What Type of Lighting Should I Use for My Garage?

Blue Sky Builders garage lighting interior exteriorWhen building or remodeling your house and garage, there are many issues to address and decisions to make. From the color of the siding and roof shingles to the flooring material and garage door, it is crucial to research your options to make the best choices. One critical item to consider is lighting. During a garage remodel, you may want to think about the type of outside lighting in addition to the lights that will be installed inside the garage. Outdoor lighting can act as a safety measure to deter break-ins, while indoor lighting can be critical if your garage is being used for work-related tasks or vehicle repairs. Regardless of how your garage is going to be used, there are many different sizes, makes, and models of light fixtures that can enhance the look and feel of your garage space.  Read more

What Are the Benefits of Adding a Second Floor to My Garage?

Blue Sky Builders two-story garage expansionA garage is an important part of your home. Although you may not put much thought into it when you purchase your dream house, it really is a vital component that is typically used on a daily basis. Whether you plan to use it as a safe place to put your vehicles or for storing other important items, you might want to consider the size of your garage. In many cases, a three-car garage is used to store two automobiles, and the third section is for storage. However, as families grow and accumulate things, you can quickly run out of room even with a large garage. If you are short on land space, the best option might be to build up on your garage rather than out. Putting on an addition such as a second floor to your garage can seem daunting, but the garage specialists at Blue Sky Builders can help you with this wise investment.

Multi-Purpose Space

Regardless of whether you have an attached or detached garage, it may be possible to add on to it by building a second story. With so many people working from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, another level in your garage can make the perfect home office if you do not already have one. Since it is connected to the garage, it is separated from the house, which ensures privacy. Adding windows allows for natural light in while you work, keeping it bright and airy compared to working in a dark and dingy basement. 

This type of add-on can also provide added space for you to safely store valuables, exercise equipment, or holiday decorations. In addition, it can be used as a recreational area or sleeping quarters as your kids get older or for visiting house guests. It can even be used as a quiet “getaway” from a bustling household or as a private reading nook. 

Here are a few ways that a second story on your garage can be used:

  • Home office
  • Kids’ playroom
  • Game room
  • Sewing/craft room
  • Workout facility
  • Storage location
  • Guest bedroom

Special Considerations

Before embarking on any type of addition to your home or garage, it is important to acquire the proper building permits from your town or village. Professional garage remodelers like those at Blue Sky Builders will be able to assess your existing structure to make sure it can support a second level. We can also advise you on how to best use your space by creating a design plan to accommodate you and your family. 

Contact a Chicago Area Professional Garage Builder 

Having a second floor in your garage can make your life easier and more enjoyable in many ways. Not only does it give you more storage space, but it can become additional living space as well. To create the space you desire, it is essential that you contact garage specialists who are skilled in bringing your ideas to life. The knowledgeable team at Blue Sky Builders has more than 40 years of garage building experience. Call our Downers Grove garage experts today at 630-852-8485 to get a free estimate.

Why Steel Garage Entry Doors Are a Good Choice For Your Home

thumbnailWhile you may put a lot of thought into the aesthetics and security features of the front door of your home, you could be neglecting the safety of the internal and external entry doors into your garage. These may not seem as important to you, but the types of doors you choose for your garage can have a significant impact on all sorts of things, from safety to energy usage. The door that we recommend for all homebuilders or fixer-uppers is a steel entry door.

4 Benefits of Steel Garage Entry Doors

There are many benefits to installing steel entry doors in your garage, including the following:

