Take a look at this spectacular North Carolinian estate belonging to my longtime garage buddy, Larry. For years, I have been a fan of Larry's clinically clean and expertly organized garage, but what impresses me even more is Larry's remarkable detailing work that he completes inside it. When I made the decision to feature garage spaces of others on my blog, I immediately sent Larry an invite and he graciously accepted. He furnished me with comprehensive responses to all of my questions along with quality photos that showcase the pristine environment he has created to pursue his passion for detailing.
Name: Larry Bishop
Location: Charlotte, NC
We moved to Charlotte from the DMV area in mid-2016 and built our first single family home. Construction was completed late August and I quickly started on the garage. Fortunately, the builder finished both garages and installed baseboards which gave us a great starting point. In the first month of ownership, we completed the epoxy, lights, and all the gladiator wall tracks/cabinets. Since we built the house, I spent the construction period researching and accumulating products which meant I had the bulk of the items upon move in. I originally met Rick on Garage Journal, where I spent a good amount of my research time. Yes, I went through all 88 pages of Rick's build journal and contributed greatly to his 630k views! I lost steam on my garage journal thread but the following is what I started:
Click here to connect to Larry's informative build thread on garagejournal.com
For the flooring, I selected ArmorPoxy's ArmorClad with upgraded clear coat. I had epoxy in our Maryland townhouse and it suited my needs very well. The ability to wash inside and easily clean up the floor was the main appeal. My wife and I did the install over a long weekend on both garages. Next was the Gladiator wall tracks. The back wall has 16'x4' of total coverage with the opposing wall having 8'x4' of tracks. I found a local wholesaler who bought returned Gladiator stock from Home Depot and I was able to secure the tool chest, large cabinet, and smaller cabinets at a great price. Those were delivered the second week after the floor fully cured. At this point, we've been in the house less than a month and the garage was progressing very quickly.
The master closet had a door to the unfinished attic space which extended over the primary garage. We had a contractor finish the attic and do a custom closet which meant I was going to lose access above the primary garage. For this reason, it was time to upgrade the lighting before the area was sealed. As of this writing, I've redone the lighting two times and finally happy with the end result. Ideally I would like to add more wall lights but I haven't found a cost effective solution. The current light configuration in the primary garage is six fixtures containing four T8 5K LED bulbs and one fixture containing two T8 5K bulbs. At this time I also had a another 20A outlet installed for a compressor. It's bright and shadows are greatly minimized. Since the interior of the house was being painted, it made sense to paint the primary garage. Four painters completed the task in a half a day, it would've taken me a month.
Next up was the water source. I had the builder do a rough in for a sink knowing that I wanted a hose bib inside the garage. A couple hours with a plumber and I had my utility sink and hose bib ready to go. I do have plans to redo this section as I want to upgrade to a stainless tub and hose reel, hopefully that can happen this year.
The secondary garage received similar treatment with matching epoxy flooring and wall tracks. Since getting my wife a wider SUV and having a baby, it made sense to give her the primary garage and S4 gets the single bay one. I do have some storage goals and possibly lighting upgrades in the works.
I like the garage to feel like an extension of the house. My original goals were simply to have a clean, well lit, and organized space to enjoy my free time and hobbies. Starting in my late 20's, motorcycles were my focus and the two bikes demanded much of the garage space in Maryland. After seven years, two accidents, nine bikes, and sixty plus track days I was starting to shift more attention to cars and detailing. In the summer of 2017, I started detailing professionally in Charlotte out of the primary garage. This decision was more out of fun and to get more involved with the local community since we were relatively new to the area. My career is in corporate finance but I really enjoy the tangible aspect of detailing. So I put my S4 and garage on display and I received my first client in Sept 2017.
Click here to subscribe to Larry's IG feed where he features his detailing work.
My biggest advice to anyone wanting to transform their space is to take your time. Figure out your needs and research till you're bored with the topic and then start. I spent the five month construction period simply reading and asking questions. My wife was a big help with layout and installation as well. Taking advantage of sales or used items can keep costs down, in addition to simply doing what you can yourself. Good examples being the floor and cabinets. I covered the near 1k sq ft of flooring for about $1.50 a sq ft as compared to $4 a sq ft for a local installer. All the cabinets were purchased for 40% off retail since they were overstock.
I want to thank Larry for taking the time to share the story of his garage with me. It is my hope that people will take inspiration from his garage and make the most of their own garages. If you would like to see your garage story featured on my blog, feel free to contact me. In the meantime, thanks for taking the time to visit this blog and be sure to come back soon because I have more amazing garage stories lined up!
