New Year, New Garage: Five simple garage improvement ideas for 2021

Happy New Year! We hope it’s filled with time with friends and family, new adventures and lots of home improvement projects. If last year taught us anything, its that home is where the heart is. And if you’re going to be sprucing up your home this year, don’t forget about your garage.

Below are five very easy (yet important) new year’s resolutions for your garage. In honor of 2020, we decided to keep the list short, simple and stress-free.

Here’s our list of five simple things you can do in 2021 for your garage.

Replace your garage door. Installing new garage doors is one of the quickest and easiest ways to boost curb appeal and add value to your home. And it can even save you a little money down the road, as you won’t have to worry about garage door repairs.

We carry the full line of Clopay garage doors, and we’re confident we have the perfect one for your budget and your aesthetic.

Take a look at our residential garage doors. Then, when you’ve got a couple of garage door styles in mind, use the Design Your Door tool to “try it on.”

Schedule routine maintenance. This is one the most important things you can do for your garage door. Once a year garage door (and garage door opener) maintenance is a critical component to making your garage door last for years and years.

Our technicians have extensive experience and can thoroughly inspect and address any issues quickly, so your garage door continues to operate safely and properly. If it’s in need of a repair or replacement part, we’ll give you a thorough, accurate estimate and do the work promptly.

Organize your garage. There’s nothing wrong with storing items every which way in the garage. But  with a little organizing, especially with the addition of extra storage, you may find you have even more room available.

Clean it out. Set a date (when the weather warms up, of course), take a cue from Nike and “just do it.”

We suggest having a plan in place for what you’ll do with everything you don’t want before you clean, so make sure you have bags and boxes for the items you want to take to the thrift store and online accounts set up if you’re selling the items on sites like Facebook Marketplace or eBay.

Make it multipurpose. The coronavirus pandemic really changed the way we work. If you’re working from home now on a regular basis, consider adding an office area to the garage, or a workout or playroom. It’s easier than you may think – and can be done on a budget.

From all of us at Martin Door – Happy 2021! And remember: we’re here to help you with all your garage door needs.

Support local businesses this season

From the team at Martin Door:

This holiday season, we are incredibly grateful to be a part of a community that supports each other through and through. And in spirit of the holiday, we thought we’d update the article we shared in March, as local businesses still need our support.  

Here are five ways to support St. Charles businesses during the holidays:

Shop local. Make a list of all of your favorite local shops, then grab a cup of cocoa, sit down at the computer and start shopping! Not only can you do all your shopping in your PJs but might be able to get it all done in one day. Here is a fantastic article about shopping local while sheltering in place.

Order carry out or delivery from your favorite restaurants. The pandemic has hit St. Charles restaurants hard. Let’s show them support by ordering carry out and delivery as much as we can. This is also a great time to try out new restaurants you’ve been planning to visit and those that don’t normally deliver.

Hosting a small gathering this holiday season? Why not have it catered by a local restaurant?

Buy gift certificates. One day, in the very near future, we’re going to get back to a new normal. When that happens, we’ll be more than ready to visit our favorite businesses in person again. Purchasing gift cards is an investment in their future. It’s also cash for them now that you can redeem later, so it puts money in their pockets at a time when they need it the most.

Pay it forward. Have you heard about the massive pay it forward at the Dairy Queen drive-thru that made 900 people smile? Let’s keep it going! The next time you’re at a drive-thru or coffeeshop, make someone’s day and pay it forward. They’ll feel good — and you will, too.

Give to local charities. The coronavirus is still putting local nonprofits and charities to the task. This year, consider making a donation in someone’s honor for the holidays.  Or, make a homeless pet’s day by fostering during the holidays.

From all of us at Martin Door, we wish you a safe and wonderful holiday and new year!

The beauty and versatility of carriage house style garage doors

Carriage house style garage doors are very popular amongst homeowners for many reasons. Not only are they exceptionally versatile, but they’re also stylish. And since they’re made from a variety of materials that stand the test of time, they’re also extremely durable.

