By on June 11, 2014

3 car garage

My wife Mustang Sally and I are among the folks who are fleeing Southern California due to the high cost of living, rising taxes and the general ass-whipping that living here entails. We are moving to Tucson. We may be leaving Automotive Heaven for Hot as Hell Arizona but one of my long standing car nut dreams has come true: three bays, no waiting.

My wife tells me the triple garage we just purchased comes standard with a house attached to it, one with a fireplace and two or three bathrooms or something. I haven’t really noticed; I have a giant new garage to organize and I need your advise.

It is nice to see that three car garages are becoming more common. We saw them in homes priced as low as $175,000. This particular one has two other features mandatory in my book: no windows in the walls or doors so no sunlight beats down upon the vehicles, and plenty of leftover room once filled with our fleet.

Parked in the stalls from left to right will be our S2000, GLK350 and 1968 Mustang, the latter of which would warm the heart of TTAC mega-commenter PrincipalDan. My company ride will swelter in the driveway but as we say in the business: it’s not my car. I will spare you the logistics of how we shuffle four vehicles with our current tiny two car garage and no street parking but will say it involves orange airport marshalling paddles.

Here are my thoughts so far as how to outfit this garage. First and foremost, I have always wanted a refrigerator. Mustang Sally says she does not like the one that came with the house and wants a new one so I have my icebox. I have room for a chair so I can sit and have a beer and admire my rides. (Admit it, you do that too, don’t you?) For the first time in years, I have enough wall space to hang my eclectic collection of mobilia signs (My favorite: “Bardahl Stops Valve Lift Clatter”) and my Nicola Wood print of a 1964 Ferrari GTO at Big Sur.

3 car garage 2

Throw in a lighted workbench with a stool and a metal tool pegboard and I am done with the easy stuff. What is becoming a challenge is choosing storage cabinets and racks without breaking the bank. The prior owner stripped the garage of its cupboards so I am starting with a blank canvas. I am tired of crap strewn everywhere; I want everything in or on top of cabinets. How do I find a happy medium between the pricey custom cabinets and the white wood ones from Home Depot?

And don’t get me started on the subject of car lifts, checkerboard epoxy floors, and laser-guided parking systems.

What has worked for you in your garage?

 

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106 Comments on “My First-Ever Three Car Garage...”


  • avatar

    I live in NYC.

    When I watch HGTV and see what you people out west are buying for less than $150,000 it makes me so jealous.

    Big driveways, big garages, big rooms…

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Or down south, I live in the tidewater area of VA and homes are really over priced for the wages in the area. A good job here might pay 30 or 40k and a decent house ranges in the 175-200k area. In North Carolina the same house might cost 150k.

      I know its a matter of perspective as I’ve talked to northern transplants that have retired and sold their homes up north then paid for land and a house down here with money left over to stuff into their savings account (although I always scratched my head when it was an elderly couple with no kids buying a 2000 sq. ft. plus house).

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy

        San Fransisco, New York City, Boston. All ridiculous. All the time. Still though, I can’t picture myself living anywhere else other than Boston, ridiculousness included. Price to pay for what we have I suppose.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          If you want to make Boston feel better, move here from New York. I did it a couple of years ago and it still feels like Ohio in terms of house prices compared to what I was used to paying.

        • 0 avatar
          hiptech

          Say Virgil assuming you don’t want to go it alone you’re in luck this guy is right in your own backyard and does great work – I’m up here in Phx but he won’t come this far north…

          Substitute “.” for the word “DOT”:
          http://youtuDOTbe/0fUOz3KhtfY
          or Search YouTube for:
          “Manny’s Organization Station HERCULEAN Garage storage cabinets.How to Build The strongest system.”

          BTW, you might want to rethink the fridge in the garage, it’s highly inefficient and is almost like running another A/C in terms of your energy use – especially in the summer.

          If you have the space, add some insulation above the garage with plywood sheets and a pull-down attic stairway this will increase your storage capacity significantly. Of course don’t put anything like candles up there, mostly good for boxes, pipe, wire, and such. Use large plastic bags for anything you don’t want covered in dust, er, I mean desert insulation.

          I also suggest you add temp controlled gable fans especially above the garage to help reduce attic temps. Another tip if you install the attic stairway, pull it down without extending the ladder and it opens a large space in the ceiling which really helps vent the heat out. Place it near the back of the garage either between bays or where it can pull down and not interfere with a parked vehicle. Obviously depends on direction of trusses and joists.

          In our garage we have two ceiling fans, about 12 48″ dual fluorescent light fixtures, monstrous evap cooler (built-in through the wall) and can be comfortable until around mid June. Once the Monsoon season starts and the humidity and dust become unmanageable, all bets are off.

          I also did the epoxy floor paint about 16 years ago and it never held up well, issues with tire heat/pressure caused the paint to lift in spots. Had it redone soon after but faced the same problem. Several water heater replacements created multiple long scratches and it now looks really terrible. That’s something to keep in mind, no one ever mentions how troublesome removing old epoxy floor paint can be.

          I think the floor tile might be a better long term solution since it’s easier to replace individual damaged tile versus repaint a floor. That is unless someone can convince me newer epoxy paint systems are far superior and longer lasting.

          Stay away from the particle board cabinets with faux wood laminate as they will rot when exposed to moisture like when power washing the garage floor. I eventually yanked ours out due to bloating and decay they suck water like a sponge.

