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Discussion Starter #1
We are putting a contract in today to build a home. The most urgent question is what kind of lighting should I put in for the garage? I can put recessed lights in. Would that be better than fluorescent? I will also put a rough in for a ceiling fan or two. I plan to do maintenance and detailing in my garage.

Also, what should I do to the concrete that would be best to deter soaking in of various car fluids that inevitably spill? I know there are different coatings out there.

Finally, got ideas for painting? I like the idea of a BMW or M theme. Got any pics?
 

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From personal experience I can say that lighting and floor are 2 of the biggest factors in how well a garage "works". Everything is hugely based on personal taste but here are my own thoughts:

If you're going for a showroom style garage, recessed lighting will go a very long way in giving it a modern look, and making it more a part of the house than just a cold, grimy work area. On the other hand, the cost is increased for recessed as you now have to cut holes in drywall, finish around the lights, etc. Many people including myself opt for fluorescent as it is a great bang for the buck, can be mounted anywhere, and provides good light output. If you find that your maintenance/work habits and styles change, you can't exactly move the recessed lights. Since I'm cheap I went with the "outdated" T12 fluorescent, mounted in 4' lengths, 2 bulbs to a fixture. I don't know what size your garage is but it would be a good idea to know how much area you're trying to light, and calculate the light output you need from there. If you're doing detailing I might recommend going with fluorescent as the recessed bulbs usually provide a very "focused" beam of light, which might make spotting imperfections in paint difficult. The T5, T5HO bulbs are more pricey than your run of the mill T12 but provide quite a bit more light.

Regarding the floor, again, it's a matter of personal preference, and choosing something that suits the type of work you'll be doing. Bare concrete is effective, strong, but will show scars and stains over time. Many people throw in the Racedeck tiles and love it - they provide a great texture and look, but don't have the muscle to stand up to repeated abuse of engine cranes, jack stands, floor jacks, etc. I don't know how in depth you get with maintenance but most fluid changes include some oil/grease dumped on the floor, and that can't easily be wiped up with racedeck. Your other options are epoxy/urethane style floor - those can stand up to abuse better but of course come with a higher initial price tag, along with tougher installation (as opposed to just snapping together tiles yourself).

In the end it's all really a matter of personal preference, cost, and knowing specifically what kind of work you do. The best idea is to hop on garagejournal.com and skim through the forums there - there are build threads like you wouldn't believe.
 

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Fluorescent lights are great but plan on replacing them periodically - and they are funky in cold weather. I would use LEDs if I was starting from scratch and as my current crop of fluorescent lights go bad that is what I am replacing them with.

For the floor, I would go with semi-polished concrete, not a full polish or it will be treacherous with any liquids but not as cast and swept or it will be too porous. I have never seen any kind of coating they holds up well and/or doesn't require a lot of care and in the end it is the garage floor. If you aren't going to use a jack or do any serious work the coating look great but the last thing you want to be worrying about when doing work is the floor.

As you can see from the pics above - painting the interior white makes it a whole lot brighter, unless you are going for a bat cave look like Norb :rofl:




PLEASE NOTE THAT I DO NOT OWN AN M5 AND THIS POST IS NOT INTENDED TO BE ARROGANT. PLEASE READ THE IMPORTANT REVISED DISCLAIMER THAT APPLIES TO THIS POST
 

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What is this, an "only LSx swap guys can respond" thread? LOL
 

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generally we spend the most time doing the heavy work, while the fancy pants M5 boys just stand there in loafers and a robe sipping champagne pouring 10W60 into the motor.
You guys are making me look bad. I should really do the LSx myself - I have most of the tools but no knowledge. I've never pulled an engine/trans before but I guess there's a first time for everything. I need a Matrix-style knowledge dump to make me successful.

Back to garages - you can get lost in the details but I would say if you plan to work in there, a nice floor, good lighting, a sink (with hot and cold water) and a lift are must-haves. Air tools are great too. :cheers:
 

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If your garage is finished, then recessed will look better but as stated previously, your costs will go up. Fluorescent lights light up well especially if you have a brighter colored floor.


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Also try to think what would be the best direction for the light before you install any lights. Usually you can't see enough under the car so if possible place some lights on the walls too. So absolutely worst place would be the center of the roof.
 

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Also, a word of advice. I would have the electrician place two separate 20 amp circuits for lighting and any type of tools you will run in there. I pop my breaker with the air compressor and beer fridge going all the time.


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Also, a word of advice. I would have the electrician place two separate 20 amp circuits for lighting and any type of tools you will run in there. I pop my breaker with the air compressor and beer fridge going all the time.


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Yep and plan for some 220V outlets also (welders, etc). The lift also needs 220.

With 20 lights on my ceiling I wired half to one circuit and half to another so I don't need to light up all of kingdom come if I'm just doing a simple job - two switches, no big deal.

