Some people use their home garage as a storage locker. Or an oversized bike rack and toy box. Or just a place to park the snowblower when it gets so hot if makes you wonder if the “F” in the temperature stands for something other than “Fahrenheit.”
But not you.
No, you don’t really own a home. You own a garage that happens to have a few bedrooms and a kitchen attached. Your work area is stocked, spotless and organized down to the screw. But there are a few things you could do to take your garage to the next level.
Lighting. You might be using 100-watt bulbs. You may even have adjustable overhead lighting so that you don’t need to ask a family member to spotlight your current task with a flashlight. But you can do better:
- Install shop-style fluorescent lighting across the ceiling so that it looks like high noon even if it’s midnight.
- Get portable LED lights for work under the hood.
- Don’t discount the power of an LED headlamp. These are typically marketed as camping and hiking equipment, but they can save a lot of time and hassle once you’re under the hood or the car itself.
Flooring. Tired of your concrete floor getting stained by old lubricants and other harsh fluids? There are a few possibilities that will improve the look of your workspace and make it easier to maintain. You could:
- Buy a large rubber mat that’s manufactured specifically for garages. It will contain dirt and fluids so they don’t screw up your concrete.
- Finish the entire floor with a few layers of epoxy paint, which would prevent staining and provide a good, workable surface.
- Go right to the preferred flooring of the master garage mechanics: interlocking tiles that snap together to form a protective barrier that you can replace and modify as necessary.
Safety. Fire extinguishers that are rated for flammable liquids are a must. You should never be more than a few steps away from one. To keep any flames at bay, you may want to go beyond fire extinguishers:
- Consider a sprinkler system. It may sound extreme, but nothing is more extreme than standing on your lawn watching firemen head toward your home with hoses and axes.
- Install a solid-core, fire-rated door that leads from your garage to your home.
Lifts. Jacks, stands and ramps work okay. But your garage is not a place for “okay.” Your garage is a place that should make your work as easy as possible and your friends as jealous as possible. Nothing does both of those like a lift or two. When it comes to lifts in your garage, it’s all about what will help you work best. If your garage doesn’t have a lot of head room, consider a low- or mid-rise lift. If height isn’t an issue, take your pick between a two post lift or a four post lift. Two posts set the standard in durability, ease of use and performance. Four posts give you all of that plus the convenience of drive-on platforms and additional storage space. And who doesn’t need more space?