Garage and Tools
Posted by John on September 17th, 2013
It was a good summer. I only got sun burned once. Or twice. Got to the beach a few times. Good stuff. As far as home improvement projects go, this summer wasn’t too bad either. Let’s take a look back and see what we got done and what we postponed.
We started off the summer with a post on our Spring and Summer Goals where we listed around 9 projects. We got a whopping 2 done. It’s just like that Meatloaf song, “Two out of Nine Ain’t Bad.” Not one of his better hits.
The first outdoor project we attempted was the DIY Concrete Planter. We had mixed results with the monogram, but overall we still really like the planter. I am still planning on retrying this soon. We’re going to double down and make two at the same time and try to make them darker.
After the mailbox work, we shifted gears and finished redesigning and coding our own WordPress Theme. This upgrade had been hanging over my head for months. I really like the feel of the new theme, but there are still a number of changes I want to incorporate.
Before heading back into the garage, we installed some UV window film to prevent further sun damage in our entryway. It was tricky to install, but it will probably end up saving us hundreds of dollars worth of damage to our stained wood.
Finally, we finished work on our garage improvement. That alone was around 9 or 10 posts.
So what did we skip? For the most part, landscaping. We still need to clean up our side flowerbeds (see the hot mess above). One is heavily overgrown and the other needs a tall shrub or tree to anchor the layout. In order to get it done now though, we would have to rush through it. So, we’re punting it until the spring. Womp Womp.
We have a lot of exciting Fall work lined up and we’ll be building some new furniture shortly. So stick around!
How much summer work did you get done? What did you skip?
Posted in Garage and Tools,Outdoors and Landscaping. Tagged in ,Garage and Tools, Landscape
Posted by John on September 15th, 2013
It’s finally starting to get a little chilly around here. I’m not calling it Fall yet though. I’ll wait until the official start of Fall before I give up on summer. I have one week left. I’m going to enjoy it. In the meantime, we finally finished up our garage improvement series that we started way back in the spring. Here’s a complete recap.
We attempted this less than glamorous effort because we’re in and out of this space a few times a day and we couldn’t stand the clutter, the bugs and the general grime. I’ll openly admit that all of the junk in the garage was mine. All of the car stains on the floor were from my Jeep and all of the crap on the workbench was left over from finished or unfinished projects that I started. This was my problem.
It was pretty ugly.
Yes, that IS my high school letterman jacket. I lettered in Cross Country, thank you. No, I don’t wear it. Not sure how it ended up on my workbench.
Here’s where we are today.
Let’s go down the list of all the projects we knocked out to get us to this point.
1. Garage Shoe Rack: Completed last Fall, but instrumental in adding some organization to the space.
2. Workbench Pegboard: Helped add some visual interest to the wall above the workbench. Gave me spot to hang my air hose and extension cables.
3. Bug Proofed the Windows: Probably my favorite garage project next to the epoxy floors. Our windows are STILL bug free today.
4. Compressed Air Pipe: Allowed me to relocate our large air compressor to the basement without giving up access to the air source.
5. Workbench Outlet: Provided some much needed juice for our power tools.
6. Charging Station: Organized my power tool chargers.
7. Epoxy Floor Paint: Biggest impact to the space. Garage looks worlds better with it.
8. Wall Hooks: Got a lot of my gear off the floor and onto the wall. Feels a lot less cluttered.
I’m getting tired just looking at that list. That’s a lot of projects for a garage. We’re not completely done yet either. Lisa still wants to paint the door and the steps black. Not sure if we’re going to paint the trim black as well. I may try to wiggle my way out of this one until the spring. TBD.
In our next post, we’ll wrap up our summer outdoor projects. Also, look for a reader survey shortly.
Posted in Garage and Tools. Tagged in ,Garage and Tools, organization
Posted by John on September 12th, 2013
This post stinks. Well, our trash cans do anyway. Before we wrap up our garage improvement series, I felt I needed to go where no home blogger has gone before and talk about the trash. There are two types of people out there: those that keep their trash cans in the house and those that keep them in the garage. We’re the latter. A couple months ago, Lisa went out to the garage to throw a bag into the trash can and came back in the house shrieking. Apparently, there were maggots all over the rim of the bin and she wasn’t going anywhere near it. That got me thinking. What’s the best way to keep our trash free from odors and insects. I came up with these tips for cleaner trash cans.