Tons - and I mean TONS of 20A outlets all over the place can't hurt either. I think I placed them every 2-3 feet.
 
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What size is your sub panel to the garage? That will give us some idea what you're planning to do in the garage and give more targeted advice.
 

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I used flush mount fluorescents from Home Depot and a ceiling truss set-up that gave me almost 12' in the centre of the structure..Insulate the beejesus out of it and install a proper natural gas set-up..I was limited to 26x22, but the added height made a difference. Concrete floor hasn't cured enough to be coated yet so I haven't sorted out what that will look like yet..Make sure there are plenty of outlets for hydro, cable, and sound before the drywallers hit….
 

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Doesn't sound like you need it for what you mentioned doing, but I just put a 100A sub panel in the garage. Before, I had one outlet with about six outlet strips coming off it like branches on a tree. Now I have two GFCI duplex outlets every eight feet along the walls on two 20A circuits. Got rid of the illegal 220V line I cobbled in from the basement to run the milling machine and now have plenty of 220V capacity for the mill, lathes, compressor, saws, little welders, etc.., and a dedicated 60A circuit for the big TIG welder. Starting new I would go with LED lighting and insulated white walls as mentioned. No recommendation on floor covering, but I'd would be inclined to leave it alone or use replaceable tiles in a light-ish color for better visibility. Put a drain in the floor and if you have room you can wash inside. If you plan on working out there in the winter, consider in-floor radiant heating and use it in the house too. I'm a big fan of in floor heating. Make the garage ceiling as tall as you can for potential lift use and storage. All of it costs money but is cheaper to do it big up front than to cobble it together down the road. Doesn't hurt the resale value either, especially if you hook another gearhead.
 

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Fun project. I installed a ring of double-bulb 8ft florescent fixtures in my garage-- works awesome for detail work, and was very cost effective. I had a company who mainly does commercial work, e.g. factory floors, do an epoxy floor, and it's held up pretty well for 12 yrs. Lighter color walls and floors, like others said, will help a lot to disburse the light.
 

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Concrete floor work and consulting is what I do for a living as a Project Manager for a specialty construction contractor. All I do (and the company) is work on existing and newly placed concrete floor slabs. We don't place concrete either. Talk about specialized!

If this is a complete new build, meaning fresh concrete, the dumbest thing you can do is put a coating on it (speaking about residential concrete) The main focus behind the majority of concrete coatings, and the way they should be viewed, is to extend the useful life of concrete before needing to replace it.

Rob has a good suggestion and that is one option. Don't let them polish higher than a 200 or 400 grit resin. Also ask for a penetrating chemical that is used as an oil repellent. Products used in true diamond polishing are still breathable and penetrating, meaning if you don't clean up a spill even with an oil repellent, you will get a stain eventually.

Another option is to have the installing concrete contractor put a hard steel trowel finish on the surface and add a penetrating hardener/densifier afterwords.

If you are stuck on a coating, don't waste your money on store bought products as they typically fail over 2 years depending on use, and as a DYI it's difficult to achieve the correct amount of concrete preparation without serious commitment of time.

There's a brief and incomplete overview for your floor, but gives some insight hopefully.

Look on Concrete Design Ideas, Contractors and Pictures - The Concrete Network for contractors in your area. Generally the contractors on this website are somewhat vetted as you have to pay a membership to the network. L&M Construction Chemicals and Consolideck/Prosoco are two good quality manufacturers of penetrating concrete products and Sherwin-Williams General Polymers line is good for epoxies.

Good luck


Edit: I forgot to add. It's difficult to polish a typical residential slab and have it come out nice. Most residential concrete contractors that don't also do commercial work won't know how to place the slab correctly to have the best result. Any new slab can certainly be polished, but you will see aggregate exposure in uneven amounts, maybe see waviness depending on the size of the garage. Polishing can be a slippery slope managing customer expectations, especially residential.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hmmm, lots to consider. We successfully signed the contract tonight. Almost took as long as buying my M5 from a dealership.

I think I will check out LED lighting. Fluorescent would be my back up option. I'm putting extra outlets in the ceiling.

For the floor, I had envisioned going to Home Depot and trying to pick between different epoxy options. Now you buys are talking about polishing with diamonds and such. Not sure what to do here.

Initially, my garage would be for detailing and light maintenance. Since both my cars are daily drivers for me and my wife, and my crotch-rocket was literally bought to save a parking space in my condo and is not practical much of the time, I have to have both cars up and running Monday morning. No engine swaps and flux capacitor rebuilds for me yet. Not until I get a third car, anyway. The wife wants a Porsche Cayenne Turbo (older one).

The garage is only 21' x 19'1" with an 8 ft. ceiling in a cookie cutter Ryan Homes townhouse. I'm limited to adding extra outlets and putting a wash tub right inside the home where there would normally be an optional bathroom.
 
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