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Thread: Garage Refurb - by a 'YouTube Qualified' novice during lockdown

  1. #1
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    Default Garage Refurb - by a 'YouTube Qualified' novice during lockdown

    So many expert people on here have helped me over the years with ideas, advice and information, I'm slightly hesitant about posting this, but here's my attempt at giving something back to this forum. If you just want a pictorial version it's on Pinterest. I hope itís entertaining, and I warmly welcome both criticism and suggestions.

    Background:

    2 years ago I got into a minor contretemps whilst in East Africa, resulting in me being repatriated to the UK with a few lumps and bumps, and a head filled with PTSD. I decided to put the recuperation time to some semblance of good use. Hereís where I was storing 4 cars. Itís sacrilege, I know.
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    I took a few photos, loaded them into PowerPoint, and began playing around with colours, styles and ideas. I used Pinterest for inspiration, ScrewFix/ToolStation for encouragement and Club Scuderia for education. YouTube provided enough b/s to make me feel like I knew what I was doing, and Amazon reassured me it could help me buy everything I needed Ė apparently skill and experience were optional.

    Just a suggestion, but hereís a really simple way to start Ďdesigningí your garage using nothing more than your phone and PowerPoint. There are tools, stencils and templates out there, but they all failed me, and because Iím familiar with it, PowerPoint was just easier.
    Garage Designing using PowerPoint.pdf

    Having decided on the basic plan, I needed to raid the QMís store. In the early phases, it was all about ScrewFix, ToolStation and B&Q. For specialist hardware I later referred to CS, FC and a few other places, but I assure you it was all both inexpensive and doable. It really was.

    Initial Plan & Priorities:

    1. The floor was cracked, raw concrete, badly unlevel (+10cm drop across a 12m x 5m surface area) and the main source of dust
    2. The walls needed something doing to them, and a slap of paint seemed like the easiest route (plastering wouldnít adhere to the timber)
    3. I wanted to relocate the sole IP-rated twin socket, potentially adding more (for the Building Regs ****s: my qualifications in this area comprise of several months as a teenager trolling around building sites asking for striped paint, left-handed screwdrivers, long weights etc., so donít panic Ė I had it all under control)
    4. Lighting was my real area of expertise, having previously served under several Sparks (see above), and having all the right equipment: wellies, a keen eye for coloured wires and an innate ability to let my 75-year old, ex-electrical engineer father do the worrying for me (I swear he thinks Iím stupid).
    Having established my plan, I set off for ScrewFix, ToolStation and B&Q. Once the Q7 was loaded up, I had an epiphany, but first let me explain what I bought, which then led to my inspired decision:
    1. Bauker random orbital sander: £40, plus about £10 for pads and paper
    2. Bauker nail gun: £30
    3. Titan WetíníDry vac: £40
    4. MacAllister belt sander: £50, plus about £15 for paper etc.
    5. 10 x 20kg bags of NX 3-50mm self-levelling floor compound: £190
    6. Drill-mounted concrete stirring thing (trust me, you need one), plus 2 x 20L buckets: £20
    7. Concrete bobbled roller: £20
    8. Screwfix JSP Tradesman 2 28 Day Half Mask A1-P2: £10.83
    9. DeWalt Concealer Premium Safety Goggles: £8.33
    10. 3 x heavy duty gloves (1 ea x plastic, leather and cotton): £15
    11. Huge concrete trowel: £25

    Now I was, £500 lighter, with a car filled with man stuff and a very excited dog (recently promoted to the passenger seat of the Q7).