          If you absolutely must go that route, make sure they’re installed with risers to keep them elevated above the floor by several inches. And don’t overestimate the amount of weight the shelves can handle, they’re not that sturdy and everyone overloads them… that’s why I like Manny’s system a lot more.

          Guess I’m where you are now and starting over.

          Good luck with home and enjoy…

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      I chatted with the folks at regional a few months ago; with the possibility of qualifying for 1,200 sq ft of outbuilding “limited” to 25′ height and a bright orange fiber optic cable warning blade parked at the property’s corner, I have no regrets paying even less than that figure for a wedge next to the main rail line through town.

    • 0 avatar
      naterator

      Well come on down! Everyone else has. [grumble]

  • avatar
    danio3834

    3+ car garage space is liberating. Until you fill it. I’ve reserved myself to the fact that I need a pole barn for the cars, motorhome, ATVs, golf carts, boats and light aircraft that I need to store.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      The bigger the garage the more stuff you will accumilate. I can think of 3 cars I would have boughted if I had a bigger shop.

      I bought some surplus industrial shelves that allows me to store anything and everything. Don’t get those cheap ones, you want big strong ones.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I have told my dad previously that however many garage spaces I have, that’s how many cars I will own. He always replies with, “Well you are only one person.” And I say “THAT IS NOT THE POINT!”

    • 0 avatar
      dash riprock

      motorhome, ATVs, golf carts, boats and light aircraft that I need to store.

      Yikes…..do you ever find time to work with all these time intensive hobbies?

      Just sold our motorhome and I find it liberating to have all that space back

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    I like a two car with depth for 2+2 parking and a door on both sides.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ! MAN CAVE ! .

    Used metal shelving or pallet racks work out very well indeed .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    C. Alan

    Having done the three car garage, here are my tips:
    1. Don’t let it become storage. This typicaly starts when you just need somewhere to stash a box for a few days. The next thing you know, there are half a dozen boxes piled all over your Mustang gathering dust.

    2. You need to think about some kind of cooling system. Having the garage is great, until you realize it is a bazillion degrees out there in the summer time. Given that you are in a desert region, my best suggestion is to install a good ceiling fan, and find an old swamp cooler you can mount on wheels, and roll around the shop where you need it. That will make the space alot more usable.

    • 0 avatar
      Jonathan H.

      I agree. I would invest in some nice insulated doors first. Helps with the temp and acts as good soundproofing.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      On point 2, I realize how much of an advantage having the garage underneath the house can be.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      After buying his first tractor in the long, cold winter of ’89, my father insulated his half of the unattached garage and juuuust got it in there to work on it with the ROPS taken off. It keeps it about 10-15 degrees cooler in the summer, too. The garage attic is another story–stay out of there anytime after about 8 in the morning to about midnight.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Welcome to the 3+ garage club, it is a wonderful place to be, isn’t it? You guys don’t have basements which kind of sucks, hope you don’t end up with a bunch of junk in it. I would definitely do the epoxy floors. Since you are in Arizona, a place that suffered quite a bit of the brunt of the housing crash, I would check Cragislist for cabinets. I imagine there are still quite a lot of nice cabinets that were leftover from homes that were not built, or removed from homes that were foreclosed on etc etc. Is that an Arizona thing where they don’t put floor drains in, that kind of sucks?

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Our local Habitat for Humanity operates a “ReStore” where they sell donated items from home remodels, including kitchen cabinets. Great source if you need OK cabinets for a garage or cheap rental property.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Additionally, if you can wait patiently, keep an eye out for estate sales. Estatesales.net and its ilk can help you find sales that are trying to clear a property to the walls.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      RE: Cabinets. You might also check a cabinet/kitchen place – often times they’ll get one door damaged etc in shipping, and have a whole extra set sent to them by the manufacturer. They have nowhere to go with the extras, and can sell them cheaply.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    AZ is my home state. People in other parts of the country do not believe how much house/garage/land you can get at good deals.

  • avatar
    lowsodium

    Dont put a cheesy light over the workbench. Go to lowes and get 8 foot long flourescent lighting kits, their cheap (around $40). Then put up at least 6 of them around the garage. I put up 4 in my 2 car garage and it makes a huge difference. You need a lot more light over your cars than over the bench.

    I bought some basic 2×4’s and particle board and built a wide 8ft bench on one side. I put pegboard on the wall above it. I also got 3 cheap basic rolling tool cabinets to put most stuff in.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …a detached garage is more dear to me than three cars, but they’re exceedingly rare here in central texas…

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Really? I have a detached garage and I find myself wishing it was attached. That is especially true in the winter. I live in the Detroit area though. Snow and all that jazz.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        My wife is thrilled that my shop is at least 60 feet from the house. What with the air compressor, impact guns, loud music, burning smells, car fumes and paint fumes…

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I guess that is true. I’m lucky my garage fits (barely) two cars and has loft storage. If I lived on a bigger piece of property, I would build a pole barn.

        • 0 avatar
          raminduction

          LOL, LOL, LOL….yeah, sure wish my garage was separated from the house. I never hear the end of “fumes in the house”…however, the new place comes with a 3-bay detached shop, so the complaints should cease.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’m very thankful mine is attached, when I don’t have to trudge through snow to the car in the winter. The garage is naturally heated and cooled slightly by whatever temp the house is, because it’s underneath in the basement.

