For many homeowners a garage is a central point of their home. It shelters vehicles, serves as a valuable storage facility, and houses many valuable seasonal items and tools. However, for many homeowners, their garage is also one of the most neglected spaces when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. Garages are very susceptible to the wear and tear of everyday life:
- The overhead door is opened and closed several times a day: allowing for the continual use of the door mechanisms, and dirt, snow, and living creatures to enter into the garage.
- Vehicles also track in elements of the outdoor world, as do footwear and pets.
- Stored items collect dust, and have the potential to leak or spill, often resulting in stains.
A garage is a large investment for a homeowner – If there is high usage and little maintenance, your investment will not withstand the test of time as effectively as it could. Performing proper maintenance on your garage periodically throughout the year will save you time and money in the long run.
Weatherproof your Garage
Evaluate when your garage door seal, located at the bottom of the overhead door, needs to be replaced. It is time to change the seal when sunlight begins to come through the bottom of the closed garage door. Bottom door seals keep out dirt, mice, water, insects and cold breezes. Seals are also relatively inexpensive, and are not difficult for an average homeowner to install. Garage door, window, and entrance door weatherstrips are also an easy install, as well as inexpensive.
Overhead Door Maintenance
It is important to service the door not only to maintain its life and operation, but for safety and convenience reasons as well. All rollers, hinges, roller tracks and latches should be cleaned off, and then have a penetrating solvent, such as WD-40, used on them. Pulleys and springs should be lubricated, and wiped down with oil, should rust begin to surface. Homeowners should exercise caution when considering the replacement of any worn springs, cables or loose brackets. Although the functionality of these parts are essential to the safe and efficient motions of the overhead door, replacing them should be a job for a professional only. Checking the tracks which the overhead door lowers and raises itself on should also be checked for any bends or fractures.
If the overhead door is noticeably noisy, all nuts on the door, as well as on the track, should be tightened. It is not uncommon for metal rollers to make noise as they role up and down the metal track as they age. If this is the case, the rollers may be replaced. Rollers should be replaced one at a time, and nylon rollers rather then metal rollers may be used as an alternative. Nylon rollers are often quieter then metal, but are more expensive. If replacing the rollers proves to be too daunting of a task, soaking the rollers in kerosene using a small brush, and removing any rust with steel wool, may also lower the noise level. If your garage door has torsion springs, homeowners should not attempt to replace the rollers in the bottom bracket. Torsion springs are located above the upper tracks of both sides on both sides of the garage door, and are attached to the header above the closed overhead door. These springs are always under tension, and altering or moving the bottom bracket could prove to be potentially dangerous for the homeowner.
Garage doors should also be checked for flaking paint and rust. If the door is displaying these qualities, the garage door should be sanded down in these areas and then re-primed and painted.
The Garage Floor.
Chips and cracks are bound to appear in concrete garage flooring. Although small chips and cracks are expected, and do not indicate structural problems, with the continued wear and tear on the floor, these imperfections could prove to become more serious in time. To avoid a potential problem caused by smaller chips and cracks in concrete flooring, it is best to clean out the imperfection and fill it properly with premixed concrete crack sealant. Cracks and chips on the larger end of the scale should be properly treated with concrete bonding adhesive and then filled in with a concrete mix. If cracks or other imperfections are growing exceptionally large and continually spreading, the homeowner should call a professional in for inspection and treatment.
Cleanliness for Longevity
General cleanliness in a garage is also important for its maintenance and longevity. Dirt, salt and other residue collects in garages during the colder months, and should be swept and washed off the floor surface on a regular basis. This not only improves the aesthetic look of your garage, but also cleans residue out of forming cracks and chips, which increases the lifespan of your pad surface, and will keep your items in storage cleaner. Concrete absorbs liquids readily, so washing the flooring and removing stains such as oil, will improve the health of your flooring and the sanitary level in your living space. Using hooks, racks and shelves, and avoiding placing objects directly on the floor not only protects items stored in your garage to a greater degree from dirt and living creatures, but also promotes a clean and safe environment as well. Washing the overhead door will also slow down its gradual wear and tear, but avoid using strong detergents as it may deteriorate the door’s finishing surface. Inspecting the reversing sensors on a regular basis is also a good idea as it promotes the safety of yourself, family members and vehicles.
