It's a common myth that your garage doesn't need maintenance. It's practically outdoors, the structure is simple, it's just a concrete floor; what could go wrong? However, a well-maintained garage adds valuable space to your home. Inattentive maintenance can also lead to inconvenient and costly repairs, like replacing the garage door after the tracks rust through.
How can you keep your garage as a useful space for the family?
Your garage could be...
- Sheltering a car (or two!)
- Housing your workshop
- Providing a shady place for outdoor play
- Storing clean, accessible boxes
With a few smart garage maintenance strategies, your garage can be a more welcoming space, adding both function and value to your home.
Keeping Your Garage in Good Condition
Take good care of your garage, it needs maintenance just like the rest of the house. At least twice a year, inspect the garage door tracks and hardware. Look for cracks in the walls or gaps in the insulation. Check for drafts and for cracks in the concrete floor.
Reseal any gaps you find and rebuild your garage walls as needed. You can fill cracked concrete with a pavement patching material to help your garage stay in good condition year on year. If you notice trouble with the garage door, call a technician before it becomes a safety hazard.
Ways to Improve Your Garage
There are several ways to improve your garage. The most popular is to build interior walls with insulation to improve its resistance to changing temperature and make the garage interior more comfortable. Add a fan for ventilation and a space heater and/or small AC unit to make it more welcoming during winter and summer.
You can also resurface the concrete with a polyurethane coating for a car-safe floor that is smooth and slightly bouncy like a gym floor - and also seals in concrete to prevent temperature seeping and future cracks.
Staying Organized to Make Better Use of the Space
If you store boxes in the garage, invest a little in storage infrastructure. Large wire shelves and plastic crates make it easier, cleaner, and less disaster-prone than stacks of cardboard boxes. A single strip of masking tape and a permanent marker can quickly label every tote for easy sorting and retrieval later. The taller your sturdy wire shelves, the more floor space you get back by stacking totes - safely - to the ceiling.
Setting Up a Garage Workshop
Do you want a workshop at home? If you have a two-car garage with one vehicle, you can use the other half for any family purpose. Set up a workbench and hang pegboards on the wall so you can customize your tool racks in a neat, vertical fashion. Lay out a safe row of power tool chargers and hang your power tools on the wall. Your workshop can take up almost no floor space until you're ready to get to work.
Making a Safe Play Area in the Garage
If you have children at home, you can set up a safe and shady play area in the garage. For young children and toddlers, roll out or fit together a foam floor to play on. Keep toddlers in a pop-out playpen that is also easy to put away when you want the space for other uses. For older children, create a wall rack for bicycles and a chest for outdoor toys like squirt guns and science gear. You can lay out tape on the floor to define the safe area for play with toys or garage science experiments.
Shaping Your Home Experience
Your garage isn't just a place to keep your car or stow holiday decorations the rest of the year. It can set the tone for your entire home. When you come home and park in a comfortable garage, when you walk past tidy stacked totes instead of teetering cardboard boxes, and when you spend a pleasant Saturday afternoon doing projects in your workshop, you will truly be getting the full value from your garage and its maintenance.