Todays’ carriage house garage doors are designed to evoke the carriage house doors of the past that were used for storing horse-drawn carriages. While they’re still made with the same craftmanship of yesteryear, they also feature everything you’d want in a modern garage door.

If you’re looking for a fully automated modern overhead garage door that evokes classic, rustic charm, consider a carriage house style door from Clopay. Learn more about their most popular carriage house models below.

The Coachman Collection

modern house with white garage door

One of Clopay’s most popular styles, Coachman garage doors look like wood but are made of four layers of insulated steel. They’re very low maintenance and are easy to customize. In fact, you can choose from about 1,000 style combinations and four factory finish paint colors.

Coachman garage doors look great on a wide variety of homes. Not only are they an ideal choice for traditional style homes, but they can enhance the curb appeal of more modern homes as well.

The Canyon Ridge Collection, Limited Edition & Ultra Grain Series  

canyon ridge wooden garage doors

Both Clopay’s Canyon Ridge Limited and Ultra Grain series are stunners. Both feature swing-out style carriage house style doors and are quiet and energy-efficient. The Limited Series also offers four-layer construction while the Ultra Grain Series features a whopping five.

Both of these garage door styles also offer Intellicore® insulation, fourteen base designs and are factory finished in medium or dark finishes. You can even customize them further with a field stain.

The Grand Harbor Collection

grand harbor white garage doors

These carriage house style doors are a great option for those on a budget. But just because they’re affordable it doesn’t mean you’ll be compromising on quality or style.

Not only are Clopay’s  Grand Harbor garage doors  beautiful, but they’re also extremely quiet, durable, and low maintenance. You can choose from two or three layers of insulation, and from six different designs with optional windows and decorative hardware.

The Reserve Collection 

reserve wooden garage door

When it comes to one-of-a-kind beauty you can’t get much better than Clopay’s Reserve Collection. These authentic handcrafted carriage house garage doors are made from gorgeous natural wood. You can choose from six carriage house designs and from three different types of wood. They also feature different panel and window designs and can be painted or stained.

Martin Door is proud to carry the dull line of carriage house garage doors by Clopay. Contact us to find out which style is perfect for your home.

 

Winter Maintenance for Your Garage Door & Opener

The last thing you want to deal with come wintertime is a garage door that won’t open and close. That’s why it’s important to make sure that your garage door & opener Is up to the challenge before the colder temps arrive.

From depleted batteries to a garage door that won’t open due to ice and snow, winter in St. Charles can be a challenging season for your garage door and opener. Before they start working overtime during winter, use our checklist below to make sure your garage door opener is up to the test.

Lubricate. One of the most important steps to making sure your garage door opener is ready for winter involves lubricating the garage door’s hinges, and rollers, and springs. This is critical so that the garage door & opener will operate smoothly. You can pick up a low temp spray lube at your neighborhood home improvement store.

Check the backup system. In the event of a winter storm, you’ll want to make sure your garage door opener back-up system is working properly. If it is, you’ll be able to open and close your garage door via the remote or touch pad even if the power goes out.

You’ll find details on how to test the back-up system in your garage door opener’s manual. For most, you can unplug the garage door opener from the outlet and test it to see if it still works with the remote.

Replace light bulbs. Not only should you replace the light bulbs in the garage before the cold weather sets in, you should go ahead and replace the garage door opener bulbs as well. Although most bulbs last about 10,000 hours, we recommend erring on the side of caution even if you think you’ve got a little ways to go before the bulbs stop working. You don’t want to be left in the dark in the garage on a cold winter night.

Replace the remote batteries. One of the quickest and easiest ways to get your garage door opener ready for winter is by replacing the batteries in the remote. Ideally, these should be replaced every two years or so, but bear in mind that cold weather will drain all batteries quicker.

A couple ways to tell if the batteries in the opener’s remote need to be replaced is by looking to see if a low battery light is on (if your model includes this feature) and by observing how quick the remote is to work. If it takes a few presses on the button to open the garage door, you probably need to replace the batteries.

