Saturday, December 16, 2017

New Digs for Me and My 1976 Corvette

Back in October, I closed on a house I purchased in DeBary, conveniently located only a few miles away from the rental apartment I had been living in for the past year.

And even though the house needed some remodeling in order to bring it into the 21st century and only had a one-car garage, the price, overall condition, and central location, made it a good buy.

Above: My Vette at the house for the first time.
Having owned homes with two- and three-car garages in the past made downsizing to a one-car garage tough, but having an enclosed place to safely park my Vette was a must.

I say enclosed since many older houses in Florida have carports which although they provide a roof over a vehicle, offer no additional protection and also make the car easily accessible for anyone who wants to get close to it.

So a carport definitely was a deal breaker for me.

The first thing I did, once I took possession of the property, was to remove the old and dirty popcorn ceiling... not only in the garage but throughout most of the house. And if I never have to do such a job again, I will not be sad.

Above: Removing popcorn finish gets old fast. But it was well worth the many hours and effort.
Once the new "knockdown" texture had been applied and the drywall repaired, I had the painter clean and then epoxy the cement floor with paint formulated specifically for concrete floors. I've used stain in the past but was not completely satisfied with the look. I've also used vinyl tiles but those tend to crack or get otherwise damaged when you do heavy wrenching in the garage. So epoxy was my choice for this garage.

Above: The ceiling only needed light repairs and joint tape before the knockdown finish was applied.

Above: Part of the garage serves as the laundry area. I had this portion of the floor tiled.

Above: A clean and up-to-date ceiling thanks to fresh knockdown texture finish and paint.

Above: The painter adds decorative chips to the freshly applied epoxy paint.

Above: Close-up of the color chips.
Storage is always an important consideration, and luckily I had saved enough heavy-duty shelving units I'd purchased years earlier which allowed me to utilize the vertical space to the max. I even modified a couple of them to serve as a workbench while allowing easy access to the electrical panel which is located in the garage.

Installation took a couple of days since I was working by myself and had to cut each upright down to size so they would clear the garage door tracks and look even.

Above: To add a finished look to the laundry room, I glued a 4.25" rubber base border.

Above: Garage ready for shelving units to be installed.

Above: One shelf done, many more to go.

Above: I had to shim some of the shelving to compensate for the sloping garage floor.

Above: I secured the shelves to the walls with heavy-duty wall anchors for good measure.

Above: One side finished. The workbench area has proven to be a great idea.
I considered adding a smaller workbench to the other side of the garage since that wall has a window in it. But as luck would have it, something much better and useful was in my future.

During one of my trips to the local Lowe's, I found a beautiful tool cart they had marked down considerably since it had been dented. After measuring it I realized it would fit perfectly in front of the window while allowing some daylight in and also add a bit of privacy since it would cover part of the window. So I bought it along with the matching tool chest since the manager offered me an additional discount.

Above: Shelving for the other side of the garage started.

Above: The bottom right drawer has a big dent, but otherwise works perfectly.

Above: The other side of the garage with the built-in toolbox I bought at Lowe's.

Above: Snug as a bug at home.
Even though I measured the parking area as well as my car many times, I was concerned that the Vette was going to be a tight fit in the garage, but it actually fits very well and I have plenty of room to walk around it comfortably.

I also used small mats under the car to prevent paint from lifting due to hot tires. I found those at Home Depot and they are regular doormats, but they are black and were only $3 each.

I also have a parking mat I bought from Amazon years ago to ensure the car stops at the right spot every time.

Fortunately, my garage parking area is long enough even for my truck if I ever needed to park it in there, so the car stays clear of the laundry room portion, especially considering there is a step up, but that is not a problem at all.

Above: I still have to organize the shelves, but the car is safely parked in its new home.
There's no doubt that having a two-car garage allows for easier wrenching, especially when you need to have both doors fully open, but thanks to the pleasant Central Florida weather I can roll the car out at any time and work outside, so the smaller garage is not a problem, especially with all the nice shelving and other finishes.

I recently replaced the single-bulb fixture with a fluorescent light and what a difference it makes. I still have two additional fluorescent fixtures to install. You cannot have too much light in the workshop area. And I still have a ton of boxes of tools and other stuff to go through and store properly on the shelves.

And since my floor jack failed a while back—thankfully not while I was under the car—I will get a new one, but in the meantime, I have ordered a couple of RhinoRamps which, according to the manufacturer, are low enough for low-clearance vehicles. In addition to that, they have a non-skid base so I'll find out in a couple of days if they will work for my Vette. I may write an article about them in order to share my experience.

I hope my article inspires you to get out there and clean your garage, maybe epoxy the floor or get some shelving units to help you organize your Corvette parts, tools, and other stuff.

Thank you for following!

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