When it comes to talking about the garage some guys get that far away look in their eyes that speaks to all the things they wish they had so they could give their beloved auto the TLC it deserves. Other folks give the garage as a whole about as much thought as they give garage door openers, which is to say not much. For this assessment of the perfect garage we’re going to steer clear of the extremes and try to find a middle ground where the car enthusiast in the family will be as happy as the person who looks at the garage as nothing more than the place where they put unwanted stuff.
Building the Perfect Garage
When building the ideal garage you need to keep certain dimensions in mind at all times. They are:
- Overall width and depth: As a general rule anything less than 10 x 20 feet per car is going to be a bit tight and since we’re talking the ‘ideal’ garage here we’ll want to go a bit bigger than that to accommodate some of the extras we’re going to toss in later.
- Space between vehicles: In a 2 car garage it’s important to leave at least 3 feet between cars so there’s no chance of dings. In our ideal garage we’re going to plump that up to a minimum of 5 feet so that work can be done on one car without endangering the other.
Generally speaking one big door should be reserved for more contemporary home designs that emphasize horizontal lines. These doors can be anywhere from 14 to 16 feet wide and will require robust garage door springs and motors etc. or they’ll be prone to breaking down. They’ll also allow far more heat to escape every time you open and close them than a single door will.
Now we really get into the meat and potatoes of the ideal garage. Not everything here will appeal to everyone so feel free to pick and choose. Let’s get started.
- Heat: Heating the garage will require robust insulation, snug fitting doors and heating vents in the garage itself. You may want to add heated floors as well because those concrete slabs can get pretty cold in mid-winter and you don’t want your tires to feel unloved.
- A proper lift: If you’re a true autophile you understand just how inadequate those jacks are that come with the car. As such your ideal garage should include a rolling hydraulic floor lift that can slide under the car and lift it with just a few pumps of the handle.
- Proper lighting: The garage is typically lit by the opener but if you’re serious about having an ideal garage you’ll want proper lighting all around. That means recessed or track lights on the ceiling and portable spots you can bring to bear on the car when you’re working on it.
- Cabinets and counter space: The ideal garage should be as comfortable as it is functional. Cabinets can hold everything from relevant power tools to snacks, dishes, bowls, cups, glasses and, of course, a complete set of DIY car maintenance and repair manuals.
- A refrigerator: If you’re committed to creating a comfortable environment you’ll want a fridge stocked with nice cold drinks and plenty of ice. It doesn’t have to be a restaurant grade fridge. One of those half-size jobs will do nicely and can be built into the cabinets.
- A white board: Sometimes you need to visualize a problem in order to solve it and so there’s nothing like having a white board in the garage for just that purpose. Keep in mind though that if the garage is not heated in the winter the white board isn’t going to work so great.
Creating the ideal garage is not like building your dream house. However, if you put some time and effort into it you’ll wind up with a garage that not only allows you to give your car that extra care and attention, but will be a joy for other family members to use and make your buddies green with envy.