Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to Make your Garage Green

Are you looking to build a LEED certified home? Or do you simply want to renovate your own garage to make it a little more eco-friendly? There are several things you can do to make your garage “green” and they range from features that improve the interior air quality of your home, to choosing high-quality, durable residential garage products that keep you from repairing and replacing the garage door and hardware, reducing demands for energy-consuming product manufacturing.

Also, green upgrades have a positive return of investment because they make your home more attractive to future homebuyers.

7 Things You Can Do to Make Your Garage More Green

Here are seven things you can do to make your garage more green.

1. Make it detached. If you are building a new home, consider detaching the garage. In the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Whole Building Design Guide, “avoiding detached garage if possible” is one of the top recommendations for building a green home. This is because even with a well-sealed access door, it’s almost impossible to keep car fumes and other toxic chemical fumes (depending on what you store in there) from permeating the home. This leads to compromised interior air quality, which can cause respiratory problems and low-grade symptoms that many homeowners are oblivious to unless the toxicity is so severe that the CO detector goes off.

2. Insulate the garage. In an effort to save money, and because garages were never considered “livable,” most contractors avoid insulating the garage. The problem with this is two-fold. First, if your garage is attached, an uninsulated garage can keep the temperatures lower or higher in the rooms adjacent to the garage, depending on the time of year. Second, if you work or hang out in your garage often, odds are you use some type of portable heating or cooling system, which increases your home’s energy consumption. An insulated garage mitigates these issues and you can even include an HVAC system vent - or set your garage on its own zone - that can be adjusted for when the garage is in use.

3. Select an insulated garage door. The cost difference between uninsulated and insulated garage doors is negligible, but the benefits are multi-fold. An insulated door will maintain a more consistent temperature inside the garage – better for occupants and your attached home’s interior.

4. Up the daylighting ante. Use solar tubes, a skylight and ample windows, especially if your garage serves as a shop, hobby or hangout spot. This will decrease the amount of energy used to illuminate the space during daylight hours.

5. Invest in durable products. Compare lifetime costs, in addition to first-time costs, when selecting a new garage door. While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest option, odds are this will require more maintenance, repairs, repainting and replacement over the years. All of those things use more energy and resources. Choosing a higher-quality, durable garage door means you can enjoy a single garage door for a lifetime, and that’s a very eco-friendly step to take.

6. Use weather stripping and sealing products. To prevent drafts, which cause temperature fluctuations and the accumulation of dirt and debris inside the garage, make sure your garage door has adequate weather stripping and sealing products in place. Inspect them annually and repair or replace them when they are notably damaged or worn.

7. Choose eco-friendly products. Some garage doors are considered more green than others. If you are purchasing a wood garage door, make sure the wood used by the manufacturer is FSC certified, meaning it was harvested sustainably. You can also specify paint and finish products that are low-VOC, so they don’t release as many volatile compounds into the environment or your interior living spaces.

Contact R&S to discuss green options and upgrades for your residential or commercial garage door. We’re always happy to go over your options and can provide a free estimate for your consideration.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

What 5 Upgrades Can You Make to Your Garage to Make it More Appealing to Buyers?

 There’s curb appeal and then there’s home appeal. Your garage sort of straddles both worlds. The exterior is usually visible from the curb and the interior will be viewed when potential buyers tour the home.Thus, we’ve put together a list of 5 simple upgrades you can make to your garage in order to sell your home faster, and to help get the price you want.

Keep in mind that in many cases, the garage is to the man what a nice kitchen remodel is to the woman, so your home will be more attractive to at least 50% more home shoppers if you do a mini-makeover.

5 Garage Upgrades to Impress Future Buyers

1.      Replace the garage door. If your door is damaged, dented or scratched beyond what a fresh coat of paint can handle, consider replacing the door. Base model garage doors are a small investment that will improve how your home shows on the exterior and will prevent a potential buyer from thinking, “well, we’ll have to replace the garage door ASAP….” If it needs a new coat of paint, read Painting Your Metal Garage Door for quick tips. Replace any obviously worn or torn weather stripping to maintain a clean look. Buyers these days want automatic garage doors – period – so replace your door if you have an outdated, manual version.

2.      Organize it. Even if buyers know that the clutter in your garage will go with you, it’s not a good selling point. You want the buyer to open the garage door and think, “aaaaah….look at that nice clean space,” rather than, “eeek! What a nightmare to clean this junk out of here…” Organizing your garage will help your garage show better and it will also simplify your own packing and moving process when you sell your home. If your realtor is staging your home, resist the temptation to move the boxes of stuff into the garage. See if a friend or relative will store them for you for a couple or months or load them into an affordable storage unit.

3.      Clean it. As long as your organizing the garage, clean it up. Get all the dust, grime and cobwebs cleared from every nook and cranny. Try to get rid of the oil stains and hose/soap the floor down with a cleaning agent designed to get rust and oil stains off garage floor concrete. If certain, stubborn oil stains won’t come out, cover them up with a basic oil drip pan from a local hardware or auto parts shop – it shouldn’t set you back more than $15 or so. Wash the windows to increase natural lighting. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes when a garage is organized AND clean.

4.      Throw in a few cheap extras. There are some garage organization tools that don’t cost much but add a whole lot of panache to the space. While investing in a full set of metal storage racks might be a bit much (unless you plan on taking them to your new space), you can screw a few hooks into the rafters to hang bikes and lesser-used kid toys, which looks like an added perk. If you have a tool bench that isn’t used, make sure it’s cleared off - with unused tools organized above it on a cheap peg board – to show the work area off.

5.      Add some lights. If you only have a single, florescent strip – consider adding another light fixture or two, or put a decent floor lamp in the corner by the workbench. If the garage looks like a gloomy cave, it’s not as enticing. If it’s well-lit – homeowners can start imagining themselves working out there and tinkering on their own, future hobby projects.

Need a little help upgrading your garage door and operating system? Need some new garage door weather stripping? Contact R&S and we’ll hook you up. 1-925-671-7606.