When homeowners think about remodeling, it’s often the the kitchen and bathroom areas that get all the remodeling attention — but why do those spaces get to have all the fun? What about the garage? The garage is a part of the home that gets used every day, and it holds a lot of potential for making your home more functional and more valuable. It’s truly a families gateway to the home.
To figure out which garage upgrades are best for adding value to your home, focus on projects that make the space more functional for your own use, as well as improvements that will appeal to potential buyers if you decide to sell. The following garage upgrade tips will get you started.
Install a New Garage Door
Does your garage door look dated? Is it damaged or rusted? Garage doors account for up to 30 percent of the front of your home. With such a large spot on the façade, an old garage door really stands out — and not for positive reasons. Replacing an outdated door gives your home’s curb appeal an instant boost, but looks aren’t everything. A garage door replacement can also provide better insulation and safety for your and home.
The average midrange insulated garage door replacement costs approximately $1,500 and boosts your home’s resale value by $1,410, giving you a return-on-investment of 88.4 percent. That’s a lot of value added to your home for a modest investment, making this one of the best garage upgrade ideas. If you don’t plan to sell your home right away, you still get to enjoy the perks of a new garage door.
Choosing a garage door sounds simple, but the task comes with several decisions. Consider these factors if replacing your garage door is on your upgrade list:
- Opt for a door with insulation. For the best value, choose a quality garage door with insulation to help control the temperature and reduce noise in the garage. Doors typically come with polystyrene or polyurethane insulation sandwiched between the primary garage door material. Note the R-value of the door’s insulation. A higher number means greater insulation. Polyurethane-insulated doors typically offer a higher R-value while having a thinner profile.
- Select the best material for your environment and needs. Steel is strong and secure, often with coatings to prevent rusting, making it a long-lasting, durable material option. Wood offers classic natural beauty with a variety of finish options and decorative detailing. Fiberglass and aluminum doors offer a lightweight, translucent option to brighten the garage while resisting damage from salty air. Vinyl is an affordable, low-maintenance option that resists denting and weather damage. Receive a free consultation if you’re not sure which material works best for your situation.
- Consider the style of the door. The material has some impact on the overall style, but the decorative detailing also influences the look of the door. The new door should complement the overall style of your home. Add hardware, impact windows or match the color to your front door while complimenting the architecture of your home.
- Follow any local building regulations. A new garage door requires a permit in almost all cases. Buyer beware if a contractor tells you otherwise. At least check local building and neighborhood codes before starting a new project.
- Choose stock, semi-custom or custom doors. Stock doors come in set designs with no customization. Semi-custom doors give you some options for panel styles, window inserts and other detailing. A custom door is typically a high-end door you design completely to get the exact look you want.
- Check the terms of the warranty. New garage doors come with warranties, but the length and terms of those warranties can vary.
- Make sure there are no hidden costs. New garage doors should include all new hardware, tracks, rollers, and springs; as well as installation, to ensure there are no surprise fees later.
Update the Flooring
Changing the garage flooring serves several purposes, such as:
- Hiding blemishes
- Giving the floor a new look
- Protecting the floor from future damage
- Improving the safety of the space
Garages tend to be busy places. Even if you don’t park a vehicle in the garage, the foot traffic does a number to the flooring.
The two main types of garage flooring are coatings and coverings. Coatings go on the existing floor, typically in a paint-type material. Coverings use a separate material that sits on top of the existing floor, such as tiles or a rolled material.
An epoxy coating is a quick and easy way to update the garage flooring while making it a safer place to work. Epoxy covers up any existing stains or other marks on the floor, giving your space a clean, fresh look. Choose from a variety of colors to get the look you want with a shiny new finish.
Epoxy lets you easily clean up any liquid spills in the garage because it resists oil, water and other liquids. Choose a garage epoxy with added antiskid material to create a gritty surface that gives you some grip while walking on the surface. Your tires will get traction, too, so they’ll also be less likely to slip. Plain concrete floors get very slick when wet, so the safety of having an antiskid surface is worth the investment.
If you just want to change the look of the existing floor, a concrete stain and sealer is an option. Stain lets you change the color or even add a marbled design to resemble natural stone. Concrete sealers help protect the floor and seal up the concrete for easier maintenance.
Coatings work best on floors without lots of moisture, as the dampness makes the coating bubble or chip. If your floor gets a lot of moisture year round, consider a floor covering instead. Coating materials also require a clean surface to adhere properly. That means you’ll need to remove any grease and dirt on the floor and fix any holes or cracks before you apply the coating. The prep work can take a significant amount of time.
Garage floor coverings include rigid snap-together tiles, interlocking flexible tiles and thick rubber roll-out mats. Tile options let you replace parts of the floor if some sections become stained or damaged. The floor covering selections come in a variety of color and texture options for a customized look. Some come with a perforated design to allow spills and melting snow to drain.
Floor coverings are typically easy to install and just require sweeping the floor before installation. Because they go on top of the existing floor without being permanently adhered, floor coverings are removable if you change your mind about the look.
The garage tends to be the dumping ground, storage area and workshop all wrapped into one space. When that space is limited, things tend to get a little messy and cluttered. Adding storage gives all those items a designated home and keeps the garage organized. Storage solutions let you create different zones for the various activities you do in your garage.
Here are some garage update ideas related to storage:
- Install shelves on the wall. Wall-mounted shelves keep the garage floor space open, leaving more room to open and close your car door or store larger items, such as lawnmowers. When installed properly, wall shelves are sturdy without concerns of tipping. Leave enough clearance between shelves and the ceiling to accommodate various items.