I'm always talking about and showing off my own garage, but I also spend a significant amount of time obsessing about other peoples' garages. One garage that has always impressed me is the one that belongs to Tyson Hugie. This past holiday season, Tyson emailed me to share a flooring project he was undertaking. He had an epoxy coating applied to his garage floor and he wanted to share the process with me. I enjoyed the story and photos he sent and thought it would be interesting to share the story here on my blog.
Tyson's Arizona garage is a shade under 1000 square feet and is set up in a triple tandem configuration (6 cars). In addition to being large, it is home to an extensive collection of Acura cars. Currently, he owns eight of them! What makes his collection even more impressive is that they are all impeccably maintained and driven on a regular basis. In fact, he gained notoriety a few years back when his pristine 1994 Acura Legend coupe surpassed the 500,000 mile mark. In the early summer of 2013, Acura honored this incredible milestone with a red carpet ceremony. Six months later, Acura presented him with the keys to a silver 2013 ILX. Tyson has done a fantastic job of documenting his automotive passion and accomplishments on his "Drive to Five" website and has been featured in a number of videos on Acura's YouTube channel.
Recently, Tyson made the decision to have the floor of his garage epoxy coated. This, along with an extensive collection of dealership display items and literature, contributes to the showroom theme that makes this garage such a standout. Because the 3-stage epoxy coating application required substantial curing time, Tyson was forced to store the bulk of his collection in his backyard. But, after allowing the coating twelves days to fully cure, the majority of his collection is once again in the safe confines of his garage. The results of the project are stunning. Below, you will find a gallery of images that Tyson shared with me along with a video he produced that documents each stage of the project.
In addition to owning an incredible collection of classic Acuras and a spectacular garage, Tyson is a well-respected and popular member of the automobile community. My garage hobby has enabled me to forge friendships with people all over the world, and it is my genuine hope that one day, Tyson and I will have an opportunity to sit down and talk cars and garages in person.
After I parted ways with my RaceDeck Free Flow floor, there was a period of time when I was living with a bare concrete floor. Thankfully, it was only for a few weeks, but the experience left a mark on me and helped to solidify my belief that a modular flooring is a better option than an epoxy coating. These photos demonstrate the constant battle I face with water accumulating on the floor. After two weeks of having to watch where I stepped so I didn't track the filth all over the garage and into my car, I was relieved when my Swisstrax order finally arrived.
I understand that epoxy is the option some garage owners prefer, but not having to worry about where I step, or what I step in is a massive advantage, in my mind, to having a modular tile floor. My Swisstrax floor is always dry despite the constant snow that gets tracked in on the tires and undercarriage of my car.
While I do think epoxy coatings look nice, I would be constantly dancing around the garage trying to avoid slop and water and that's just not something I have any interest in doing.
After three weeks of suffering with a bare concrete floor, my Swisstrax floor arrived this weekend. Here are some photos of the install process and final result. I am very pleased with how things have come together. I need two Pearl Grey tiles and the edges weren't included with the order, so it's about 98% complete at this point. I am looking forward to putting it to good use and sharing my insights into its performance.
Here's a video I put together:
After many years, I have decided to part with my RaceDeck Free Flow floor. I found a local buyer who picked it up a few weeks ago. Living without a flooring system for the past little while has been terrible. I am really looking forward to installing my new floor soon. Stay tuned to see what I have planned!
If you click, on "Automotive and Tires" on the main page of the Costco website, you will see a large advertisement for the QuickJack portable lift featuring a stunning photo of my old SQ5 in my garage. Over the years, I have been fortunate to have formed some wonderful relationships with some of my favorite retailers. The team at QuickJack and I have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship since I first added a QuickJack to my garage back in the Spring of 2016 and I am pleased to see these amazing shots getting some good press.
I recently performed a "no rinse" wash on my SQ5. The weather here has been cold and sloppy so a no-rinse wash is about all I can do to keep my car clean. Here is a video I put together demonstrating my wash process when it is too cold to use my typical 2-bucket wash system. In addition to cleaning my SQ5, this video shows how I quickly clean my garage floor ahead of performing the no-rinse wash.
A recent spat of mild weather enabled me to do a thorough spring clean of the garage. The floor wasn't too bad, but a lot of grime and debris was lurking in the vents of the Free Flow tiles and it was time to get rid of it. The entire process took a few hours. I put a video together that demonstrates each step of the process. Enjoy.
