Design Notebook

Garages go from dull to dynamic

Instead of having a garage that’s a ‘catch-all’ for clutter not wanted in the house, envision the space as an extension of your home

Special to The TribuneJanuary 8, 2013 

Reinvent your garage into a space that’s inviting. Here, a classic checkerboard-patterned floor and new cabinets create a theme that can be continued in other areas.

COURTESY OF ULTIMATE GARAGE FLOORS

  • Garage remodeling tips from Adam Troia

    NOT JUST FOR GARAGES Concrete coatings are also good for patios, basements, driveways, entryways and wine cellars. Under more traditional flooring such as carpet, tile or hardwood, concrete coatings mitigate any moisture problems that can cause damage.

    MAKE IT WELCOMING Many people enter their home through their garage more often than their front door. If this is the case, try to make the garage a welcoming place. Select a warm color for floors and walls that complements the rest of the home. Make the space more inviting underfoot, and cut down on clutter.

    DON’T OVERLOAD Be sure to know the weight ratings for the shelves of your garage cabinets. Overloading them may shorten the life of the cabinets, and poorer quality shelves may sag.

If a room addition seems out of the question, Adam Troia suggests taking a closer look at your garage.

“Garages are now being used as an extension to the home,” he said, noting that a well-appointed garage can be a rec room, craft room, home theater, office, or even a place to entertain guests.

Arroyo Grande’s Ultimate Garage Floors, which Troia owns with wife Gina Perrault-Troia, sells and installs garage-enhancing products such as custom concrete floor coatings and cabinets, as well as storage and organizing systems.

If your garage is more dungeon than den, Troia suggests determining what factors are limiting its potential. For instance, is the cold and grungy floor less than inviting? Then perhaps a concrete coating is the first order of business.

“Coatings can provide an aesthetic enhancement to the space,” he said. “They can make the space a brighter, or give it a warmer feel, even helping to create a theme to the space or continue a theme from the interior or exterior of the home.”

Coatings hide blemishes such as cracks, pitting and stains and create an easy-to-clean surface.

“Coatings seal the concrete and can provide protection from automotive fluids leaking and staining your concrete, and enhance the longevity of the concrete surface,” Troia noted. “Most of our coatings can be cleaned with a simple water and vinegar mixture, and require little or no maintenance.”

Ultimate Garage Floors offers numerous finishes in a nearly unlimited number of color combinations. You can mimic the look of granite, terrazzo or quartz, or add some bling with a metallic finish. You can go with a classic checkerboard design or embed a favorite logo. The finish can be textured or very smooth.

The typical installation takes between one and three days and costs between $2.50 and $4.50 per square foot. It may be tempting to look at cheaper options, but Troia offers a caveat.

“Coatings last much longer than other flooring systems like mats or plastic tiles that can chip, break, and trap moisture,” he said.

DIY garage epoxy kits, though low-cost, use the cheapest materials, according to Troia. It’s also tough to adequately prepare the surface if you’re not trained and certified in the process.

“We show up with our concrete grinders with several different types of diamond heads to open up the pores of the concrete. Our grinders are attached to industrial vacuums to minimize the dust. We also have special methods to treat cracking and expansion joints,” he said.

Troia noted another reason why garages tend to be underutilized spaces.

“The most common complaint we hear is that people hate their garage because it has become a catch-all for the clutter that is not wanted inside the home. There is a lack of organization, and people have a hard time figuring out where to start to address the problem.”

Ultimate Garage Floors offers a variety of cabinets and storage systems, including an owner-installed line of cabinets. According to Troia, the most overlooked type of garage storage is overhead racks that are ideal for holding seasonal or rarely-used items. He offers nine different sizes of overhead racks. The largest is 4 feet by 8 feet and rated to hold a load up to 600 pounds — enough to take a sizable chunk out of clutter and perhaps make the garage your new favorite room.

Adam Troia may be contacted at 617-4140 or 877-858-4400.

Reach Rebecca Juretic at rajuretic@sbcglobal.net.

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