If you’re like most homeowners, you’re always looking for ways to improve your home on a budget. Painting, new lighting, new furniture, window treatments, new flooring — no doubt you’ve spent a lot of time dreaming of the possibilities.
But what about the garage?
It’s easy to overlook your garage because most homeowners don’t consider it part of their “living space.” But, 63% of American homes have a garage or carport. That means that there’s a good chance your garage has replaced your front door as your home’s primary entry and exit. Even if you only use your garage to enter and exit your home, you’re likely in that space several times each day. That’s a lot of time spent in a space that gets overlooked.
It’s time to give your garage a little TLC! But what can you do to upgrade your space and keep it functioning? Is there a way to turn your garage into something more than additional storage space?
The answer to both of those questions is yes!
Best Ways to Upgrade Your Garage
There are plenty of ways to upgrade your garage, so the first thing you need to do is spend a few minutes looking around. As yourself these questions:
- How old is my current door?
- Is my door’s extension spring in good condition?
- What do I currently use my garage for?
- Is there a better use of my garage space?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a better idea of how to move forward with your upgrade. But, just in case you aren’t sure where to start, check out our list of ways to upgrade your current garage.
1. Add Insulation to the Garage Door
If your garage door isn’t insulated, then adding insulation to the existing door is a great way to save on your energy bills. When installed properly, insulation can increase the wintertime temperature in your garage by an average of 12 degrees. In the summertime, it can decrease the temperature by nearly 25 degrees. And, if that’s not enough to convince you, garage door insulation is also a great way to reduce the amount of street noise that filters into your home.
Although you could upgrade to an insulated garage door — more about that later — it doesn’t really make sense to do this if your door isn’t that old and is in good condition. If that’s the case, then the best thing to do is add insulation to your door. Or, if you’ve insulated your door in the past, you can replace and upgrade to something more efficient.
The easiest way to add insulation to your garage door is by purchasing a garage door insulation kit at a nearby hardware store. When you’re selecting the kit, pay close attention to the R-value that it will add to your door. R-values are the numerical measurement used to indicate how resistant to heat flow the kit’s insulation will be once installed. The greater the R-value, the better job it will do creating a barrier between your home and the temperatures outside.
Although an insulated garage door is a great start toward making your garage more energy efficient, don’t stop there. Also consider adding insulation around your garage, especially if you have a bedroom or family room above the garage or on the other side of the wall between the garage and the house. This will help to keep your family more comfortable by preventing unwanted temperatures from creeping into the rest of your home.
2. Replace Rollers on the Garage Door
Rollers are what make your garage door move up and down when it needs to. They keep it on the track and make sure the door goes where it’s supposed to. Over time, they can become squeaky and create annoying noises whenever your garage door moves. It’s also possible for these small parts to get worn out or broken. So, it’s a good idea to keep an eye — and ear — out to make sure these small parts are still going strong.
If you suspect that your rollers aren’t working the way they should, then it’s time to replace them. Although you can replace these yourself, it’s always a good idea to use caution whenever the parts of your garage door and its tracks need to be repaired or replaced. Garage doors can be heavy and, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can put yourself — and whoever might be helping you — at risk if the door falls down while you’re trying to do the repair. When it comes to garage door repair, leaving it to the pros at Liberty Door and Awning is always the way to go!
While you’re at it, take a few minutes to examine your door’s extension spring. Older springs may squeak or sag or show other signs of wear and tear that need to be addressed. The last thing you need is an old spring snapping and sending your door crashing down.
3. Clean and Organize
Sometimes the first step toward an upgraded garage is to weed through all the stuff that’s accumulated inside. If your family is like most, you have a tendency to store old toys, clothes and small appliances in your garage so they won’t take up valuable closet space inside. Maybe you’ve got lawn equipment or sports gear stacked up as well. Maybe it’s so bad that it’s been a while since you were able to park a car inside of your garage.
If that describes your garage, you aren’t alone. But there is a way to fix it.
Transform your garage from storage space to usable space by cleaning up and cleaning out! Go through all the boxes and bags that have been piling up. Donate what you don’t need, then move lawn equipment and other outdoor items to the shed.
Once you’ve done that, take a look at what’s left. There’s no reason you can’t keep your son’s football equipment in the garage, but get it off the floor and into a labeled plastic bin, then put it on a shelf where it can be easily accessed during football season. If you have a workbench and keep a lot of tools in the garage, put them away in the proper place and label everything so that you can easily find it later.
Once everything is put into a proper spot, give the garage a good clean using a wet-dry vacuum or a leaf blower. Get all the dust and dirt off of the floor, as well as any shelving and surfaces where it’s accumulated.
4. Add Storage
As you’re cleaning up the garage, you may quickly realize that the reason everything is piled up around the garage is that you don’t have adequate storage for everything you want to keep out there. Now is a great time to add storage space in your garage. Ideally, you should make sure that boxes and valuables are stored up off the floor and in waterproof containers, and there are lots of different options out there to make that happen.