Providing your garage with the proper maintenance and service will increase its life and functionality as well as its occupant’s safety. Keeping a garage safe, clean, and functional is an ongoing task throughout the year, and should not be performed only once annually. A garage is often one of the most utilized living spaces in a home, and therefore is very susceptible to the effects of everyday life. Like everything else in a home, a garage requires attention and care to function properly. Garage doors especially are arguably the largest moving part in a home and require service to maintain a suitable level of safety. If a garage is properly maintained, it should run efficiently and prove to be a valuable asset to the homeowner for many years.
Homeowners across Canada spend a combined average of fifty million dollars annually on home renovations, repairs and upgrades. Whether the projects is on a small scale, a significantly larger one, or somewhere in the middle, most home projects interfere with the homeowner’s life to a relatively large extent, and the costs associated with home improvements are also usually substantial. These factors make the choice of a contractor for a home improvement to be an exceptionally important one. Home renovations should be cost effective, reliable and completed in a timely manner, and the contractor of the renovation is a key player in the achievement of these renovation goals. When selecting a contractor, home owners should be selective and chose a company or person whom they feel comfortable working with, and letting into their home. For many homeowners a large scale renovation or addition marks a milestone in their lives, and is something which they have been planning and anticipating for sometime. It should go without saying that the contractor chosen for a home renovation project should be honest and dependable, however, when selecting a contractor many home owners fall into the traps and gimmicks of lower quality contractors, and their renovation is not completed to their satisfaction. For your next home renovation, no matter how large, avoid contractors who fall below par by following the five stages below:
Initially finding prospects to consider hiring as your contractor may be found through a variety of mediums. Searching the Yellow Pages, the internet, or inquiring friends and family about their recommendations, are all efficient ways to obtain potential candidates for your home improvement job. However, one of the key thoughts to focus on during this process is that you are looking for companies who specialize in your home improvement job. Be weary of the “Jacks of all trades”, as chances are that you will receive better quality with a specialist. Once you have gathered a list of potential candidates, further investigation should be done before you call them for an estimate. Looking at a companies rating from your local Better Business Bureau, will allow you to begin to rule out some companies on your list, and continue to maximize your chances of a successful home renovation.
The Interview Process:
The interview process with your potential contractor should primarily involve them submitting to you a detailed estimate, as well as the proper plan drawings and specifications they will be implementing into your renovation. A number scribbled on the back of a business card is not a sufficient estimate. Even if your renovation is on the smaller scale, a detailed estimate, as well as proper plans should be given to you, so that you may make a well informed decision. During the interview process you should also be asking your candidates a lot of questions. Questions such as “How long have you been in business?”, “What work schedule will you follow?”, and “Will you provide a written contract?” are all questions which must be asked during this process. Although questioning a contractor may be tough for some homeowners, reputable and dependable companies won’t be offended by these types of questions. The interview process also provides you with an opportunity to evaluate a potential contractor’s punctuality and interpersonal skills. After receiving estimates, homeowners should refrain from automatically choosing the lowest price. Detailed estimates should provide for a more in depth comparison between companies, which may explain price discrepancies through attributing more financial reliance on quality material. During interviews the homeowner should not allow themselves to become fully sold by a contractor. While it is alright to remove potential contractors from the candidate list, selecting a contractor based almost solely on an interview, fails to factor in other aspects of the full decision making the process, and the homeowner will not be making a fully informed decision.
After the interview process a reference check should be completed for each potential contractor. References should not be taken merely on face value, as it is important for the homeowner to actually contact the references to gather valuable feedback about the contractor. Previously satisfied customers are excellent proof of a contractors work quality, and may be able to articulate valuable feedback. References should also be asked about any shortcomings they experienced through working with a specific contractor.
