Category: Basement & Garage


Solved! What to Do About a Flooded Basement

When your basement is a wading pool, help can't come fast enough. Read on for the right way to dry it out—without risking your safety.

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what-to-do-about-a-flooded-basement

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Q. Help! I went to the basement to do some laundry but found water on the floor instead! How do I rescue my flooded basement?

A. Few household issues are as scary as serious flooding, but a little quick thinking now can save you a lot of money on repairs later. Water accumulates in the basement for all kinds of reasons, including burst pipes, sewage backups, nearby tree removals, and inadequate drainage. The most common culprit is rising groundwater from heavy rainfall or melting snow. Once enough water pools around your foundation, the moisture seeps inside and travels to the lowest ground—in this case, your basement.  Whatever the root of your problem, we’ll show you how to dry out your basement—step by step.

Safety first. You might be panicking about your belongings, but safety should always be your first priority. Because water conducts electricity, entering a flooded basement can be deadly.  For water more than a foot deep, the risk of electrocution is much higher, and you’ll need to hire a professional who specializes in flood remediation. If you’re only dealing with one or two inches of water, you can probably clear out most of the flooding on your own. Still, it’s a good idea to ask someone to stay nearby so they can intervene if things go awry. From raw sewage to chemicals and pollutants, all kinds of hazardous materials can be present in flood water. Don’t go downstairs without protective clothing, goggles, and gloves. Don’t forget to pull on a pair of waterproof boots, and be sure to grab a flashlight so you can see where you’re going.

what-to-do-about-a-flooded-basement-1

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Shut off your power and gas supply. If there are gas lines or gas appliances in the basement, go outside first to shut off the supply from your meter’s gas main. If there’s a few inches of water, laying out a few 2×4s or turned-over five-gallon buckets may allow you to reach your breaker panel to kill the power. If you can’t safely reach your breaker, go back upstairs and call your power provider. They’ll help you determine the best next step for your specific situation, which may include sending a utilities worker to pull the meter face from the meter pan, disconnecting your house from the electrical grid.

Remove the water. Whether you rent a sump pump, go old-school with a bucket and mop, or use a wet/dry vac, it’s important to clear out the water quickly.

• If you know it’s not sewage backup and can pour the excess water down your storm drains, then do that.

• If you’re unsure, dump the water on your lawn or another permeable surface away from your home. 

• If possible, use an upstairs outlet and run an extension cord for your sump pump or wet-vac, being extremely careful to keep the cord and plug away from the water. Never use an outlet that has been exposed to water.

• If it’s a clear day, open any windows to increase air circulation. High-powered fans and dehumidifiers can also speed up the drying phase.

Salvage what you can. Anything of value should be relocated to a dry spot where the damp items won’t damage floors or furnishings. If you have wooden baseboards, you might be able to save them; pull them out and put them aside to dry. Anything containing electrical wiring (including outlets exposed to the flooding) should be thrown away, according to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

Clear the floor. Now that you’re removed the pooled water, you can now pull up any carpets or rugs. Rubber backing will not be salvageable, and there’s a good chance your carpets and rugs may not be either. Put your floor coverings aside to dry, and come back to them later to assess their condition.

Check the drywall. Any drywall that has been soaked is drywall that likely needs replacing. Usually, wet drywall will crumble and its paper covering becomes a breeding ground for mold. If that’s the case, you can do a “flood cut” of the drywall 12 to 18 inches above the line of damage. That area from the floor to the cut will have to be re-drywalled, and any insulation exposed to water will have to be replaced.

Disinfect and throw away damaged things. If it’s clean water that flooded, you can consider skipping this step, but you’ll feel better if you’ve given everything a good cleaning, including the walls and exposed wood. Some products can prevent mold and mildew problems before they can take hold. When applied to the surface and left overnight, they’ll kill any spores that have already started to grow. Given the odds that mold could be a future problem, preventative treatment is a wise move. If the cause of your flooded basement isn’t obvious, and it’s a persistent problem, hiring an experienced pro to pinpoint the source is well worth it.


So, You Want to… Insulate a Garage Door

This project will keep your workshop comfy this winter—and all year round.

How to Insulate a Garage Door

Photo: istockphoto.com

As the weather cools, it’s the perfect time to gird your garage against the colder temperatures on the way, especially if you’ve got your home workshop in there. Metal garage doors block strong winds but do little to maintain a comfortable temperature. But if you’re not ready to plunk down upwards of a thousand dollars for a new, pre-insulated model, consider gearing up the garage door you’ve got. We’ve assembled all the info you need to understand how to insulate a garage door successfully, plus tips to help you get maximum benefit out of the project.

What Can I Expect from Insulating My Garage Door?
Adding insulation to the door’s interior channels can help keep your garage an average of 10 to 12 degrees warmer in winter and as much as 20 degrees cooler in summer. Insulation also reduces noise transfer, so not only will you avoid hearing street traffic when in your workshop, you’ll spare your neighbors the sounds of your son’s rock band practice.

Benefits of a Garage Door Insulating Kit
The simplest way to insulate a garage door is with a kit containing either vinyl- or foil-faced batts or foil-faced rigid foam boards. Kits start around $50, and as they increase in price often offer a more complete set of supplies—adhesive, tape, a utility knife, gloves, and perhaps even a dust mask—than just the insulating materials. The prime benefit of a kit, however, is its specially designed retainer pins. Made of lightweight plastic or metal, the pins have plates attached that adhere to the back of the garage door channels to help anchor rigid foam or batts in place. This stabilizes the insulation, so it won’t fall on your car when the door is open. If you opt against a kit, you can use other methods to hold the insulation in place.

