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Reimagining the Garage

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During the course of the pandemic as countless folks found themselves enjoying their living quarters more than ever before, the interest in home improvement projects skyrocketed. Fresh coats of paint were added to the walls to breathe new life into drab and discarded rooms. Basements were finished and outfitted with desired amenities. And of course, the most popular home renovation projects—kitchen and bathroom remodels—took center stage as homeowners looked at updating with the latest styles and trends. Even outdoor living spaces were reimagined with the addition of outdoor kitchens, decks, new hardscaping and landscaping, pools and much more.

In the midst of this flurry of activity, one room that was once considered an afterthought is garnering plenty of attention these days: the garage. Often cluttered, disorganized and neglected, the garage space has become the final frontier for those looking to truly transform their home and they are doing so by adding cabinetry for better organization, new flooring, enhanced lighting and other features. As a result, the garage has become much more than just a place to store lawn equipment, dump your kid's sports stuff or simply park the car.

Paul Greskovich, owner of Garage Craft Interiors, says he's definitely seen a large uptick of folks wanting to better organize and use their garage space of late. "People were realizing that they have this beautiful home on the inside, but they have to walk through a debris field to get there," he says. "And people always want to declutter; they suddenly realize when they look at things that they have stuff in the garage that they haven't touched for eight or 10 years and it make sense to do something."

And it's no wonder why these projects are gaining in popularity. With more than half of homeowners using the garage as their main entryway into the house, it's the first thing homeowners see when they arrive home and the last thing they see before they leave. What's more, a study by the United States Department of Energy showed that 25% of people with two-car garages don't park in them at all, largely due to clutter.

Joe Paul acknowledges there's been a noticeable spike in homeowners interested in garage makeovers since the pandemic. His company Apex Concrete Coating Solutions installs garage flooring systems, specializing in polyurea and polyaspartic coatings.

"People want to open their garage after coming home from a day of work and see organization, they want it to be clean. It's the room they come in and out of the most and they track a lot of dirt inside the house from the garage. In my case, they want a floor that's easier to keep clean," says Paul.

There are lots of color combinations that customers can choose from, but many look to have it blend with the rest of the home. "Most people gravitate toward colors in the house. If they have a lot of grey, for instance, they gravitate toward those base colors," Paul says.

Yasu Yamauchi, owner of Yasu Floors, has similarly found a lot of his clients have decided to install epoxy flooring out of practicality for the increased time they spend in their garages.

"Most people that choose this route do so because they are working in the garage a lot and they want something that is very easy to clean and functional. These floors don't absorb a lot of humidity and they're waterproof and chemical resistant," he says.

Floorguard's Reid Murray further illustrates epoxy flooring's effectiveness by touting its durability and industrial strength. "Ground water naturally evaporates through the soil and concrete slabs, so the epoxy coating is like a membrane on the floor and reduces the humidity you may experience in the garage."

Transylvania Concrete Coatings also offers a range of flooring coating options, including epoxy, metallic, chip and polyurea. While they all have their appeal, their Chip Evolution floor has become the most popular.

"The one that we recommend 99% of the time is the Chip Evolution floor because of its anti-skid, chip-resistant and chemical-resistant properties," says Bogdan Pop, principal.

In addition to the flooring, Floorguard's Murray also specializes in garage organization and has seen a lot of customers adding new lighting and painting the walls to create a new spot for family and friends to gather.

"[The garage] can be a hangout space. We did a project for people that wanted to host football games during the pandemic," says Murray.

Pop has also noticed that folks are looking for new ways to utilize their garage space. "Homeowners want to increase the square footage of their home. Whether it's adding a gym, creating a man cave, etc. We have seen a huge growth in this area."

Lenny Kelman, owner of Dream Garage Remodeling Co., says around 80% of his customers are all asking about new flooring, but once that's installed the other biggest trend he's seen has been homeowners' desire to better organize.

"People are trying to enclose everything and put it behind cabinet doors so everything looks clean," says Kelman.

While a clean, streamlined look certainly is easy on the eyes, Kelman stresses the importance of not only creating a garage that is aesthetically pleasing, but also functional for their specific needs.

"Whenever I go out to people's homes, based on what they need, I design something that is for them specifically. Everyone is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach," says Kelman.

Greskovich knows that firsthand as he's done everything from install pull-down staircases in the ceiling, add flatscreen TVs and refrigerators or change out the previous lighting for surface mount LEDs.

"Your quality of life improves dramatically after you makeover your garage," says Greskovich. "I take it from disorganized chaos and I make it a beautiful room. And people become much more reluctant to mess it up once they get it nice. They become more selective on what they decide to keep."

And for those looking to possibly cash-in on the red-hot real estate market, a refinished garage can boost curb appeal and help you fetch top dollar.

"If there are two homes for sale and one has a garage all made up—the floor is done, there's cabinets, shelving—and in the other home nothing has been done; most likely the home with the finished garage will sell first," offers Kelman.

Greskovich agrees: "If you go to sell your home and everything on the inside is nice, the person looking at your house has already looked at several other homes that are nice on the inside. But the one they'll remember is the one with the finished garage. It separates you from the crowd."

Apex Concrete Coating Solutions
Wilmington, Del.
(302) 993-6716

Dream Garage Remodeling
Langhorne, Pa.
(215) 874-6563

Serving Delaware and Pennsylvania
(302) 351-4224 | (484) 880-4302

Garage Craft Interiors
Warminster, Pa.
(215) 443-0458

Transylvania Concrete Coatings
Blackwood & Linwood N.J.
(856) 212-1109

Yasu Floors LLC
Kearny, N.J.
(862) 371-2200

Published (and copyrighted) in House & Home, Volume 22, Issue 9 (June 2022). 
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