Some of these tips will be supremely obvious, but others you may have ever occurred to you.
1. Don’t Throw it, Place it. I have a habit of opening up the trash lid and then heaving my bag full of discarded slop right into the bin without a second thought. Why that’s a bad idea: If the bag isn’t placed right side up, it can leak out its contents right from the top of the bag into the bin. That liquid mess then becomes a Golden Corral for a hoard of house flies. Even if you manage to toss the bag into the bin right side up, you risk tearing the bag open from the impact.
2. Double Bag the Nasty Stuff. We have two little kids. On any given day, we are knee deep in dirty diapers. Every week, it seems I need a fork lift to deposit all of our kids’… deposits.. into the garbage can. Now, if I can smell the odor through the bags, chances are our 6 legged friends can too. I like to double bag those diaper hauls, but I don’t merely drop one bag into the next, I cover the top of the first bag with the second. That way, it’s pretty impossible for a fly to make it into the inner bag OR for a … deposit… to make its way out.
3. Deodorize. I’m sure somebody somewhere makes a deodorant for exterior trash cans. A quick and cheap option is to poke some holes in a box of baking soda and duct tape it to the bottom of the bin. If you don’t tape it, it’ll get tossed with the rest of the trash.
4. Compost and Dispose. Since we have a septic system and not a sewer, we don’t have an in-sink garbage disposal. Consequently, everything that can’t be recycled needs to be tossed in the trash. That’s a bummer for us, but if you do have a garbage disposal, you can greatly reduce the amount of waste that gets put in the trash. That’s a good thing for garbage odor. Additionally, if your township allows it (some actually don’t) you can start a compost bin for food items that are safe to compost. Lisa and I will be starting a garden sooner or later so we need to get on that.
5. Wash it. Maybe once a year, it can’t hurt to hose and scrub down the bin. I use a scrub brush on an extension rod and clean the whole thing down with liquid dish washing soap and then follow it up with deodorized powder laundry detergent. It’s still a trash can, but it smells a whole lot better.
Are you an inside the garage person or an outside the garage person? If you don’t have a garage or are a city dweller, how do you keep it from getting out of hand?
Posted in Garage and Tools. Tagged in ,Cleaning, garbage, trash
Posted by John on September 8th, 2013
With our summer winding down and the fall quickly approaching, it’s finally time to do something about our garage floor. A few months after we moved into our current home three years ago, I applied a grey, 2-part epoxy paint to the garage floor. We had mixed results. In some areas, the epoxy seemed to go down smoothly and in others it looked liked it could’ve used another coat or two. It was almost as if the concrete absorbed some of the paint in some spots without really building up any protection. Of course, a couple of those poorly covered areas just happened to be right below my old Jeep’s engine.
Not looking so hot there. A proper epoxy coating should prevent oil, water and other crap from permanently staining a garage floor. No amount of scrubbing was going to remove that eyesore.
Here’s the catch with epoxy paint, it’s a chemically hardening coating that cures within a few hours (regular paint air-dries) so second or third coats aren’t an option unless you want to buy a whole other kit. Moreover, kits can range in price from $50-$90. Yikes.
I managed to spot this kit from Valspar at Lowes on sale for $58 last weekend, so I grabbed it. I also picked up a gallon of concrete bonding primer even though the epoxy kit doesn’t require its use, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.
Initially, I had some concerns with applying a second coat of epoxy paint over a floor that had already has epoxy paint. Wasn’t sure it would adhere properly. The directions in the kit though, say as long as the paint isn’t peeling up or chipping, it’s good to go. Sweet.
First thing I did was give the floor a good thorough scrubbing with soap and water. I used a squeegee to push the water back out into the driveway and let it dry overnight.
The next day, I primed a couple spots with the concrete bonding primer. I stuck with the discolored areas and anywhere I had some of the epoxy lift up from tire marks. The primer dries clear and must be followed up with the finish paint within 1-4 hours or it needs to be re-primed.
The epoxy kit is available in a variety of colors, but the most common are tan and grey. We stuck with grey for this one. In the kit box, there is a can of hardener, the base coat, a small container of paint chips and a bottle of floor cleaner/etcher. We skipped the paint chips the first time we did the floor, but we wanted to add them this time. I also skipped the etcher since this isn’t a bare concrete floor and it’s also a pretty nasty chemical. Oh, but they do give you a stirring stick! Jackpot!
