Garage Smart Blog
Using Smart Track to Transform Your Garage Into the Perfect Man Cave
Chances are, your garage is full of untapped potential – but Smart Track is about to change that. Being the default storage space for your home, your garage is likely full of unorganized objects – yard tools, kids' bikes, outdoor gear – with a car or two squeezed into the open space. Why not get the most out of your garage by morphing it into your perfect man cave, complete with souped up lights, smart speakers, cool tools, and still plenty of storage space? With Smart Track by Garage Smart – and a few other optional customizations – you can transform your garage into the man cave you've always dreamed of.
Oil stained cement doesn't exactly scream luxury. If you really want to go for a complete garage makeover, you can install epoxy stone flooring for a cleaner, more refined look. Plus, epoxy stone floors don't just look great, they're easy to clean, long-lasting, and not slippery.
DIY epoxy stone floor
Epoxy stone flooring is a great solution if your garage floor holds water, making it slippery and prone to staining; if it's hard to clean in general; or, if you just want a little upgrade. Epoxy is not UV-resistant, so it's great to use in indoor spaces, like your garage. Epoxy stone flooring looks super high-quality and will last you a long time – even in a garage that gets a lot of use.
Here's what you'll need to install your own epoxy stone flooring in your garage:
- Floor sander (available for rent at most home improvement stores)
- Solvent (like methyl ethyl ketone)
- Epoxy (most rock and pebble paving epoxy resin comes with a binder and topcoat and instructions for mixing)
- Pebbles (1-2 bags, depending on floor size)
- Jiffy mixer and metal tub
- Gauge rake (available at most home improvement stores)
- Finishing trowel
Start by prepping the surface of your garage floor. The floor needs to be porous and able to absorb the adhesive epoxy binder. To open up the floor's pores, sand the floor a bit with a floor sander. To test the floor's porousness, pour a little solvent on it and watch to see if it sinks into the surface of the flooring. If the solvent sits on top of the garage floor's surface, sand a little bit more. Repeat this process until you see the solvent dissolve into the floor's surface.
Next, prime the floor with a paint primer.
Most rock and pebble paving epoxy comes with instructions for mixing, given the binder, resin, and topcoat formulations. Most epoxy binders come with two parts that need to be mixed together. Follow the included instructions and mix parts A and B together with a jiffy mixer.
Dump the pebbles into a large metal tub and coat them with your epoxy mixture. Mix them together well with a jiffy mixer.
Pour the mixed pebbles onto your garage's floor and spread them out evenly with a gauge rake. Make sure the pebbles look consistently thick across the whole surface of the floor.
Use a finishing trowel to get a smooth finish across the whole surface of the floor.
Let your floor cure and scrape or blow off any stray pebbles. Mix up the epoxy topcoat and spread it across the pebbled floor. Indoor epoxy typically takes one day to fully dry.
Most garage walls are made of unfinished drywall. Even if your drywall is painted, it's probably heavily textured. To really finish the look of your garage and transform it into more than just the space where you park your car and toss your junk, you can easily finish your garage walls with a little taping and mudding. In addition to looking better, it will also be a better surface to hang signs, shelves, or pegboard for loose tools.
DIY drywall finish
When drywall is properly finished, it will be completely smooth, the joints won't be showing, and it will be ready for a fresh coat of paint.
Here's what you'll need to finish the drywall in your garage:
- Drywall tape (paper)
- Joint compound (premixed all-purpose)
- Drywall taping knives
- Drywall mud pan
- Screw gun or hammer
- Drywall sanding sheets
- Dry cloths
Start by prepping the drywall. Run a taping knife across the surface to detect any screw or nail heads that are not fully recessed (these will be obstructions to smoothly finishing the drywall). Tighten any screws and drive any nails that are sticking out to help make the surface more smooth. Also, if there are any torn paper parts on the drywall, cut them off to keep them from becoming lumpy under the taping and mudding.
