When you think about glamorous, exciting remodeling projects, the garage is probably not the first space in your home that leaps to mind. But garage remodeling has become the new frontier for homeowners looking to organize and reclaim space in their homes, and to do it with flair. Depending on your tastes, time and budget, it’s not difficult to create a garage space that’s not only the envy of the neighborhood, but probably the envy of many NASCAR shops as well.

As opposed to the typical approach to a garage, which is to put up a shelf or a cabinet whenever and wherever the need arises, today’s complete garage makeover includes several elements that all come together to form a clean, coordinated, and remarkably organized space. Wall systems, modular storage, floor covering and even garage appliances all combine to make your garage work harder than you ever thought possible.

WALL SYSTEMS

At the heart of most complete garage makeovers is the wall system. Modeled after the slotted panels seen on the walls of many retail stores that allow for quick and attractive changes in merchandising displays, garage wall storage systems incorporate designs and materials that are specifically intended to handle the dirt, dust, chemicals and temperature extremes that are found in garage environments.

The clean, lightweight wall panels are made from tough composite materials, and are usually 12 to 16 inches wide and 8 feet long for easy handling. They are attached to the wall studs and stacked up to cover all or part of the wall, and are easily cut to size for a custom fit. Matching trim is available to finish off the installation at the corners, and around electrical outlets.

With the panels in place, organizing the garage is as simple as slipping any of the various shelves, drawers, cabinets, bins, boxes, hooks and other storage components into the slots in the panels. Arrange the layout in any manner that suits your storage needs. Best of all, as those needs change it’s a matter of only minutes to rearrange the storage wall layout into a new customized configuration.

In addition to the full slotted panels, there are also individual channels available that can really simplify your storage problems. The channels are 6 by 48 inches, and installation is simply a matter of screwing one or more channels to the studs over an open or finished garage wall. The same cabinets, hooks, bins and other components that work with the wall panels also work with the channels, for fast, easy, and very flexible storage arrangements.

The design of both the wall panel and the channel is such that all the storage components clip into two parallel slots at the same time. This provides a non-slip grip that is very strong, and allows for hanging garden tools, bikes and a variety of other heavy items without a worry.

FINISH IT ALL OFF

Not everything in your new garage has to hang on the wall. First, you’ll want to add a matching workbench, which consists of heavy-duty steel legs and a smooth, 1 3/4-inch solid maple top, in both 6-foot and 8-foot lengths. Leg levelers make it a snap to level the bench to match uneven garage floors, and you can finish off the installation with the added convenience of a backsplash with integrated electrical outlets. And, of course, no workbench installation would be complete without a spiffy matching stool.

Rolling storage is next, in the form of some rugged drawer or cabinet units that roll right up next to your project on heavy-duty casters. And when you’re done, the design of the workbench is such that you can roll up to three of these storage bins under the bench and out of the way.

Now, how about adding some matching garage appliances. You can keep the drinks cold or store extra food that won’t fit in the kitchen in a refrigerator/freezer that’s specifically designed for the temperature and humidity extremes of the garage environment. And then help clean up the space with a tough, matching trash compactor. Both the compactor and the refrigerator are on heavy-duty casters to make reorganization of the space a breeze.

And finally, there’s the floor. Add a rugged, nonporous, water- and chemical-resistant flooring that cleans up that old concrete and protects the floor from further staining. The top surface is slip-resistant, and can be driven on as well. You can choose from 8-foot-wide roll materials or 12-by-12-inch interlocking tiles.

For more information on a couple of full lines of garage projects, check out Gladiator Garage Works and GarageTek.

Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at paul2887@hughes.net.

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