Make the Most of Your Garage Ceiling

Follow these tips to find just the right ceiling strategy for your garage.

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DH2013_Garage-05-Bikes-EPP2771_s4x3

In the HGTV Dream Home 2013, the garage accommodates two vehicles and provides storage space for bikes, kayaks and golfing equipment.

Photo by: Eric Perry

Eric Perry

In the HGTV Dream Home 2013, the garage accommodates two vehicles and provides storage space for bikes, kayaks and golfing equipment.

By: Karen M. Alley

Often, the ceiling is an afterthought in a remodeling project, but don’t let it take a backseat in your garage remodel. Whether you’re trying to expand your storage space, improve the efficiency of the room or convert the space into something other than a garage, planning to make good use of the ceiling can vastly improve your project.

One caveat: Before you start, check with local building inspectors to bone up on the codes. For attached garages, especially those with living spaces above them, there are important fire regulations to follow to keep your family safe.

Increasing Efficiency

If the goal of your remodel is not just to freshen up the look of your garage but to make it a place you can park your cars again, look to your ceiling as an overhead storage facility. By attaching a variety of hooks, shelves and racks, you can store everything from bikes and skis to holiday decorations.

The key is to start out with a strong foundation. If you are working with an unfinished area, add blocking between the trusses where you will be putting your items. This is also a good time to add insulation to make the space more user-friendly in winter months, or to help improve the efficiency of your home if the garage has a living space above it.

If you already have drywall in place, there will be spots where you can attach shelves and hooks to a floor or ceiling joist, but those original joists won’t accommodate every layout. “One option I have used is to take a 1x4 or 2x4, depending on how much weight it will be holding, and nail that to the ceiling,” says Jeff Canter of JK Canter Builders in Wilkesboro, N.C. “If you put a decorative edge on it and paint it, it looks like a nice trim board.”

Creating a Workshop

If you’re planning to turn your garage into a wood or automotive workshop, you’ll need a ceiling that will hold up under some stress but also add light. Metal ceilings are great for this — they are durable and reflect light, and they’re easy to install with no sanding or painting required.

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Installing a soundproof drop ceiling helps cut noise from garage projects, from bands to band saws.

Installing a soundproof drop ceiling helps cut noise from garage projects, from bands to band saws.

Let the Band Play On

Whether your teenagers host band practice or you always have weekend projects going, garage activities are often loud. A soundproofed ceiling can combat this, and there are a number of options to choose from. Drywall helps absorb sound, and you can consider attaching a roll of soundproof material or corkboard, which not only muffle sound but are also sustainable building materials. Or create a drop ceiling with acoustic tiles.

Expanding Your Living Area

With tiles that come in all sorts of styles and colors, drop ceilings are a good option for garages. Not only are they lightweight and easy to install, they hide any wires or exposed plumbing you might have. The drawback is that they’re somewhat flimsy — not a good option if you’re planning for added storage space.

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