From the U.K. Desk
Looking after the car is all very well, but consider the garage.
Not all garages are outbuildings, there are also garages which take up the whole of the ground floor with apartments on top, called garage apartments or garage loft apartments. To save you from going outside there’s a special covered walkway; a breezeway, designed for walking between the two structures. Generally speaking, it is unheated.
Then there’s the main door of the garage. If it’s too loud when opened, it could do with some lubrication. Some doors have rusted up so much you can’t open or close them. Wooden garage doors are prone to becoming warped and then incapable of opening. Or the garage door opener is broken or lost.
One reason for a garage door sticking is that the tracks haven’t been cleaned for some time – a long scrub should fix that. If sticking still occurs, some kind of lubricant is needed.
Garage door repair is best left to professionals. The spring that helps compensate for the door weight can kick out with enough force to break your arm.
How we Hurt Ourselves in a Garage
It’s not exactly the safest place in the world and many things can go wrong. There are so many opportunities for slipping and falling in a garage especially if you leave equipment lying around or leave cables dangling. You should always lock tools up after use.
Many people tend to use the garage as a general outbuilding which might contain such items as rat poison, pesticides and antifreeze. It’s not a good idea to leave these items on the floor nor should they be stored in empty bottles or similar, just keep them in the original container.
Large items such as ladders could even fall onto the car if you’re not careful.
Car ports have been mentioned before, it is simply a shelter which provides open access across one or more walls. The quickness of exiting and entering is a main selling point as there is no need to pull up garage doors. A few elaborate ones have cantilever style roofs which float across the cars. You no longer have the large storage space of a garage. This doesn’t mean they don’t need maintenance. The support columns and the concrete should be inspected for damage and the roof, like all roof, will dry out and begin to leak if not maintained.
Other Uses for a Garage
This is the curious thing about garages: 60% of people don’t even use them to store cars. There is a tendency to store utility equipment in them too, such as washing machines. But it seems a waste to just use it to store these items when you could turn it into a games room or a man cave or whatever you like.
Adding a New Garage
Timber framed garages have an advantage over concrete ones in a conservation zone. They are also quick to assemble with no fuss, which must be the best selling point if you have to any kind of home construction.
Depending on its actual usage – Does it have a spare bed? Does it have a first floor? – the planning permission becomes more complicated. If you are storing a car and it’s all on one floor, no problems. You’ll need to check local codes but expect to have to install a metal post in the concrete if there are utilities or HVAC installed in the garage. Also you’ll need proper ventilation against a build up of carbon monoxide.
Then there are those people who convert a garage to living space may encounter difficulties with load bearing walls and connecting the electricity with the rest of the house. But any self-build or self-conversion may run into difficulty. It gives you a break from thinking about maintaining the car in any case.