19 Nov 2013

By Jacqueline Simoneau | CAA Touring | Winter 2013

The inside of your garage looks like a scrapheap on a bad day. There’s not even enough space for a stroller, let alone a car. The item you desperately need is hidden beneath piles of junk. The time has come to reorganize.

First, tackle the contents and make three piles, keep, donate, and toss. Once you’ve cleaned up the mess, sort the items you want to keep into different categories (sports equipment, DIY materials, tools) for easy identification and retrieval. The next step is crucial: Prepare a space that’s orderly, practical and multifunctional. Make sure that your reorganization plan incorporates all current and future needs. What’s your budget? Do you plan to keep your car in the garage? Will you need additional storage space? Would you like to have well defined areas for various activities such as gardening, DIY projects and auto repairs?

Coating the concrete floor Before installing a storage system, consider coating the concrete floor with a sturdy product. The market is awash with choices. Among the most efficient is one that combines polyurethane and polyurea. It’s flexible and resistant to stains, scratches, chemicals, UV rays (won’t yellow or fade), scuffs and hot-tire marks. It’s seamless, odourless, durable, easy to maintain (water and a broom are all it takes) and available in several colours. The cost – including material, preparation and labour – is around $6 per square foot for a garage in good shape. Note that the product is sold only at stores specializing in concrete-floor coating.

Surface preparation is just as important as the coating application to ensure proper adhesion. First scrub the concrete slab with a diamond-blade sander to eliminate all traces of grease, oil, paint and dirt. If the surface is inadequaly scrubbed, the coating will scale, and its lifespan will be reduced. Next, fill any holes and cracks with a flexible polymer gel, which won’t crack in case the slab moves because of sudden temperature changes.

The floor is now ready to be coated. Spread the polyurethane with a trowel then use a roller to ensure a uniform coat. Next, scatter vinyl coloured flakes over the entire surface to reinforce the coating and make it slip-resistant (the vitrified surface can be slippery if wet) – plus the flakes will give the floor an appealing terrazzo look. Finish off with a coat of polyurea. This clear coating will seal in the vinyl flakes, provide a shiny finish and more importantly, long-lasting protection.

A word of advice: Have  the entire job done by a professional – you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches.

Storage systems You can hire a professionnal garage organizer – a trend that has become increasingly popular – or do it yourself, selecting storage systems adapted to your personal needs. Options include a wide range of products in various shapes and dimensions designed to optimize space down to the tiniest nooks and crannies. So shop around and visit showrooms.

A winning strategy: Free up floor space by maximizing wall and ceiling space. Store large and seasonal items (Christmas decorations, tires, chairs and other deck accessories) in bins that can go on ceiling – or wall-mounted racks. Make sure that brackets are secure and strong enough to support the weight.

Most wall-mounted storage cabinets are made of steel or melamine. Steel cabinets are usually prefabricated, and thus pre-assembled. Steel is solid, resilient, moisture – and waterproof. For strong, sturdy cabinets, choose an 18-gauge thickness. Melamine cabinets are practical when space is limited. They are sold in standard shapes and sizes, but can be custom-made to suit your requirements and your garage configuration. Choose good-quality melamine – the high-density thermo-bonded kind, for example – which won’t warp and can withstand dampness and temperature fluctuations. And make sure that the cabinets, wheter steel or melamine, have adjustable shelves and that the drawers are solid enough to hold large and heavy items. Some melamine cabinets can be hung on a wall-mounted track system, allowing you to move them around as needed – a handy idea when space is at a premium.

Cabinets not directly affixed to a wall stud must have adjustable legs. Experts generally recommend a six-inch clearance (15 cm) between floor and equipment to allow for easy cleaning. If you plan to keep your car in the garage, then arrange the storage units so as to leave enough room for getting in and out of the car and for moving around it without causing any damage.

Also practical are wall organizers using perforated panels – or steel grids – along with hooks, brackets, baskets, bins and shelves. they are ideal for hanging items too cumbersome to fit inside cabinets – for example, sports equipment, tools, and gardening accessories like rakes and shovels.

And don’t forget that indispensable feature of every garage, a workbench for do-it-yourself projects, gardening chores, even cleaning. Workbench countertops are usually stainless steel or laminated maple generously coated with catalized lacquer. Stainless steel is sturdy and rust-resistant, but scratches easily. Wood is less resistant but the finish can be restored with sanding and a coat of varnish. It’s helpful to mount a grid over the workbench to keep your tools within easy reach. The grid is also useful for hanging baskets and different-sized containers that can hold nails, screws and other small items.

Finally, you should install a hose reel and wall-mounted brackets for your tires.

18 Apr 2011

Before and After with Manon Leblanc


Manon started by cleaning up this resolutely masculine space and by installing a counter and cabinets designed by Espace Garage Plus to store the many tools, toys and sporting equipment. She then aplied an electric blue sealer on the cement floor to keep it clean. Next, she called on Jean Pronovost, an artist, to paint the Ford Mustang’s emblem – the owner’s favourite car – on one of the garage walls.

