The garage is more than a place to park your car!

You probably noticed that your garage is not only a place to park your car, but it also has many other functions. We use it constantly for storage: either to put a second refrigerator or storing some non perishable food. Sometimes, it is a kind of an extension of the kitchen for the winter. Moreover, a garage is used for children who like to play on rainy days; it is used to train a dog or for teenagers who want to play rock music with their friends! In Europe, most garages are becoming integrated with the house. Why are we noticing this change? First, the land available from property developers is being reduced to a bare minimum. On the little land remaining, we prefer to keep a green space or to build a playing area for children. Second, downtown, we are trying to reduce the cost of infrastructures such as overpasses and underground wiring. Consequently, there is no place to build a separate shed.

Therefore, it becomes very important to learn to use the garage space more effectively. To make this space pleasurable, some elements need to be considered. Here are some examples:

1 - The garage insulation

Since different governments require various construction standards (example: House R-3000), a garage which is attached to the house is insulated to high standards and the walls are completed by a general contractor (decline of vinyl and drywall). Therefore, a garage door becomes an important element and it should provide a good weatherproof system and a thermal factor of at least R-16.

In order to insure high-quality weatherproofing in a garage door, it is important to emphasize the perimeter weather stripping as well as those between the sections. Also, if the garage is kept at an average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius, there is much less cold air transmission from the garage towards the house when you use the door from the garage to the house. All these little precautions will improve your comfort.

2 - The heating

When the garage is heated, we mostly use a unit heater suspended from the ceiling. We regularly maintain the temperature to 8°C, but if you need to use the garage for a long period of time, you only need to raise the temperature to 20°C, 30 minutes before using it.

It is important to control the humidity. During snowy days, if you park your car in your garage, the snow on the car that melts will be a source of humidity. Moreover, wood stored for wood burning appliances can also increase the humidity level significantly. If you measure the humidity level with a hygrometer, it should not exceed 45 to 50% in order to keep the garage comfortable.

In order to reduce the humidity level, there are two methods: you can use a dehumidifier or you can shut off the heating system and open the garage door about 30 cm for 10 to 15 minutes. As a good indicator to verify the humidity level in your garage, you can look at the condensation at the bottom of the windows. Never try to heat humid air! It's all about comfort!

3 - The lighting

It is important to adequately light your garage if you use it often. Two fixtures of 1.2 meter or more with fluorescent tubes are very convenient. You should never use the garage lights unnecessarily, because they are not expected to be used for long periods. If you would like to have natural light, you can add windows to your garage door. There are varieties of windows in the market that can brighten up your garage. There are many models and styles that can add elegance to your house.

4 - The organization and cleanliness

There are several models of steel workbenches and closets available to organize your garage to make it a clean environment. Also, it is common to use old lumber to make shelves. However, it is important to use all the space available wisely. For instance, above the garage door, we can find a way to store seasonal sport articles like skis. Moreover, if you have a staircase that goes down to a basement, you can maximize the space above the staircase by storing your tires. To clear the floor as much as possible will be the rule of thumb to have a tidy environment.

These are some suggestions to help you use your garage as efficiently as possible, and especially to make it comfortable for regular use.

Note: we thank the Garaga Marketing Department for their help in the preparation of this article.

For more information, you can refer to these web sites:

a) For garage doors and electric doors opener:
www.garaga.com

b) Organising systems for the garage:
http://www.permafil.com/Fra/FSGara.html
http://www.gladiatorgarageworks.com/
http://www.garagetek.com/

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