It's probably the most common question I get; is a RaceDeck Free Flow floor system a good idea for people who endure winter? The answer is dependent on a number of factors, but my short answer is "Yes". The Free Flow tiles provides a crucial layer of protection from the dirty water that constantly pools on garage floors during the winter. Some of the muck that drops off the undercarriage dries to the top of the tiles, but that is easily dealt with by a shopvac and mop. I can walk around my garage in my socks minutes after pulling into my garage. Another thing I appreciate about the RaceDeck is that I am not grinding gravel into an epoxy finish every time I pull into the garage. Right now, the floor of my garage is a total mess. I have a few months of compiled crud on the floor, but it's all hidden below the tile floor. I know it's there, but I don't have to do anything about it. When the next heavy chinook hits, I will perform a thorough clean of the floor and tiles. In the meantime, here's a quick little vid I posted on my Instagram account. You will hear the crackle of gravel and debris as I walk on the tiles, but the mic on my iPhone is making that sound much louder than it actually is. Just imagine doing this on an epoxy-coated floor.
The RaceDeck Free Flow system has been my saving grace since its install six years ago. Some maintenance is required, but there is no floor that will keep itself clean during the winter. Let me know if you have any questions about my floor by shooting me an email here.
It's been quite a while since I updated this blog. The holiday season was a whirlwind with family staying with us, and winter's tight grip on the city has been keeping me busy. After about a month of freezing temperatures, the mild weather arrived so I have been doing my best to combat the salt and mud that the nice weather generates. Keeping the exterior clean is a hopeless endeavor, but I will never let the mess infiltrate my interior!
I have two sets of all-weather interior mats. One set by Husky and the other by WeatherTech. I can't say I am in love with either of them, but they are what I have so I make the most of it. It's nice having a second set at the ready for when the other set is caked with salt residue and mud. The Husky's don't fit as well as the WT's, but they do offer more protection. The WT's have a lower profile which allows water to escape and stain the carpet. I had to remove some salt residue that had dried into the carpet. I used my Mytee Steamer and Rupes iBrid as you can see in the photos below. I used Griot Garage's Carpet Cleaner and used my steamer to open up the carpet fibres. I worked the cleaner into the carpet using my iBrid. The slideshow below should give you a good idea of the various steps I take to maintain a clean interior. I have had to perform this job numerous times in the past month or so.
Cleaning Garage Floor
I have not been able to perform a full maintenance wash of my floor this winter. Each day, my car is dragging in mud and slop and it ends up falling to the floor and seeping through the cracks in the Free Flow tiles. On particularly bad days, huge chunks of debris fall from the undercarriage and wheel wheels and compile on the tiles. I use my shopvac to clean up the mess and finish with a quick mop. It is not a particularly difficult job, it just takes a bit of time. I am waiting for some really mild weather to hit so I can actually drag the floor out to the driveway and clean the mess off the garage floor. As it is now, there is a lot of mess under the tiles, but the tiles themselves remain clean as long as I mop the floor. The slideshow below should give you a good idea of what I'm dealing with.
Since purchasing my BL-5000SLX QuickJack lift, I have been putting it to the test quite regularly. I have taken the wheels off a number of times to gain access to the wheel wells and I have been able to perform some touch ups on the paint around the rotor hats. It has been a helpful tool as well as a cool one. My friend, Geoff popped by a little while ago with his camera gear to snap some shots of the QuickJack in action and here's a little slideshow that demonstrates how it has helped me raise my detailing game. The photos give you an idea of how I have the system set up. Like I have said before, it works great for my needs and it is a purchase I am very happy with.
I bribed my photographer friend, Geoff to snap some more shots of my garage. This time, I wanted to focus on some of the work I perform in the garage (detailing, wheel swaps) as well as some of the main equipment I use. The QuickJack got quite a bit of camera time, and I'm very eager to see how the shots turned out. Geoff sent me this teaser pic, so I hope the rest are just as cool. Stay tuned.
The title says it all. I finished applying the high gloss acrylic sealer to the aggregate driveway. I do this every year to combat premature aging due to the sun and the salt on the winter roads. Here's some photos that illustrate the process.
