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20 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Garage

Forget New Year's resolutions for yourself—will they last beyond January anyway? Make some resolutions for your garage instead and enjoy your perfect working and storage place all year.

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FH13MAR_536_53_S01 garage security new year's resolutionsFamily Handyman

Improve Security

Whatever you keep in your garage, security should be a top priority, so check out our top tips for making your garage safe from intruders. See how to prevent thieves from fishing for the handle with wire, how to cover the windows to conceal what’s inside and how to add security lighting. Also, learn about door sensors that alert you if the garage doors are forced open (or you’ve forgotten to close them!), or even how to install a whole-house security system for ultimate protection.

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FH04SEP_0FH04SEPT_03401_008 messy garage organizationFamily Handyman

Give the Garage Door a New Lease of Life

A smart and well-maintained door is essential for a fully-functional garage. One of your New Year’s resolutions should be to give your garage door the once over, following our comprehensive guide, that includes full safety information for inspecting automatic doors. If your door isn’t working properly, use our troubleshooting tips to fix it once and for all, or if you’re looking at a complete replacement, see how to choose the best door for you.

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FH08SEP_491_06_219 clean garage floorFamily Handyman

Clean the Garage Floor


A floor that’s splattered with oil stains and gray with grime will spoil the whole look of your garage. So why not give your floor a spruce-up? It can be done in a few hours and for less than $20—a big-impact, little-expensive New Year’s resolution.

Implement the tips in our guide to removing  garage stains and dirt using a proprietary cleaner or eco-friendly alternative. Just be sure to assemble your tools (e.g. a stiff brush, dustpan and trowel) beforehand, and dispose of any waste responsibly. And don’t forget to use protective gear like safety glasses, long pants and long sleeves.

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FH03SEP_03063_062 vintage car garage floorFamily Handyman

Renovate the Garage Floor


If your floor is too far gone to clean effectively, a good alternative is to repaint it with epoxy floor paint. This paint gives your floor a showroom shine in a range of vibrant colors. This finish is stain-resistant, making it ideal for working on your car or other DIY projects, and the project can be done in a weekend for less than $500.

Careful preparation is the key, removing surface stains and filling cracks is essential before applying two coats of paint. Allow plenty of drying time between coats. Work in a well-ventilated space, wear protective gear and remove anything that could spark a fire.

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FH10SEP_511_13_068 Sheet metal drawer linersFamily Handyman

Organize Automotive Tools


Whether you’re a beginner that likes to tinker, or a full-fledged expert mechanic, a disorganized garage is frustrating and wastes time. So if you’re tired of searching for your tools, take a look at our garage storage tips for the mechanic. Our suggestions for a rolling cart, hanging storage for tools, drawer organizers and metal drawer liners will make your garage the envy of every home mechanic and make working on your car a joy.

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Convert Extra Storage Space shed garage

Install Double-Decker Storage to Utilize Space


Space is always at a premium in the garage, so why not make it one of your New Year’s resolutions to look up? You can build this double-decker unit to hold loads of miscellany. The upper shelf is great for smaller items like cans and small storage crates, keeping them safely out of the reach of children and pets. The sturdy hooks below provide space for hanging hoses and cords, so they’re sorted, easy to see and instantly accessible. This unit can easily be built in a day!

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LED lightsFamily Handyman

Upgrade to LED Lights


LED light bulbs have several advantages over traditional bulbs, so one of your New Year’s resolutions might be to replace your old light fixtures and light bulbs with LED bulbs. You’ll save on your energy bills, as LEDs use between 30- and 50-percent less electricity than fluorescents. And you won’t have the tiresome task of recycling your fluorescent tubes either. Our project guide has all the information you need to complete this job successfully.

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Save Space With Wall Storage


Don’t waste the wall space next to your vehicle. Follow our instructions for constructing a space-saving storage system that fits neatly into that limited space.

Heavy-duty shelves, designed to hold significant weight safely, are fixed firmly to the wall. Lower shelves are narrow, with wider shelves fitted above the car roof level for maximum storage capacity. There’s even a fold-down table/workbench with a concealed tool rack inside. Fully customizable to fit your space perfectly, this storage system is easy to build in a day and costs between $100 and $500.

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FH10SEP_511_54_049 garage door openerFamily Handyman

Replace the Garage Door Opener


If your current garage door opener is broken, make it one of your New Year’s resolutions to replace it. Our step-by-step guide begins with checking the components, so you don’t shell out on a complete replacement if it’s just a part that’s needed. The guide takes you through every stage, including important safety advice to avoid accidents, and also shares a few tips you won’t find in the owner’s manual. Don’t put up with a sub-standard performance from your door opener—fix it now!

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Make Use of Ceiling Space


Ceiling storage can be as simple as a few well-placed hooks where you hang bicycles, garden hoses or a ladder. For smaller items, this clever sliding storage system has ample room for camping gear, sports equipment or summer barbecue tools. Using just a few lengths of 2×4, some plywood and some inexpensive plastic totes, this hanging storage solution keeps everything you need safely out of the way, releasing the floor for larger items and easy cleaning. It’s quick and simple to install—just don’t forget to label your totes!

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Add Outlets


Fed up with stretching extension cords around your garage when you want to use your power tools? Trailing wires are annoying and dangerous, so make one of your New Year’s resolutions to solve this problem. Install additional outlets in your garage for safety and ease of working.

