Your garage is one of the most functional rooms in your house. You store the car, tools, and lawnmower there. Yet, these spaces are often an afterthought for home renovation. Done right, a garage can transform into a combination of a living room and workshop — a place where you can hang out with your friends, build projects, and watch the game.
That said, few people want to spend a lot on garage renovation. What can you do yourself? Part of that answer to that question depends on your skills and plans. Unless you're highly experienced, it’s rare to do the work completely yourself. You may need to call in friends to help move the storage cabinets or contractors to pour an epoxy floor. Along the way, though, there are many ways to save money and complete major sections of the renovation yourself, finishing the project on your timeline.
Clean and Plan
Many garages wind up being an extension of the attic — that place where old toys and winter clothes wind up when you don’t have any other space to put them in. If you want to use the room as a place for more than storage, you’ll probably need to empty it out as much and see what you can actually do with the space.
You may need to donate, sell or recycle some of those treasured trinkets. Once you do, you’ll have a better understanding of your garage’s potential.
Do you have enough outlets to install a workbench and table saw? Is the floor cracked in ways that require repair or even re-pouring the concrete? After you have the answer to many of those questions, you can figure out what you’re going to need to do to manifest your garage’s potential. Some homeowners install custom closets and cabinets; others order what they need from Home Depot or storage manufacturers.
Depending on the scope of your vision and how handy you are with wood and electric projects, you may want to call up an architect to make some simple plans, either for yourself or a contractor.
Lighting and Electricity
Most garages aren’t designed to get a lot of natural light. So, if you’re not in a climate where you can just leave the doors open and let rays shine in, you’ll probably need to figure out a new lighting system. In some cases, aging, harsh fluorescent lights can be replaced with streamlined, energy saving LED strips.
In other layouts, walls will need to be pulled out and wiring redone for workspace spotlights or a nearby TV.
Scoping out the garage’s requirements will impact how much you’ll need to redo the space’s wiring. You may need to take down walls and put up new ones or even redesign the rafters to make your dream space a reality.
Once you’ve cleaned out those years of accumulated trinkets and tools, you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to keep and how you plan to store it.
Planning carefully is essential for storage. Have a lot of buttons, fabric scraps and nails? You can probably pick up cabinets and storage containers to keep everything separated. If you want a closet to hide away your snowblower, you may need to build something custom.
Measuring and estimating are key to ensuring you have the storage you need in the right configuration. If you plan on doing sewing, painting or woodworking projects in the garage, you’ll probably want storage units that keep needed supplies within arm’s reach.
Research and you’ll find that some specialized storage units are designed to be placed around a woodworking bench.
Refinishing your garage floor can transform it from a storage closet to a showroom. Most garages have a cement foundation, likely stained with oil and antifreeze drips that have accumulated over the years. A first step to improving the look is cleaning it with a bleach (make sure you use the appropriate type) and polishing it with a power sander.
For a more eye-catching finish, epoxy sealant can make your garage look like a car dealership. Not only is the covering durable and stain resistant, you can also give it a distinctive look with paint chip and stylized drips. To see examples, you can take a look at a site such as https://craftsmanconcretefloors.com/epoxy-garage-floors.
In the first video above, Lindsay Zuelich shows that it’s possible to do the epoxy yourself, but even she brought in contractors to demolish and re-pour her garage's cement floor. Needless to say, installing epoxy may not be a job you want to do yourself.
Once you understand the scope of your project, you'll probably want to consult contractors . In some cases, they be willing to have you build some parts of the project and let their team do others. The way you can get professional input, save some money and feel the pride of accomplishment when you show off your new space.