Common (and Not-so-Common) Garage Invaders in Illinois

Blue Sky Builders garage pest preventionWith the seasons changing and the weather proving to be persistent in its unpredictable shifting over the last several months, the likelihood of unwelcome visitors in your garage increases. It is important to know the types of creatures to be on the lookout for. This will not just prevent them from invading your garage now, but it will also help you determine whether a custom garage or garage remodeling project can help ensure that those uninvited guests do not make themselves at home in your garage.

Squirrels, and Termites, and Mice, Oh My!

A wide variety of pests, rodents, and other unsavory creatures can take up residence in your garage without you even realizing it, especially when the weather changes drastically. It is bad enough that many of them could do damage to your garage and what is in your garage, including your car. For example, rats and mice have been known to congregate under the hood of a parked car near the motor to help them stay warm in the winter. Some animals may even get more adventurous and brazen, attempting to break the barriers between your garage and home. Before long, you will have flies buzzing around your head in your kitchen or mice hiding under floorboards in your living room. 

Here are 10 “garage invaders” to keep away from your garage, your home, and your family:

  1. Termites and Ants—Both of these insects potentially present huge issues for the foundation and other structural elements of your garage, so if you notice them, take action immediately.
  2. Mice and Rats—While many suburban homes face seemingly innocuous field mice more often than rats, be aware that both can carry serious diseases. Keep an eye out for their tiny pellet-like droppings as a telltale sign they have invaded your garage, as they tend to be sneaky and remain out of sight most of the time.
  3. Opossums—While these odd animals are not as likely to show up inside your garage, be aware that they like to climb, and they could hide out in an attic or second level of your garage.
  4. Skunks—Unless you do not use your garage much at all, skunks are more likely to get defensive enough to spray and leave rather than dwelling, “gifting” you with a lingering and unmistakable stench but no permanent residency.
  5. Flies, Including Fruit Flies—If you keep your garbage in the garage, including your pets’ waste and any spoiled food, flies are likely to enter your space. Your best bet is to keep all garage doors closed when not in use, including the entrance to the home, as well as keeping all refuse properly disposed of and sealed tightly.
  6. Mosquitos—Make sure still water is at a minimum to prevent these disease-infested pests from taking over.
  7. Crickets—These insects would be relatively harmless to your garage were it not for their obnoxious chirping. Fortunately, they do not exactly come in “packs” to infest your garage, but even one chirping insect can be very irritating.
  8. Raccoons—If you do not keep your garbage cans tightly closed, or if your garbage is overflowing, these animals might get brave enough to follow the cans back into your garage, finding an unending supply of new garbage to forage through every night.
  9. Wasps, Bees, and Hornets—In most cases, these insects’ nests or hives tend to develop on the exterior of your house, but that will not prevent them from making use of your garage too.
  10. Squirrels—Squirrels are curious. They scurry about everywhere in search of something to nibble on. Do not make it easy for them to satisfy their curiosity.

Contact a Chicago-Area Custom Garage Builder

If you are thinking of remodeling your garage or having a custom garage built, be sure to hire a Downers Grove garage specialist who knows exactly what materials to use and what construction methods to employ in making sure your garage is safe from all pests, rodents, and other creatures. Call Blue Sky Builders at 630-852-8485 for more information.

How Worried Should I Be About Someone Breaking into My Garage?

Downers Grove Garage Door SpecialistThis summer, home burglaries and car robberies are on the rise in the Western suburbs. While many of these thefts are the result of homeowners and car owners simply being negligent or careless, leaving doors unlocked or keys in doors, there are some instances when the instigators are actually quite clever. Here are some ways these thieves might try to use your electric garage door opener and its related equipment to gain entry to your garage.

4 Common Types of Garage Break-ins to Safeguard Against

Even if you are cautious about locking up, there are still ways criminals can break into your garage these days. Some of the more increasingly common ways that burglars are breaking into garages include:

  1. Gaining Access to the Emergency Release Rope—With enough dexterity and ingenuity, a burglar can use a hanger or some other tool to reach over your garage and get access to the emergency release rope. From there, a simple yank will make that door easy to open. To prevent this, consider repositioning or removing the release rope so that it is out of reach.
  2. Bypassing the “Fixed Code”—Some garage door openers, especially older ones, were built on “fixed-code systems.” These systems are particularly susceptible to manipulation; in fact, one security expert once rigged a children’s toy to break that “fixed code” and open a garage with the opener’s transmitter frequency—and no actual opener. To safeguard against this, consider either investing in a newer opener that relies on a “rolling code,” which is much more difficult to crack. Also, if you plan on being away from home for an extended period of time, consider turning off the power to your garage.
  3. Keypad Code-Breaking—Keypads are a great convenience, giving you, your spouse, and your kids easy access to the garage door without needing a transmitter, keys, or any other devices. However, police have seen time and time again that keypad codes are actually quite easy to break if the criminal is perceptive and observant enough. The buttons with the numbers you press regularly to unlock the garage door from the outside with a keypad will have oils from human skin on them while the buttons that are not used will simply have dirt or dust on them. Once the crook discovers the most common numbers by way of oils from the skin, finding the right combination of numbers to crack the code of your keypad is much easier. If you do not want this to happen, think about regularly wiping the buttons clean; routinely changing the combination of numbers; or removing the keypad.
  4. Hacking into “Smart” Garages—Smart garage door openers and controllers can be hacked into just like any other Internet of Things (IoT) smart-home device, computer, or smartphone. If it can connect to the Internet, it can be hacked. And if it is in the “cloud” somewhere to enable notifications and other remote access by you from afar, it could be even more vulnerable to hacking. In that sense, strictly Bluetooth-only garage door devices might help. Or you could just avoid smart garage devices entirely.