17 Mar 2010

Park it! De-cluttering and organizing your garage

By Jennifer Cox | The Suburban | March 17, 2010

Do you drive into your garage and close the door behind you as quickly as possible to avoid humiliation? Are you passing on physical activity for the simple fact that digging out your gear would mean digging through four feet of stuff and getting clobbered by an avalanche? It’s probably the most dreaded area of the home to tidy up: the garage. It’s the home’s junk drawer, with everything from lawn care tools to sports equipment, seasonal items, kid’s toys, car tires, accessories and oh-so-much more. However, when properly organized, the garage can be one of the most functional areas of a house. Below are practical tips to help get your garage in tip-top shape. And who knows – maybe you’ll proudly keep the garage door up when you’re done. Take inventory – The first step in organizing your garage is knowing exactly what it is you’re dealing with – what’s really in your garage? Despite the surface items you might see, there could be all kinds of stuff lurking behind it. So the easiest thing to do is pull absolutely everything out of your garage. This will help you itemize as well as see the actual workable space available. Sort through it all, grouping similar things to make reassembly that much easier. Then, you can start to purge – what items are old, broken, or no longer used? Create two additional piles: one for donations and one for garbage. Toys that are still in good conditions, as well as certain tools, old bikes, and even clothes can all be donated to charity. Meanwhile, trash can be brought to the local dump or you can call 1-800-GOT-JUNK to pick it up. Also, always remember to dispose of old paint, batteries, cleaners and other potentially harmful substances in a proper way. Your town or city can provide more info. Once your garage is completely empty, come up with an efficient spacial layout. Plan the space – Roberto Wilson is the president and co-owner of Espace Garage Plus, a company that specializes in organizing outdoor spaces like garages. He has a straightforward tried-and-true method of planning a garage to optimize the wide-open area. “Basically a garage is three surfaces – ceiling, walls and floor” he says. The object is to find “solutions for each surface and put them to better use while giving the homeowner a chance to reclaim the space for a healthy co-habitation between vehicles and items, sports gear, accessories and seasonal items”. Areas of the garage with lots of overhead space are ideal for things you don’t use that often, like that huge pinecone wreath. Install racks suspended from the ceiling to optimize head-space. If you have an unused wall, take advantage of the flat area and use hooks to hold awkward things such as rakes, shovels, a weed trimmer, and more. A corner of the room is an ideal spot to set up a small workbench with accompanying hand tools, power tools, and tool chests. If organized properly, it can be unobtrusive but also functional. “I recommend using cabinets with drawers and wall organizers” Wilson says. Instead of having one huge metal cabinet to pile all your tools, opt for a more shallow toolbox that is equipped with various-sized drawers underneath. Better yet, choose a unit on wheels to make it even more useful. “And anything that doesn’t fit in a cabinet should be organized on the wall with the proper system” says Wilson. This could mean any number of solutions, from wall-mounted shelving to free-standing durable shelves, pegboards, and even wall-mounted bins. Bells and whistles – Basic organization methods and products are the quickest and most inexpensive way of getting your garage in working order. But, as with any project, there are always those little “extras” you can indulge in, especially for modern garages where budget is less of an issue. Custom flooring is one of them. Wilson’s company offers an epoxy flooring that comes in various colours and is resistant to stains and chemicals. The ones with vinyl-flecks take a garage floor from industrial and utilitarian to attractive and even stylish. Other cool flooring options include interlocking tile or a wide range of epoxy or rustoleum paints, which add colour and panache to a dull space. Custom-made built-ins are the Ferraris of garage organization. If you can afford it, custom cabinetry is the way to go. Nothing optimizes a space more than built-ins. Because they take full advantage of the available space and can be made in almost any configuration, customized cabinets and workspaces are ideal for the loftiness of a garage. Don’t be ashamed to open your garage door and let the neighbours sneak a peek. When your garage is organized like every other room in your home, it becomes useful as well as stylish. Just beware. When you have an organized garage, you no longer have an excuse not to play shinny on the local rink or build that new bench for the hallway.

24 Jan 2008

Espace Garage Plus official sponsor of the 2008 BMO Bank of Montreal Dream House

By Gail Chiasson | PubZone | January 24, 2008

For the first time, the Maison de Rêve (Dream House), the construction project in the Montreal region for which tickets are sold annually to benefit charity, will offer a completely finished double garage, which will add to the value of the luxurious project. Espace Garage Plus, the first company in Quebec to offer a complete residential garage enhancement system, will head this as an official sponsor of the Maison de Rêve BMO 2008. This Maison de Rêve BMO, evaluated at more than $950,000, wll allow the winners to also benefit from a dream garage that will offer a maximum of space and storage, thanks to the solutions offered by Espace Garage Plus. Espace Garage Plus turns garages into practical, attractive storage and living spaces adapted to the lifestyle and style of home of the owner. It uses 3D simulation software to show garage enhancement propositions to give clients a clear view of how it can turn a garage into a practical, attractive storage and living space. Founding president of Espace Garage Plus is Roberto Wilson, co-owner and creative director at Tourbillon Productions, whose background includes senior creative positions with Cossette Communications Group, Cirque du Soleil, Saatchi & Saatchi and Young & Rubicam. Partner with Wilson is Michel Marcoux, whose extensive background includes Desarts Communications as a partner and vice-president of client services, and Astral Media as director of marketing. Maison de Rêve BMO 2008 at Villas-sur-Rives in the Ste-Dorothée area of Laval, can be visited from June until the end of Sept./08. Tickets, at $10, can be purchased at all Bank of Montreal branches and at about 60 participating charitable organizations. The sale of the tickets will go towards various non-profit organzations, especially those dealing with ill and handicapped children. Information on the Dream House can be found at www.maisonderevebmo.com.