(Garage Smart suggestion: although fiberglass mesh drywall tape works on flat surfaces, it doesn't perform well on corners – so paper drywall tape is a good alternative.) Scoop some mud (joint compound) into a drywall mud pan. With a six-inch drywall taping knife, apply a thin layer over the joint and immediately press the paper tape into the mud, centered directly over the joint. With one hand holding the tape in place, use the taping knife to smooth from the center to the ends, applying just enough pressure to squeeze out a little bit of mud from underneath the tape. Apply another thin layer of mud to cover the tape and fill the joint (you should be able to see the tape through the thin layer of mud).
Once this step is complete over all of the joints, fill the joints in the corners where your garage walls meet. The process will be the same, but you may need a corner drywall knife to properly apply the mud.
Apply a small amount of mud over each nail or screw head to properly fill the divots in the walls and smooth out the surface of the walls. Let the mud dry overnight.
Once the compound has dried completely, sand it lightly to remove any bumps. Apply a light layer of compound over the joints with a larger knife to completely cover the tape and make the joints flush will the walls. Once dry, lightly sand.
Apply the last coat with the largest drywall taping knife.
Once dry, lightly sand out any bumps. If you find that your drywall is still a little bit lumpy, resist the urge to over-sand it. Instead, apply more mud. Once your drywall is level and smooth and the mud has completely dried, paint or wallpaper to completely finish the walls.
Most garages rely on a single lightbulb and the light from the garage door opener to keep them well-lit. If you're planning on using your garage as your man cave, working on projects until late into the night, you'll need more lighting than that.
Garage Smart's Spotlight is designed to add supplemental lighting to your garage. You can program one or multiple Spotlights from your smartphone to perform on a schedule, and/or to trigger when they detect motion from the Door Sensor. The Spotlight snaps easily into Smart Track and has 1200 lumens with adjustable brightness.
Finding a place for all the stuff that exists inside your garage so you can turn it into a proper workspace can be tricky. Overhead storage is a good solution so items like lawn mowers, coolers, holiday decor containers, shovels, and other items commonly stored in the garage can remain up and out of the way when they are not in use.
The Platform Lifter by Garage Smart is a motorized shelving unit that remains at the top of the garage and easily lowers when you need to retrieve your items with the touch of a button on your smartphone. It's perfect for holding large, bulky items and comes with Smart Track to be installed easily and seamlessly to your ceiling. (Garage Smart suggestion: use the Smart Track from any Garage Smart lifter to attach other tools – like the Spotlight – to. Or, connect more Smart Track for even more space for extra Garage Smart tools.)
As an added bonus, you can attach the Tool Rack to the bottom of your Platform Lifter to safely store rakes, brooms, fishing poles, garden tools, and more. Your tools will simply slide in to the four easy-loading slots and stay put as you raise and lower the Platform Lifter.
It's not a proper man cave without access to your favorite music. The Sound Bundle by Garage Smart includes the Voice Module, Sound Drop (a Bluetooth speaker), a Power Adapter, and Smart Track. You'll be able to install this complete piece of track next to any other Garage Smart lifters or tools on the ceiling of your garage and receive phone calls and listen to music and podcasts completely hands-free.
Utilize your garage's untapped potential. Get the most out of your garage with Smart Track, designed to be put together and used in multiples to hold all of your Garage Smart products. The 30 inch tracks come with plastics covers to conceal wires and finish off your garage's ceiling with a clean look.
- Erica Burton
How To Properly Store Your Lawn Mower
The start of spring means a few things: warmer weather, spring cleaning, and – inevitably – pulling out your yard tools. There are a few steps you can take to ensure that your lawn mower is ready for use all spring, summer, and fall long – including keeping it in a safe, easy to access storage spot. Applying a little bit of elbow grease to your lawn mower now will pay off in the long run.
Don't just let the grass grow beneath your feet; take the proper steps to get your lawn mower ready for action. (Garage Smart suggestion: proper lawn mower servicing can also apply to other gas-powered yard tools like snowblowers and edgers. Take proper care of your outdoor power tools for more success next time you pull them out of the garage.)