    • 0 avatar
      Lythandra

      I love my detached here in Houston. Also, 2 sides open up for tons of airflow. I do wish it was double the size tho. Maybe triple the size …

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    “What is becoming a challenge is choosing storage cabinets and racks without breaking the bank.”

    Build them yourself…. not that hard and gets you some points on your man card.

    We just bought a house too. It has a attached giant 2/4 car garage, (can go 2-cars deep). Probably stuff my old Jeep in the back corner, my 79′ in front, and the new Mustang in the other bay with leaving that back corner open.

    And then, out back is another garage. 2-car sized but with one door and plenty of room to the side. This is going to be my workshop with all my tools, junk, etc. There is a shed attached to this for the mowers, lawn stuff, and more junk, and a lean too off the other side I might park the 78′ Chevy under. I’ll probably put the new Jeep in here when I’m not working on something.

    Also has 3 acres of land, with numerous fruit trees, plenty of privacy. 4/bed, 3 full baths, 2,800sq/ft, in ground pool, and you don’t want to know what I paid for it….. Less then $1,000/year property tax to boot; God I love the south.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      AMC_CJ….Your place within an 90 minute commute to Toronto, would run north of 700K, with a yearly tax bill of 8K.

      • 0 avatar
        AMC_CJ

        I don’t doubt it, which, obviously, I could not afford.

        The house was also a foreclosure, sitting vacate for nearly a year. I think the scary state of the pool, and looking pretty abused, scared a lot of buyers off. But, the house was in great shape when you look past the dents, dings, and paint, and the pool along with some other stuff is nothing that can’t be rolled into a Renovation loan, with us re-doing the flooring, patchings the walls, and doing all the paint/small stuff (which there is a lot of).

        It’s also 40miles out from the city, a 35mile one-way commute for myself.

        Even around here, when fixed back right and 20miles closer to the city, it would be a $300k+ house easily. Even where it stands, I got it for 3/4 assessment, and $75k under appraisal. Needs about $20k worth of work, and a lot of free labor provided by ourselves and some family members.

        If you don’t mind doing some work, it’s amazing what you can actually afford.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Now probably well over $1 million.

        My brother-in-laws 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 60 year old bungalow with no garage cost him $675 in Toronto.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Less than $1000 for property taxes?!?!?!?!? I need to move.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      $1,000 a year property taxes? Where on God’s green earth do you live? I have a vacant piece of land that I pay $1,600/yr in property taxes. You are living almost for free.

      • 0 avatar
        KevinC

        I was exiled to the Phoenix area (Chandler specifically) in 2004 when my company in Orange County closed the local sales office. 10 years later, I couldn’t be happier that it happened. I immediately bought a nice 3/2/2 house for $141k. Its value cratered at around $100k during the housing bust, but is now worth about $185k, so I’m in good shape. My property taxes last year were $846. I have a nice TWO car garage, which is more than I had living in an apartment in OC that cost 2x what my mortgage payment is. Sure, it’s a bit toasty in the summer. but the rest of the year it’s beautiful, and there are a ton of great places to visit around the state within a few hours. Living in the desert isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure – but I love it. And financially, I’m so much better off than I ever would be in California, it’s absolutely staggering.

        • 0 avatar
          TOTitan

          “A bit toasty in the summer” lololol Your not fooling anybody man. Here’s some average high temps for Phoenix:
          April….85
          May……95
          June….104
          July….106
          August..105
          Sept….100
          Oct……89
          I wouldn’t move there if the houses were free!

      • 0 avatar
        AMC_CJ

        Lol, I have family in Massachusetts with a similar size house and land. They’re paying 4X in taxes. My Grandfather who has a very small older modest house on a lake up there, no real land to it, pays nearly $10k a year in property tax.

        I won’t say where I live exactly, being the internet and all, but it’s central VA. If I go 10miles down the road and cross into the next county closer to the city the tax rates double. Even where I’m moving from, another rural county in central VA that just made major headlines last night, has about double the tax rate. I don’t get it either, but I’m not complaining.

        My mother, who has a nice modern log cabin and a little bit of land in southern WV, assesed at over $300k…. sit down now…. get ready…. pays a little over $300 a year in property taxes.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Wow! a three car garage!.. Cool! As others have mentioned, do not give up floor space for storage. I’ve got a two car, but I have a 15 foot ceiling. So shelving and a loft works for me. Now that I’m down to two cars, One side is for the Mustang, and the other is my man cave. I try to keep as much stuff as I can off the floor.

  • avatar
    MK

    I know the feeling my good sirrah, when we looked at our current house the thing that clinched the deal was that in addition to the 3 car garage on the main house, the former owner raced motorcycles and had added a 12ft ceiling, 2 car garage/workshop with front and side garage doors (so the trailer could be stored next to it and loaded without getting in the main driveway).

    It kicks all kinds of ass.

    Mine came prefitted with the cabinets (unfortunately the white shallow Home Depot grade but it works for most things. Couple of things…. 1- if you have the ability to put a sink in then do it, check the garage walls if they share with a bathroom or laundry
    2- put in more fluorescent lights than you think you’ll need, makes a big diff when working on a car
    3- shop air is always nice to have as we’ll as 220v outlet.
    4- before moving anything in, go over and paint the walls bright white and epoxy the floor. You’ll never get around to it otherwise and it makes walking in there such a joy :)

    The only problem is that you get used to it and fill up the space making it very difficult to consider moving to the next or a smaller house.
    Lots of good ideas out there, just try not to break the bank.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I have a detached 3 car garage that I have had and used extensively for many years. The problem with it is that if you put three cars in there, then there isn’t really any room for a work area (work bench, etc.). It will work I guess if you can back out one of the rides when you need room for a project. However, as one poster stated, the junk and clutter can take over in a heartbeat if you leave any space unoccupied. It’s amazing how fast it happens!

