Three big garage trends
Garages aren't just for parking your car anymore. Top Phoenix contractors share the top 3 garage trends, advice for lighting a garage and how homeowners are making their garage personal.
Phoenix shed experts
Barry Flemming, designer/estimator
Kirk Development Co.
Hein Schoustra, owner
Gary Carlson, owner
What are the big trends in garage design?
Flemming: People are adding more storage and using their garages for more hobby work, such as car maintenance or a wood shop.
Schoustra: RV garages with 16-foot walls are becoming more common. In this economy, we're not seeing as much as we used to in terms of adding living space to garages.
Carlson: Quite a few people are enclosing carports to make garages out of them.
How are people customizing their garages to make them more uniquely their own?
Flemming: I've seen garages where guys add a "man cave" complete with big-screen TV, couches, bathroom and bar area.
Schoustra: People are designing their garages so it matches the home. It looks like something that belongs there rather than an addition.
Carlson: Since we don't have a lot of basements around here, garages are becoming the primary storage area. The toys and stuff that normally goes into a basement are ending up in the garage.
What do I need to know prior to having a garage built?
Flemming: Make a written plan of what you'd like to accomplish. Contact the city and find out the setback and zoning requirements for your type of construction.
Schoustra: Check with your homeowner's association and make sure you're aware of whatever requirements they might have for new construction or additions.
Carlson: People forget about the length of their cars and making sure they have enough room for doors to open and close.
What should I look for when selecting a garage builder?
Flemming: Make sure you feel comfortable with the company and the rep they send out. You'll be in a partnership with this designer and builder for months.
Schoustra: Go with a licensed contractor, because you can check out their complaints, and it gives you some recourse if something goes wrong.
Carlson: Always hire a licensed contractor who's familiar with building codes and permits. Otherwise, you can run into significant issues.
What's the best way to light a garage?
Flemming: Fluorescent lights give a nice even light. Now that they have natural-light fluorescents, it's easier on the eyes.
Schoustra: A couple of fluorescents is usually sufficient. If you have an outside door, you're also required to have an exterior mounted door light.
Carlson: Fluorescents are inexpensive. It's amazing how often a garage light gets left on for a long time.