    Evolving Plan (v1.0): Walls

    I got distracted whilst passing the local timber merchant on the way home. I needed wood! 😊 Iíd decided that painting the timber interior was going to look sh*t. So after completely perplexing the timber bloke with rough approximations and questions like: ďÖI wonder if I could wallpaper itÖ?Ē, I left with a £230 invoice for 10 sheets of 11mm OSB (2400mm x 1200mm), 36m of contract grade 50mm x 50mm planed timber and 5 x Appleby 2G 35mm Dry Lining Boxes (sockets). Trust me Ė that was a steal because post-COVID materials are twice that price. They said they would deliver within 2 hours, leaving me just enough time to secure virtual loyalty points at my favourite web site 😊. Every cloudÖ

    Now I was £750 light (give or take), and I still hadnít done anything! But after a couple of hours of well-earned downtime, I received the huge lorry-load of timber, and got to workÖ

    Making My Wood Work:

    I marked out the windows I was adding, and started shoving up base boards, vertical studs and noggins. I slapped on extra heavy duty support (big wood) on both sides of the aperture for the windows Ė the roof falling in would make me feel silly.
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    I also nailed up some 3-core & earth that would be over-compliant with external wiring regs (it being under a covered roof). Technically, I went overboard on the compliance aspects, but wiring isnít an area in which to cut corners. Things go bang at the wrong times when people do that.
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    Then I got busy strengthening areas that might benefit (note: this window was already there).
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    Seriously, I did all of this in an afternoon, so donít imagine itís weeksí-worth of labour, because itís not.
    Next day I got stuck into the OSB. I have to say, moving this stuff around wasnít easy on my own, especially with a few holes in me, but once youíve got it up, itís easy to manoeuvre your tools and just start nailing 😊. Or you can screw, if thatís your preference.
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    And hereís the result of one halfway competent DIY blokeís work, 48 hours later. I left the weeds in the picture, just to prove to myself that I wasnít being obsessive 😊.
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    Next day I set to with my man tools. Thus far all Iíd done was nail (which frankly, wasnít half as exciting as Iíd hoped), so it was time to the break out the belt and run it over the wood.
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    Who knew, right? Hardwood, softwood Ė makes no difference Ė bring your belt out, and it shows all the beauty. It started small, but as it grew, I couldnít help but smile at the impact it was having.
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    By the time Iíd finished the backdrop and exposed wood supports, I think I was about 5 days in Ė all told. I used the orbital sander with high grade sandpaper to get a super smooth finish, although in retrospect that was overkill; no-oneís run their hand over my wood for ages.

    I then used inexpensive Leyland Primer on the walls. Note that because I didnít use expensive marine-grade ply, instead opting for a much cheaper OSB, I had to give it 2 coats Ė but unless you want your walls as smooth as your wood Ė it will probably give you the effect youíre after. I didnít paint it yet Ė I just wanted it sealed, so that the impending dust from the concrete wouldnít sit in the cracks and prevent the paint from adhering to the surface.
    I also chopped out the holes for my additional sockets (check your required fuse versus the cable and max. load your circuit could potentially hold, to comply with BRs).
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    End of part 1

  2. #2
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    The Floor:

    The next job seemed daunting: the floor. Iíd never done this before, so if youíre wondering whether or not you could take this on, hereís my advice: find a wing man (or woman). Itís not easy solo. Itís doable, but with an extra pair of hands on day 2 of concreting, it was much easier.

    Firstly, I spent a full 3 days using the sanders, sweating my b*****ks off and having to clean out the goggles every 10 minutes. I wish in retrospect, that Iíd spent at least £100 on a full face mask. Instead, I only spent £20, and it proved to be a classic rookie mistake because although my maskís filters did their job when on my face, the goggles dropped perspiration into a pool of liquid that rolled around under my eyeline. Gross, yes, but better that than concrete splinters in your eyes, or concrete dust in your lungs. As it was I ended up with a stye on one eyelid that lasted over a week. So my advice is: buy the best you can afford. I didnít, and it was a mistake.

    I sanded the floor with heavy grit sandpaper (P60>80>120) on the belt sander over the ugliest bits first (ridges above 10mm), and then used the random orbital. As it got flatter, I reduced the sandpaper, but donít be tempted to say: ďoh thatíll doĒ, because the more time you spend now, the better the results will be.