    I also have a partially open attic, it covers about half of the floor space and is open on one end for ventilation. It’s real helpful for extra storage space but you can’t put anything up there that doesn’t do well in high heat (like Christmas decorations). The rafters make for good storage space too as long as you don’t try to store something too heavy.

    Heat is a problem definitely (I’m in Florida) so a refrigerator runs all of the time. It will work but it uses a fair bit of electricity. You might want to consider a mini-fridge. I’d find a way to ventilate the garage well, maybe an exhaust (like a window) fan running in hot weather. You can put it on a timer so it runs during the day and not at night. My garage is stifling during the day this time of year, even with the doors open, so I don’t spend too much time in there.

    Enjoy it!

  • avatar
    mikey

    My garage is my Beer fridge, from Nov to April. I had an old Beer fridge in the garage, but it did suck up hydro, and take up floor space.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    A 3 bay car hole could support a reasonably sized counterfeit jeans operation.

  • avatar
    TurboX

    I like the Gladiator cabinets and storage systems. It offers very flexible configurations and it looks good. It is definitely overpriced, however you can buy them at around 50% off if you are patient. If you are interested in this route, setup alerts at slickdeals and/or fatwallet so you get notifications whenever there is a deal going on.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Pegboards. Pegboards everywhere.

    You can hang everything, or get hanging containers, shelves and boxes; You can rearrange it as you see fit, whereas cabinetry restricts your options.

    Other have noted ventilation and/or AC and I’d agree: you want something to exhaust gases and deal with summer heat will be a huge boon. I’m assuming snow isn’t an issue, so you’ll likely not need a rad/stove/whatever.

    Now is also a good time to put in a compressor and/or lots of electrical sockets, and lighting. Central vac might not be a bad idea, either.

    Personally, I’ve never had a garage (I work on my car in the parking lot of the building I live in, and cart my tools to and from the basement) so I’m a little envious, but I also like walking places and can’t give up the urban lifestyle.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    sorry can not help, no garage here in NJ, to all of you with three car garages , you all suck :)

    For all of you paying 1,000 dollars in taxes you suck more

    I gotta get out of the metro NY area.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Put it this way: you can move somewhere like this, but you have to take a job at the kinds of salary they pay in places like this.

      It’s all about cost of living.

      I could move back to Toronto and make double what I make now, but I’d either be looking at a two-plus-hour commute, renting for $2000/month or more, or buying a house that’s north of the $750K.

      Generally this all works out, except in places that are gentrifying (the Bay area) or in serious decline (Detroit) because the cost/salary ratio balances out. There’s no free lunch, though.

      • 0 avatar
        Speed3

        It’s also about quality of life, and making trade-offs. However, even in this day, some jobs don’t exist outside of major metro-areas.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        I get paid the same amount where ever I live, I am in sales and have the whole country

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Depends, cost of living and salary don’t always scale linearly with the location. For example, my position pays about the same in Toronto as it does in Windsor/Detroit with the cost of real estate in the latter being about 1/3 of the former.

    • 0 avatar
      ChevyIIfan

      Yep, for many industries the pay is the same regardless of where you live. The environmental consulting firm I worked for payed very closely the same for anyone at that level. Senior Engineer? Everyone in the company who was a Senior Engineer got paid virtually the same (+/- maybe $2/hr). The same for Engineer I up to VP. In fact, many of the cheaper places to live actually tended to pay a tad more, probably because the overhead costs of the office were lower. Never understood why anyone would have stuck around in the big cities….

  • avatar
    segfault

    Really happy with the Geartrack organizing tracks I got for my garage. They were not that expensive. The 24″ x 48″ metal cabinet was expensive and heavy, but provides a really nice place to hide paint cans, electrical repair stuff, computer repair stuff, etc., out of sight.

  • avatar
    raminduction

    You said not to get you started, BUT, if you are going to do a 3-C correctly, 1) get ALL of the crap OUT of the garage, then, 2) completely clean the floor of previous owner’s glop, 3) seal or re-seal floor with a industrial, mess proof white paint, or one of those special epoxys. If you don’t you will kick yourself in the rear for a long time.

    Next, especially in Az, put R-1000000000000 insulation in the ceiling, and something on the doors as well (especially if the doors face the afternoon sun), then make sure you have excellent ventilation.

    Next. think VERY hard about what you really want as workspace/ work area. If you don’t think this through, you will have a huge mess where you can’t find anything. You DO NOT want ANY cabinets, racks, etc. on the side walls, EVER. All work space should be at the back.

    Once all that has been figured out, especially if the garage doesn’t have a “tool room”, put in a small fridge under the work bench. However, are you a wrencher or a bench racer? If all you are going to do is drink beer, polish the “stang and fart a lot, then go for the “man-cave” concept. If, on the other hand, you actually get your hands dirty, put in a lift of some sort.

