It took me an hour to haul the centre section of my Swisstrax floor onto the driveway, clean the garage floor and then set things up again. I used to "snake" the floor in long sections, but the Swisstrax doesn't have the flex or strong connections for that, so I have to break it up into 3x4 or 4x4 sections and stand those sections up against a garbage bin to power wash both sides. Here is a little photo gallery that demonstrates the various steps in my floor tile cleaning process.
Let me explain to you how cold and miserable February has been in these parts. The average daily temperature for last month was minus-19 and we had snow on 25 of 28 days. The mercury dipped below minus-30 on 14 occasions. This has made keeping the garage clean very challenging. I spent a few hours in there today cleaning up the mud and rocks that have accumulated over the past week or two. I am really hoping March will bring milder weather, because I don't know how much more of this I can take. At any rate, here's a video demonstrating the process I went through to bring things back to a tidy state.
This city has been caught in the icy clench of a nasty cold spell for two weeks and counting. There has been no opportunity for me to do any major cleaning of my garage floor. Day after day, I track mud, rocks, salt, and all kinds of debris into the garage where it falls onto the floor, dries out and creates an unsightly mess. Today, I finally found the inspiration to tackle the job.
Step 1: Vacuum
Step 2: Mop
Step 3: Scrub
Step 4: Mop
This was a job that I had been putting off for years. I painted the entire garage with a white primer back when I first took possession of our house in 2010. Since then, I have been meaning to put a proper coat of paint up there, but I just never seemed to find the time or desire. When I ripped up the RaceDeck floor to sell, I took advantage and got 'er done. Capturing the results is tricky with my iPhone, but hopefully these pics will give you an idea of how things turned out. I like how the paint added a reflective effect to the ceiling.
Here is a link to the paint I used. It is a "semi-gloss finish" interior acrylic latex paint from Rona.
I uploaded a new tour video to my YouTube channel. It had been a couple of years since I posted the last one and there have been a number of changes and updates in that time. I am hopeful that my garage will be chosen for inclusion in Pan the Organizer's series, "Pan & the Organizers". I sent him a 90-second video and I have my fingers crossed he will choose to feature it in his next video in the series. I'll post a link to the first episode he posted along with a link to my new tour video. Enjoy.
Because my home has a north-facing front, the driveway gets no sun. Ever. That means the driveway ices up pretty quick if I try to clean my floor with my pressure washer. But, when the weather throws me a bone, like it did today, I feel guilty if I don't take advantage and perform a complete clean of the garage floor and driveway. Here's a little look at how I deal with the floor in the winter.
The first step is to disconnect the middle portion (slate grey colour) of the floor. Since I have one car, and I park in the center of the garage, filth only accumulates in the middle of the garage. I unfasten the connectors with a paint lid removal tool and drag it out to the driveway in two equal sections. I use my pressure washer to wash the debris that has accumulated under the floor to the front of the garage, but not quite onto the driveway. Once I have the bulk of the muck at the apron, I use a squeegee to push it into a pile. The thick mud and rocks then get sucked up in my Shop-Vac. I rinse any leftover dirt and residue into the gap between the slab and the driveway and do a final sweep of the concrete floor with my pressure washer and squeegee it dry.
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.
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.
Mike from Ohio writes:
"How do you train your "psyche" to overcome a sense of "giving up". This is hard to put into words, so my apologies. Best I describe what I'm referring to. I don't have your talent, skill and know-how to do what you do...but if magically all of a sudden I did have that capacity, I would get discouraged after spending so many hours/days on a car...I would get severely "bummed out" when I take the car out on the road (in the rain) and my perfectly cleaned/detailed car gets dirty again. Hope that makes sense. I'm afraid that is how I'd feel. You have obviously overcome that "problem". How do you compartmentalize your sense of satisfaction when time after time..car after car...dirt, road grime and pollen spoil what you've just spent an enormous amount of time and energy cleaning? Is there a mental trick to it?"
This is a great question, and I have had to reconcile a few things in my own mind to maintain my dedication to car care. The environment in my city is very challenging. The winters are long and messy, and the rest of the year is dusty with a real mix of weather. There are a few ways I deal with the stress and most of them are visible in the way I have designed my garage. Combating the relentless challenges of maintaining a clean car has been made easier by the fact that my garage is a full-service detail facility. I can pull my car in on any day and everything I need to keep it clean is close at hand. My vacuums are easily accessible and I have a wide array of products that work in all kinds of different seasonal situations. By having all the tools and supplies I need at the ready, it allows me to use my energy efficiently.
