A Place for Our Car

Early in our house-hunting adventures, one question we never thought to ask was “does our car fit in the garage?” Even if you’ve never seen our car – who we call “Jaws” for short – once we told you it was a Honda Civic, you would probably assume that it could fit anywhere. Turns out, old New England garages defy the classification “anywhere”. After a humorous pass with a tape measure across the garage door of a potential home, a new requirement was passed on to our realtor. Fortunately, the home we ended with met that requirement. Well, barely.

For almost two years, Rich stored our out-of-season tires on a custom wooden shelf that had been built seemingly for that sole purpose. Unfortunately, as we later learned, tires were meant to be stored vertically. We were not about to spend a premium on winter tires just to have them fail after a few seasons. Also, the shelf was an eyesore. Thanks to Hannah’s parents – and Rich’s Amazon wish list – Rich was gifted the perfect tire storage solution. We just needed to do a few things first.

Besides the original tire shelf, the walls of our garage held up some serious metal shelving, an excessive amount of rebar, and something green that could only be described as a garden hose wheel too large for any hose we were aware of. After a few weekends of sawing and smashing, we had the space back to its original state, plus a few holes. Let’s be honest, it looked more like a bullet-ridden bunker than a garage at this point.

The next step was patching and painting. Before a single coat was applied, however, we needed to clean the walls. And, boy, were they dirty. The grime and buildup of seventy years worth of car emissions had taken its toll. Luckily, after having painted every other room in our home, we had a new motto: “it’s only a garage.” After toying with Rust-Oleum’s garage patching kit for a bit, it became clear that the rubbery liquid material was not going to cut it. We turned to standard Quikrete to finish the job. It required a longer drying time, but it was worth it to do the job right. The paint went on shortly thereafter and things were beginning to take shape.

The tire rack required a little more finesse than initially anticipated. Designed for wooden studs, we were instructed to hang the rack using 3″ lag bolts. Well, we were going into concrete, but our car would still be sitting below, so cutting corners was not an option. Unfortunately, what Tapcon does not tell you is that older concrete is much more difficult to work with than the newer stuff. Two drill bits and many hours later and our rack was up on the wall.

Remember the tight squeeze? Well, we had a solution to that as well. We ordered a series of flexible vinyl bumpers from hoping to make it more difficult for guests to lead their car doors to an untimely end courtesy of our concrete walls. Once again, however, we encountered a snag. After grinding down another two masonry bits, Rich decided to cut back to only 1″ fasteners, which was just fine to hold up some vinyl. To top everything off, a tennis ball was lowered before our little Civic’s windshield to make parking a breeze. At the end of the day, these little projects may not have added much value to our home, but they’ve certainly added plenty of value to our lives.

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