  1. Security—It is much more difficult to break through metal than it is to break through wood or fiberglass. This is especially true for those who have a high-quality, powerful set of keyed dual locks installed with the doors. With or without the additional safety precautions, the strength of the material of these doors typically keeps intruders at bay.
  2. Affordability—Typically, steel doors are the least expensive option for entry doors. And while some might argue this is due to the material’s lack of aesthetic appeal, the truth is, with help from the right garage builder, you can actually create an attractive entry door, even with steel as the material. Possible ways to spruce it up include:
    • Diverse paneling options
    • Different colors
    • Ornate door lights
    • Elegant glass windows and other glass inserts
  3. Energy Efficiency and Good Insulation—Most steel entry doors, especially those for residential areas, are not made entirely of steel due to the heaviness of the material. In fact, other than the steel outer-coating, these entry doors often have a similar core as those made of fiberglass. Overall, this makes steel entry doors good at keeping the heat and cold outside, improving both indoor insulation and energy efficiency. Add some magnetic weather stripping and you will be well on your way to effectively braving the elements of inclement weather.
  4. Low Maintenance—Other than the possibility of dents, which are uncommon in residential homes, and rusting, which often takes a long time to occur, steel entry doors are very low maintenance. Other popular alternatives, such as wood and fiberglass can easily rot or crack from changing weather conditions.

Contact a Downers Grove Steel Entry Door Professional

Thinking about replacing your garage entry doors or determining which entry doors to use in your new garage? Call a Chicago-area garage building specialist at 630-852-8485 to discuss your options. With more than 40 years of garage building experience, Blue Sky Builders can help you choose the right steel entry doors for your garage, including helping you with the overall design, security, and environmental impact of those doors on your home.

Sources:

https://www.thespruce.com/installing-a-steel-door-at-home-1821451

https://learn.reeb.com/knowledge-base/wood-vs-fiberglass-vs-steel/

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/entry-doors/buying-guide/

 

5 Basic Steps for Building Your Dream Garage

Downers Grove Professional Garage BuildersIf you have been thinking recently about all the ways you could improve your garage, be it to make the entire garage more livable due to additional time being spent at home, to convert the garage into a more unconventional living space, to increase the size of the garage for more storage space, or to simply make the garage more aesthetically appealing, then you are going to want to know what it takes to make your dream garage into a reality and build that custom garage. Below are important details about each step in the process.

Customizing Your Garage to Fit Your Needs

A lot of work goes into custom garage building, but in general, the following five steps are particularly crucial to make the most of it:

  1. Dreaming and Planning—You will be the one dreaming about the perfect new custom garage. You will consider its size, its functions, its appearance, and so much more. Then, once you have your “dream garage” in mind, you can work with a custom garage builder to begin planning how to make that dream into a reality. This might include determining functions (what the garage will be used for, what the garage needs to have in order to achieve its primary functions), design features (size, aesthetics, paint, number of windows and doors), and construction materials (flooring, walls, roofing, garage door)
  2. Demolition—If you are not starting from scratch, your garage builder will need to demolish your existing garage. This will include:
    • Removing the current garage
    • Eliminating the old concrete slab
    • Getting rid of any leftover debris
  3. Flooring Installation—The next step would be to lay down the foundation, including the concrete flooring. Depending on the function and design of your custom garage, you might want additional material placed above the concrete flooring. Your custom garage builder will make sure all concrete installation is up to code.
  4. Structure Construction—This is when some serious building takes place. This step involves the construction of the entire garage, including:
    • Framing
    • Wall and garage door frame assembly
    • Sheathing
    • Roofing and shingling
    • Window installation
    • Entry/access door installation
    • Garage door assembly and installation

Once these basics of construction are covered, your custom garage builder will begin some additional custom elements of your garage, which might involve special design details and functional features of the garage.

  1. Testing/Inspecting—Once the custom garage is built, it will need to be tested and inspected for quality. This includes making sure that it is entirely safe, secure, and sound in construction.

Contact a Chicago-Area Custom Garage Builder

If you have your dream garage in mind, it might be time to make it a reality. Contact a Downers Grove garage specialist at 630-852-8485 to discuss your plans further. Blue Sky Builders has been delighting customers like you by building custom garages since 1979. They can be trusted to build the custom garage you have always wanted.  