    I used a jet wash at the end of both evenings to wash away as much as I could, then overnight I let it settle down. I then used the leaf blower each morning. Then, I used a filling compound to fill the biggest cracks and holes in the floor, and obviously allowed that to dry overnight. The next day, I blew and hoovered it again, and again. At the very end, once I was happy I had a smooth-ish finish, use the vacuum cleaner as if my life depended on it.

    Whichever way you do it, make sure your last vacuum is literally minutes before you start getting busy with the concrete. If you donít think you can do the majority of your concrete pouring that same day, leave it. Then vacuum again the next morning, and crack on with the concrete. All Iím saying is: dust will accumulate within minutes, so better to start the tricky sh*t immediately after youíve got it to the point where you can eat your dinner off it.

    Concreting:

    Firstly, you need to prepare everything in advance. I mean: literally, lay out all the tools you need in a clear, easily accessible pattern, have everything ready to go and donít think: ďÖitíll be ok if I need to go and get [insert here] afterwardsÖĒ, because it wonít. I suggest you prepare:
    1. 2 x big buckets (I bought 2 dedicated 20L tubs), one for water measuring, and one for mixing
    2. Drill, with mixing attachment firmly in place (keep chuck to hand, just in case), and
    a. if battery powered, make sure itís fully charged and that you have a 2nd fully charged battery, or
    b. if itís wired, make sure you have enough extension lead to move around without hindrance
    3. small jug for measuring your water exactly, and full PPE (gloves, mask etc)

    Next, when you have everything laid out, pour the exact amount of water (that you will need per bag of concrete), into one of the buckets. Donít guess it, buy a £1 plastic measuring jug if youíre too scared of the home chef. For NX 3-50mm 20kg bags, itís 4.4L. When you have that in the designated bucket, draw a line at the level. Empty the water, and then cut a huge line about 150mm along the line youíve just drawn, then two lines about 20mm up from each corner and finally cut the remaining upper corners, leaving you a post box sized aperture. Youíre doing this so that when youíre measuring your water from the hose, you canít overfill it. It may seem OTT, but believe me: itís worth it.

    The next part is easy, as long as youíve done everything above. If you havenít, good luck. But assuming you have, you simply follow the directions: correct amount of water in bucket 1 from the hose (you canít overfill it now), pour into bucket 2, slowly but continuously add concrete mix and start mixing with your electric drill. FWIW, every review Iíve read where people used a stick, spoon, ladle or anything else to mix the concrete, ended in a failure. So donít be that victim giving the product 1 star Ė get the right kit and follow the expert advice (theirs, not mine 😊).

    As soon as youíve done the statutory 2, 3, 4 or 5 minutes mixing that the label suggests, get ready to act smoothly but with haste. I used my trolley to make sure I could seamlessly lift and move the bucket, bearing in mind itís about 21kg weight, sloppy and fiercely active. That said, itís not difficult if youíve got everything prepared.

    Mix, pour and then roll. The rolling bit is (in retrospect), only necessary if you cock up the mixing and pouring. Purists might tell me otherwise, but I think that because I mixed it so well, and then jumped on it with the cement trowel to smooth off the edges, my screed had almost no bubbles (the reason having for the bobbled roller). As a result though, in using the bobbled roller I ended up with minute bubbles that hadnít previously been there. I then had to do a panic smoothing job with the trowel where I could stretch to, but have since been left with a honeycomb surface in the areas I couldnít reach.
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    When I looked at it the next morning, Iíve got to tell you, I was ecstatic. I couldnít believe how well it had laid. That said, remember I had a massive drop between the highest and lowest points. Iíd done the lowest part, but still needed to do the largest surface area (by sq.m). I called a friend to help me out, and after explaining the entire procedure in minute detail, we did day 2 like experts. The result was this.
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    It may look a bit lumpy from this angle but believe me it was a massive improvement.
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    You have to leave it for at least 2 more days to dry sufficiently for you to walk on it, without fear of leaving footprints or trainer tracks.
    Once it had dried, I used the biggest roller I could buy with minimal fleck, and put a coat of floor primer on it (canít remember the brand, but I used an inexpensive masonry primer). It dried quicker than I was expecting, but because the concrete label said I was painting it about 12 days too soon, I let it have a full 24 hours then did it again.
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    I shoved in the 2 gang sockets, added some really cheap LED floodlights (I went for bright white, but in retrospect Iíd have preferred warm white), and was ready to paint the floor. A bit of further YouTube research though, convinced me to wait. There are some proper horror stories on the web where people like me were impatient and laid their garage paint over wet concrete and primer. Unusually (for me), I decided to follow advice and not jump the gun.