Check the garage door. You’re going to want to make sure the garage door fits well in the frame and that there aren’t any gaps on the ground where snow and freezing water can get in. Should ice and snow get into the garage, particularly where it opens, it can cause the garage door to freeze shut and your garage door opener won’t work.

Be prepared. In the event that your garage door opener won’t work in the winter, be prepared. Have a broom and a shovel within easy access so you can clear snow and ice from the garage door. And for car safety during winter, have a pair of jumper cables or a power jump starter in your car, as well as a heavy blanket.

Still not sure if your garage door opener is ready for winter? Give the team at Martin Door a call. We can do a complete check so that it’s up to the test and ready for the colder months ahead.

How to create a garage fit for a car lover   

Do you see your car as a way to get from one part of town to another, or as a source of fun and escape? If you enjoy zipping around country roads, or if your idea of the perfect weekend is getting to spend time tinkering under the hood of a vintage automobile, you’re going to want a garage that’s perfect for a car enthusiast.

Below, we show you how to create a garage fit for a car lover.

Choose a great looking garage door. First, let’s talk aesthetics. A car enthusiast’s garage should look inviting and inspiring, and that starts with the garage door. Of course, the right garage door can add functionality, too. If it’s insulated, for example, you’ll be able to save energy (and money), and you’ll be able to work comfortably in it all year round.

avante modern glass garage doorWe like Clopay’s Avante collection for car lovers (pictured). These garage doors are made from glass and aluminum and are extremely durable and are sleek and modern in design – just like a great car.

And because you can choose how much light to let in, they’re an ideal option if you want to display your cars while keeping them safe.

Add a lounge area. If you enjoy spending all day in your garage, consider adding an area where you can take a load off and relax. Your lounge area could include a comfortable sofa and chairs, a mini-fridge or kitchenette, a sound system and even a wall-mounted television to watch races.

With a lounge area, you can have friends over to shoot the breeze with while you work under the hood, or you could simply use it to gather and watch races or drink a cold one. Trust us: those you live with who don’t know the difference between a gear box and a glove box will thank you.

A word about flooring. The typical cement garage floor is usually full of oil spots, dirt and grime – not to mention antifreeze and residue from the road. To create a great looking garage, you’re going to want to choose a flooring solution that’s easy to clean.

We suggest flooring made with an epoxy/polyaspartic coating. These floors are stain resistant and they come in a variety of colors. This flooring will also serve to protect your garage floor, so it will stay in great shape for years to come.

Garage storage. All garages need great storage, and it’s especially important if you love working on cars. We recommend investing in custom storage that’s durable, attractive and designed specifically for your garage. You could also find storage solutions at your local home improvement store and even at IKEA.     

Add a washing station. If you wash your cars at home on a regular basis, you can easily set up a washing station in your garage. This will allow you to wash your cars all year round. You’ll need a water source as well as proper drainage.

And a lift. Now we’re talking! Whether you’re doing a full restoration on a vintage automobile or prefer doing break jobs and oil changes on your cars yourself, consider investing in a professionally installed hydraulic lift.     

Make it secure. Everyone needs a safe and secure garage door, and especially those who have vintage or luxury cars. Make sure your garage door is secure by checking to see if it properly fits in the garage door frame and secures to the ground. If it doesn’t, contact a garage door professional who can either repair the garage door or replace it with one that fits.

You’ll also want to make sure your garage door locks properly and that your garage door opener is working optimally. In fact, LiftMaster garage door openers with myQ connectivity are a great addition to your home, because they let you control your garage door from anywhere.

Ready for a garage fit for a car lover? Give the team at Martin Door a call. We can help make it happen!  

 

Turn Your Garage Into A Study Room

The school year has begun and already it’s off to an “interesting” start, thanks to COVID-19. More students than ever before – whether they’re in kindergarten or in college – are learning virtually and that means they need a good study space.

If you’ve got a student at home, why not convert your garage into a study room where they can attend their online classes and study with relatively few interruptions? Alternatively, the study space can be used for those who are working from home.

It’s easy to transform your garage into a study space while also leaving enough room for your car. Here are some tips to get you started.