First, check whether your existing circuit has sufficient capacity. If not, you’ll need to run in another circuit.

Then follow our project guide to wiring a finished garage. Using PVC conduit is convenient, looks neat and saves time, and full instructions are given for every step. This weekend project requires moderate skills, although if in any doubt, consult a professional, and always get your electrical work inspected for safety.

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Choose the Best Garage Heater


It’s impossible to concentrate fully and work safely if you’re chilled to the bone, so if you’re out in your garage in winter, one of your New Year’s resolutions should be to install a proper heating system. There are various options, and the best choice depends on your circumstances.

The most affordable option is a portable kerosene or propane heater, but although they’re inexpensive, they require ventilation and create humidity—not good for tools! Infrared heaters work by heating objects instead of the air, but they’re double the price of a forced-air heater.

Many experts recommend a gas-fired, forced air heater that’s mounted to the ceiling for safety. If you work with flammable materials, choose a heater with a separate external combustion chamber. Natural gas heaters are another option. They can be mounted within 1in. of ceiling. For further details, take a look at our guide to choosing the best garage heater for you.

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Choose the Best Garage Heater


Ultimately, if this is the year to go all out, give your basic garage an extreme makeover and convert it into a games room, a study, a man-cave or just an extra room.

Install blocking and framing for stud walls and add an inexpensive and effective drywall ceiling. Don’t forget to include extra insulation to keep everything cozy and energy-efficient in winter, and ventilation for fresh air in the summer. Add the big three, power, light and heat, and you’ll have the perfect additional space to use however you like.

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Garage Wi-Fi

An open garage door is an invitation to thieves. In the blink of an eye, they can make off with bikes, mowers and sports equipment. If you have an attached garage, leaving your garage door open is the best way for burglars to enter your home and steal even more! And face it, how many times have you forgotten to close your garage door at night? Yeah, we thought so.

Solve the problem by retrofitting your garage door openers with a Wi-Fi controller, and check out our guide for how to secure your garage from thieves. A Wi-Fi controller and smartphone app lets you check door status from anywhere and close it with a screen click. The app allows you to set a nightly closing time so you never forget or close the door if its been open too long. Plus, the app can send you an alert if the door is opened when your not home.

Installation is easy, but you do have to check your Wi-Fi signal strength and garage door opener compatibility before you buy. Plus, learn our tips on how to replace an existing opener.

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Garage Door Doesn't Open: Lube the Rail

Garage Door Doesn't Open: Lube the Rail

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No matter what type of garage door opener you have, you should always lube the rail where it comes in contact with the trolley carriage. Use a lubricant that doesn't attract dirt. Silicone spray is a good choice. If you have a screw-drive opener, you'll need to grease several spots along the rail gear at least once or twice a year. In colder climates, use lithium grease, which won't harden when the temperature drops. Many home centers sell specifically formulated products near the openers. And don't use too much or it could drip on your car.

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Garage Door Won't Open All the Way: Check the Chain Tension

Garage Door Won't Open All the Way: Check the Chain Tension

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Most chain drive openers suggest you tighten the chain so there's about 1/4 in. to 1/2 in. of slack from the rail to the chain (check your manual). Over tightening the chain will put excess wear and tear on the shaft and gears. Too little tension could cause the chain to skip off the sprocket and fall down on your car.

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noisy garage doorFamily Handyman

Fix a Noisy Garage Door

The fixes for a garage door that makes a racket when it opens and closes are fairly easy and will take less than an hour. Here’s a complete guide to fixing a noisy garage door.

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Weekend mechanics love warm floors

Weekend mechanics love warm floors

Family Handyman

Tom Kapikian was looking for a DIY-friendly heating system for his new garage. He was tired of crawling around on a cold concrete floor to work on his car and wanted a system that was quiet and efficient. He decided to install a PEX radiant in-floor heating system and loves the results. PEX tubing carries warm water through the slab, where it releases heat, warming the floor and garage. Since the floor is warm, you can keep the heat set at a lower level and still feel comfortable. Materials for a DIY in-floor heat system cost about $2 to $3 per square foot. A professionally installed system costs about twice this much. And you don't need a boiler. You can use a conventional water heater or an on-demand water heater as a heat source. To insulate the tubing and prevent heat loss through the slab, you install sheets of rigid insulation board under the tubing and around the edges of the slab. And of course you'll want to insulate the garage walls, ceiling and overhead door and pay close attention to sealing air leaks around all the doors and windows too. For information on installing and purchasing in-floor heat supplies, go to pexsupply.com.

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Insulate the Garage Door

Studies done by garage door manufacturers prove that an energy-efficient R-18 insulated garage door can keep your garage about 12 degrees warmer in winter months and about 25 degrees cooler in summer. That reduces energy loss along the insulated walls and ceiling. Here’s how to do it yourself.

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Seal the Holes

Seal the Holes

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If you're drilling holes through top and bottom plates or running wires through a fire wall in the garage, you must seal those holes with a fire-resistant caulk or foam sealant to comply with fire and energy codes. Most building officials won't make you bust out large holes in ceilings and walls in order to access hard-to-reach holes, but check with your local official before you begin your project. Fire-blocking insulated foam sealant is sold at home centers and hardware stores. For more on working with foam sealant, check out this collection of helpful tips.