Greetings Garage Journal viewers. I’m making my first post here to share the garage build completed in connection with a new home my wife and I recently built. As an introduction, my name is Jim, I retired after a 35+ year career in Houston, Texas and recently moved to the Mooresville, North Carolina area (north of Charlotte) on Lake Norman (in “The Point”). The home was the culmination of a two-and-a-half-year process of finding a lot, designing and then building the home. The home was a custom-build and began with a blank sheet of paper. The plan from the beginning included my desire for a garage a car and garage enthusiast would appreciate (at least my vision of it). In recent years, I’ve come to enjoy detailing my cars; therefore, the garage design was focused on providing a place to detail cars regardless of weather conditions. I also enjoy working on motorcycles and doing basic maintenance on cars and wanted a workshop area for those purposes. I’m glad to share the results here. Key elements of the garage:
- 1,720 ft2, attached
- 4 car bays, 1 golf cart bay, workshop area
- High ceilings (12-1/2’ in front and back, increasing to 16’ in the middle section)
- High lift garage doors (made by C.H.I.), powder coated aluminum frame, ½” insulated and tinted glass panels, 10’W x 8’H on car bays, Liftmaster 8500W Jackshaft WIFI garage door openers)
- Porcelain tile floor with center drains (floor slopes toward drains)
- Moduline Pro II cabinets
- American Custom Lifts Model M1-6.5 single-post car lift
- Wash bay on center “utility wall” that houses the equipment (Kranzle K165 water pump, Mosmatic 2-piece folding boom pole and wand, CR Spotless water deionizer, BigBoi car dryer, 2 Cox 30’ electric hose reels, VacuMaid Garage Vac Pro w/50’ hose, Prier hot/cold hose bib, Eley hose reel with 75’ garden hose, Moduline closet and fold-down workbench)
- Compressed air system (Jenny J5A-60V air compressor, Prevost piping, fittings and valves, 2 Cox 30’ air hose reels)
- Lots of ambient light via glass garage door panels and windows/skylights in the workshop.
- Saylite square and linear LED pendants for primary lighting (2 x 8’ Square pendants over wash bay and lift, 2 x 4’ square pendants over other 2 bays, 6 x 8’ linear pendants in workshop and at front of each car bay). Each light fixture provides 4,000 kelvin and is dimmable. The Saylite fixtures are supplemented by 17 x 5” LED can lights throughout the garage.
- Wall cladding consisting of a stainless-steel linen lower panel (supplied by Rigidized Metals) with a 3’ row of “Megawall” aluminum slat wall above the lower panel at certain places.
- Full HVAC
- TV and Audio via Savant home entertainment system
I’m very happy with the result. We moved into the house in late June and I’ve enjoyed using the garage and especially the wash bay. Everything worked out as planned and I can’t think of anything I would have done differently.
One pleasant surprise was the relative lack of overspray from the wash bay. I had planned to install a curtain (suspended on track from the ceiling) that would be pulled around the wash bay when in use. I’m happy I don’t need it.
It took a while before I decided on the porcelain tile floor. I originally intended to use Swisstrax plastic modular flooring (15.75” squares that connect together). I really like the Swisstrax qualities of a clean look, easy maintenance and ease of installation. If you change your mind, it’s easy to take up and do something different. However, as the garage evolved and took shape, some challenges emerged with Swisstrax (in my opinion). The main difficulty is the shape of the garage, with a two 20-degree doglegs (the main one being in the garage center). I couldn’t get comfortable with how the Swisstrax would merge at those junctions. The angled pieces would join with no connection. Swisstrax offers some options to secure the junctions, but I couldn’t get the clarity I wanted on how secure they would be. Besides the junction issue, the design of the garage continued to gravitate towards a more upscale appearance and porcelain tile was the better design match. The tile I selected is from Walker Zanger with a 5 PEI rating (the hardest) and was designed for commercial use, so it conforms with the minimum dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) rating of .42. That means the footing is very secure, wet or dry. I’m glad a went with porcelain tile. The look is phenomenal. It’s expensive to install, but if done right, porcelain tile is among the most durable materials you can have in a garage.
As I mentioned, I detail cars in the garage and lighting is very important. I spent a lot of hours looking at lighting options. I ultimately found Saylite and really liked their pendant LED lights. I was blown away by how good they look and work. The Saylite fixtures are supplemented by 5” LED can light. The ambient light in the garage during the day is good enough that lights are optional. At night, the LED lights put out just the right amount of illuminance on cars that I’m detailing, without being too much. A nice feature is a motion detector at the entrance into the house. So, for example, if you’re taking trash from the house to the bins in the garage, the motion will turn on the can lights to light a path to the bins.
Selection of the wall cladding was also a long process. I wanted something to give the garage an upscale look and provide a barrier for moisture coming from the wash bay (although that hasn’t been a problem). The Moduline cabinets have a stainless-steel countertop. I thought extending that theme throughout the garage might make sense. I didn’t want something too flashy and over the top though (e.g., no shiny diamond plate). I found a company Rigidized Metals and really like the different stainless-steel textures and finishes they offer. I selected the “linen” texture for it’s rich and nonreflective look. In certain places, we added 3’ of Megawall slat wall above the linen stainless-steel. It matches the theme and adds the functionality of using the wall space to hang things and keep clutter up and off the floor.
I use the car lift primarily for parking (to get another vehicle in the garage) and wanted a lift with a small footprint. American Custom Lifts makes a single-post lift that’s perfect for my application. My electrician spliced into the power supply on the lift and added an electrical outlet affixed to the center post. I use the outlet to hook up battery tenders for cars parked on or below the lift, which avoids the need to run extension cords across the floor.
I use the compressed air primarily to run pneumatic Rupes polishers. The Jenny compressor has been great. With a 60-gallon tank, it has a lot of range and only takes a couple of minutes to recharge.
My vision for the garage was influenced by viewing content on Matt Moreman’s “Obsessed Garage” YouTube channel, website and Facebook group. If you’re familiar with Matt, you may understand. He’s a garage and car enthusiast who has a lot of experience searching out the very best in products and equipment. My vision would have been much narrower if not for the information shared by Matt (and it kept expanding as he pursued new projects). For example, I would never have considered putting a wash bay inside a garage without seeing Matt do it in his. I decided to add a compressed air system after watching Matt install a system in his garage. It opened my eyes to how special a garage space can be, if you have the passion and desire to make it special. Some of the equipment in my garage is commercial-grade and somewhat hard to find since the manufacturers don’t market to the consumer. e.g., The pressure washer (Kranzle) is German made. The boom pole (Mosmatic) is Swiss made. The compressed air tubing and fittings (Prevost) are from a French company. The air and electrical reels (Cox) are American, but not heavily marketed. All are very high quality. Matt introduced me to these products and watching him install the equipment in his garage gave me the ideas and courage to do it in mine. As an added benefit, I was able to source and acquire the equipment through Obsessed Garage and Matt was very helpful consulting with me throughout the project. I feel fortunate I found Matt and Obsessed Garage just as I was beginning the project. It was great timing!
The garage turned out fantastic and exceeded all my expectations. I hope everyone has a garage that puts a smile on your face the way mine does every time I go in it!