Give it some gas
If you left gas in your lawn mower over the winter, make sure you don't have a rusty carburetor. If you do, you can always repair it or replace it before adding more gas. To ready your lawn mower's gas tank for new gas, add fuel stabilizer to the tank and let it run through the system by powering your lawn mower on. Turn your mower off, allow the engine to cool, then siphon any leftover gas into a clean gas can. (Garage Smart suggestion: if this gas hasn't been mixed with oil, use it to top off your car!) Restart your lawn mower and let it go until it stops. Keep repeating these steps until the engine doesn't start.
If you have a rusty carburetor
Double check your lawn mower's carburetor before cleaning out the gas tank and/or adding more gas. Most carburetor issues can be diagnosed by starting the engine: if it doesn't start or takes too many pulls to get it going, and you've let gas sit in your mower for a long time, the chances are that you have a rusty or gummy carburetor that needs to be rebuilt/repaired or replaced.
To double check the status of your lawn mower's carburetor, shoot an aerosol lubricant or carburetor cleaner down into the carburetor. Then, yank the cord. If the engine begins to run and then dies, you probably have a fuel problem.
Replacing the carburetor
Remove the carburetor from your lawn mower's engine and place it in a bucket or other large container (to catch the gas). Open the carburetor bowl to check for corrosion. If there is any corrosion present on the carburetor, you'll need to buy a new one – there's no repairing a corroded carburetor.
Even if you have no corrosion on your lawn mower's carburetor, you may want to replace it. Purchasing a new carburetor tends to be about the same price as the tools you'll need to repair an old one – plus a lot less labor.
Repairing the carburetor
If you're down for a little DIY, purchase a carburetor cleaner and a carburetor rebuild kit. Make sure you also have these items on hand:
- Plastic gloves
- 4-in-1 screwdriver
- Adjustable wrench
- Needle-nose pliers
- Nut driver
- Organic vapor respirator
- Socket/ratchet set
Spread out some towels and disassemble your lawn mower's carburetor. Match the new gaskets and O-rings in the carburetor rebuild kit with the old ones. Then, set aside any extra parts in the kit (kits often come with enough parts for a number of lawn mower models). Dunk the parts into a carburetor cleaner and let them sit for about an hour. Rinse all of the parts and let them dry completely. Install the new carburetor parts and mount the carburetor on the mower's engine. The engine should start just like new.
Disconnect the spark plugs
It's super important that you disconnect the spark plugs on your lawn mower before continuing with any further repairs. Connected spark plugs could cause your lawn mower to start up unexpectedly, which could result in serious injury.
Remove the blade
To make it easier to clean the underside of your lawn mower and change the oil, remove the blade on the bottom. (Garage Smart suggestion: wear thick gardening gloves when removing your lawn mower's blade with a wrench to prevent injury.)
Sharpening your lawn mower's blade
An often used lawn mower blade will naturally develop nicks and dings. Carefully sharpen it with a metal file to increase its efficacy.
If your lawn mower's blade looks unusually worn and/or damaged, take it to a repair shop. A repair technician can tell you whether you need a replacement or a more heavy duty sharpening method, like a bench grinder.
Before reattaching your lawn mower blade, make sure it is balanced. A plastic balancer is available at most home improvement stores for only a few dollars. If one side of the blade dips lower than the other side when placed on the balancer, you will need to sharpen and/or grind that side a little more until the blade is balanced.
Change the oil
Set your lawn mower on its side with the air filter and carburetor facing upward. Place a tray or pan under your lawn mower to catch the oil, then slowly remove the oil reservoir plug and tilt your mower until oil starts to drain. Replace the plug when all of the oil has drained.
Clean the deck
It's likely that the undercarriage of your lawn mower has caked-on grass and mud, which could prevent your mower from working properly. Use a putty knife or wire brush to scrape off the bottom of your lawn mower. Once you're done, replace the blade and fill the tank with fresh oil.
Change the air filter
If your lawn mower has a paper air filter, you'll need to replace it with a new one. If you have a sponge air filter, simply wash it out with soap and water and allow it to dry completely before putting it back.