Purchase the Right Rigid Foam Insulation
Skipping the kit? Most DIY-ers opt for foil-faced rigid foam board panels that you measure and cut with a sharp utility knife or table saw to fit the channels inside your garage door.

How to Insulate a Garage Door

Photo: istockphoto.com

• The main types of foam board are expanded polystyrene (EPS), extruded polystyrene (XPS), and polyisocyanurate (called “polyiso” or simply “iso”). Any of these are acceptable for garage door insulation as long as they are foil-faced and fire-rated. Do not use non-faced foam board, which is flammable and will produce dangerous fumes if it burns; in fact, using it might very well violate your local building codes.

• Choose foam board slightly thinner than the thickness of you door’s interior channel enclosures. For example, a standard garage door channel is about 1-¾ inches deep, so you would want to cut pieces from a 1-½-inch thick foam board.

• Although they can vary, most garage door channels have “lips” that hold the boards in the channels, but rigid foam boards can still rattle around a bit if they don’t fit snugly. A bit of foam-safe adhesive, applied to the back of the garage door channel before inserting a board, will help hold it in place. You can use expanding foam to seal gaps around the sides if necessary, but a little goes a long way. Check the label of any adhesive and expanding foam spray to ensure compatibility with the foam board you’re using—some adhesive will melt foam board.

Working with Batt Insulation
While standard batt insulation is readily available—you might even have an extra roll laying around—and it’s often slightly cheaper than foam board, it’s probably not the best choice for garage door insulation if you’re not using a kit. The thinnest standard batt, at 3-½ inches thick, is too thick for most garage door channels, and compressing the batts greatly reduces their ability to insulate a garage door. If you’re set on batt insulation, find thinner, 1-½-inch thick foil-faced batting—the kind used for wrapping HVAC ducts at plumbing supply stores or order it online (do-it-yourself centers don’t often carry it). To hold the batts in place, you’ll also need to use the correct adhesive and tape recommended by the batting manufacturer.

Maximizing Your Insulation Project
To make the most of your garage door insulation project, replace the rubber sweep on the bottom of the door. Also install weather stripping around the sides of the garage door to prevent icy drafts from blowing in. And while insulating the doors is a great first step, you’ll enjoy more heat-retention if the rest of your garage is insulated as well—heat can still escape through a non-insulated roof or sidewalls. But whatever steps you take before Old Man Winter comes calling will keep you toastier inside your workshop. But we warn you: You’ll have no excuses not get things done in there!


Your Guide to Reviving a Tired Garage Floor

Make your garage flooring look good as new again with one of four easy, do-it-yourself strategies.

Concrete Floor Repair in the Garage

Photo: istockphoto.com

As one of the strongest, most durable, and longest-lasting construction materials, it’s no wonder why concrete is the most popular flooring choice for garages across the country. Still, despite its ability to hold up under adverse weather conditions and even the heaviest vehicles, all of that constant tire and foot traffic does take a toll over time. Gradually, the heavy use detracts from the garage floor’s appearance—and, worse yet, causes the sort of vulnerabilities that can jeopardize the structural integrity of the slab. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for any worn-out garage floor. Keep reading, and you can adequately equip yourself with the right products and tools for rescuing your flooring from old age.

 

Concrete Floor Repair - Cleaning with a Pressure Washer

Photo: istockphoto.com

Wash Away Years of Wear
Ground-in dirt and oil stains build up in the garage can mask an otherwise perfectly good floor. In these cases, a little elbow grease and some common cleansers may go a long way towards revitalizing the concrete’s overall appearance.

First, remove stubborn oil and grease stains. Fresh spills can be soaked up with granulated cat litter and swept up with a stiff brush. Older stains respond well to a good scrubbing with a number of household remedies: paste made from either powdered laundry detergent or baking soda and water; grease-cutting dish detergents; hydrogen peroxide; or full-strength bleach. Rust stains and excessive smears of dried mortar and grout will require a more powerful solvent called muriatic acid. Proceed with extreme caution if you work with this last solvent—protective clothing, plenty of ventilation, and careful dilution according to the manufacturer’s directions are all must-dos.

Once you’ve treated individual spots, you can use a pressure washer and biodegradable detergent (or even simply a stiff scrub brush, a bucket filled with warm soapy water, and elbow grease) to remove lingering mold, mildew, ground-in dirt, and paint drips from the entire surface. Mold, mildew, and algae stains as well as mortar or grout discoloration might require treatment with solvents, including TSP (trisodium phosphate). Then apply a clear, water-repellent concrete sealer over the newly-clean surface to help prevent future dirt, grease, and grime buildup.

 

Concrete Floor Repair - Resurfacing with NewCrete

Photo: ctscement.com

Start Fresh with a Resurfacing
Wear from vehicles, foot traffic, and the elements can turn into spider web–like “craze” cracking, flaking, or spalling, when the top layer of the concrete breaks off and exposes the patchy and pitted aggregate underneath. Luckily, any of these issues can be strictly cosmetic, as long as they are tended to soon after discovery. Ignore the early stages of spalling, however, and it could spread enough to compromise the integrity of the surface beyond repair.