- Set up freestanding shelves if you want the option to rearrange. Freestanding wire or plastic shelving units offer flexible placement options. Choose shelving sturdy enough to handle heavy boxes and garage items. Anchoring the shelves to the wall can help prevent tipping.
- Install specific hangers and organizers for specialty items. Specialty hangers for sporting equipment and yard tools give each item a specific home. The holders keep those items from falling all over or getting lost, and they make the space look tidy.
- Hang items from the ceiling. Large hooks anchored into the ceiling let you suspend items, such as bicycles, to keep them off the floor, yet still accessible. Another option is to install ceiling-mounted racks. These heavy-duty wire racks hold totes or boxes of items out of the way, making use of ceiling space that otherwise goes unused.
- Build a storage loft for a larger more permanent overhead storage solution. This option works best for garages with high ceilings.
- Add a small workbench with built-in tool storage. This creates a dedicated workspace while keeping your tools organized and within reach. Avoid taking up too much space or interfering with parking and other primary functions of the garage, though.
- Provide locking storage for dangerous items. If you keep harsh chemicals or dangerous tools in your garage, a locking cabinet can help secure those items. That is particularly helpful when you have kids in the home.
Consider the ways you use the garage space when choosing storage solutions. If you plan to sell your home soon, opt for flexible storage that works with a variety of items to appeal to a variety of buyers. Install quality durable storage units that will last for years to maximize your investment.
Brighten Your Space With New Lighting
A lack of large windows limits the amount of natural light that filters into your garage, and if you only have a few single bare bulbs illuminating the space, your garage can feel dark and cave-like. Try investing in some new lighting to brighten up the space. Not only does the lighting give the garage a better ambiance, it makes the space more functional if you use it as a workspace. Ample lighting also makes the garage a safe place to navigate.
Long fluorescent light fixtures provide broad general lighting throughout the garage. If you live in a cold climate, opt for fixtures that use electronic ballasts to ensure proper lighting when the temperature dips. Fixtures with magnetic ballasts may not turn on in cold temperatures. Check the starting temperature of the light fixture before purchasing if cold is an issue in your area.
You can also add task lighting over your workbench or other designated work area. This provides targeted light for detailed projects. Space lights around the garage for even illumination without pockets of darkness. An eight-foot fluorescent fixture for each car space should do the trick to adequately light those areas as well.
New lighting fixtures on the outside of the garage also give your home an easy update. Replace existing fixtures flanking the garage door to give your home’s exterior an updated look. Hire an electrician to add lighting fixtures if you don’t currently have any outside the garage. The exterior garage lighting gives your home a pleasant glow and adds the safety of illuminating the area at night.
For best results, a licensed electrician should handle any changes to rewiring or the addition of new hardwired lighting fixtures. Additionally, an electrician can add extra electrical outlets inside the garage at the same time. Extra outlets are always handy, especially in garages where you might use power tools or plug in extension cords to bring electricity outdoors. Assess the current outlet situation to determine where new outlets would be beneficial.
Automate Your Garage With a New WiFi Enabled Garage Door Opener
Upgrade your basic garage door opener with new technology. MyQ Garage Door Opener systems give you complete control of your garage door from anywhere via smartphone. This gives you access to the garage door whether you are at home or away from home, providing convenience and peace of mind.
The system offers the following functions:
- Garage door monitoring: Use the smartphone app to check the current status of your door even if you aren’t at home. You’ll never have to worry about whether or not you closed the garage door, because you can check right from your phone.
- Remote garage door opening and closing: The MyQ system lets you open or close your garage door even when you’re away. Close the garage door if a family member left it open. Let a handyman in through the garage without leaving work. Whatever the reason for remote opening and closing, this system gives you that flexibility when you can’t make it home.
- Gate control: The system works on some automatic gate systems, offering remote opening and closing to give someone access when you aren’t right there.
- Activity alerts: MyQ sends you alerts through your smartphone to let you know when anything happens with your garage door.
The MyQ system works with a variety of garage door opener brands, including LiftMaster®, Chamberlain, Craftsman, Genie, Raynor, Stanley, Wayne Dalton and more. Your door needs IR photo eyes to work with the system, and it only works with sectional garage doors. If your current garage door isn’t compatible with MyQ, consider a garage door replacement with the addition of MyQ for a modern garage entry system.
Installing this system makes your life so much easier by letting you monitor and control your garage door even when you aren’t home. It provides a sense of security since you can always make sure your garage door is closed while controlling access from anywhere.
Be Careful With Garage Conversions
Converting a garage to a workshop or additional living space seems like a smart move, but it can actually hurt the resale value of your home. Most buyers want a garage, especially when weather is a factor. Car owners want a place to protect their vehicles from harsh sunlight and inclement weather. In fact, some buyers may not even look at your home if you have no garage or if you convert the garage to a room. When given the choice between a garage or an extra room in the home, many people prefer the garage space.
Consider an addition to the home instead of converting the garage if you really want or need more space. Another option if the setup allows is to add a room on top of the garage. This option keeps all of your yard space intact. You retain the value of a garage while increasing the square footage of your living space, which benefits you while you live in the home and increases the value if you decide to sell.
Get Started on Garage Updates
When you decide to upgrade garage components, consider both the impact on your life while you live in the home and the potential value for buyers if you put your home on the market.
If you are in the west central Florida area, contact Banko Overhead Doors to schedule garage door repair, request a free estimate on garage door replacement or additional information on a new garage door opener.
Additional Resources on Garage Tips and Tricks:
- Garage Door Trends
- Garage Door Safety Tips
- When To Replace a Garage Door
- Parts of a Garage Door System