    Btw, I’m bailing out of (northern) Ca too, for many of the same reasons, but heading to less expensive, and cooler northern climes. Good luck in the new digs.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Okay, two things here:

    A.) I’m jealous of your damned 3 car garage. In my community, a house with a three car garage starts at about 400k. I feel fortunate to have a two car attached garage (which I don’t know how I ever made due without one).

    B.) Sayeth Yoda: “Buy a beer fridge, you must”.

    I’ve been drooling over the following:

    * a vintage, 40’s or 50’s, functioning fridge for beer and beverages

    * a couple of jet skis/wet bikes, one for me, and one for my lady.

    Side note: Our garage is already full (we have 3 cars)- so yes, this is where the jealousy stems from.

    Enjoy your new garage.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Upgrading to three car garage – apparently there is a house above it.

    I’ve concluded one bay is occupied with shelves and cabinets, other two will take cars. Wife will love second fridge even if she protests now.

    I got the HDX shelving at Home Depot. I have so e that are 10 years old, same brand, same construction. They can hold 200 pounds a shelf. I’m using storage containers that fit.

    Going with the Home Depot Husky work bench, already have the toolbox and upper cabinet.

    HDX 24 x 36 x 72 shelf units are $51 each in Puget Sound, take 10 minutes to assemble with no tools, and if you’re creative you can configure them like Legos to meet other needs. You can also get 18 x 36 x 72 for $40.

    I have 5 of the 18″ deep units on the side wall! four 24″ units on the back wall across two bays, and plan to run four more 24″ deep ones on the other side of bay one when we are done with move in,

    Bay three was a 5′ extension and there is a deep utility room. The work bench, tool storage, drill press and one higher end metal cabinet will go on that wall.

    Wife gets middle bay. The G8 gets the single door bay, my regular commuter beater Saturn sits outside.

    Happy wife – happy life.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Welcome to the Club! In my opinion the first thing you’ll want to do is get your floor done. I didn’t, and it’ll be a major project to do it now. Second, put all your storage above the door tracks, especially if your doors are 7 feet high. For storage I have bought quite a few metal shelves from Costco. They will propbably last a long time in your dry climate.

    What shocks me is how many people in my subdivision that have 3 car garages have lost at least 2 of those spaces to general crap. I like to believe that keeping my cars in the garage reduces the odds of burglary, as it’s harder to tell if someone is home.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Good point – our new house came with the epoxy floor.

      Not hard to do, lots of options, just follow the directions carefully. Much easier to do now then well your stuff in.

      When I moved into the house I built about two years ago I couldn’t do epoxy at move in because they recommended fresh concrete cure before application. By the time that had happened I was fully organized in the garage and had not interest last summer of taking everything out, cleaning the floors per instructions, waiting to dry, epoxy coat one per instructions, cure, put stuff back, etc. etc.

      If you want the floor – do it now.

  • avatar
    mored

    I could have written this article. Even though I now live in the Midwest, I was raised in Southern California and fully understand when you talk about what passes for garages in the southland, even in multi-million dollar homes. And yes, my friends and I have fridges in our garages, sit in them in the evening with a beer and discuss cars. Sometimes we even discuss less important things like world affairs. Having just gone through the same storeage dilemma as you described, I ended up with Gladiator metal cabinets, and am very happy. I first went the route of the cheap white cabinets from a big box store and was not satisfied. They didn’t last, and I am not hard on things. I hated to pay a little more money for the Gladiator cabinets, but they are well worth it. The old saying is true – you get what you pay for. The added bonus is they are easy to reconfigure your layout as your needs change, or move with you to another home. Sears and sometimes Lowes periodically put them on sale (Sears is running one now for Father’s Day ) for prices that are much easier to swallow.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Congrats on the three car garage. I used to move a lot and a three car is/was always a requirement for me. So having been down this road 4x already I can say for sure, echoing others, handle the floors first. Prior to any move in.

    If the walls are drywalled paint them as well. I like my garage to look as nice as the inside of the house. Handle all of these details first as otherwise the work becomes 10x harder when you have to relocate the stuff you just moved in.

    I have done the buy nice shelves and storage, craigslist cabinets from remodels, and finally my last one I built the storage myself with lumber. I like the shelves I built myself along with the requisite work bench.

    Refrigerator: will you need the freezer to store food stuffs? Will you be converting to a kegerator? If the answer is no, go with the smaller dorm room fridge and build your shelves accordingly so it is in the air. Floor space with three cars is a premium. I built my shelving high enough so the garbage and recycle bins that go to the curb fit underneath flush with the back wall.

    My next step is a four post lift so I can consider a fourth. My wife insists that our driveway not look like a used car lot and wants as many of the cars in the garage as possible. We only have 3 so we are good.

    If you don’t have a shed to put your yard tools in, you will need to devise storage along one of the walls to hang the equipment, keep in mind you want to use the wall where you will be parking the car you care the least about…should any unfortunate accident occur it happens to my truck and not the 57’…another scratch on my truck almost makes it cooler. (Nissan frontier…hard to be tough as is so a scar or two won’t hurt)

    Put on your project manager/mechanical engineer hat and have fun!

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Build the cabinets with slat board on frame doors. You can DIY or find an up and coming carpenters assistant to do it for or with you (he needs the experience of doing his own projects and will be much cheaper). Consider a wheel to help support the heavier doors. Get serious hinges.

    You get a clean look, and the rarely used stuff can go behind your tools while you just be careful what you put in front of the stuff you want more accessible.

