TRAVIS COLUMN: Garage fix-up

Slatwall panels and accessories can make short work of organizing everything the garage has to offer.

It might not be sexy, it might not be first on your to-do list, but give the garage a little TLC and you’ll be surprised at how good it feels.

Whether it’s a true garage (originally meant for a four-wheel vehicle) that is attached to your house or a garden shed, the reality is that we use this space as a great big storage bin that holds anything that doesn’t fit indoors. And as the years go by and the family grows, the accumulation can be downright scary.

I spoke with Gav Givon from OnWall Solutions, who makes it his business to transform the dreaded garage into a space that not only is organized down to the last skateboard and screwdriver, but also is easy to maintain and kind of awesome-looking. Just as you would do for an interior room, take the space one large surface at a time — ceiling, walls and floor — and then add storage solutions.

Empty out the garage, sweep it clean and do a careful inspection. Any leaks, water damage or mold must be dealt with first. It may be time for a new roof; patch cracks in the walls and decide what you would like to do with the floor.

It is just as important that the floor is waterproof. Existing concrete slabs need to have cracks filled and the surface properly treated and sealed. Givon recommends Polyurea manufactured by Citadel. A concrete floor that has been prepared properly and sealed with Polyurea will last for years. Highly resistant to oil stains, deterioration from salts, gasoline and other contaminants, Polyurea “moves with the concrete,” is eco-safe, low odor, slip-resistant, super durable and can even be custom colored.

To organize tools and sports equipment for easy access, Givon recommends a combination of solutions. PVC Slatwall panels make up a modular wall system that comes in a range of sizes and colors to accommodate your wall size and design specifications. There are brackets for accessories, including a range of specialty hooks, baskets and bins, and apparatuses for sports equipment. This is an invaluable solution for vertical storage that frees up floor space while keeping equipment in order.

Slatwall panels fit easily around utility cabinets. There are various cabinet components on the market that fulfill the need — the higher-price products provide more design options and greater attention to the finer details of custom production and premium materials.

CTech lightweight custom aluminum cabinets come in nine powder-coated colors or can be custom colored. Toe-kick, trimmed center opening, movable interior shelf and motion-latch drawers all are standard. The G-cart fits under the counter and can be rolled out and moved to be close to your work station.

Overhead storage is a useful final component made possible with sturdy hanging shelves. See-through baskets and bins help with the search for whatever you have stored. Givon also has motorized lifts to help with heavy loads.

These storage ideas are equally good solutions for outdoor garden sheds as well as basements, indoor workshops, hobby and crafts rooms, laundry rooms and mud rooms. Properly designed panels and storage accessories give you the freedom to work, play and live a little easier. And perhaps the hunt for the soccer ball, the baseball bat or the missing garden tools finally will be resolved ... and a bonus, the car will fit conveniently into the garage.

Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email questions to house2home@debbietravis.com. You can follow Travis on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debbie_travis, and visit her website, www.debbietravis.com.

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