    Evolving Plan (v1.1): Furniture

    Because I couldnít paint the floor or the walls, and because I wasnít certified to make my new circuit live (literally, connecting the 2 end points), I used the interim period to do the sexy stuff. Again, I loosely referred back to my original designs, and then allowed my creative juices to run.

    I wanted garage furniture to reflect the 4 carsí brands, but amazingly I didnít find much at all.

    I decided to make my own, so having found the closest I could find to what I wanted, I reverse engineered the retailersí supply chain. A few hours later I found the manufacturer and bought direct. Incidentally, some of the UK retailers marked this stuff up by as much as 800%! I also bought the bits I needed to allow me to convert 70% into 100% compliant with my wishes:
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    Then I started putting them together, along with complimentary furniture for Audi (other toys stored elsewhere). I ended up with this.

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  3. #3
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    Here's how they end up. Iím genuinely considering marketing them, if anyoneís interested?

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    The garage continues...

  4. #4
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    Evolving Plan (v1,2): The Sexy stuff

    Iíd read somewhere that Kimi RšikkŲnen had had a custom-made Ferrari logo made for his garage at home, by a chap in Russia. A few hoursí-worth of research and many phone calls later, I tracked down the chap whoíd done it. He agreed to make me a replica and also an Audi version, saying Iíd get them a few weeks later. They were expensive, but sometimes you really do get what you pay for (Iíve seen US versions and theyíre really tacky).

    In anticipation of my art pieces, I went back to the designs Iíd put into PowerPoint, and started imagining how best to mount them. The white walls just didnít seem as if theyíd do them justice.
    Again a bit of research later, and Iíd come up with a plan. I bought the components I needed, and started the prep. I also used the interim to put down a coat of garage floor paint because it had been so warm for the past 4 days, I figured it would be ok (it was, incidentally).

    Iím not convinced thereís much difference between the floor paints. I bought the so-called top end floor paint, gave it 7 daysí drying time between coats, and when it was done it looked great. But the expensive paint is supposed to resist hot tyre something-or-other. Bull**it. It doesnít. Thatís ok Ė itís surmountable by using rubber tyre mates where your wheels typically stop, but it pi$$£d me off that Iíd paid about £45/can for something that I couldíve done for £20/can. Anyway, no big deal, just donít waste your money on brand names when B&Q would do the same job.
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    The custom logos arrived about 2 weeks later, and in my opinion, were worth the time and money. Theyíre hand cut by laser on 6mm brushed aluminium. The nearest Iíve seen (in the US) are not a patch on the ones I received.
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    I added a strip of LEDs in the ceiling, and some IP-rated down/uplights. Again, retail prices varied from about £150 each to £250 per pair, but by punting around, I halved that buying direct. I also bought some more logos and filters to allow me to customise them.

    Finally, I put the artwork up, added a couple of my new cabinets, and this is how it was starting to look.
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    I was pleased with where it was going, but still hadnít addressed the issue of leaves, bats and so on. Iíd dismissed Ďnormalí garage doors a long time ago, but still needed a solution.
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    So again, I made my own. I went back to PowerPoint, and to give you an idea of how a bit of practice and tenacity with these things, allows you to get very close to an actual rendering of what it will end up like, hereís the mock version I created. Keep it in mind, when you see the actual end result.
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    I sourced a fabricator in Italy who could give me the size, shape and customisation I was after. I knew Iíd have to make the functional components myself, but the key was the screen. I bought the fixings and mechanisms, and about 10 days later, the screens arrived. It took me a few hours to tailor, trim and install them, but this is how they ended up.
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    At this point, I thought Iíd stop writing, and see what others think. Iíd genuinely welcome suggestions as to what I might do differently, or what others have done that I might plagiarise 😊.