Proof of Documents:
Similar to a reference check, after the interview process all potential contractors should be asked to provide proof of an operating license, proof of proper insurance, and proof of workers compensation coverage. It would also be valuable for the homeowner to note how long it takes potential contractors to provide copies of these documents, as it could be an indication of how communication between the two parties may fare during the future project.
Signing the Contract:
Through a combination of the interview process, the reference check, and once all proper documentation from potential contractors have been received, the homeowner is now is a position to make an educated decision on who they will employ. After the decision is made, a contract between the contractor and the homeowner must be completed. The contract must be written and contain a detailed step by step process of the renovation project, including a detailed financial break down and material list. Purely verbal contracts or agreements are unacceptable, and do not protect the homeowner. If it is a larger home renovation job, most contractors allow installments or payments as the project progresses. If this is the case, homeowners need to ensure that the contract specifies when they payments are to be made, which should only be when milestones of the project have been completed. If again the project is on the larger scale, making the contract more complex, the homeowner may want to consult a lawyer, thinking of the legal fees as an added insurance.
Although choosing the right contractor may seem like a substantial amount of work, choosing a reliable and reputable company will save the homeowner a lot of potential aggravation, time and money. A renovation is an investment in the value and enjoyment of your home and hiring the right contractor will help in ensuring the home renovation process goes as smoothly as possible.
Prepping a pad in winter
Building a garage doesn’t have to be a spring or summer project when you build with CarShacks. Take a look around; have you ever seen construction come to a halt just because it’s winter? Not here in Southern Alberta. Construction doesn’t stop in the winter – and the same is true for garage building.
CarShacks builds year round using the latest standards and technology provided by the construction industry.
Spend your spring and summer enjoying your yard! Don’t spend it looking at a construction site.
Request your free on site quote today!
Winter Construction – Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the advantage to building in the winter?
- Will I be eligible for the Home Renovation Tax Credit?
- Isn’t the ground frozen in the winter? How do you dig/excavate?
- How do you pour concrete in the winter?
- Will I get a less quality product if I build in the winter?
- Another contractor told me that concrete flakes if you pour it in the winter – is this true?
- Will it cost me more to build in the winter?
- Will my garage project take longer in the winter?
Question: What is the advantage to building in the winter?
The biggest advantage our customers find to building in the winter is having their garage completed when they aren’t typically using their yard. Think about it… how much do you really use your yard in the winter compared to the summer? In the spring and summer people want to be outside using their yards – which is hard to do when your yard is a construction site. Also, by having your garage completed in the winter you can use your time in the spring and summer to focus on your other outdoor projects.
Question: Will I be eligible for the Home Renovation Tax Credit?
Provided that you meet the criteria set out by the government, your CarShacks garage project is eligible for the home renovation tax credit. If you book your garage project with us by December 15 2009, we will help ensure that the maximum eligible portion of your project is at a minimum completed by January 31, 2010 (when the eligibility period comes to an end). Talk with your CarShacks estimator for more details.
Question: Isn’t the ground frozen in the winter? How do you dig/excavate?
CarShacks owns several ground thawing units which we can use to (as the name implies) thaw out the ground. This makes excavating year round possible. This is the same type of technology which home builders use to excavate for basements in the winter.
Question: How do you pour concrete in the winter?
After we thaw out the ground using a ground heater, we pour the concrete using a special winter concrete mix designed for our climate. Then, special tarps and winter concrete blankets are used to ensure the concrete cures.
Question: Will I get a less quality product if I build in the winter?
Not with CarShacks. With every project we take on – be it summer or winter – we ensure that our high quality standards are upheld. All projects come with our standard warranty on both materials and workmanship.
Question: Another contractor told me that concrete flakes if you pour it in the winter – is this true?
