If you’re like most Americans, one of your concerns may be lack of storage space. For added room, sometimes all you need to do is more fully utilize what you already have.
For example, as we’ve pointed out in the past, you can add an extra clothes pole to your closet for under $15 and double its hanging capacity. Doing so might eliminate the need for a dresser, and result in a more spacious bedroom.
If you haven’t installed shelves in your garage, you haven’t taken advantage of a tremendous storage resource. You may also consider your crawlspace or the attic.
Several Internet companies offer solutions that allow you to build a floor in an attic using 16-inch or two-foot square plastic tiles. The tiles are screwed to the joist and interlock for strength.
A thin layer of concrete poured and finished over a sheet of plastic can convert an otherwise dirty, dusty subarea into a basement-like area suitable for everything from luggage to dishes to holiday decorations.
Making your own brackets
For garage shelves, diagonally-braced “L” brackets can be used. Or, if you’re handy, you can make your own brackets and save money. Here’s how:
• First, use a level or measuring tape and straight edge to pencil in a horizontal line the full length of the shelf that you intend to install. This line marks the bottom of the shelf.
• It is important to consider wall stud location when adding shelves to a wall. Begin the pencil line at a location where it slightly overlaps a stud. The other end of the line also should just overlap a stud. This will insure that the shelf is positively connected “end-to-end.”
• Using nails or construction screws install a 1x3-inch wood shelf support (ledger) aligning its top edge with the pencil line. The widest face of the ledger should be parallel to the wall. Secure the ledger with at least two fasters at each stud location. This is the shelf’s rear support strip.
• With a helper holding the shelf in place (on the ledger and firmly against the wall), screw or nail the back edge of the shelf to the ledger.
• With the rear portion of the shelf properly supported you need only add an angled brace (at approximately a 45 degree angle) between the underside of the front edge of the shelf and the wall. If you are making your own braces use 2x4s on edge and miter each and at opposing 45-degree angles.
If mitering or toe-nailing isn’t your cup of tea, you can use 2x2 wood posts between the floor and the underside of the shelf. Metal brackets can be used to connect the bottom post to the garage floor.
Similar posts can be placed on the top of the lowest shelf extending to the underside of the next higher shelf. It is important to remember to vertically align the posts from bottom to top. This will maximize support. A piece of 1x12 shelving should be supported every 32 inches.
For more home improvement tips and information, visit our Web site at www.onthehouse.com or call our listener hot line 24/7 at 1-800-737-2474 (ext 59).
QA - How to Level the Floor in Your Garage
Question: I’m converting my garage and I removed the carpet with the intention of replacing it with wood flooring. It turns out the ground is not level enough. Is there some product I can use to even it out myself?
Answer: This is not a project that you should perform. If something goes wrong it will cost a small fortune to make the repair. Our advice is to let the hardwood floor company level the floor. If the leveling compound fails the onus is on them — not you! We recently had the same problem and we let our hardwood guy do everything. It turned out perfect. In the beginning the underlying floor was terrible. You will be amazed at what a great job they can do.
TIP - Cheap (Tape) Tricks
Scotch tape made its debut in 1928, invented by the Three-M Company. Three-M has brought us variations since, like masking, electrical and double-sided tape, in all sorts of widths and sizes. We now have many to choose from; if only we could find them when we need them. The answer is easy. Find every roll and type in your home or shop. When they are in one place, put them on an inexpensive bathroom tissue holder, and hang it on a wall. You can mount a rod between two studs in your shop or garage that will hold more than you’ll ever own or use. Another tape tip: If they dry out over time, heat them with a hair dryer or in the microwave for 20 seconds and they will spring back to life. And that’s the On The House tip.