Sources:
https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/a28316/diy-garage-project/
https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-build-a-garage-from-the-ground-up/
https://www.latimes.com/business/real-estate/story/2019-12-27/bunch-design-and-adu-upscaling

 

3 Simple Ways to Secure Your Garage from Home Burglaries

DuPage County Professionals for Garage SecurityWhile you might think that the recent stay-at-home orders would translate to a decrease in home burglaries, you would be surprised at how often the police are reporting house break-ins lately. In fact, many of these burglars had the nerve to break into houses even while homeowners were home and asleep in bed, which is a frightening thought. Although taking the usual safety precautions to protect your home against break-ins will help, there might be one vulnerability that is easy to neglect: access from your garage into your home. In those cases, there are a variety of garage services that can help secure your garage from intruders. These options include: custom garage building, garage hardware replacementsecure steel entry door system installation, garage door upgrades like electric garage door openers, even high-quality window construction. Even if you are not ready to invest in a major garage renovation or garage remodeling, there are still a few easy things you can do to secure your garage that are not too expensive or involved.

Improving Garage Security Is More Affordable Than You Might Think

While it is true that your garage does not house many of the most valuable parts of your home, including your family, it often can provide an easy accessway for burglars to enter through. In addition, most garages are considered separate entities from the house itself—more outdoors than a part of the actual indoor living space—so many people do not even consider securing them with the same intensity and vigilance as they do with other parts of the house. For those very reasons, many burglars view garages as worthwhile targets for intrusion in much the same way as obscure, rarely used windows. This is why you cannot afford to neglect garage security. Here are three easy and cost-effective ways to protect your garage from intruders:

  1. Install security cameras. The most affordable cameras still have HD quality and the capability to record to the cloud through WiFi. Also, many can be placed both inside and outside of your garage to keep tabs on all activity. The cameras will then alert you through your smartphone of any intrusions in your garage. Set them up at the garage entryway access door to both your garage and/or your house, near the inside of the garage door itself, and right outside the garage door to get everything covered. Some of the more expensive cameras, many of which tend to be meant for outdoor use only, including ones that feature motion-detecting flood lights or spotlights, are more heavy-duty and might require professional assistance for mounting.
  2. Install smart garage door openers. Especially with regards to upgrading your current electric garage door opener with a smart garage door opener controller, this is not too difficult or too expensive and can add an additional layer of security to your garage door (not to mention all sorts of modern-tech conveniences). Most of these smart garage door options let you monitor the open/close status of the door through your smartphone and some even integrate with video.
  3. Install smart locks or deadbolt locks on your garage entryway doors. Again, this is not too expensive and very simple, and doing so will make it much more difficult for people to break into your home from your garage even if they can somehow get into the garage itself. Many of the more cutting-edge options will let you keep track of lock/unlock statuses on your smartphone, too.

Contact a Chicago-Area Garage Expert

Even if you make any of the aforementioned changes to your garage security, you may not be entirely satisfied. You need something more substantial to truly put your mind at ease. To attain that peace of mind, reach out to a Downers Grove garage professional at 630-852-8485. Blue Sky Builders can review your current garage situation and let you know how to make your garage more secure, be it through new and improved garage doors, steel entryway doors, or any other number of other garage services.

Sources:
https://www.bobvila.com/articles/garage-door-security/
https://thecrimepreventionwebsite.com/preventing-crime-in-the-garden-outbuildings-and-garage/493/security-for-the-garage/
https://www.corporatetravelsafety.com/safety-tips/how-thieves-break-into-homes-by-the-garage-door/

6 Ways to Protect Your Garage from Flooding

Downers Grove garage builders for flooding preventionAs hurricane season fast approaches, and with prior months this past spring already having shown heavy downpours, you might be concerned about your garage and its safety from flooding. You may have already seen some damage in recent months due to heavy rainfall. Whatever the case may be, here are some inventive ways to protect your garage from flooding:

How to Prevent Flooding in Your Garage

When first building your custom garage, you may need to take steps to keep the floodwaters away. You may also need to protect against flooding in the garage that came with your home. Whichever situation you face, here are some helpful methods for dealing with flooding in your garage:

  1. Repair or Replacement of Garage Door and Floor Seals—If your garage door is not properly sealed at the ground when closed, you will need to fix or replace your seals. The good news is this is not a difficult process, and it will also keep insects and other pests out of your garage once completed. You should be sure to monitor the seals regularly and fix or replace them when necessary.
  2. Usage of an Outdoor Sump Pump—While most people assume sump pumps are only useful in basements, the truth is they can also be beneficial when protecting your garage from floodwaters. If you install an outdoor sump pump just below your garage floor, you could prevent some serious flooding issues.
  3. Slab-Jacking or Other Concrete Repair or Replacement—In many cases, the flooding in your garage is the direct result of crumbling structures, especially with concrete. In those cases, slab-jacking can help, in which massive amounts of grout are forced beneath vulnerable concrete sites in the garage. If slab-jacking does not seem right for your situation, you could also mix your own concrete and use that instead of grout.
  4. Installation of Garage Gutters—When dealing with flooding in any area of your home, the primary goal is to direct water flow away from the home’s structure. The same goes for your garage. Brand-new garage gutters can help guide extra water runoff into spouts and drains away from the garage. Professional garage roofing and siding services can ensure that gutters and drainage are installed correctly.
  5. Addition of Extra Indoor and Outdoor Drains—Especially if you are noticing pools of water inside your garage, possibly even during the winter, interior drains can help. In addition, exterior drains can also be useful if you notice the existing drains are being taxed beyond their capabilities during each rainfall.
  6. Placement of Smart Home Water Sensors—Many of the aforementioned pieces of advice consider what to do when flooding in the garage becomes a problem. However, if you are worried about the possibility of flooding without having actually had it happen at your home or garage yet, then installing affordable smart home water sensors in your garage will help you keep tabs on things and take preemptive measures as soon as possible.

Contact a Dupage County Garage Renovation Professional

Weather authorities have issued warnings of a hurricane season that will be “more severe than usual” this season. There is no better time than now to make sure your garage is protected from flooding. Water in your garage can destroy personal property, and cause damage to the overall structure of your garage and even your house. If you are looking to build a garage that takes these concerns into consideration, or if you want to renovate your garage to address these issues, call a Downers Grove custom garage expert at 630-852-8485.

How Do I Know When My Garage Door Needs to Be Replaced?

DuPage County garage door replacement professionalsWhether you are having trouble opening your garage door or simply want to update your garage with an electric garage door opener or some other exciting modern upgrades, there are many reasons you may decide to replace your garage doors. Sometimes, though, garage door replacement is a requirement borne out of necessity. In those cases, you may want to hire a professional to guide you through the process. In case you are not entirely sure whether you need to replace your garage door or your garage door opener, consider some of these definitive signs that your garage door and opener have seen their last days.

3 Telltale Signs You Need to Replace Your Garage Door

Overall, there are three main areas to focus on when determining whether you may need a new garage door or opener. The top two most critical areas to look at are the overall function and structure. Secondarily, you may also want to review aesthetics, special features, and other ways to improve your garage door or opener. While these issues may not necessarily affect your day-to-day functions and safety, they could still make your life a whole lot easier or your home a whole lot more attractive. Within each area, there are some significant things to consider. Here is a closer look:

  1. Problems with Functioning—If your garage door is not opening or closing, or if your opener is not functioning properly, a repair or replacement might be needed. For instance, if your garage door exhibits any of these issues, you are going to want to get it checked out:
    • Inconsistent Responsiveness: Perhaps your garage door will not close or open, or it may not close or open the entire way, or it may reverse shortly after opening or closing. The remote in your car or the controls inside your garage may have no effect. In addition to causing aggravation, all of these problems have the potential to put your family’s safety and security at risk.
    • Vibrations and Noises: Garage doors can vibrate when opening or closing, but if you notice excessive vibrations, or if your garage door generates significant noise when operating, you might want to have an expert look into this issue.
    • Constant Maintenance or Repair Visits: If your garage door keeps breaking down, it may be more cost-effective to replace it with a new and more reliable garage door or garage door opener.
  2. Structural Issues—Sometimes, a garage door and garage door opener alike will function properly, but other major structural issues may lead to safety concerns or other problems. These problems may include:
    • Damage to the Door: Hazardous weather, or irresponsible driving, or countless other issues may cause a garage door to be dented or damaged in some way that could impede its alignment.
    • Sagging, Rusting, and Rotting: If the door itself appears a droopy or rusted, or if the walls or frame around the door are damaged or rotting, these structural concerns will need to be addressed immediately. In these cases, a garage door may need to be replaced, and other repairs may need to be made to the garage.
  3. Aesthetics and Special Features—While these issues may not be as serious, they may still present compelling reasons to replace your garage door:
    • Design Decisions and Color Facelifts: If you are remodeling your home, or if you notice that your garage door does not fit the design or color of your house, a replacement might be the right choice, no matter how well the door is functioning mechanically or structurally.
    • Smartening Home Features: Special features like smart garage door openers and other modern conveniences can make your life easier, especially if you are upgrading your entire home to a smart home ecosystem. 