  • avatar

    My wife and I have lived in Tucson since 2008. When we were looking for a house here I really wanted a three-car garage but there weren’t many in our price range. We ended up settling for a two-car garage. It’s been fine, but coupled with an HOA that doesn’t let us park on the street we haven’t been able to keep more than two cars. A three-car garage will be a must for our next house purchase. As a side note, I never want to purchase a house in an HOA again either.

    You’ll find in the Tucson summer (and probably late spring/early fall) that your garage will be unbearably hot, even without windows. The rest of the year is great though.

    • 0 avatar
      1998redwagon

      handy with tools around a car?

      build your own shelving units out of wood. damn strong and you can build them as deep or shallow as you like.

      6-8 2x4s and a piece of 4×8′ plywood will build a nice, sturdy 8′ long shelving unit with 3 shelves ~18″ deep.

      if you’re from north of the border do the metric conversion yourself!

      speaking of which, if you go into a lumber yard in canada how do they sell building materials? are they cut to the same dimensions as the us?

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        In Canada we use Metric for temp, and for distance, and volume. Building materials are feet and inches. Weight, as in a pound of buttar is done in both. Our biggest trading partner, uses one system and we use a different one.

        Old guys like me that grew up around Imperial Measure, convert everything in their head, or it has no meaning to us.

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      Three car garages seme to be on the decline again in new construction. The places being built now are on ever smaller lots with more space efficient designs to keep costs as low as possible.

      HOA’s … don’t get me started. Both our places are HOA free and we couldn’t be happier.

      • 0 avatar
        VenomV12

        I have 2 homes that are in neighborhoods that have HOAs, one is okay most of the time and the other is an absolute nightmare. I am starting to look around for a home in Florida but I absolutely do not want to buy anything with an HOA which I am not sure is possible down there. Even my parents despise their HOA. I would rather deal with an occasional crappy neighbor than an out of control, power hungry HOA. My suggestion to anyone is to buy 3-5 acres, be by your damn self and screw having neighbors.

    • 0 avatar
      raminduction

      And when you buy your next house, make sure that not only doesn’t it belong to a HOA or in a PDA, it IS NOT within City Limits.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        That’s a really bad generalization that will often get you the reverse of the intended results.

        Check the legalities or you may find that the lack of an HOA means you may be about to live next to a high rise, cheap apartment building, subsidized housing project, bar, etc. Not every place has zoning, and ethical and sensible zoning boards should be treasured.

        In some states, moving outside of the city just means you pay for everything and the city then puts it’s dump next your house, annexes your area, taxes you, and takes their sweet, sweet time bringing the services to you. Meanwhile, your equity disappears. Yeah!

        The best thing to do is to be a terrible and hateful person and find like minded people to live with. This will get you called names unless you are black or gay or liberal in which case this behavior is celebrated by the name calling, hypocritical hate mongers who have taken over the Democratic Party.

        • 0 avatar
          raminduction

          Hola, Landcrusher,

          I guess it depends where one lives. Out here in the western states, it’s far better and safer (from petty bureaucrats and control freaks) to live outside the city limits and not in a HOA. Far easier dealing with the County Planning Department and Bored of Stupes than the petty control freaks that invariably end up on city councils and planning departments (usually on the far left of the political agenda). Same goes for the control freaks that invariably end up running HOAs. Out here, we don’t have to worry about the things you mentioned happening because most of them will have the eekko-wakkos wetting their beds and having hissy fits. Out here, the things you mention are only for the cities, and dumps are highly regulated with eekko-wakkos posting round the clock observers. I’ll take no HOA and outside the city limits any day over the tyranny of a city council or some bloated ego control freak on a HOA.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Definitely depends. Here in Texas, a proper HOA is a good thing. The key is how it’s written. Low board power, high vote threshold for changing the by laws, and low fees gets you the benefits without the hassles.

            The dump, major airport, and other undesirable neighbor is a real issue and cities often put them outside their own jurisdictions. They, and school districts, very often annex HUGE areas at a time as well. Buying outside the city and then getting annexed is the worst of all combinations and without being in a municipality you are virtually defenseless.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      There are so many HOAs in Tucson. Our house was in Winterhaven, so I didn’t have an HOA. Anything that is a newer build in Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, or Vail will have an HOA though.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Very nice; prefracture lines help deal with the inevitable cracking that will occur. Was that a single pour?

    Having recently examined a well engineered garage which had a 40 acre parcel attached to it, I understand your joy.

    From way out of left field and unrelated to the issue of tool and equipment storage, I recommend adding a used Bose AWMS for radio and music duties in the garage; while you’ll get a lot of knee-jerk reactions from others whenever the brand is mentioned, there is no table radio tougher than that 30 year old design. I’ve had a few hand tools fail under the sort of abuse the old Bose unit simply shrugs off.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Living in South Texas, where is also suffocatingly hot, I can vouch that you will require insulation and ventilation to make it useable from April thru September.

    Not knowing what time of the day, nor the month you took the picture, it appears that the garage doors are looking north, just like my previous home did.

    What I would do, whenever I was working on the garage, I would fully open the doors, and proceed to unroll a sun-blocking blind from the ceiling. The blind was translucent white, and I would roll it to about 4 or 5 feet from the ground. Plenty of light could come in. My area is very windy, so a fan was not really needed, but you can always purchase one of those floor sitting industrial fans to help with the air movement. I also added extra insulation on the west looking wall.

