratic in the central U.S. In fact, Colorado is already experiencing unstable weather this fall. “Denver saw the temperature go from a high of 93 one day in early September, to a low of 36 and snowfall the next day,” AccuWeather writes.
What does that mean for homeowners? What homeowners need to take away from these predictions is that this coming winter could bring just about anything. Whether you are making strictly practical upgrades to your garage this winter or making changes to improve its livability, prepare for all weather extremes.
Follow these tips and tricks to make your garage upgrade ideas a reality in time for winter.
First, It’s Time for a Deep Clean
All garage upgrade ideas should start with a deep clean. Do not waste valuable time and resources winterizing your garage or remodeling your garage only to have the dirt you left behind to become a real problem.
To deep clean your garage, you will need to:
- Organize, donate, and trash items. Many of us share the same, unfortunate habit. We drag something into the garage to store it and leave it there indefinitely without ever thinking about it again. Doing that can leave your garage looking disheveled and cluttered. Set aside the time to go through all items in your garage. Properly stow items you want to keep. Sell or donate what’s salvageable, and trash any items that are musty, moldy, or junk.
- Sweep, rinse, and mop. For this step, break out your gloves and mask. After all, garages are notorious for harboring bugs, caustic chemicals, and droppings. Dust off any shelves and thoroughly sweep the floor. Wash the floor using a mild soap, and then use a mop to rinse off any remaining soap and mop up excess water.
- If it’s in your budget, seal your floor. Cleaning an unfinished floor takes work. Scrubbing stains will take considerable elbow grease, and that is if you are able to remove them. Seal concrete floors with an epoxy resin coating to make cleaning up a breeze. After sealing, garage floors require regular sweeping and the occasional rinse. Epoxy floors are resistant to most damages and stains.
- Be mindful about upkeep. Do not let all that work go to waste. After cleaning your garage, do your best to keep it clean. Upkeep is relatively simple. Always use liners or bags when throwing out the trash. Sprinkle trash cans with baking soda to keep them smelling fresh. If you spill something, clean it up. Sweep your floor at least once a week, and get rid of any items that you no longer use.
If that all sounds a bit overwhelming to you, don’t fret. Call in a residential cleaning service to tackle deep cleaning your garage for you. Right now, many of us are stretched in several different directions and are ultimately trying to accomplish far too much on any given day. Take something off your plate and get better results with a professional cleaning service.
If you want to make your garage upgrade ideas happen, commit to cleaning the garage , or hiring professionals to clean your garage, first.
Get Rid of Unwanted Guests
To follow through with your garage upgrade ideas, pest control is just as important as deep cleaning. Do not let your garage fall into disrepair thanks to pests. For peace of mind and a garage that looks its best:
- Invest in rodent removal. “The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) estimates that rodents invade about 21 million homes in the United States every winter, squeezing through spaces as small as a nickel,” PestWorld.org writes. Once they are inside your home, they have the potential to spread more than 35 diseases. If you have rodents in your home, start by calling a professional rodent removal service. After their visit, take proactive steps to prevent more mice from entering your home. Seal up any holes or gaps inside and outside of your home. Look for holes around the pipes near your furnace or hot water heater, around doors and windows, and near your home’s foundation. For small holes, a piece of steel wool will work just fine. For larger holes, use cement, lath metal, or metal sheeting to patch up holes. To prevent another invasion, make sure you have a garbage can with a large and secure lid. Keep any compost and woodpiles a minimum of 100 feet away from your home.
- Treat your home for termites. Termites can be largely invisible while posing a very real threat to your home. Look out for their telltale droppings that look like rice-shaped wood shavings, and call a professional at the first sign of trouble.
- Eliminate any other pests. Rodents and termites are not the only pests you may have in your home. While ants or cockroaches may arguably be less destructive, it is still deeply unpleasant to have them around. To keep your home clean and comfortable, take care of these pests as well.
To get your garage upgrade ideas off the ground, you need to make adequate preparations first. Prepare your garage by investing in pest control and taking steps to prevent pests from entering your home in the future.
Ensure Your Garage’s Safety
When it comes time to put your garage upgrade ideas into action, do not forget about safety. Safety may very well be the most important feature of any garage. Amp up your garage’s security by:
- Choose frosted windows. If any prospective intruders can see right inside your garage and catch a glimpse of any expensive lawn equipment, that is only likely to motivate them. Other would-be thieves might peer inside to see if your car or cars are in there, and, if not (often suggesting that you are not at home), they may choose to take advantage of that opportunity. Use frosted films to obscure the view and add an extra layer of security to your home.