    Footnote: Iíve since sold the Q7 and bought an old BMW z4 roadster, in which I intend to spend a few months touring Europe in the next couple of weeks. Iíve therefore boxed up the Audi artwork, and done a Ďlightí version for the latest car, but itís shown me how inexpensive it is to swap out, too.

  5. #5
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    A348W is offline No I'm Spartacus Club Member
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    Nice one

    I look forward to the pictures of the chainsaw cutting the windows out (How I'd do it!)

    Having converted a car port to a garage and now suffering from "requirements creep" the only thing I wish I had done with mine is put in a membrane before cladding so I would be air tight and could do a decent job of insulating it. At the time I had not intentions of insulating the garage or storing two Ferraris in it so cut the corner!

    The screens are a very good idea, but in all honesty I'm not sure how well they will serve in our lovely weather. The wind/rain/leaves/ etc will get in and you may find tinkering on your toys in the winter will be "less" enjoyable than it could be. I used roller doors; much better than the silly english up an over things!

    Much to all my friends amusement I've put a TV in the garage. I just have internet connection so put things like Harry's Garage on when I'm in there doing something!

    Looking fwd to see how you get on with it.

    PS if you are buying LED strip lights, the LAP ones from Screwfix are total rubbish. Out of the 5 I have in my garage every one has failed areas within one year (Yes they were in warranty, but I didn't have the receipt and couldn't be bothered to pull them all down etc etc). I've subsequently bought another make, sorry cant recall from where, which are going strong some years on.
    Last edited by A348W; 21-06-2021 at 03:22 PM.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Adrian. Ordinarily I'd have agreed ref chainsaw, but at the time it was all I could do to lift the belt sander As far as the LEDs go, they've been fine (one set from B&Q, the other from Amazon's finest). But like you said, they're disposable at the price.

  7. #7
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    Nosevi is offline Post whore with no life, no friends, and a problem fitting into normal social circles Committee Member
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    Really nicely done.

    Especially the lighting - just gives it that impact imo.

  8. #8
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    Your garage looks fantastic especially with the signage

    I was thinking with the first shot the other day why has the site not sprouted a 21 storey flat building since your id says 'Location London'

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    Enjoyed reading your story and what you have done.
    I also love the lighting and the whole interior look.

    Did I misunderstand or did you really sand the concrete with a belt sander?
    Bit late now but I would have thought hiring a walk behind concrete grinder would have much easier, quicker and cleaner.
    If you havenít come across one itís like a rotary polisher but uses carbide stones (or diamond) to grind to a fine finish.

  10. #10
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    Thanks Gents - appreciate the feedback. It's really different. When I look at how it had become whilst I was laid up, I look back and cringe. It was a good project in so many ways.

    Ref 'London' - to me, anywhere within the M25 is 'London' these days. Is that just me?

    Ref belt sander... yes, I really did use one and do it by hand hahaha. I knew about stone grinders, but there was no way I could have managed one at the time. Funnily enough, since then I've sanded the entire downstair floors (pine) with a rental stand-up job, so I realise how much easier it could have been, but without boring you, the whole thing was as much cathartic as it was home improvement. And as I say, no way I could have managed an unwildy grinder at the time.

    I did notice one of the chaps had a '1mm x 5 ft Ferrari sign' up for sale a few weeks ago though. Sold on eBay for about £110, I think...wow...

    Anyway - thank you for the encouragement. When the sun comes out I'll do an updated set of photos, not out of vanity, but as part of a 'giveback' to this forum.

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