Everyone has different goals when it comes to organizing their garage and adding storage, but ultimately your goal should be to organize and store items in a way that works for you. For some people, this means making room in the garage to park at least one vehicle. For other people, this means turning the garage into a functional workspace with room for a tool bench, mechanics tools and more. By determining what your ultimate goal is, you can decide what storage system will work best for you.
It can be tempting to go cheap and buy some free-standing wire shelving from a big box store, but this is one time that cheaper is definitely not better. Consider making an investment in heavy-duty shelving and cabinets that are bolted into the walls and won’t fall over when you reach for the top shelf. They’re built to handle anything from power tools to sports equipment and everything in between. You can also buy racks or chains to hang bikes, kayaks or other large items that can’t be placed in a cabinet.
5. Add or Replace Weatherstripping for Better Bad Weather Protection
Weatherstripping — the thin rubber strip that runs around the bottom and sides of your garage door — doesn’t last forever. For it to do its job of keeping air from leaking into the garage around the door, it needs to be able to make a seal when the door is closed. Over time, weatherstripping can shrink or become damaged and, eventually, it can’t keep outside air outside.
To determine whether you need new weatherstripping, you’ll need to do a little sleuthing. First, think back to the last rainstorm. Did you notice any moisture creeping through the garage door? This could be a sign that your weatherstripping has gaps or holes that are letting water through. Have you noticed an influx of bugs or any rodent droppings in your garage that might indicate that unwanted visitors are making their way inside? Finally, close the garage door and look along the bottom and sides of the door. If you see areas where sunlight is peeking through, it’s time for new weatherstripping.
There’s a lot of information online about replacing weatherstripping on a garage door, but, similar to the rollers, it’s a good idea to let a professional garage door company handle replacing weatherstripping on your garage door. It’s an inexpensive repair and it’s better to let the pros handle it safely and efficiently.
6. Improve the Lighting
Your garage probably has a light already, but it may not be big enough or bright enough to light the space efficiently. This is especially true if you use your garage as a workspace, workout room or craft area. Switching to longer fluorescent lighting strips or task lighting over a workbench can help you move around with ease.
Garage lighting can also be a safety issue. Make sure that you have sufficient lighting outside of your garage as well. A well-light driveway, as well as a light near any other exterior doors in the garage, helps to keep you safe when you’re going in and out of the garage at night. Also, if you don’t already have them in place, it’s time to install switches by every entrance for quick and safe turn-ons. An experienced electrician can help you determine what lighting would work best in your garage and install it safely and quickly.
7. Replace Flooring or Seal Cracks
There are a lot of reasons a concrete floor may have cracks, but it’s worth investigating if you notice them in your garage. The cracks may be the result of shrinking as the concrete cures or settlement of the floor. Over time, cracks can become a problem if they allow moisture into your garage. In some cases, water may freeze inside of the cracks, and, as the ice expands, it can expand the cracks too.
In most cases, cracks in the floor can be repaired and covered by an epoxy coating. This coating fills and covers the cracks, as well as extends the life of your garage floor. The great thing about an epoxy coating is that it’s really simple to keep clean — a hose and water typically do the trick — and it stands up well to lots of foot and vehicle traffic, making it a great way to preserve your concrete slab and overall function of your garage.
8. Upgrade the Door
One of the quickest ways to give your garage a facelift is to purchase a new garage door. Depending on the size of your home, your garage door may comprise as much as 30% of your home’s exterior. You want it to look good! When you purchase a new garage door, it can instantly transform the curb appeal of your home, taking it from just another house to the neighborhood gem.
The average garage door lasts around 30 years, so if your door is nearing the end of its lifespan, then it’s definitely time for an upgrade. If it’s not that old, you may also want to consider purchasing a new door if yours is dented, warped or cracked.
Purchasing a new garage door is a budget-friendly option for upgrading your garage, and these days you don’t have to pick between beauty and durability. You can opt for a garage door in a style that compliments your home, including contemporary, traditional and carriage house doors. Besides choosing a garage door that looks good, there are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to durability and insulation too.
If you’re purchasing a new door, it might be time to purchase a new automatic garage door opener, as well. Again, consider the age of your current model and any issues you might be having. If your door is getting stuck or your garage door opener isn’t working all the time, then it might be time to upgrade.
Upgrading Your Garage With Liberty Door and Awning
Upgrading your garage doesn’t have to be stressful. When it comes to replacing rollers, weatherstripping or the door itself, Liberty Door and Awning is a local expert in garage door repair and replacement. With more than 20 years in business, we’re proud to be Clopay’s largest garage door dealer in New Jersey and the go-to garage repair company for Atlantic, Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
If you’re in the market for a new garage door, browse our selection online or visit our Forked River showroom. Request service online or call us at (732) 286-3667.