A high-quality, professional resurfacing product like NewCrete Concrete Resurfacer from CTS Cement | Rapid Set addresses all of these imperfections in a single go. The cutting-edge product is self-curing, requiring no additional primers or products to finish the job after you coat your concrete floors. Best of all? Your garage won’t have to be “off-limits” for too long; Rapid Set NewCrete is ready for foot traffic after only two to three hours.

To apply, simply mix the product with water according to the ratio specified on the packaging, stirring for two or three minutes until it reaches a lump-free consistency. Like other resurfacers, NewCrete remains spreadable for about 30 minutes after a batch is mixed, so how much you prep—and the square footage you cover—at once will depend on how much you can do within that time. It’s best to work on one section at a time, especially if you’re resurfacing a large area. Wet the old concrete with clean water and make sure there is no standing water before applying the NewCrete mixture to prefill any minor cracks or holes. Once you’ve addressed these, spread the rest of your resurfacing product on in an even, thin layer up to 1/8-inch thick. Thanks to the product’s speedy curing, you’ll have a flawless finish that you can walk across as soon as 60 minutes after you complete the last section.

 

Concrete Floor Repair - Level Low Paints with Concrete Leveler

Photo: ctscement.com

Level Out Any Low Points
Many garage floors see dips, depressions, or hollows caused by settling or by moisture intrusion. To reverse these imperfections before they cause deeper structural problems, you will need to smooth out the surface using a premium product such as Concrete Leveler. This easy-to-use material is designed to spread across uneven concrete, filling in low spots and creating a new, level surface in the process.

For best results, first prepare the surface of the existing concrete by applying Concrete Leveler Primer to prevent pinholes and bubbles in the leveling layer. Then, mix enough Concrete Leveler with water to cover the entire surface of the garage floor while filling in the depression. (At half-inch thickness, a 50-pound bag of Concrete Leveler will sufficiently cover 12 to 15 square feet. For a quarter-inch-thick application, the same size bag would cover between 24 and 30 square feet.) Apply the Concrete Leveler compound across the concrete surface, getting all the way into the corners and along the edges using a long-handled squeegee, and allow gravity to do the rest of the leveling. Within four hours, a smooth, level surface will have formed, strong enough to be walked upon; after 24 hours, you can even roll the car back in.

 

Concrete Floor Repair - Fill in Cracks with Cement All

Photo: ctscement.com

Fill In the Cracks
Sometimes even the most solid concrete floors can develop structural damages—crumbling, chipping, or deep cracks—as a result of something as simple as freezing and thawing in the changing seasons. To remedy these issues before they get worse, turn to a professional-grade product: Rapid Set Cement All. This high-quality, fast-setting material offers superior adhesion to pre-existing, damaged concrete, making minor concrete repairs an easy do-it-yourself project and eliminating the need for a full-on floor replacement.

Thoroughly clean the area to be repaired, removing any crumbling concrete. Saturate the surface, then mix the necessary amount of Cement All (ideally with a power-driven mechanical mixer) for one to three minutes until it’s reached a smooth, peanut-butter consistency. Apply the resulting compound to the damaged area, packing it to the desired level, and smooth the concrete with a trowel or broom. Once the surface loses it moist sheen, you can finish by water-curing for at least an hour.

Not only will you have restored your garage floor to its former glory with assistance from any of these CTS Cement | Rapid Set products, but you will have made it even better! When repairing structural damage with Cement All, you’re implementing an aid that rates as three times stronger than most concrete, ensuring that your garage floor will continue to stand up to traffic and weather for years to come.

 

This post has been brought to you by CTS Cement | Rapid Set. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


The Dos and Don’ts of Choosing a New Garage Door

Before you start shopping for a new garage door, learn what you should be looking for and get a sense of the vast possibilities this popular home improvement offers.

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How to Choose a Garage Door

Photo: clopaydoor.com

Americans love cars. For evidence, look no further than the design of the average postwar home. The garage often claims front-and-center position on the facade, making it as convenient as possible for drivers to come and go. Though the garage itself is usually a markedly utilitarian space, the garage door, because of its prominent placement, plays a big role in defining the outward appearance of your home. If, after years of hard use, your garage door is looking the worse for wear—or if it was never particularly attractive in the first place—replacing the old door gives you a huge opportunity to transform your home’s exterior and boost curb appeal, even as you enjoy a suite of performance improvements. There’s only one catch: With so many garage doors on the market today, it can be difficult to choose just one, particularly if you’ve never before shopped for a new door. Don’t know where to begin? These guidelines can help you narrow your search to a door design that fits your needs and suits your preferences perfectly.

DO select the right style. 
If a worn-out garage door can leave a first-time visitor with a bad impression of your home, the opposite must hold true as well. Upgrading your garage door will enhance the visual appeal not only of the garage, but of the entire exterior. Here’s the key: Select a door style that complements your house. For instance, if you live in a Craftsman bungalow—distinguished by deeply overhanging eaves, extensive woodwork, and divided-light windows, look for a garage door that features the same hallmark characteristics. Meanwhile, if you live in a clean-lined modern home, concentrate on simple garage door designs with limited detailing, which will reinforce the streamlined appeal of the architecture. Rather than sticking out like a sore thumb and calling attention to itself, a successful selection looks right at home on the exterior. Garage door manufacturers offer no shortage of options, or if you have a specific vision, you can even design a custom door to your exact specifications.