Electric outlets. Since learning is done primarily online these days, your student will need to a way to plug in in the garage. Position the desk and chairs near the power outlet if possible, or get an extension cord with a power strip that you can use for other devices as well. No electric in the garage? Either use a long extension cord or contact an electrician to install wiring.

Stay organized. You know what they say – a cluttered desk equals a cluttered mind. Add shelving and cabinets for books, files, and office supplies. IKEA has great, inexpensive home organization solutions.

Use a room divider. This will come in handy if you’re using your garage for your car, as well. Hang a pair of heavy curtains on a cable mounted to walls that you close when you’re in the study room. You could also use an accordian room divider specifically made for garages or a wooden curtain for a really unique look.

Keep it quiet. To keep outside sound to a minimum, consider installing an insulated garage door. You could also add carpet (to the study part of the garage floor, of course) or rubber flooring that you can get at a home improvement store. We love the idea of adding a rug for a little more style and to help keep noise at bay.

For extra noise control – and a little ambiance, you could keep a white noise machine in the garage study, too.

Keep it warm (or cool!). An insulated garage door can help regulate the temperature in the garage. You could also use space heaters in the colder months and window A/C units (if possible) or a portable floor A/C model. If you’re transforming your entire garage into a study space, we recommend a complete heating/cooling system.

Think color. One of the easiest ways to turn your garage into a living space is by painting the walls. Primary, vibrant colors can help keep students focused and awake while muted, softer colors are soothing. You could also paint a wall with chalkboard paint!

Add light. From floor lamps to desk lamps to overhead lights with unique shades, lighting is a great way to add dimension to your study space while also increasing productivity. A skylight can also be a great source of light and look great in the garage.

Your garage door can also be an excellent source of light. Consider a contemporary garage door like Clopay’s Avante garage door that allows you choose how transparent you want the glass panels to be.

With just a little work and creativity, you can make your garage a fabulous study area for your student, and who knows? It may end up being a quiet, peaceful retreat for everyone.

How to add living space to your garage  

Did you know your garage is one of most versatile rooms in your home? Sure, it does a fantastic job keeping your car safe and storing all sorts of items – from bikes to bowling balls – but it’s can be used for so much more.

With a little elbow grease and planning, your garage can also be a home gym, a playroom, an art studio, even a study room – and a lot of us can use one of those these days, now that more children than ever are learning virtually.

Martin Door is proud to carry Lifestyle Garage Door Screens that make it even easier to transform your garage into another living space.

Ready to do more in your garage? Take a look at our tips below to get started.

First, let’s go over the basics. When it comes to ideal flooring for your new garage space, we recommend priming and using a good paint designed specifically for garages. Behr Premium Concrete & Garage Floor paint, for example, works great and comes in a variety of colors.

If you’re using all or a part of your garage for your new space, you may want to consider another type of flooring, such as tile or carpet. Rubber tiles work great for garage gyms. You can pick these up at your local home improvement store.

You may also want to consider ways to cool your space in the summer, and/or heat it in the winter. Depending on your budget and needs, you could invest in a small air conditioning unit or a complete heating and cooling system. Additionally, you may want to choose a new, insulated garage door. If you’re going that route, we can help you choose the right one.

So, just how can you use your garage? Here are some ideas below.  

Study room. If your children are starting school at home this year, your garage can become a perfect study space with little effort. Make sure the space is comfortable and inviting by painting the walls and floor and add insulation to make it quieter.

Study spaces need to let in plenty of light, so consider replacing your garage door with an Avante garage door from Clopay, will let plenty of light in and create a beautiful space. Lastly, make sure there are enough electrical outlets in the garage. If there aren’t, consider reaching out to an electrician who can help.

Home gym. If you’re limiting your time at the gym or yoga studio, we’ve got great news – your garage can be transformed into a workout space easily. As we mentioned, you can install rubber tiles on the garage floor, or even paint it a tranquil color if you’re looking for a more peaceful, Zen way of exercising.

Add shelving for weights and props, and install pegboard to hang items like jump ropes, resistance bands and straps. And don’t forget about music to keep you motivated! Consider adding a stereo system, and perhaps a portable air conditioning unit on the days you really work up a sweat.