Issues with concrete can occur regardless of the time of year it is poured. This is often a result of a poor concrete mix, improper finishing, or inadequate curing. CarShacks has experiencing pouring concrete for winter projects and offers the same warranty on its concrete for the winter as it does in the summer. Inexperienced contractors unfamiliar with pouring winter concrete may try to deter you from winter construction using this as an excuse.
Question: Will it cost me more to build in the winter?
No. CarShacks does not practice charging more for winter construction.
Question: Will my garage project take longer in the winter?
Potentially. Weather can play a big part in construction timelines – and we all know how unpredictable the weather can be in Southern Alberta. For example, siding and shingles becomes brittle to work with if temperatures are too low. Additionally, the number of daylight hours to work with is fewer in the Winter. CarShacks will keep you up to date with your construction timelines. The most important thing to note is that CarShacks treats each garage project with the attention it deserves to be done right, we are not going to carelessly rush through your project or work in conditions that we know will impact the quality of our product.
Unfortunately you can’t always build whatever size garage your heart desires. There are a few city bylaws your garage must comply with to successfully apply for a building permit.
When you build your garage with CarShacks, your estimator can consult with you on and help you understand the city bylaws which may be applicable. Additionally, CarShacks applies for your building permit on your behalf, taking care of your application, site plans, and building plans.
>>> Continue reading Calgary Garage Bylaws & Code Requirements
To serve our potential customers best, CarShacks offers free on site quotes with guaranteed pricing. CarShacks offers incomparable quality and consumer protection on our garages and we believe in providing accurate, upfront pricing on our garages. The only way we can provide this is by seeing the property we will be building on and fully understanding the needs and requirements of our customers.
When you meet with a CarShacks estimator, you can be assured that:
- You are meeting with a qualified consultant who is highly knowledgeable in garage building;
- Your consultant is not a high pressured sales-person, you will be under no obligation to build a garage with CarShacks;
- You will be provided with a detailed quote outlining the costs of the different components of your garage construction project.
CarShacks will not be able to guarantee pricing over the phone or email. When soliciting garage quotes, we recommend meeting with potential builders or contractors in person and on site before making any decisions based on price. Watch out for contractors who offer “low ball” quotes over the phone – their initial prices may be low, but they might overcharge on “extras” which might actually be necessities on your property. Get quotes in writing and ensure it outlines exactly what is included. Additionally, compare your potential contractors in our buyer’s checklist. Not all garages and garage builders are created equal. It is important to fully understand the product you are buying and the service you will be provided with.
Your CarShacks on site consultation is designed to achieve multiple goals:
- Select the best size garage to fit your needs
- What are you planning on using your garage for?
- How big are your vehicles?
- What is your budget?
- What is the maximum size of garage your property will allow?
- Permit Assessment
- Will the garage project you’re planning interfere with any city bylaws?
- Is a development permit required for your project?
- Determine the best place to build your garage
- The current location of gas lines or utility right of ways may restrict where you can build your garage
- What place would maximize both your garage size and yard space?
- Select Garage Options
- CarShacks does not build garage packages, every project is custom suited to our customer’s unique needs, this means we can provide a superior amount of options to other garage builders
- Select exterior finish options (exterior wall and roof materials)
- Select structure options (wall height, truss style, gable style, windows, doors, etc)
- Select electrical package
- Select interior finishing
- Garage Education
- What you can do to maximize the lifespan of your garage.
- What makes CarShacks garages different from other garages?
- What time frame you are looking at for your garage project to be completed?
- Written Quote
- CarShacks believes in providing our potential customers full transparency in to our garage pricing:
- Quote is broken out by components (examples: concrete pad, structure, siding, electrical, etc);
- Quote breaks out labour & material costs;
- Quote outlines the contract terms.
- Our quotes will not hide costs or make you guess about what they include or do not include.
- If you are discussing multiple options or garage sizes with your consultant, they can also provide you with multiple quotes.
Whether you’re ready to start building your garage right away, or just looking for pricing to budget for next year, get an on site quote from CarShacks.