DON’T forget insulation.
Many homeowners use the garage as their primary entrance. If you’re one of them, consider an insulated garage door. For one thing, insulation ensures greater comfort in the garage. In fact, on a cold day, a well-insulated door can keep the garage 10 to 20 degrees warmer, according to a study by conducted by residential garage door manufacturer Clopay. It’s not all about comfort, though. There are savings at stake, too, because as the largest opening in the home, the garage door can affect your home’s overall energy efficiency. In a home with conditioned living spaces next to and above the garage, a poorly sealed, uninsulated garage door can make the home’s climate-control system work harder (and consume more energy) to maintain the target temperature. By minimizing drafts and thermal energy transfer, an insulated garage door can help lower monthly utility bills. That said, much depends on the quality of the insulation. To understand the insulating capacity of a garage door, consult its listed R-value. The higher the R-value, the better the door’s performance.

How to Choose a Garage Door - Double Doors

Photo: clopaydoor.com

DO choose a practical door type.
Different types of garage doors operate in different ways. Traditional swinging doors open outward from a central split, while others slide right to left like the entrance to an old barn. Far and away, one type surpasses the others in terms of popularity— overhead sectional doors. There are a couple of reasons why homeowners favor the convenience of an overhead sectional design. For one, in contrast to swing-style doors, which require ample clearance, sectional doors roll up and down on mounted tracks. And, overhead sectional doors are easy to pair with an automatic garage door opener. That’s not to say you can’t automate other types of garage doors, but doing so typically entails greater cost. You can get the best of worlds. Many garage door companies offer models that look like old-fashioned carriage house doors but operate with modern overhead convenience.

DON’T ignore care requirements. 
As a hardworking component of today’s home, the garage door must be maintained properly in order to look and perform its best. Certain construction materials require more care than others. For instance, while there’s no denying the beauty of natural wood, some homeowners avoid it because it requires periodic refinishing. Other materials offer the look of wood with considerably less upkeep. Composite—a combination of wood fibers and synthetic resins—emulates the look of wood but provides superior durability, and won’t rot, warp or crack. Steel is a great option no matter where you live. But if you’re near the coast, you’ll need to wax your door like you would a car to prevent surface rust. The best advice: Understand the upkeep requirements of any door on your radar, and don’t commit to purchase one that you’re unable or unwilling to take care of.

How to Choose a Garage Door - Stained Wood

Photo: clopaydoor.com

DON’T underestimate severe storms.
Due to their large size, garage doors are especially vulnerable to high winds. In fact, if a tornado or hurricane manages to break through the garage door, the resulting surge in air pressure can produce destructive, if not devastating, consequences. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a windproof garage door. But in many areas prone to severe storms, the municipal government requires code-compliant doors that can withstand a minimum level of wind resistance. To determine whether any such regulations apply in your neck of the woods, consult with county officials or a local garage door dealer. Wind-rated garage doors cost more than non-reinforced models, but there’s no discernible difference in exterior appearance. The heavy-duty parts that lend extra strength—reinforced struts, for example, or upgraded springing—are all inside the garage, behind the door itself. In other words, there’s no need to sacrifice curb appeal for storm preparedness, or vice versa.

DO experiment with visualization tools.
At the start of your search, it’s a good idea to visit a dealer showroom to get a sense of how different door styles and construction materials actually look and feel. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to a few options, it can be helpful to experiment with an online visualization tool, like the Door Imagination System from Clopay. Here’s how it works: After uploading a photo of your home to the site, you can see how different garage door designs (and different combinations of windows, finishes, and hardware) would look on your home. Tools like this often make it easier to arrive at a final decision and add a bit of fun to the process.

 

From style to construction material, from the R-value of the insulation to the presence or absence of windows—a number of variables can affect the final cost of a garage door. Prices run the gamut from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand (not including installation). It’s important to point out, that garage door replacement is one project that can increase the value of your home. In fact, among the most commonly completed home improvements, upgrading the garage door ranks near the very top of the list in terms of cost effectiveness and return on investment. In its annual Cost vs. Value Report, Remodeling magazine estimates that at resale, people recoup nearly the total sum invested in the project—91.5 percent, to be specific. It’s no wonder that for budget-savvy homeowners in pursuit of improved curb appeal, few projects are more exciting, more popular, or more rewarding. What are you waiting for?

How to Choose a Garage Door - Carriage Style Close-Up

Photo: clopaydoor.com

This article has been brought to you by Clopay. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


The 3 Best Reasons to Upgrade Your Garage Door

If your garage door is bringing down the look of your entire facade, maybe it's time for a change—and what better place to start than with the high-quality doors and a generous new selection of styles, colors, and options from Clopay.

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Garage Door Replacement

Photo: clopaydoor.com

Every time you leave or return home, you can’t help but notice the garage door. But how often do you really look at it? If you’re like most, you rarely pause to consider the impact your garage door has on the appearance of your home. Indeed, ever since the rise of the automobile, the garage door has become the dominant feature of most home exteriors. Paint colors, architectural details, and landscaping all contribute to a home’s character, but make no mistake, curb appeal inevitably suffers if a garage door appears worn, out of date, or simply doesn’t complement the rest of the house. But this isn’t just about aesthetics. The right garage door can directly benefit a homeowner’s bottom line, both right away and over the long term, so a garage door should never be an afterthought. Instead, view a new garage door as an opportunity to give your home an instant facelift in a highly cost-effective way. If it’s been years since you shopped for a garage door, you may be pleasantly surprised by how much things have changed. Garage door manufacturers like Clopay now offer an astonishingly wide range of durable, low-maintenance materials and styles, with all the options you need to customize a door that will suit your home perfectly.