Kid’s playroom. The first thing to think about when making the garage your kid’s playroom is storage. Since there’s limited space in the garage, you’re going to want to maximize storage for all of their toys and games. IKEA has great storage space options for all budgets. And when your kids outgrown the playroom, you can use the storage for all sorts of other things.

We love puzzle floor mats because they are easy to install, soft, and they add a little fun and whimsy to the garage space. You could also decorate the walls with stickers and decals that you can find in craft stores. These are easy to remove, so when your kids outgrown the playroom you can easily use the space for something else.

Art studio. Thinking of learning something new with all the extra time at home? If you’re ready to get in touch with your artistic side, why not transform a part of the garage into an art studio? Start with creating great light in the garage. This can be achieved with a garage door that lets in light, solar tubes, skylights or LED lighting.

Next, you’ll need a great desk to sketch out your plans and plenty of storage for your art supplies and to make the space inviting and inspiring.

Ready to learn more about Lifestyle Garage Door Screens or how we can help transform your garage into a multifunctional living space, give the team at Martin Door a call.

Seven Ways to Keep Your Garage Cool 

If you think it’s hot outside, just imagine what the temperature is in your garage. During the summer months, garages are often a good five to ten degrees warmer than the temps outside. Without proper ventilation or a good cooling method in place, your garage may not just be uncomfortable – it could be downright dangerous if you’re in it for an extended length of time.

Don’t let summer keep you out of your garage. Instead, follow our tips below to keep it cool this summer. 

Park Your Car Elsewhere (for a little while). That’s right. We’re recommending you don’t use your garage to park your car, but only until it cools down. If you park a car that’s just been driven in the garage and close the garage door, the heat from the engine can get trapped inside, raising the temps inside the garage even more.

We recommend parking your car outside the garage (preferable in the shade) and then moving it into the garage when the sun goes down.

Limit Your Time in the Garage. Your garage can be a lot more than just a place to put your car. With a little effort (emphasis on the little) your garage can be a workout space, workshop, and even a play area for the kids.

If you’ve got a multi-functioning garage space, or if you enjoy working on your car, consider using the garage in the early morning hours or after the sun goes down during the summer months. Ideally, you should limit your time in the garage between 3-6 p.m. when the temperatures in St. Charles are usually the warmest.

Choose a light-colored garage door. Since darker colors absorb heat, consider choosing a garage door that’s light in color. This is especially important if your garage faces west. Additionally, you can paint your garage exterior walls and roof a lighter color to keep it cooler as well. You could also add trees that will offer shade around your garage, if you’ve got a decent sized area where you can plant.

Use fans. Although fans won’t necessarily lower the air temperature in your garage, they’ll help increase air flow to make it a much more comfortable space to be in. The easiest and least expensive type of fan to use is a simple, inexpensive oscillating fan that you can pick up at any home improvement center. A high-powered shop fan is another great option.

You can place one fan in the window or in the opened garage door area with the fan blowing air outward, while placing another fan in the area you want to the breeze to blow to keep the air circulating.

Invest in a ventilation system. Passive and active ventilation systems are the next step up from the use of fans. Passive ventilation is the easiest and often the least expensive vent system to install and usually consists of spinning turbines in roof vents that get the air moving freely quickly.

Active air ventilation systems are a bit more complex and require installation by a professional.

Air condition your garage. If you spend a lot of time in your garage, or if it’s attached to your home, you may want to think about getting it fitted for central air. If you’ve got a window in your garage, an A/C window unit is another option, provided you’ve got electricity and an outlet near the window to use. Portable air conditioners also work well in the garage, especially because they’re designed to cool a small space.

One of the drawbacks to using A/C in the garage is that it can lead to expensive monthly energy bills. Having the garage set up for central air can be a rather significant financial investment as well.

Insulate your garage. If you’re thinking of going this route, start with an insulated garage door. This alone can help keep your garage cooler. If want to insulate the garage itself, start simple by caulking the windows and your garage door frame. Check to make sure your garage door is fitted properly. If you see any space between the ground and the bottom of the door, give us a call.