Replace the spark plugs
If you didn't replace the spark plugs before winter, it's best to do that before a full season of using your lawn mower regularly. New spark plugs are usually just a couple of dollars and will make your lawn mower run much smoother.
Lawn mowers can be very dangerous if left around kids and/or pets. Because of their regular use, they can also nick and ding your cars as you take them in and out of your garage. Overhead storage is often the safest and most practical solution for everyday items – especially if it's motorized. Motorized storage makes it easy to retrieve your lawn mower every weekend when you're doing a yard spruce, and store it when you're finished. Garage Smart's Platform Lifter is a perfect solution for lawn mowers and other outdoor power tools because of its easy operation and self-leveling storage platform.
It can be difficult to keep your regularly used tools maintained and ready to use. Garage Smart creates garage storage that is easily accessible via smartphone app.
Overhead Garage Storage to Make Home Garage Parking Safer
Sometimes our garages become the default space for excess clutter, making them useless for their number one asset: parking. To free up some space in your garage and park your cars dent-free, follow our tips and tricks to maximize your garage space with overhead garage storage solutions.
Many hardware stores sell easy-to-install parking bumpers you can adhere to your garage floor. They look and feel like speed bumps you would see on a road. Installing these bumpers in your garage can help guide you into a safe parking spot. Make sure to measure your car to create a precise parking spot within your garage.
Bikes, yard tools, and other gear that is often stored in a garage usually ends up against the garage walls. Since the primary purpose for your garage is to keep your car safe, creating a free parking spot for it is crucial. By lifting bikes and other toys and tools off of the ground with overhead garage storage solutions from Garage Smart, you'll free up horizontal space for parking your cars.
Garage Smart makes great lifts for home garage storage, like the Multi-Bike Lifter: a garage lift that creates overhead storage for 1-3 bikes. Simply attach them with the lifting straps and raise them to the ceiling via smartphone app. Your bikes will stay safely stored at the ceiling of your garage and won't budge until you lower them with the Garage Smart smartphone app.
The Universal Lifter is a garage storage lift that can be used as an alternative to the Multi-Bike Lifter or in conjunction with it. Lift a single bike or a wheelbarrow, tent, or other object crowding your garage's wall and floor space.
You would be surprised how much better garage lighting can affect all of your everyday tasks in your garage - especially parking. Installing brighter and higher quality overhead lights can be a game-changer when it comes time to park. Improving your vision of the items in your garage will prevent dents when parking.
You should be able to park in your garage! Garage Smart creates smart storage lifters for your home garage that help you declutter your space and get gear off of the floor, freeing up space for your cars.
How to Get Rid of that Musty Smell in Your Garage
How to Get Rid of that Musty Smell in Your Garage
When we don’t know where to store something in our home, we often toss it in our garage. It’s an accessible and convenient open space to store any type of item. But as time passes, it gets fuller and messier. You add cleaning your garage to your to-do list, but push it aside seeing what an anxious mess it’s become.
Cleaning your garage can turn into a long-term project, so don’t get discouraged if it’s taking you longer than you expected or if you need to harness a lot of manpower in the process. Take your time with it, because you want to be sure you do it right and create your ideal garage space.
While you’re deep cleaning the space, if you notice a musty smell in your garage the chances are, you have mold or mildew. This is often due to poor ventilation and low air circulation. So before it gets any worse or pervades through other items in your garage, follow these steps to get rid of the mold/mildew and smell quickly:
- You can use several different products such as bleach, vinegar, or tea tree oil to clean up mold. If you use bleach, use one gallon of cool water with one cup of chlorine bleach in a bucket.
- Use a spray bottle to apply the solution and with a sponge or cloth, scrub down the mold.
- You don’t need to rinse the surface (unless it may be touched by children or pets). The bleach will prevent future mold growth.
Take proper measures to avoid future buildup of mold, mildew, and a musty stench:
- Conduct regular clean-ups to prevent having a musty garage. The more frequently you clean, the less likely mold and mildew will form.
- Create proper ventilation in your garage. Inviting fresh air is key to counteracting a musty garage smell and other bad odors. Prop a window open or use a dehumidifier.
