Dream Garage: Double-Decker Car Storage

Five cars in a three-car garage

Innovative two-tier car parking, special ventilation, super organization and diamond-plate décor make this garage a palace for the auto-loving homeowner and friends.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

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Five cars in a three-car garage

This homeowner is an avid car collector and a cigar aficionado. And he has a group of friends who enjoy getting together to smoke cigars and talk pistons. But there were a couple of problems. His garage was too small for his car collection. And an indoor public smoking ban had created the need for a place to smoke and chat. This garage remodel solved both issues.

The solution to the lack of parking spaces was easy, even if it was expensive. Four-post car lifts provided space for two cars in the same stall. The lifts shown are top-of-the-line and cost about $3,000 each, not including the addition of the customized diamond-plate metal. The lifts use an electric motor, a hydraulic cylinder, and a series of cables and pulleys to raise the cars. But lifts with other features are available for under $2,000 each.

To gain an extra foot of headroom in this garage, the homeowner hired a garage door company to modify the door tracks and replace the typical ceiling-mounted garage door openers with units that mount on the wall alongside the garage door. And an electrician relocated the overhead lights to fit between the garage door tracks.

Double Your Parking, Double Your Fun

Don't let a lack of stalls keep you from storing vehicles. These lifts provide room for two extra cars in this three-car garage. The arrangement requires every inch of the 11-ft. 6-in. ceiling height.

Five cars; three-car garage

A pro-built 1932 Dearborn Deuce Roadster on top and
a restored 1964 Pontiac GTO hardtop on the bottom.

Wall-Mounted Garage Door Openers

Replacing standard garage door openers with wall-mounted openers adds valuable headroom. The garage door tracks were extended to raise the doors and exploit the extra space.

Door opener motor and track arrangement
Close-up of motor

Heating, air conditioning and ventilation

Gathering in the newly remodeled garage seemed like the perfect solution to the indoor smoking ban. But even cigar smokers need fresh air. Besides, too much smoke in the air would put an unsightly haze on the collector cars and stink up the upholstery. Winters in this Midwest town are too cold to simply open the garage doors or open the windows a bit. The solution was to install a heat recovery ventilator. This type of ventilation unit saves energy by using the heat from exhausted interior air to warm the cooler outside air as it's being drawn in. A unique feature of the garage heating and ventilating system is the round ducting along the back of the garage. It spreads out the warm air evenly across the garage for more consistent heat.

Special Heat Recovery Ventilation and More

A heat recovery ventilator is connected to a rectangular duct that runs across the garage ceiling to supply fresh air without wasting energy. Heating and air conditioning are provided by a ceiling-mounted unit that's connected to a round duct running across the back of the garage.

Ventilation and heating system

A garage fit for an emperor and functional to boot

Even though this garage has all the comforts of a palace, a lot of thought was given to practical garage functions. For help with this the homeowner enlisted professional garage designers. Their cabinet plan included space for tools, storage and a computer station as well as unique floorless cabinets to house (and hide) rolling trash bins. The base cabinets feature compartments for the central vacuum system, a large air compressor and a hose reel. The hose reel is connected to a wall faucet in the same cabinet. Beneath the desktop are two large tool cabinets with sturdy full-extension drawer slides.

The old garage floor was bare concrete, functional but ugly. The garage specialists recommended coating the floor with a “double-broadcast” quartz epoxy floor, a process they perfected on commercial buildings. First the installers blast the concrete with metal shot to clean and roughen the surface. Then they spread a layer of epoxy over the floor and cover it with quartz dust. After applying the epoxy and dust coating a second time, they apply a clear coating to provide a seamless smooth surface that's easy to sweep and mop. The completed coating must be professionally installed (about $5 per square foot).

Custom Built-In Storage Cabinets

Tall wall cabinets include space for a hose reel, a compressor and a central vacuum system. A second lift provides an extra parking spot in the third garage stall. An antique gas pump, an old clock and car photos complete the car-themed decorating.

Wall cabinets, a lift and decor

Diamond-plate aluminum dominates the decor

Since the garage was a social area, it needed attractive finishes and an entertainment system. Keeping with the car theme, racing stripes were painted over the diamond-plate wainscoting. Then the walls were covered with photos of collectible cars.

This garage-remodeling job was a success, but the homeowner does admit to a few design errors. He had to add another high-definition TV monitor because the view of the original corner-mounted unit was blocked by the car lift. And he forgot to design a cabinet large enough to fit the cigar humidor he plans to install. Also, the heat exchanger can't quite keep up with a dozen cigar-puffing car buffs. So he's planning to install a commercial-quality smoke eater too. I have a feeling this garage remodel will never be quite done. But it's amazing even in the process.

Diamond-Plate Is a Guy's Best Friend

In this garage, the wainscoting, lift details, switch and outlet covers, door kick plates, toolbox sides, and even the trash container are diamond-plate metal. Diamond-plate aluminum is available in 4 x 8-ft. sheets and other sizes. It costs $3 to $5 per square foot depending on the thickness. Aluminum is soft enough to cut easily with standard power tools and nonferrous metal-cutting blades. You'll find diamond-plate accessories at your local garage specialist or online. Search online for “sheet metal” to find a local source of diamond-plate sheets.

Wainscoting
Waste container

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