To get started, the hardener is dumped into the base can and stirred. Once it’s all blended, it has to sit for maybe 20 minutes or so. The instructions recommend the epoxy first be applied along the perimeter with a wide brush. It’s then rolled on with a regular paint roller. I would roll down 3-4 feet of epoxy going the width of the garage and then stop and shake out the color flakes. It seemed like I was throwing down a ton of flakes, but after finishing for the night, I still had maybe half of the container left.
The kit is sized for a one car garage, but I easily could’ve finished nearly our whole two-car garage with just the one kit. I plan on picking up another kit to finish the rest of the garage later this week.
I also have a workbench, storage locker and other crap that I didn’t want to remove completely from the garage to do this upgrade, so the plan is to shift them over to the finished side later this week to give me access to the unfinished side.
In the photo below you can see the stark contrast between the newly finished and previously finished floors.
Here’s a wide shot of the before…
and here’s the after…
Couple of things to be aware of… I would use gloves and a mask. This stuff stinks!! In fact, we left our garage door open all day Sunday to just air it out. It’s epoxy paint, so getting it off your hands isn’t going to be fun either. If you need more color chips, they are sold separately at Lowes in a variety of colors if you want a more custom look.
We’ll show you what it looks like when it’s all done. We’re also going to be painting those small foundation walls with our next kit. Fun stuff. Fun stuff.
Has anyone else used this epoxy paint? How did your results turn out?
Posted in DIY Projects,Garage and Tools. Tagged in ,epoxy, garage floor
Posted by John on September 2nd, 2013
We hope all of our American friends had a safe and enjoyable Labor Day! Our weekend was filled with family visits and some much needed down time. Today we’re going to show you how we finished up our new garage outlet and how we added a workbench charging station.
Let’s start with the garage outlet.
Last week we had our rough-in inspection from the township electrical inspector. It went well. He passed us so we can “device out” the work, which means add the new outlet.
To power the new outlet, we tapped into the power from an existing GFCI outlet in our basement. I had to remove this basement outlet as part of the rough-in work and show the inspector I ran the cable properly to the box and tied it in appropriately.
After inspecting this box, he recommended I increase its size to accommodate the additional cable. The box already had three cables going to it and this new circuit added a fourth. Thus, he wanted to see a slightly bigger box. So, I had to untwist all my cables, pull them out of the box, take the box off the lumber and then add a bigger box.
The new box is considered “new work” whereas our garage outlet is “old work.” The difference is the basement outlet box is being directly attached to a wall stud. The garage outlet was placed into a finished drywalled space. The new box is also plastic and has a couple 1/2″ tabs that help me position the box onto the studs. The box shouldn’t be installed flush with the studs, but 1/2″ further out for future drywall.
This new box wasn’t that much bigger than the first, only by a couple cubic inches. Here’s a side by side comparison of the old grey box next to the new blue one. I believe the grey box is 18 cu. inches and the blue one is 20 or 21 cu. inches.
The box was then rewired as before and since I had the go ahead to device out the project, I reinstalled the GFCI outlet.
With the basement outlet wired, I installed my garage outlet, turned the power back on at the breaker and checked to make sure the circuit worked okay. That’s it for the electrical portion. In a few weeks, I’ll call the inspector back for the final inspection.
Now let’s take a look at the workbench charging station.
The only other outlet we have in our garage is on the far wall so any battery chargers for cordless tools had to sit on the floor, which wasn’t terribly convenient. Getting them off the floor and onto the workbench was the goal.
I started by picking a spot on the workbench where my chargers would be located then drilling a hole in the workbench top with a hole saw.
I ran the charger power cables through the hole so the top will be less cluttered.
Next, I mounted a $5 power strip I bought at Lowes to one of the legs of the workbench. Then I just zip tied all the cables together and plugged them in.
So now all I have to do is flip the red switch on the power strip whenever I want to charge my tools. I also looked into buying one of those 10-12 outlet benchtop power strips instead. That’s a great option too, but it was $30 and I thought this option would be more a little more practical. $25 cheaper isn’t a bad thing either.
We are fast approaching the end of our summer long garage improvement series. We only have a couple projects left: adding another application of epoxy to the garage floor and painting the interior door and steps. There are a few yard projects I also want to knock out before we get into October, but we’ll go more into those in another post.
How are you wrapping up your summer? Are you looking forward to Fall or are you desperately hanging on to every last summer day like me? Bought any pumpkins yet?