  • avatar
    marmot

    You might want to research a devastating illness called Valley Fever before moving to Tucson, although you are also at risk in Southern California. The NYT has the story.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Welcome to the face of the sun.

    Keeping heat out will be your #1 challenge. Whatever you do to keep heat out will also trap heat inside, so along with insulaing the doors, istalling fans etc. give yourself a method for removing heat. When you park your car in the garage, it turns into a gigantic radiator for hours … and hours … and hours.

    Newer construction in AZ requires floor level and ceiling level vents, but those won’t cut it for dealing with heat. A swamp cooler could work if you’re OK adding the moisture to your garage. Of course, all of this just gives you the perfect excuse to get a huge cooler and fill it with ice cold beer. Add a few gigantic fans and a hammock and your set.

    From November through March, you’ll be the envy of everyone who experiences winter. The rest of the year you’ll feel like Gollum shrinking from the sun.

    I’m going on 18 years in AZ and come August each year (+ November in election years) I still question my sanity.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Tucson? 365 days a year. Yikes!

    My brother moved near Phoenix for a Fall/Winter/Spring home, he says it is unbearable in the Summer with night time temperatures over 100*.

    As for your question, Do you need cabinets with doors? Or would 16″X36″X60″ open shelving work?

    The main thing is to keep the floor clear and stuff organized and findable. I use Hirsch steel shelving from Costco(a great value) and labeled clear bodied flip lid bins to store smaller things in on the shelves. Looks good and and is organized.

    For stuff that needs to be locked up, I use school lockers picked up off ‘CL’ or used industrial/office supply businesses.

    For work benches, you can buy base cabinets or build out of 2″x dimensional material. Or find steel benches at the industrial supply sources.

    Whether base cabinets, a DIY built bench, or steel benches, top them with 2’X materials and then a High density board or ACX plywood. Cover some of the 2X bench top with sheet steel, carbon steel-painted or SS, bent up(4″ splash and 2-1/2″nosing) by a local sheet metal shop. Leave other bench surfaces with the wood surface, finished, or top with pre-made high pressure laminate counter from Home Depot.

    All of the above should leave you with a clean look and high function.

    Paint the floor with a light or medium gray epoxy garage floor paint that will resist chemicals and hot tires. When paint is cured, wax. Try Grainger’s for some of their industrial floor paints.

    Complete with a good roll around tool cabinet.

    Add plenty of lighting for work areas and a movable floor pole fan or two(Harbor Freight) and get a project going.

    http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/storage/shelving/boltless/hirsh-industries-riveted-shelving-unit-5-shelf-16d-x-36w-x-60h?infoParam.campaignId=T9F&gclid=CjkKEQjw_N-cBRD2k73X3OjJ8eMBEiQAbdPic1_7-Y_jYoBIPFz0PFkuDZpY3TXjIAfj0bhGqgU3vazw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    TTAC’s dream garage: 5 stalls, 2 deep, with a cot, beat-up couch, washer/dryer, old TV, and beer fridge.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I have a friend that lives in that neighborhood. I went to a wedding at the nearby Golf Club as well. Hopefully you have views of the Catalinas instead of the Tortolitas. I always liked the snow capped peaks in the winter.

    • 0 avatar
      Virgil Hilts

      We are in Rancho Vistoso in Oro Valley with unobstructed views of the Catalinas/Pusch Ridge from our backyard. As for their HOA, too early to tell…

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        That’s perfect. If you like hiking, you are close to excellent trails. I try to get back to Tucson three or four times a year. I’d move back just for the Mexican food a mountain views.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    Put slotboard on all of the walls.

    Then you can move the shelves and cabinets around until you like it.

    I’ve got one wall of my garage done this way and it’s awesomely practical nice looking. I’m working on the other two as soon as I get a chance.

  • avatar
    spoonie

    I live in Toronto. I can’t imagine what a home with 3bed/bath and 3 garage would cost even within 15 miles of my house. Boo on you sir, boo I say! Also, happy for you. :)

  • avatar
    TheyBeRollin

    What do you need to store in there? Cinder blocks and wide wood boards make classy man-shelving. You can also sometimes get old warehouse shelves at used furniture stores, along with assorted metal shelving units.

    My dad and grandfather used solid wood doors for large overhead shelves and for small part organizing. Grandpa had at least 80 mason jar lids screwed to an old solid wood door hanging by chains from the rafters above his workbench. He put small items of a specific type in the jars and screwed them to the lids. You can see the parts inside and just reach up and unscrew them to get the parts. Very handy. These days you might want to use old plastic peanut butter jars or something along these lines, if only for weight savings.

  • avatar
    jfbramfeld

    I recently assembled this rolling workbench/tool chest from Sam’s. It is a thing of beauty. A fair amount of work to assemble, but worth the effort, and price. And as suggested, the first thing is lots of overhead fluorescent. At least one over each car and a line of them over any working space around the perimeter.
    http://www.samsclub.com/sams/ultra-heavy-duty-12-drawer-rolling-workbench/prod1480010.ip?searchTerm=rolling%20work%20bench

  • avatar
    Burger Boy

    Store bought cabinets that I looked at are cheap and shallow, and the cool steel ones available will certainly break the bank.. I built my own – it’s not hard if you have any ability with a saw. I also ripped the drywall down on one wall and added in-wall air lines and extra electrical outlets. Unless you’re in a real hurry, this would be the way to go.