 

1. CURB APPEAL

Garage Door Replacement - Clopay Curb Appeal

Photo: clopaydoor.com

When viewed from the street, the garage door can account for as much as 40 percent of a home’s facade. Because it’s so prominent, the garage door can make or break a visitor’s first impression. If your battered old door has seen better days—or if it never really matched your home in the first place—then it may be sending the wrong message about you, your style, and your priorities as a homeowner. By upgrading to a new garage door that perfectly captures your design vision, you can instantly transform your home’s curb appeal. As simple as that sounds, there are a lot of factors to consider. With its online Door Imagination System, Clopay makes selecting the perfect door not only easy, but actually fun. After you upload a photo of your home, you can experiment with different combinations of garage door designs, finishes, and hardware, so you can see exactly how each would look installed on your house. From timeless carriage house style doors to sleek and streamlined contemporary models, Clopay provides plenty of options. Because when it comes to curb appeal, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach.

 

2. ENERGY SAVINGS

Garage Door Replacement - Clopay Energy Efficiency

Photo: clopaydoor.com

In a busy household, the garage door gets opened and closed so frequently that temperatures inside the garage go up and down like a rollercoaster. That isn’t such a big deal in a stand-alone, rarely used garage. It’s a much different story, though, when the garage is attached to the house, or if your garage doubles as a workshop, laundry, or utility room. Here, the temperature matters, not only for your comfort, but also for your energy bills. After all, temperatures in the garage can affect those of adjacent living areas. Check your next utility bill. If it’s sky-high, your garage door may be at least partially to blame. Fortunately, there’s a simple, cost-effective solution—garage door insulation. An insulated garage door ensures substantially more stable temperature levels. In fact, on a cold winter’s day, an insulated door keeps the garage 10 to 20 degrees warmer than it would be otherwise, according to a study by Clopay engineers. If you’re hoping to raise the energy efficiency of your garage and your home, be sure to double-check the insulating properties of any door you’re considering. Another reason to opt for a door from Clopay: The company gives you the freedom to choose the type of garage door insulation best suited to your needs—polystyrene or foamed-in-place polyurethane (ideal for regions with cold winters and hot summers). No matter which you choose, you can count on greater comfort and savings with an insulated garage door.

 

3. RETURN ON INVESTMENT

Garage Door Replacement - Clopay Return on Investment

Photo: clopaydoor.com

Everyone knows that home improvement adds value, but from a return-on-investment point of view, a handful of projects are known to pay you back when it’s time to sell. It may surprise you to learn that out of all the most commonly completed home remodeling projects, garage door replacement ranks near the very top of the list in terms of cost-effectiveness. In its annual Cost Vs. Value Report, Remodeling magazine reports that at resale the average homeowner recoups 91.5% of the amount spent on a garage door upgrade. Of course, maintenance goes a long way to safeguard your return. All garage doors require annual maintenance to keep them running smoothly. Take note, though: Not every garage door on the market is built to last, and some require ongoing finish upkeep to retain their beauty through the years. Look for insulated models constructed in durable, low-maintenance steel or composite, so you can enjoy all the benefits of your new garage door without any hassle.

 

Gone are the days when homeowners expected garage doors to do nothing more than open and close. Today, we insist on eye-catching designs that complement the colors and architectural style of our homes. At the same time, savvy homeowners know that the garage door can maximize comfort and energy efficiency. Finally, more and more homeowners look to garage door replacement as a reliable means of boosting home resale value. Times have changed, and in the modern home, garage doors play a central role, both aesthetically and practically. Let Clopay, with its history of service and commitment to American-made products and design innovation, help you transform the look of your home by giving you the tools and the confidence you need to take the next step.

Garage Door Replacement - Clopay Closer

Photo: clopay.com

This article has been brought to you by Clopay. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


So, You Want to… Build a Carport

If you're looking to build an inexpensive shelter for your vehicle, a carport can be a great alternative to a costlier, more ambitious garage. But erecting a carport involves more than just slapping a kit together. Read on for just a few issues you should consider before you decide to put a carport on your property.

Building a Carport - Palram Carport Kit from Wayfair

Photo: wayfair.com

Need a place to park that fancy new speedboat? A carport may be just the ticket! While it’s not quite a garage, a carport does a decent job of protecting cars, recreational vehicles, or anything else you might want to shield from the weather. Some homeowners even use them as covered patios. If you’re thinking about building a carport, you’ve probably already looked at dozens of different building options and styles from specialty manufacturers. Still, there are plenty of considerations you need to weigh before you buy a DIY carport kit or hire a contractor. Here, we’ve put together a few of the basics to help you with the planning process.

PULL THOSE PERMITS!
In today’s regulated world, if you want to build anything larger than a doghouse, you will probably have to pull a permit—and a carport is no exception. Note that a carport can be enclosed on only two sides. If you enclose a third side, the structure becomes a garage, which makes it subject to different building codes.

Your local building authority will want to see the design plans of the carport you choose, and ordinances will determine where you can put it. Typically, you cannot construct a carport in any easement on the property or within a few feet of the property lines. Many communities have covenants that do not allow carports in front yards at all. If you live in a neighborhood governed by a homeowners association (HOA), you will need to clear your carport plans with them as well. HOA regulations may specify particular building materials, limit where you can put a carport, or regulate its size—or, the HOA may just turn you down cold. Legally, you have to abide by their rules.

