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Do more with your garage

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SPACE 

Garages, once a utilitarian afterthought, have become an integral part of home design and makeover. 

Sheltering cars remains the primary role of the garage, but many homeowners want the space organized with plenty of storage and smooth, clean floors. In other homes, cars are staying outside, and the garage is used for storing outdoor gear such as bikes, beach and water sports equipment. 

Storage cabinets, wall units for lawn equipment and other space-saving devices have been around for a while. Better quality material and changing technology have broadened what people can do with their garages.  

“The number one motivator for doing a project in your garage is being organized,” said Lukejohn Dickson, who is the managing director of Inspired Garage in Hilton Head with his wife, Amy.  

The Dicksons, who also manages Inspired Closets, recently expanded their brand to include garage makeovers. Like other interior space companies, they are taking advantage of the ongoing trend of garage makeovers. 

In 2018, Garage Living, a Canadian-based garage reformation company, listed some trends for garages. They were: 

  • Smart garage technology that works with smartphone apps.  
  • Modern garage doors that complement the home’s exterior. 
  • Long-lasting and easy to clean garage flooring.
  • Insulation and weatherstripping upgrades for better garage energy efficiency.
  • Workshops. 
  • Storage space for outdoor and garden gear. 

As more people buy electric cars, consumers want their garages to handle recharging duties. That can be an expensive retrofit for existing garages, depending on the location of the electrical box, Dickson said. He recommends that new home contractors include charging stations in the garage. 

Inspired Garage does new construction and remodeling. The cost to remake a garage depends on the customer’s needs, Dickson said. People who just want to get their gear off the floor can get organized with a flat wall system for a cost ranging between $1,000 and $1,500. Cabinets, workbenches and flat wall systems will cost between $5,000 and $10,000.  

Adding floor coating and a hoist boosts the cost to $20,000 or more. 

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Getting gear off the floor is the primary reason for a garage remake, but homeowners are not ignoring the garage’s foundation. They are coating floors with epoxy or paint or covering them with tiles or mats, according to The Spruce, a home décor and food website.  

New materials are giving floors sturdier, easier-to-maintain showroom finishes. 

The materials are more versatile to apply and last longer, according to Garage Living. The new materials are also more resistant to impact and abrasion, chemical spills and automotive fluids.

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“With all the technological change, we can do it (finish a floor) properly and do it in under a day,” said Terry Meenach, owner, Garage Floor Xpress in Hilton Head.

To prepare a floor for a new finish, Meenach said, his company grinds the floor and then uses a no-odor polyurea primer coating with 100 percent coverage acrylic vinyl flakes.

“It’s kind of like an orange peel texture,” he said. “We come back with a high-quality urethane (topcoat).”

garage5For an 800-900 square-foot floor, the cost is between $4-$5 a square foot, he said. Homeowners can expect to recoup about 85 percent of that when they sell the home, he said.

Although Meenach specializes in floors, he has this advice for garage makeovers in the Lowcountry: “You’ve got to go with a nicer cabinet because of the humidity.”

It’s not surprising that garages have been added to the makeover list, Lukejohn Dickson said. The inside of the home has always been a makeover priority. Then people started focusing on outdoor kitchens and relaxation areas.

“It’s the last frontier that has not been explored,” he said. “Everybody wants every part of their house to be an extension of themselves.”