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    I live on the coast of CA halfway between Santa Barbara and LA, a area with arguably the worlds best weather…..sorry AZ and TX residents, my house is worth a lot more but I’ll bet my utilities and a fraction of yours and I can enjoy being outdoors all 12 months.

    Anyway I think my three car garage is set up as nice as any Ive seen. I use two bays for cars, period. The third bay I partitioned off and built my shop. Along one wall the tools are in a double stack tool box and three used Steelcase filing cabinets. Every drawer is labeled making it a snap to find tools and put them away. Along the other wall is a table saw, and a workbench with chop saws for wood and metal and bench grinder on top, drain cleaner, plasma cutter and welder under it. In one corner of the two bays is a 50 gal air compressor with 100′ of hose on a reel and copper pipe with air connections in four locations. With this setup my cars stay nice, and I can cut grind, and weld all I want without damaging them.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Reg; “I live on the coast of CA halfway between Santa Barbara and LA, a area with arguably the worlds best weather”

      No argument from me, at least in North America.

      I love that area after doing a big project there(Carpenteria)in 2004, and I visit the area often.

      From Mendocino, South to San Diego, the weather is just unbeatable along the coast. Only draw backs are Cali taxes, and property costs. In some areas you can add to that, too much human density and development.

      I have always said ‘That if I ever win the lottery(I never play) I’m building a new place in the hills around Santa Barbara. The last lot I looked at there(Montecito), a few years ago now, was $650,000 and it wasn’t waterfront, though, you could see the ocean.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      California has great weather year round but Florida has nearly as good weather for 9 months of the year (winter) and my house is probably 1/5 the cost of yours and my taxes and utilities are cheap too. I’ll gladly trade 2-3 months of oppressive heat for $1500/yr tax bills. No earthquakes or silly emissions rules either.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        Florida temps are similar but the humidity is way different. For example today in Thousand Oaks its 72, clear, with 53% humidity which is high for us. Typical is more like 35%. Today in Ft Lauderdale its 85, mostly cloudy, with 70% humidity.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          Today is dead of summer, doesn’t count. I already said the heat is miserable 3 months of the year. Check it in Oct-Mar.

          And I should clarify, I live in central Florida. The weather is quite a bit different, and hotter, in south Florida. It also gets quite a bit colder in northern Florida during winter. Central is the best compromise for year round comfort – except June/July/August… they sucks everywhere in the south!

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Congrats! I just got my first 3-car garage too, it was my only requested priority when we were house shopping. I can tell from the picture you attached that you will have the same problem as me: there is not a lot of width in your garage. The spots on either end will end up close to the doors. This is important when planning workbenches and storage, you don’t really have room on the sides. Luckily my garage is extra deep so I can put stuff like that on the back wall, hopefully you can too. Only suggestion I have is to mount cabinets and shelves off the floor, you are going to want to be able to clean underneath things easily. Leaves and dirt goes everywhere in a garage.

    My biggest decision and concern is the flooring. Epoxy is nice, but to do it properly it gets quite expensive and time consuming, and if you prep it wrong it will not last anyway. The plastic tiles are easy and nice too, but extremely expensive for a 3cg. I have been looking at commercial porcelain tile, commercial vinyl tile, and believe it or not, carpet. If you can lay tile the the porcelain is probably the best and can be had for about 60 cents a sf, the vinyl is good too, same price but easy to lay yourself, problem is it needs to be waxed, or covered with some kind of epoxy which adds to the cost. The carpet is appealing because its cheapest, and nice to work outside with… has to be commercial indoor/outdoor of course, many are certified for garage use. Since we don’t live in snow areas (you are in AZ, I am in FL) no worry about that. And I was going to pair it with probably vinyl tile under the cars for drips and using jacks and stuff.

    Oh and also they make low-rise lifts for about $2k that do not need 10-ft ceiling height, they are portable but can be anchored permanently. I am getting one of those as well to make working on cars either. I am VERY jealous of your collection as well!

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Tile is a good upscale and effective way of dealing with a garage floor. Use porcelain tiles epoxied to the cleaned(muriatic acid) concrete. Tight set with no grout. Leave an inch of expansion room at the perimeter. Figure a about $2.00 a sq. ft. for material.

      I have used this product with good results on entries, breezeways, patios, and walkways and they have some degree of exposure to weather. The density and hardness of Porcelain tiles allows high compression loads and extreme durability as there is just about nothing harder that is man made.

      http://www.builddirect.com/Porcelain-Tile/-Cashmere/ProductDisplay_6933_P1_10081263.aspx?srccode=cii_17588969&cpncode=35-218102643-2&utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=shopping

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        So you use epoxy with the tile and not thin set? Doesn’t that effect the load bearing capabilities? Must be easier to install though!

        • 0 avatar
          3Deuce27

          Reg; “Doesn’t that effect the load bearing capabilities? ”

          Not at all, as there is some fill and float with tile setting epoxy’s. Garage floors and slabs are also prone to wicking moisture and epoxy is un-affected by moisture, and applied like a membrane can stop moisture incursion.

          http://www.amazon.com/Tile-Redi-Epoxy-Setting-Material/dp/B001UPAG30

          http://www.laticrete.com/dealers/products/adhesives/epoxy_adhesives.aspx

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