MATERIALS MATTER
Carports are typically constructed of either metal or wood, and kits using either material can be readily purchased from do-it-yourself stores. Kits vary in quality and price; some run a few hundred dollars, while others top out at more than $10,000. Professional installation will increase the cost of your project considerably, but if you are unsure about your ability to assemble a complicated carport kit, it pays to hire a professional. You can also go for a custom-designed, stick-framed carport—an attractive option, particularly if you want your carport to match your house. Some homeowners choose to set a gravel base or concrete pad under the carport, which adds to the total cost of the project.

 

FIND OUT WHAT LIES BENEATH
If you’re familiar with construction, you know the importance of calling your local utility companies to come out and mark the location of their buried lines before you start digging holes for carport posts. The last thing you want is to hit a utility line and get stuck with an enormous repair bill. Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever to locate all the utilities on your property; just call DigSafe at 811. They will notify your local utility companies, which will then check the location of their lines and mark them so you know where it’s safe to dig.

SET A FIRM FOOTING
Carports do not require foundations, but they must be stable enough to keep from blowing over at the first breath of a breeze. The sturdiest method is to secure the support posts a minimum of 2 feet deep, in poured concrete. If you live in a windy area, or if you’re building a tall carport to house an RV, sink the posts 3 feet or deeper. An alternative method is to attach brackets to a concrete base to hold the support posts. This approach offers less lateral support, so additional lateral bracing and corner bracing will probably be required. Some lower-end carport kits rely on screw auger anchors to stabilize the structure, but this works well only if the carport is protected from wind.

A third structural option, if local building code allows, is to attach one side or the back of the carport to the house or to an existing garage. This arrangement increases stability but comes with additional building code regulations.

Building a Carport - Attached to the Home

Photo: istockphoto.com

KNOW YOUR NEEDS
Before you select a final carport design, make sure it will meet your size and aesthetic requirements. The minimum functional size for a one-vehicle carport is 9 feet by 16 feet, but if you need to park anything larger than a midsize sedan, you will need more room. As for aesthetics, you’ll probably want the design and finish of your carport to complement your house. To keep it in sync with its surroundings, you can paint a wood carport to match your home and echo architectural details from your house, such as columns or shingles, to make it appear as if the carport was part of your home’s original design. This way, you’ll not only gain additional outdoor shelter for your vehicles (and outdoor gatherings), but some serious curb appeal, too!


So, You Want to… Waterproof Your Basement

Basement waterproofing can be a confusing (and expensive) process. But if you're dealing with leaky foundation walls or water welling up from the floor, finding an effective means of managing these problems could save you a lot in the long run. Here's a quick rundown of your options for keeping downstairs dry.

Basement Waterproofing - Leak

Photo: istockphoto.com

Unless your plan is to install a swimming pool in your basement, you probably cringe at the idea of water trickling in beneath your house. While the best time to waterproof is during new construction, if you live in an older structure, you don’t have that luxury. There are, however, a few measures you can take to protect your home from water, running the gamut from inexpensive safeguards to high-dollar professional remedies. Here’s all the information you need to choose the best solution for your basement.

Basement Waterproofing

Photo: istockphoto.com

EXTERIOR REMEDIES
The most effective way to waterproof a basement is from the outside. Doing so, however, involves excavating the soil away from the exterior of the foundation on all sides and installing drain tile (a flexible perforated pipe covered with mesh or fabric) at the base of the foundation.

You’ll most likely need a permit before starting, and some building authorities will allow only a licensed contractor to do the job. Digging a 7- or 8-foot-deep trench around your foundation is dangerous; it comes with a high risk of collapse, so it’s usually better to seek out an excavation contractor who employs safe digging techniques and trench bracing, anyway. Timing is essential: Schedule your contractor during a relatively dry season, or you could end up with a trench full of water that will have to be pumped out before work can continue.

Drain tile also requires the installation of a sump pit where the water will collect before it’s pumped to the surface via a sump pump. You can choose to have a sump pit installed inside, beneath the basement floor, or outside the house, typically below a window well.

While the drain tile is being installed, you or your contractor should take this time to repair, patch, and seal the exterior foundation walls. Patch large cracks with a mortar-based product, and when dry, roll, brush, or spray on an exterior masonry sealant. All said, this is an expensive project that can cost upwards of $10,000, but it’s the surest way to stop the leaks.

INTERIOR REMEDIES
Interior remedies can be helpful in the cases that leakage is minimal or if exterior excavation is out of the question. If you have fine cracks that seep slowly (or just look damp), your basement might be a good candidate for an interior sealant. Most interior masonry sealants work only on unpainted concrete walls—if your walls are painted, the sealant can’t form good contact and results are likely to be poor. Available in one- and five-gallon buckets, these sealants require a heavy-duty brush or roller to apply and can cost between $50 and $500 when treating 100 square feet of wall, depending on product quality and the number of coats that need to be applied.