- Place open boxes of baking soda around your garage and replace them every month. This will help absorb bad odors in your garage.
5 Key Steps in Organizing and Cleaning Your Garage Space
Whether you’re dealing with a lack of space or clutter, there are five key steps that will help you simplify the art of cleaning and organizing your garage space.
1. Take It All Out
In order to efficiently clean your mess, start by taking everything out of your garage and moving it to your driveway. Laying everything out will help you see what you might want to get rid of and visualize how to properly organize your garage space. Moreover, this will give you time to think of what kind of storage solutions will work best for your items.
2. Keep or Toss?
Now that you have everything laid out, go through each item and determine whether you should keep it or toss it. Often times, our garage space gets so full and messy because we have things we don’t really need or rarely use. So it’s important to carve out time to purge things in order to create a new and clean beginning.
And don’t get us wrong, it’s hard to let things go! To help you out, we’ve compiled a few questions that will help you determine if you should keep or toss something. If the answers to the following statements are a yes, then consider keeping the item:
- Have you used this item/device more than once in the past year?
- Is this in good condition?
- Would it be difficult to borrow this elsewhere?
3. Donate, Sell, or Toss the “No” Items
Now that you’ve determined what stays, what do you do with all of the stuff you don’t want or need?
- Donate - The best option is donating. You’ll have the opportunity to pass it onto someone or a community that can make good use of your items. Organizations such as Goodwill or Salvation Army are great options to donate your things to, or you can even advertise and give them away on social media platforms.
- Toss - And of course, if the two options above do not work, dispose of the items. Depending on how large they are (say you have large pieces of old furniture), you may want to consider renting a dumpster.
4. Deep Clean the Space
While you have an empty garage, take advantage of this time by washing it down. Clean your garage from top to bottom.
Start with any cabinets or shelves. Scrub them down using a damp cloth, and then wipe down your garage walls with a mild household detergent and a sponge mop. Once you’re finished wiping down the walls, use a flat head mop with a microfiber cloth to dry the.
Finish by sweeping, mopping, and hosing the floors. There are a variety of methods you can use to remove different types of stains from your floors:
Cat litter, dish soap, and a nylon-bristle brush will help get rid of oil/grease stains. Sprinkle cat litter on the oil/grease stain and leave it on for a day. This will help absorb the oil/grease.
After a day has passed, sweep the cat litter and drizzle dish soap on top of the stain. Let the soap sit for 45 minutes. Pour water over the soap and using a nylon-bristle brush, scrub the area. Rinse the area with water, and repeat this process as needed.
To remove rust stains, squeeze lemon or white vinegar on the area, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Use a nylon-bristle brush to scrub the stain and rinse the area with water. Repeat as needed.
Start by using a putty knife to scrape off any loose paint and sweep the area around the paint. Wearing gloves, mix TSP (trisodium phosphate) and water. Pour the solution on the paint and rinse it with water. Scrape any remaining bits of paint on the floor and rinse again.
If you’re lucky enough that you don’t have tough stains in your garage and simply need to do some basic cleaning, you can use baking soda and water. Mix half a cup of baking soda with a gallon of warm water, and use this solution to scrub your floor. This will help remove dirt and light stains. You can also opt to mix laundry detergent with water to clean.
The type of storage to select depends on the types of items you have and the way you want your garage space to look. Useful tools and ideas that help maximize your storage space are:
- Pegboard - This allows you to easily attach hooks and baskets to conveniently store your items such as your tools, shovels, and rakes.
The Best Storage Solutions for Your Clean Deodorized Garage
Garage Smart understands the importance of having functional tools and solutions to create the garage space of your dreams. Learn more by checking out our products like the Universal XL Lifter. Clean, practical, and easy to install, this lifter will help you remove clutter in your garage and craft an organized space to get your work done.
We understand how stressful and challenging it is to declutter and clean out your garage. Not to mention, how to get rid of that musty garage smell! So buckle up, as we dive into how to properly and efficiently clean out your garage.
- Erica Burton