Want to learn more about how you can keep your garage cooler this summer? Give the team at Martin Door a call.

June is Garage Door Safety Month

It’s one of your home’s hardest working doors, and at 100-600 pounds, it’s also the heaviest door in your home by far. We’re talking, of course, about your garage door. Considering its weight, not to mention all its hardware required to make it operate correctly – like pulleys and springs that perform under extreme tension – it’s important to understand and practice garage door safety.

Garage doors are not a toy

Many children find garage doors to be pretty impressive, and while we tend to agree, it’s imperative to teach your kids that garage doors are not toys. Keep a close eye on your little ones anytime you open and close the garage door.

Make sure children keep their hands away from the door, garage door  track and other type of hardware.

The same goes for the garage door opener. It can be fun to open and close the garage door from a smartphone or another type of remote, but it should never be done for amusement.

Leave the repairs to professionals

While regular, simple garage door maintenance like cleaning, lubricating, and painting your garage door is fine to do on your own, you’ll want to leave garage door repairs to us. Attempting to fix garage door springs and pulleys is especially dangerous if you have not been trained on safe and proper procedures.

Never race the garage door

While the garage door is in motion, you should always steer clear and avoid being directly under it.  Never push the wall button to close the garage door then race to get out before it closes. You could be seriously injured if the door strikes you.

Keep up on regular inspections

Whenever you hear creaking, crunching, rattling, or any other unusual noise coming from your garage door, you’ll want to call a professional to pinpoint the source of the sound and make the necessary repairs. Additionally, you should have your garage door inspected by a technician once every year to make sure the hardware and the garage door itself are safe to operate.

Understand your garage door system

Know where the emergency release feature is located on your garage door. To ensure your safety, read the door’s manual as well as those for your garage door opener system.  Make sure you have a clear understanding of how your garage door system operates, so you can better gauge when there’s a potential problem or safety hazard.

Have a garage door safety concern? If you do, don’t wait. Contact the team at Martin Door and schedule an appointment. We’ll check the garage door thoroughly to make sure it’s safe for you and your family. 

 

 

 

Your easy summer garage door maintenance checklist

Before summer gets into full swing, it’s important to check your garage doors to make sure everything is in working order. The warmer weather is a great opportunity to take care of things that may have gone unnoticed or set aside during the cooler months.

We’ve created an easy checklist of tasks that aren’t hard to do, and they just may even save you a little money in the long run on garage door repairs. In fact, you can do these tasks in one day and then sit back, relax, and enjoy summer!

 

Thoroughly wash the exterior of your garage door. A mixture of any gentle soap or detergent and water should do the trick. Make sure to clean the windows with a good glass cleaner and use a broom to clear off any cobwebs off the inside that may have gathered.

 

Give it a coat of paint. The easiest color to paint your garage door will be the one that matches the color of the door now. If you opt for a completely new color, especially if it is going to cover a lighter color, you may need to do some extra prep work including applying extra primer and a topcoat.

 

Make it a well-oiled machine. At the start of every season, make it a point to lubricate all of the hardware on your garage door. This is especially important if you’re hearing any screeches or grinding sounds when you open and close the garage door. Use a low temp spray lube that has protective white lithium grease in it.  and be very careful when applying the lubricant to your garage door springs, rollers and hinges.

 

Consider insulation. An insulated garage door can work wonders keeping the garage cool in the warmer months. If your garage is attached to your home, it can help you save money on your energy bill. Additionally, if you have living space above the garage, it can help to keep the area cooler.

 

Keep it strong. Homeowners in St. Charles should check their garage doors every summer and make sure they’re ready for extreme weather like bad storms. Look for holes in the garage door, gaps between the bottom of the door and the ground, broken windows, and loose or warped garage door panels. If you see any of these issues, give us a call. We can inspect your garage door and make sure it’s safe for you and your family.

 

You deserve a relaxing, fun summer! Don’t let garage door issues put a damper on your plans. We’re here to help with all your garage door needs.