The annual process of sealing my garage floor and driveway is in full swing. I removed the RaceDeck floor and pressure washed the concrete. I allowed it to dry for a few hours and then took my Master Blaster Car Dryer to the cracks to ensure all the moisture was dealt with. I started by using a 1" brush to apply a liberal coating of sealant to the cracks in the pad. I really let the sealant seep down into the cracks and fill up the little gaps. Then, it was time to apply a thick coat of the sealant to the vulnerable parts of the pad. The stuff dries relatively quickly, so I will be pulling the floor back in soon. At that point, I will shift my efforts to completing the driveway.
Sidenote: The sealant went up in price from $119/pail last year to $168. Robbery!
Here's a slideshow showing my work:
This virtual tour should give you a great sense of how things are laid out in my garage. I have to say, things are approaching perfection. It's just a matter of fine tuning the little details at this point. I hope you enjoy.
I had a few hours to myself today, so I decided to give the floor a thorough clean. This meant removing every RaceDeck tile and power washing the entire floor underneath. Moving items in the garage is a breeze with the RaceDeck floor, so its a relatively easy process. Here's some shots of the big event.
The QuickJack does what it says it does, and it lifted my SQ5 in fine fashion. I was very pleased that the even weight distribution of the QuickJack meant there were no divots or impressions in my RaceDeck Free Flow floor. Here's some shots, but you'll have to excuse the current state of the SQ5, it has been a busy and messy week. We actually had some snow on Thursday.
My new QuickJack portable lift system arrived this week. After hauling in home from the shipyard in my SQ5, it has been sitting in the middle of the garage. I was under the weather today, and spent all day in bed. I finally got up some energy so I decided to head out to the garage to assemble and test this puppy out. The detailed instructions made assembly a fairly painless process and it seems to be working well. I quickly ran out of gas, so I haven't had the opportunity to lift my vehicle with it. Once I feel a little better, I plan to put the SQ5 on it and see what happens. I'm hoping to find some time over the weekend to spruce up my rusty brake rotor hats, so stay tuned. I'm quite curious to see how things go with the RaceDeck floor. I think it should be fine, but I will keep you posted.
So, why QuickJack?
The main reason I went with the QuickJack lift was the portability factor. I will probably use it a dozen times per year, so I didn't want something that was going to permanently occupy valuable real estate in my double garage when not in use. Its low profile design enabled me to slide each section away so it won't get in the way of the other happenings in the garage.
The other reason I chose this over a scissor or two-post life is that it is tailored more towards my needs. I plan on using it primarily for wheel swaps and detailing, so I don't need my car way up in the air. At max height, it should provide me with a foot of body lift which will make a world of difference when polishing the lower portion of my SQ5 and detailing my wheels and wheel wells. I think it was the perfect solution for my needs.
Click here to learn more about the BL-5000SLX.
The order has gone in. Soon, I will be using one of these little beauties for various garage-related activities. Be sure to drop by in a few weeks when it is ready to show off. I can't wait.
We've been experiencing a mild winter this year, which equates to a messy winter. The temperature was a balmy plus-6 degrees Celsius today, so I was able to tackle my floor after months of watching the dirt and debris compile. The process has been captured in a video, but here is a little slideshow to show you today's process. This is the dirtiest the floor has ever been, but all is fine now.
Every couple of years, I seal my exposed aggregate driveway, but I have never actually sealed the garage floor. This year, I decided to do it first. I am using the same sealer as I use on the driveway which has a high gloss finish. This will make my garage floor quite slick, which I don't mind since my RaceDeck FreeFlow floor will sit atop of it. The sealer should help protect the floor from the damaging salt that the city lays down in the winter as well as aid in rinsing and cleaning the floor. The sealer goes on with a basic paint roller and the entire job took about 2 hours including the time it took to power rinse the floor and dry it with my Metro Master Blaster Car Dryer. After allowing the sealer to cure for 4-5 hours, I will pull the RD floor back in. Here is the finished product:
One question I get a lot is, "Can you lift a car using a floor jack atop the FreeFlow floor?". The answer is yes, but you will damage it. In this video, I demonstrate how the floor reacts to the force of a floor jack lifting my Audi SQ5. I had a few extra tiles laying around, so I thought I would give anyone interested in installing a FreeFlow floor by RaceDeck a look at how it performs in this regard. While the damage isn't terrible, you will see some significant divot marks and gouges caused by the casters sinking and cutting into the tiles. I use a heavy duty rubber mat to protect the floor, which is an extra step, but keeps the floor free from damage.
Who is Rick?
I'm just a guy who loves his garage, Audi, and detailing so much he blogs about them.
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