- Install motion-activated floodlights. Talk to residential building contractors about installing motion-activated floodlights. “Many thieves operate under cover of darkness, so a sudden burst of light is often enough to deter them,” Bob Vila explains. Depending on the type of floodlight you choose, some models can detect movement from as far as 26 feet away.
- Carefully maintain the roof. Too often, this important step goes largely unnoticed. In order to keep your garage safe, you must keep your entire home safe — and that means carefully maintaining your roof. Get an inspection twice per year. Roofing services generally recommend getting an inspection once in fall and once in spring. Roofers will look out for any glaring problems, like missing shingles or gaps between your roof and flashing.
Focus On The Garage Door
Garage upgrade ideas are going to pack a lot less oomph if your garage door is tatty and weathered. In many cases, your garage door is one of the first things visitors or prospective buyers notice about your home. Make sure you include sprucing up the garage door in your garage upgrade ideas. Follow these tips for a garage door that looks like new:
- Repair your garage door. If your garage door sticks or fails to work altogether, call a garage door repair service. Garage door repair services will check your garage door for worn cables and pulleys, stripped bearings, and loose brackets or hardware. Fixing any of these common problems will get your garage door back on track and working as it should.
- Add a fresh layer of paint. A fresh coat of paint can make all the difference. For a big change, choose a dramatic color. Dark, forest green garage doors are popular this year. Dark blue and taupe are also trendy colors.
- Paint trim a contrasting color and add garage door accents. Make your trim pop by painting it a color that contrasts with your garage door. In many cases, white is a safe bet. Spruce up your garage door even more by adding garage door accents. These often include stylish, magnetic hinges and handles that stick right onto your door.
For the best possible results, your garage upgrade ideas need to include the garage door. Fix any hardware problems and boost your curb appeal with new paint and new accents.
What Kind of Space Do You Want?
Perhaps your aims for your garage upgrade ideas are much loftier. Instead of settling for deep cleaning and a freshly painted door, you want to take it several steps further and convert your garage into an entirely new space.
If that describes you, there are a few things to consider first. Familiarize yourself with local building codes to make sure that your project is legal and within reason. Consider whether your garage will need additional outlets, ground-fault circuit interrupters (GCFIs), insulation, waterproofing, and/or water sealing.
Before you get into it, narrow it down to a concrete idea with a specific design.
A Space for Cars
If your garage upgrade ideas involve turning your garage into a place for long-term car storage, prep your garage, and your car, appropriately.
For long-term storage and/or to stow multiple cars at once, your garage needs to be clean, dry, and free of pests. Review the steps above to thoroughly clean your garage and to eliminate any pests in your garage, and consider taking additional measures if your garage tends to collect water. If you notice that your garage is prone to flooding or pooling water, take another look at the weatherstripping around your garage door (and replace as necessary), use sandbags or flood barriers, closely examine your foundation for cracks and fissures, and make sure you have adequate drainage keeping water away from your home. If you are stowing multiple cars, some homeowners install heavy-duty, two-tier car racks to maximize their storage.
As for the car or cars themselves, invest in a necessary car repair, clean your car, change the oil, and make sure your tires are properly inflated.
A Space for Storage
Another angle for garage upgrade ideas is to convert the garage into extra storage for collections, sports equipment, furniture, and more. A word of caution: if you will be storing items vulnerable to moisture, humidity, and extreme weather, such as sports clothing or vintage furniture, then take measures to keep your garage clean and to keep excess moisture out of your home.
A Space for Play
One of the most popular garage upgrade ideas right now is to transform the garage into a livable space, like a playroom for your kids.
If you choose to go that route, make the appropriate accommodations. To be comfortable, your children will likely need a finished floor and heating and cooling units. Install a heating unit and talk to a hardwood flooring contractor about your options for installing flooring over an unfinished concrete floor.
A Space to Live In
A livable space does not always entail a playroom for the kids, however. If you wish to convert your garage into any other living space, like an entertainment room or a guest room, chances are you are going to need to make some serious adjustments.
Team up with a plumber to add new fixtures or insulate existing pipes. Finish the floor and walls if possible. If finishing the walls is not in your budget at the moment, paint the walls, pipes, and ducts one color so the room looks sharper and more cohesive.
Winter is on its way. Pursue your garage upgrade ideas now before the thick of winter settles in. Upgrades can be as simple, or as complicated, as you like. Refresh the look and feel of your garage with a deep clean, pest control, and garage door repairs, or take it several steps further by converting your garage into a space to store old, classic cars, a new playroom, or a new gaming room.