If the walls have numerous or wide cracks, or if previous attempts to seal the walls were unsuccessful, you may want to consider installing an interior floor drain system. This process is similar to that of installing exterior drain tile, but excavation is shallow and confined to the inside perimeter of the basement floor. If you’re comfortable running a concrete saw and a jackhammer—and you have a strong back—you can potentially do this job yourself, although it’s labor-intensive and messy. Installation requires excavating a trench along the basement walls, filling it with pea gravel and perforated drain tile, installing a sump pit for water collection, and then filling in the trench with concrete so that a narrow grate is the only evidence that a drain lies beneath. Typically, plastic panels are installed over leaky walls to direct water downward to the grate. Installation of the trench drain, the sump pit, and the panels can run into thousands of dollars, but doing the labor yourself can save you a little cash.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES
Even if you don’t need to fully waterproof your basement, you should at least take steps to protect your foundation from water. Install gutters and downspouts, and attach downspout extensions that direct rainfall away from your house. If your yard does not already slope away from the foundation at a minimum 2 percent grade, bring in topsoil to build up the level of the soil around the foundation. Relocate foundation plantings that require frequent watering, and install waterproof window well covers on any basement windows that can’t be used for egress.

Water that pools by the foundation is always problematic. If you have clay soil that swells when wet, it can exert lateral pressure on the exterior foundation walls, increasing the risk of cracking and shifting. Frost heave during freeze-thaw cycles can also damage the foundation. Remember: Water and basements don’t mix. If you’re proactive in keeping water away from your foundation, you’ll have a better chance of keeping your basement, and the rest of your home, safe, and dry.


3 Fixes for a Garage Door That Won’t Close

How many times have you waited for the garage door to close, only to have it go back up once it reaches the bottom? Try one of these troubleshooting strategies to put a stop to this maddening problem.

Garage Door Won't Close

Photo: fotosearch.com

Garage doors sometimes seem to have a mind of their own, often deciding when—and how far—they want to open or close. Sometimes the fix can be as simple as replacing the batteries in the opener, and other times a finicky door may be the sign of a bigger issue. Although some repairs, such as replacing springs or altering the track, should be performed only by a professional, there are a few troubleshooting tricks you can tackle on your own before consulting an expert. Here are a few ways you can combat common garage door issues to keep your home safe and secure.

 

CLEAR THE WAY

Garage Door Won't Close - Eye

Photo: ocgaragedoorsandgates.com

Clutter or obstructions that block the sensor are the first problems to look for if your door won’t close or, in extreme cases, open at all. First, check the sensor lights: Depending on the brand of garage door you have, one of the sensor lights may flash, dim, or go out completely when the beam is interrupted. Even if nothing seems to be in the way, consider giving the eyes of the sensors a good cleaning, as oftentimes dirt, debris, or even spiders that have made themselves at home can interrupt the beam and stop the door from operating. If the door still won’t stay shut, double-check that the sensors are aligned with each other; if they aren’t, gently bend them to restore a clear connection—and secure a clean escape from your garage.

 

SET THE LIMITS

Garage Door Won't Close - Limits

Photo: fotosearch.com

If you’ve checked the sensor eyes and alignment and the door still won’t work properly, the open and close limits could be to blame. These settings—also referred to as travel limits—tell the opener how far the door should travel before it’s fully closed and help prevent the door from crushing objects in its path. When the settings are too high, the door senses the floor as an obstruction and immediately opens again after closing. The good news is, this can be easily adjusted with a screwdriver and a few measurements. For specific instructions, consult your manual or the website of the door manufacturer so you can stop the sporadic madness once and for all.

 

BACK ON TRACK

Garage Door Won't Close - Track

Photo: fotosearch.com

Keeping the garage door closed is important to home security, so life can become pretty stressful when that door can’t seem to stay shut. In your efforts to get your home safely sealed up again, you may need to turn your attention to the garage door’s track and rollers; improper maintenance can cause these components to malfunction. Set the problem straight by first cleaning the metal rollers with a toothbrush to remove any grime, and then lubricating them with a non-silicon-based product like motor oil. (If your door has nylon rollers, lubricate only the bearings.) Next, clean the tracks with a cloth and brake oil, removing any buildup that may be preventing the door from operating properly. If that doesn’t do the trick, it’s a good idea to consult a pro before attempting any extensive DIY repairs on your own.


Weekend Projects: 5 DIY Ways to Set Up Garage Shelves

Using humble materials and simple techniques, you can put up any of these garage shelves and squash clutter in less than one weekend.

DIY Garage Shelves

Photo: amazon.com

For handy homeowners, the garage isn’t simply a spot to park the car—it’s a place to park everything, including gardening gear, wood saws, and seasonal storage. But without space-smart shelving to corral these tools and supplies, this practice can turn your good-looking garage into a disorganized drop zone. This weekend, reverse the course of clutter with one of these five ideas for DIY garage shelves that will transform your space into an organizational oasis.

 

LONG HAUL

DIY Garage Shelves - Wood

Photo: ana-white.com

Do you need a designated area in your garage to store bins upon bins of seasonal decorations or sports equipment, but don’t want to spend on pricey store-bought units? Look no further than this elegant yet economical solution from Ana White. While her 20-foot-long DIY garage shelves are ideal for a space with ample square footage, you can alter the plans to make your finished product as long or as short as you need. Built from 2x4s, the frame and shelf supports come together easily with self-tapping screws and wood glue. After threading the boards for the shelves through the frame, secure the project to the wall, then sand and stain for a winning finish.

 

CLUTTER TO THE GUTTER

DIY Garage Shelves - Gutters

Photo: anyonecandecorate.blogspot.com

DIY garage shelves constructed from rain gutters make for standout wall-mounted storage. After building and painting a frame, the savvy blogger behind Anyone Can Decorate secured the gutters to the frame and filled the rounded bases with spray paint, seeds, and other project must-haves. Inexpensive and easy to construct, this sturdy, streamlined solution makes it a breeze to find what you need, even when you’re in the throes of a project.

