How secure is your garage?

Garages are not always used to store vehicles in, many people use their garage as another room in their home or as a storage place for gardening equipment and tools etc. This time of year people may also be using their garage to store Christmas presents in. This is fine as long as your garage is secure. The first thing you need to check when it comes to the security of your garage is the garage door. If it can be easily opened with force applied or is easy to pick the lock then it may be time to invest in a new one. If you open and close your garage doors often then you should consider installing an automatic garage door that will allow you to control it with a remote.

You can now buy sensor alarms that cost as little as £20 that will detect movement in your garage. They will play a siren that is approximately 125 decibels, lounder than most car horns, to alert you of an intruder. These again are often remotely controlled allowing you to set it and disarm it as and when needed.

Having a CCTV system installed that can overlook your garage door is another level of security that you can add. You can often set these up to notify you of any movement detected within the range set.

What is the best flooring for a garage?

Often a garage is built with a concrete floor. This can make it very sturdy and strong but is often not the most comfortable and does not offer much warmth. If you want to only use your garage to store your car in or to store tools and gardening equipment then that may be fine but if you want to use the garage like another room such as a playroom, gym or laundry room you may decide to put down different flooring.

If the room is going to be used as a playroom then why not fit some carpet? This will instantly transform the room and make it feel cosy. If you are going to do this you do need to ensure that the garage is waterproof as if not, the carpet will get wet and become mouldy / damp. It is also important to ensure that you have ventilation to allow fresh air to circulate. Many rooms have a ventilation brick, but these often get covered up over time, so ensure that this is left open. For a laundry room you may prefer to have lino which again will be a little warmer but more practical should you have spillages etc.

Are you sharing your garage with unwanted visitors?

Garages have many different purposes. Some people use their garage purely as a place to keep their car overnight. They may also have a lawnmower and a few household tools in their but it is mainly a place for their car. Others may decide to use the garage as a gym or a playroom, either by properly converting it or simply moving equipment in to there. The problem with garages is often they are the perfect home for unwanted guests such as mice or rats. Especially during the colder months, mouse or rats will try and find somewhere they can go out of the cold and rain and a garage is often the perfect solution. Because it is not as busy as a room in your house, rodents can go undisturbed for weeks if not months and often you only realise they are there because you find something they have chewed through.

Although you cannot always completely stop rodents from getting in to your garage, you can try and block up as many holes as possible to make it harder for them. If you want to get rid of a mouse then why not invest in a humane mouse trap which will allow you to catch it so you can release it in a field.

Is your garage storage utilised efficiently?

Most homeowners tend to use their garage for purposes other than housing their vehicle even though money can be saved on insurance premiums by stating that the vehicle is kept in a garage.

Many people use the garage as a storage space for the home and store a mixture of garden furniture, boxes, tools and other items without any organisation in there. If the storage space is organised effectively it will appear as if the garage is much larger than it is in reality and access to items stored there will be simpler.

One thing that can be done is to put up shelving so that items can be stored on shelves rather than on the floor. The shelving can be made from any oddments of wood or worktop so expensive ready-made shelving is not necessary. Clear plastic boxes are useful to store decorating materials and tools so that the contents can be seen without lifting the boxes down.

Another way of organising storage is to look at the possibility of hanging some items up on hooks attached to the walls. Garden tools often have handles that enable them to be hung up easily and hose pipes, which are notoriously difficult to store can also be hung up in this way.

Using your garage as a workshop

Having a garage can be a huge help when it comes to storage but most of us just fill them with junk that we don’t really need any more. This can mean that any spare room you do have cannot be used for anything useful.

There are many different uses for a garage such as a place to store your car, a gym area, a place to store your gardening equipment such as strimmer’s and lawn mowers or even a workshop. If you are considering turning your garage in to a workshop then there are some things you need to thnk carefully about.

Firstly you need to decide if you are going to turn the whole garage in to a workshop or only part of it. IF you are going to only be using part of it, you may want to put up some petitions or section off a corner. You will need to have space for a work bench and some tools and organisation is key to get the most out of the space. Shelving and hanging racks will allow you ensure that everything has its own place so you can keep it tidy and organised. You need to check that you have power to the garage. If your garage is attached to your house, there are likely outlets in your garage already. If it is a separate garage, however, you’ll want to double-check that you have access to power.

