Specialized Garage Systems
Think electrical, plumbing, and insulation are the only systems involved in creating a multi-purpose garage? Think again.
By: Chris Hill
If you use your garage for woodworking, auto repair or even gardening, standard home systems like electrical, plumbing and insulation may not have you covered. We'll help you figure out what you need and give you professional tips on installation and design.
If you plan on doing a lot of woodworking or any other hobby that creates dust and debris, a dust collection system is a must. At the low end, you can mount a canister-style shop vacuum to the wall nearest your workbench. At the upper end, you can install a dust collection system comprised of a centrifuge tank that ports hoses directly to your tools. Hoses and pipes can be attached to the walls and don’t need to be installed within them.
Air compressors rarely inspire buyer's remorse. More often, the feeling is, "How did I ever live without this thing?" Yes, they will handily inflate tires and air mattresses. But access to "shop air" brings the wide world of pneumatic tools within reach, and that means next-level stuff like die grinders, impact wrenches and nail guns. Compressors are available in a variety of configurations, from compact "pancake" and portable "hotdog" models (named for their tank shapes) to big, industrial-grade units. Choose an air compressor well-suited to your needs don't buy a pit-crew model if your duties aren't that heavy and expect to get what you pay for when weighing value and durability against the price point.
Plan for large overhead light fixtures, such as tube bulb-style fluorescent lights, to provide broad light coverage. Add task lighting as needed for specific work areas, such as over a crafting station. Yes, you can add lamps and undermount lights later, but it's easier to add dedicated lighting while you are already in the process of wiring the garage and have an open ceiling or walls.
If your garage is attached to the rest of your home, make sure the door connecting the two is fire-rated and seals tightly. The goal is to ensure that any noxious fumes, either from vehicles or projects you're working on, don’t enter the living space.
Every spring, we hear about tornado outbreaks in certain parts of the country. While storm shelters once were the norm, new home developments usually lack them. One popular way to add a storm shelter, or safe room, is to add it below the foundation of a garage. You can hire a professional to cut out a section of the floor, dig a space below grade, and insert a pre-fab storm shelter. The shelter is covered by a hinged door that closes flush with the rest of the garage floor. If you are building a garage from scratch, this is an excellent time to incorporate a safe room into the overall plan.
Questionnaire: Prioritize Your Garage Needs
Before you begin your garage makeover, decide exactly how you want the space to look and function.
What Not to Store in Your Garage
Garages can’t hold everything. Here’s a list of items you should store elsewhere.
Make the Most of Your Garage Ceiling
Follow these tips to find just the right ceiling strategy for your garage.
Which Garage Flooring is Right for You?
From plain concrete to specialty tiles, the right garage flooring lays the foundation for a well-designed space.
How to Choose Garage Walls
Garage walls do more than just hold the roof up and keep the elements out. Put yours to work with the perfect material for your needs.
Know Your Garage Remodel Costs
Deciding to build or remodel a garage is a major decision. And as soon as you make it, there’s one more right on its heels: Can you afford it? Use these 5 tips to help you create a realistic budget and stick to it.
Garage Plumbing Basics
Add water and gas lines, and you’ll instantly boost your garage’s multitasking ability.
Garage Makeover: When You Should Hire a Pro
Electrical wiring? Knocking out walls? Put down the toolbox and call in outside help.
Garage Insulation Basics
Adding insulation to a garage is the easiest do-it-yourself job in a renovation or new build.
Garage Wiring Basics
Power up! Garages have their own special electrical needs. Here’s how to plan for and execute them for maximum safety and convenience.
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