Contact a Downers Grove Garage Door Expert

If your garage door or garage door opener are not working the way they should, contact our Chicago-area electric garage door opener specialists at 630-852-8485. Blue Sky Builders can design, install, repair, or replace your garage door and ensure your equipment is functioning properly. Since we have more than 40 years of custom garage building experience, you can trust us to get your garage door in the best shape possible.

Sources:

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/is-it-time-to-replace-your-garage-door-opener/

https://incredibleplanet.net/5-signs-you-need-to-replace-your-garage-door/

https://realtytimes.com/advicefromtheexpert/item/1027469-5-signs-it-s-time-to-repair-your-garage-door

 

8 Features to Consider When Converting Your Garage Into a Bedroom

Downers Grove garage renovation experts bedroom featuresEven though the Illinois Stay-at-Home Order may be coming to an end soon, many people have grown accustomed to sharing space in their home with others, and in some cases, large, multigenerational families have found themselves living together for both safety and company. Some family members may be considering long-term living arrangements, or families may be looking to make more room in their homes. Whatever your reasons might be, it is worthwhile to consider customizing your garage and converting it into a bedroom.

8 “Nice Touches” to Add to Your Garage Bedroom

There are two seemingly contrary questions you need to answer about garage bedrooms:

  1. What can I do to make my garage more like an actual, livable bedroom?
  2. What aspects unique to my garage can I use to improve my garage bedroom?

In consideration of these two questions, here are some great features you may want to consider adding to your garage bedroom during a renovation project:

  1. Bathroom—It does not have to be large, especially if space is limited, but if anyone is going to be staying in the garage bedroom, having their own private bathroom can be a tremendous feature. If you have a detached garage, you might even be able to add on a separate building for a more expansive bathroom that includes a shower and tub. 
  2. Special Entrance and Exit Doors—What better way to make people forget they are in a garage then to install doors that make it feel more like a part of the home. From heavy oak front doors to sliding glass doors in the back, there are all sorts of ways to use doors to your advantage.
  3. Skylight—Most garages seem dark and maybe even dank, and they could certainly use some brightening up to help people feel comfortable enough to sleep there. A skylight can let your guests or your family members wake up to direct sunlight from above. 
  4. Ceiling Fan—Helpful in function but pleasing in aesthetics, a ceiling fan can greatly increase comfort levels for those who will be spending time in your garage.
  5. Loft—Especially if your garage has particularly high ceilings, you might want to expand that space into a livable loft. This can make the garage feel more like a studio apartment that might be found in a downtown condo.
  6. Bold Designs/Textures and Colorful Paint—You will have more leeway and creative license with this bedroom; it was, after all, once a garage. In that sense, it does not necessarily need to follow the same design “rules” as other rooms in your home. Consider bright colors and bold textures and make it somewhere special.
  7. Kitchenette—While there is not enough room in most garages for an entire kitchen, there could be enough space for a few features or appliances. People who stay in this bedroom would love being able to cook their own food or mix their own drinks instead of having to go into the house for that. It would be like staying in a fancy hotel room.
  8. Creative Uses of Windows—This is yet another way to brighten up a dark garage. Consider atypical windows that work well with the garage construction in terms of design as opposed to the usual types of windows used in the main house. This can give the space some individual charm.

Contact Our DuPage County Garage Experts

With the proper planning, you can make your garage into a dream bedroom that will meet your family’s needs. Blue Sky Builders can help you build a custom garage that pushes the boundaries of what is possible when it comes to how you can use your space. Call a Downers Grove custom garage professional at 630-852-8485 to learn more about the ways we can help you create the best garage for your home.