Also, I just love the process of returning a dirty car to pristine shape. Yes, it may be dirty within seconds after leaving the garage, but that doesn't negate the fact that I had fun making it look brand new again. It is also rewarding to know that the car is still in excellent condition, free or scratches and defects, under the dirt and grime. I am really paranoid about the salt and salt residue embedding in my paint and causing corrosion, so every time I get the paint clean, it gives me hope that rust and corrosion will never claim my current vehicle liked it claimed a few in my earlier years! So, in conclusion, I can keep going no matter the challenges because I have the proper facility and supplies, I like the process, and I enjoy knowing that my car's condition is still flawless under the dirt, salt, pollen, or whatever other menace the world is throwing at me.
Now, if I had a black truck that I had to park outside like my friend, Bryan...that would be whole other story. He gets all my respect!
I am confident there is no place worse, no place more challenging, no place more frustrating to keep a clear clean than Calgary, Alberta in winter. Even with my garage converted into a detailing studio, I just can't keep up. But, I won't stop trying. Here's a video that demonstrates how I go about keeping a tidy interior despite Mother Nature's efforts to ruin me.
A concerned YouTube viewer raised some concerns over my wheel hub collar. From the video, it appeared my collar was cracked. I was pretty sure it was just the design, but the user went to the effort of capturing a screen shot from the video and highlighting the areas that raised his concerns, so I decided to pop the opposite wheel off to investigate. It appears that Audi has carved some notches into this specific part for some reason. Maybe it has to do with weight reduction, but who knows. I want to thank David for taking the time to reach out and share his concerns. It is very nice knowing that people are looking out for each other. Here are some photos that demonstrate the notched hub design I am referring to.
On May 31st, I pulled into the garage and as the door was going down the right-side spring snapped. It was startling loud to be honest. So, I panicked a bit and ended up calling a 24-hour garage door repair service. They responded quickly by sending a two-man crew. But, things went downhill from there. The two technicians attempted to clamp the broken spring together. I am no garage door expert, but these guys didn't seem to know what they were doing. After an hour of messing around, they informed me they needed to fetch a part at the shop. This was around 9pm. I said to my wife as they were leaving, "They aren't coming back". After an hour and a half I called the dispatcher. He told me he would touch base and get back to me. An hour went by, and no call-back. I called, but my call went straight to voicemail and that was the last contact I had with "The Garage Door Company".
In hindsight, I'm very glad they bailed because I called Creative Door the next morning, and they had all the spring specs on file since they are the company that originally built and installed the door. They custom-fabricated the springs on Saturday and a crew came out Monday morning to install them. I have to give a massive shout out to everyone at Creative Door. Just impeccable service and the $274 price tag was very reasonable.
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.
It took me two full days, but our cedar garage door has been stained, and very pleased with the result. The builder used a stain/paint and we never really liked it. I sanded it down for four or five hours and then applied a coat of Cabot's Australian Timber Oil and it brought out the character of each board. The sanding process left me with a lot of cleaning in the garage. I had to clean every inch of the garage, but that is all done and things have never looked so great. Here are some photos that will take you through the process of getting this door to the point it should have been when we moved in.
We've owned the SQ5 for 2.5 years and it is still on the brakes it came with. The only issue we've had is with some corrosion around the rotor hats. So, with the help of my QuickJack, I put the car in the air today and hit each hat with a coat of high-heat paint. The job took two hours. Here's a slideshow that demonstrates the steps I went to.
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.
I had big dreams of picking up a Kranzle K1122TST pressure washer, but I wasn't comfortable spending well north of $1000, so I picked a much more reasonably priced one at Lowes. It' s the KPW2000 2000 PSI 1.4 GPM Cold Water Electric model by Kobalt, but it is manufactured by AR, which is a pretty decent manufacturer of pressure washers from what I can gather.
I had an opportunity to assemble and test it out this morning, and it is far and away superior to the Kärcher it replaces. While it may not compare in build quality to a Kranzle, it did a fantastic job of spraying off the SQ5 and driveway.
The moisture takes a heavy toll on my garage door rails during the winter months. By Spring, the rails are corroded pretty bad, so I took an hour or so sprucing them up. I used sandpaper and my dremel to remove the corrosion, and applied a coat of my darkest grey paint. Here's a quick before and after shot.
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.