Slaying the Garage Dragon, Part 1

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For ten years I had been dragging my feet, all talk and no walk, about finishing my garage. Yes, I watched the house get built and I dreamed about the garage but never did much to get going on it. Oh, I knew what I wanted but never really seemed to be able to take some definitive action toward the goal.

Two manual garage doors, each with a rope to pull it up and down, the bare, unfinished drywall, the lone 40 Watt bulb casting a dingy shadow over the concrete floor that absorbed and duly displayed every drop of oil or whatever else you could spill on it, all conspired to keep me down.

I was oppressed by this demotivating scene of lackadaisical indifference. Actually, I was a lazy SOB who couldn’t be bothered to learn the things I didn’t know about home improvement to actually get it done.

So why the change after a decade of such stellar procrastination? Well, I really was getting close to getting started when one night I noticed a bit of wavy paint on the trim in the family room on the wall that is shared with the garage. It didn’t look right.

And as soon as I touched it my finger went right through the rotted wood. Was this the work of termites? A few days later the pest control tech confirmed that it was, and we saw with our own eyes a whole bunch of live termites crawling around behind the trim. Oh, great. Just the kind of setback you need when you decide to start a home improvement project you weren’t able to get started on after ten years with good circumstances.

Well, there were another few months to wait out the rest of winter since termite treatment here can really only be done once the temperature exceeds freezing for a few days in a row. I had to wait until spring before the concrete slab in the garage could be drilled and injected with termiticide.

Still that was much preferable to having all the finish work done and *THEN* discovering the termites. Even better, it was only isolated to the garage area so the damage was not too bad.

While waiting for the weather to cooperate for termite treatment, I had time to plan out the project. Mainly I wanted better lighting, finished and painted walls, garage door openers and, most importantly, a nice epoxy floor that was easy to clean up. In short I wanted a clean, organized and inviting garage. Not the automotive equivalent of a kitchen with a dirt floor.

Once the termite treatment was done, the next step was to have an electrician install new light fixtures, light switches, and a second electrical outlet to augment the lone existing outlet. I really dislike fluorescent light so I chose a pair of 5,000 Lumen LED fixtures from Lowe’s (each one equivalent to about 80 Watts), one for each bay of the garage, that are claimed to last about 30,000 hours. Considering I use them about five minutes a day, these fixtures might last close to a thousand years.

I had the fixtures positioned toward the front end of the garage to clear the access panel for the attic, and to leave enough space for the soon to be installed garage door openers. I had never given a thought to light dispersion prior to this. But it’s worked out well. If you work on front engine cars that is. Still, I am pretty happy with the result.

Meanwhile, that same day I had a crew over to fix the studs and truss that had been damaged by the termites, and to replace and patch up whatever the electrician cut up while running wire. I only needed to replace three studs and a fair bit of drywall. Not bad. Except the notable amount of drywall that had to be replaced.

Once that was done a guy on stilts came in over the next several days to throw mud and smooth out and sand the walls. It was like a circus. Except there were no elephants. While that was going on I got the primer and paint ready. A tip here is that when you have drywall and paint guys come in, make them cover all everything, even the floor if the garage is empty. If not you will be much busier when it comes time to do the floor. Ask me how I know.

Anyway, like my rental properties, I chose a semigloss antique white for the walls, and good old white ceiling paint for the ceiling. Semigloss is good for kitchens, bathrooms and the like as they are easy to clean. It also doesn’t make a wall feel like a chalkboard, something I also have an aversion to merely because of the terrible sounds that can be made with them if one is not careful.

The paint was another day. Once The crew was quick and pretty good, laying the two coats of paint on with old school rollers. And with that the garage sure seemed a lot closer to what I had originally envisioned. Little did I know the best was yet to come… [Continued in Part 2]

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