 

GET HOOKED

DIY Garage Shelves - Ceiling

Photo: thecavenderdiary.com

If the floor of your garage is already spoken for by lawn gadgets or sports gear, look up—the ceiling of your garage possesses hidden storage potential. To maximize it, follow the lead of the bloggers at The Cavender Diary to erect this simple yet space-smart hanging shelf. A thick wooden plank creates a solid foundation for the storage unit, while chains with S-hooks—secured to the ceiling and attached to the base—help keep seldom-used supplies and decor safely suspended.

 

STORAGE SQUARED

DIY Garage Shelves - IKEA

Photo: polishedhabitat.com

Open shelving is a fun and functional feature in the kitchen, and this IKEA hack from Polished Habitat proves that the look works just as well in the garage. Mounted storage cubes—often meant for the floor—make perfect homes for baskets, spray paint, and tools, and ensure that every odd and end has its spot. Take these DIY garage shelves up a notch by incorporating a piece of pegboard into the assemblage and tucking in a bench beneath to create a workstation fit for any serious DIYer.

 

FROM TOP TO BOTTOM

Photo: dontworrybehappykeeplearning.blogspot.com

You don’t have to be a woodworking wunderkind to build this multifunctional marvel from Don’t Worry. Be Happy. Keep Learning. Budding carpenters and master craftsmen alike can keep garage clutter under control by screwing reclaimed 2x4s flat against the walls, then securing reclaimed boards above them to serve as DIY garage shelves. Angle-cut beams provide yet more support for the shelves, and a series of screws along the 2×4 bases accommodate rakes, shovels, and other hanging items, making this a double-duty project.


How To: Paint a Garage Door

This small project will go a long way toward enhancing your home’s exterior. Talk about an open-and-shut case!

How to Paint a Garage Door

Photo: fotosearch.com

As long as it goes up and down on command, it’s easy to ignore your garage door. Yet this aspect of your home’s exterior is a crucial component of its curb appeal. Letting it look shabby is like allowing your lawn to grow knee-high. Fortunately, a fresh application of paint will improve the appearance of your garage door and also offer protection from the elements, extending its lifespan. Like all outdoor paint jobs, this one will be a bit time consuming due to the drying time required. Otherwise, it’s a fairly simple project. Just set aside two to three days to get it done and then enjoy the spiffy results.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Rubber gloves
- Dust mask
- Safety goggles
- Wire brush
- Fine grit sandpaper
- All-purpose cleaner
- Sponge
- Garden hose
- Clean towels or rags
- Painters tape
- Drop cloth
- Latex exterior primer
- Latex exterior paint
- 2-inch nylon paintbrush
- ¾-inch paint roller
- Step stool or ladder

How to Paint a Garage Door - Fresh Exterior Color Choices

Photo: fotosearch.com

STEP 1
Check the weather forecast the week before you plan to start. The ideal temperature for painting is between 50 and 75 degrees, with low humidity and indirect sunlight. Choose three consecutive days that fit these criteria as closely as possible.

Then gather your materials: Be sure to select paint and primer (to promote adhesion and durability) appropriate for your particular garage door—most are now made of aluminum, but if you have an older home yours may be wooden. If you have any doubts about what to purchase, ask the experts at your local paint store. A gallon of paint ought to be more than adequate for a two-car garage door plus a bit to spare. But remember, putting a lighter color over a darker one may require more than one coat.

STEP 2
Prepping the garage door ensures that paint will go on easily and hold up well. Put on your protective gear (the work gloves, dust mask, and safety goggles), and then remove any rusted or chipped spots by scrubbing with a wire brush. Next, sand these areas with fine grit sandpaper to create a smooth base. Clean the entire surface with all-purpose cleaner and a sponge. Once all dirt and grime are removed, rinse the door with a garden hose. Dry the surface with clean towels or rags, and then let it air dry for at least an hour.

STEP 3
To prevent paint from going where you don’t want it, use heavy-duty painters tape to mask off any handles, locks, and windows. If you don’t intend to paint the trim, tape it off; if you are going to do the trim, tape off the edges of the garage. Protect the driveway and garage interior by laying out a drop cloth both inside and outside the door.

STEP 4
Stooping while painting is asking for a backache! For easier maneuvering, disengage the electric opening mechanism so you can move the door manually, then raise the door so that the bottom is at a comfortable height.

Most garage doors have inset panels—begin by priming these with a high quality 2-inch paintbrush with nylon bristles. Wipe away any excess that may have crept outside of the panels, in the areas known as the “stiles.” This will ensure a super smooth finish. Next, prime the stiles using the brush or a ¾-inch roller. Be sure to get in between the “lips” of the horizontal panels too. Lower the door as you go, and stand on a step stool or ladder for the top portion. Do the trim last. Let primer dry for at least 12 hours.

STEP 5
Begin painting, using the same method as for priming: bottom to top, starting with the inner panels and working outward to the stiles. Now, step back to survey your work: If the surface appears to be completely covered, you’re finished! If there are uneven patches or spots where the old color shows through, apply a second coat—just let the first one dry for at least 12 hours before starting. Once done, remove the tape and let paint dry overnight before opening the door.

You’ll appreciate your nice-as-new garage door and so will your neighbors. As far as a new car to go with it, well, that’s up to you!