Will a garage add value to your home?

If you are considering building a garage on to your home then you may wonder if it will add value. A lot of this depends on how the garage is built and whether it adds space or removes it from your home. If for example you only have a very small garden then adding a garage which uses up a lot of this space may reduce the amount your house is worth. In most cases, though adding a garage to your home will add value. If you have the garage built with deep enough foundations then you may even be able to build on top of it and add another room if needed. This again will add value on to your home and make it easier to sell.

Garages used to be built to store vehicles in but often now, people do not always use the garage for that purpose and instead use it to store items such as lawnmowers, camping equipment or set it up as an indoor gym. You want your garage to be waterproof and if you are going to want electrical sockets in there, you will need to ensure that it is all wired correctly. You may even deice to use your garage as a laundry room, in which case ventilation is important.

How often do homeowners use their garages to house their cars?

The majority of new build houses are designed and built with a garage or a parking space on the property if this is an option, but how often do we actually use our garages to house our cars and if not then why is that?

Garages are a particularly useful addition to any home in terms of general storage space. They are often used to store garden furniture during the winter months and gardening equipment such as lawnmowers and gardening tools throughout the year. Whilst some people build a garden shed to house this equipment it is more common for it to be kept in the garage.

Some homeowners use the garage as an additional room either as a laundry room with a washing machine and tumble dryer or possibly a games room for the family to use. With the increased interest in health and fitness some garages are utilised as a gym with treadmills, rowing machines and weightlifting equipment.

The difficulty for some when thinking of using the garage to accommodate their car is that often the garage is not wide enough to be able to park the car and get out without damaging the doors on the garage wall. Older properties often have larger garages, so this is not usually an issue for these homeowners.

Buying a used car for your grown-up child

When your child first passes their driving test, they will no doubt be eager to own their own car. It may be that, as parents, you are in a financial position that enables you to buy the first car for them but usually this will have to be a used car. The physical size of the car, engine size and fuel type will all need to be taken into consideration.

It is important firstly to think about what the car will be used for. If it is only used on short local journeys a smaller car will probably be sufficient but if the car is going to be used for longer motorway journeys a more reliable, fuel efficient model will be more suitable.

The cost of insuring a young persons’ car is a significant outlay and so a car with a smaller engine may mean that savings can be made. A tracker can be fitted to the car by a representative from the insurance company which measures the mileage covered, speed the car is driven at and the time of day journeys are undertaken. This feature can result in a reduced insurance premium for the driver and peace of mind for the parent too.

Where is the best place to pick up a used car?

If you are in the market of looking for a new car then you may have to be on the lookout for a second hand one. Although owning a new car is a luxury that many of us would like to do, the hefty price tag attached to new vehicles often puts them out of budget for many people. Buying a second-hand car is always a bit of a risk as you do not know its full history and often you have little or no warranty with it (if it is an older vehicle and not bought from a main dealership).
When looking at any second hand car you should always carry out a HPI check on the vehicle which will check to see if it has outstanding finance on it, has been written off or had plate changed, amongst other things. If buying from a reputable garage, then they should have done this when they bought the vehicle or took it in part exchange, so you can always request to see it. If you are buying from a private buyer then you will probably need to do this yourself. You can do a HPI on any vehicle and it usually costs around £15.
Buying from a garage does often give you a little bit more security than buying a second hand car privately as you should get a three month warranty as minimum from most reputable dealers.

Safety features on your next car

With safety a massive priority for car manufactures and also drivers, it is easy to see why more and more advanced technology is being added to cars to improve the safety of them. The first major safety feature that was added to modern vehicles, was the seat belt system. This drastically cut down on the number of major injuries or deaths on our roads. Since then airbags have become the standard in pretty much all vehicles along with other safety features such as ABS and traction control.

Manufacturers are always looking for new ways they can improve their vehicles and recently autonomous features are being used more and more to help aid the driver in a vehicle. Over time car experts predict that cars will be fully autonomous, which essentially means driver less, but this may be a good few years ahead yet. In the meantime features such as park assist, lane assist and even speed recognition devices are now being offered in many different makes and models of vehicles. Some vehicle have these features included as standard when built at the factory and others are an optional extra. The Fiat 500X range now comes with Lane Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition and Speed Advisor functions as standard across the entire range.