Contact a Downers Grove Garage Door Opener Expert

If you are concerned about how safe your garage is from burglaries, consider customizing your garage or remodeling your garage to make it safer. Call a Chicago-area garage specialist at 630-852-8485 for ideas about safety measures you can take. With more than 40 years of garage building experience, Blue Sky Builders can develop garage construction plans that will make your garage much safer.

Sources:
https://www.wisebread.com/are-you-giving-burglars-the-key-to-your-home
https://climaterwc.com/2018/05/14/redwood-city-police-warn-about-hackers-who-break-into-garage-doors/
https://lifehacker.com/test-if-your-garage-is-vulnerable-to-a-hack-that-opens-1710108565

Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Make Your Garage a Playroom

Downers Grove Garage Renovation SpecialistsWhen it comes to being a parent, the last thing you want to do is spoil your children. You want them to learn important life skills and build their character by allowing them to face forms of adversity. However, during these times, your parenting values may have shifted. While remodeling your garage or building a custom garage solely to accommodate your children’s playroom might seem like an unnecessary or frivolous pursuit, the truth is that you might be surprised at how useful such an upgrade can be during these unprecedented times.

3 Reasons to Convert Your Garage into a Playroom

Here are some productive ways a garage playroom can actually help your children’s development, and your family’s overall functioning, during this time and into the future:

  1. Avoiding Distractions: With the public health crisis far from over and the possibility of virtual schooling again in the fall, figuring out ways to keep your children occupied is critical. In fact, many employers are still encouraging work-from-home policies to ensure the health and safety of their employees as their businesses re-open. As many parents have learned over the last several months, working at home while fending off your children’s boredom — and potentially disruptive behavior — is no easy task. Giving them a place of their own to play will keep them secluded and busy when you have that important video conference or telephone call for work.
  2. Keeping Your Children Focused: That playroom does not have to be solely reserved for play; you might want to think about using it as a place where your kids can study, learn, and even take online classes in peace. This will become particularly relevant and helpful over the next month or two when school reopenings take full effect and many districts decide to engage in either fully-virtual or hybrid classwork.
  3. Maintaining a Clean House While Encouraging Creativity: There are certain playtime undertakings that can get quite messy. By relegating all such activities to the garage, you will not only keep your house cleaner, but you will also give your children the freedom to express themselves in a much more diverse way. From painting art and constructing crafts to building models and playing music, the rougher and larger garage space will open up a world of playtime possibilities for your children, all the while keeping any subsequent messes contained to one area.

Contact a Chicago-Area Custom Garage Builder

With the likelihood of working remotely and attending school virtually increasing by the day, now might be the right time for you to start thinking about converting your garage space into a playroom for your kids. Blue Sky Builders has been offering its customers creative garage solutions for decades, building a trustworthy reputation throughout the Chicagoland area.

If you are interested in this garage transformation or have other renovation ideas, call a Downers Grove garage specialist at 630-852-8485 to review your options.  

Source:

https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/move-out-10-ways-to-expand-into-your-garage-47789

What to Do If You Suspect Your Garage Roof Needs Some Work

Downers Grove Garage Roofing ProfessionalsMany homeowners look at their garages and think primarily of their internal features: the garage door, the entry doors, the inside space, and the overall design. But roofing and siding are just as important to garages as they are to the rest of the house. If you are considering remodeling, replacing, or taking a look at the current condition of your garage, consider taking the following steps to assess the condition of your garage’s roof first.

4 Steps to Determine the Condition of Your Garage Roof

Whether you are replacing your current garage with a custom garage or just upgrading what you have, an evaluation of your current garage’s roof is important. Here are steps in the evaluation process that can paint a better picture of your garage’s overall condition:

1. Review documentation—Find all receipts and other paperwork regarding the roofing on your home and your garage. From this data, you will be able to sketch out a full history of your roofing. This will enable you to determine with more certainty how old your garage roof is. You may be able to go up to 25 years with the same roof, but after that, the wear and tear of the weather outside will take its toll.
2. Take a snapshot—Look at your garage roof from the outside as a whole, as part of your house. This at-a-glance, big-picture view will give you perspective on major structural issues. Is it drooping, sagging, discolored, or misshapen in any way? This might indicate detrimental damage that could lead to leaks or, worse yet, major safety issues with its structure.
3. Inspect, inspect, inspect—Start investigating the inside of your garage. See if there are any leaks from the ceiling. Also pay attention to natural light coming in from above or the corners of the garage. This will help you know whether leaks are a major issue, or will be a major issue, for your garage roof. After that, evaluate the exterior of the roof itself up close. Are there any cracks or other damages? Do you see any rot? Are there any green spots? If you see any green that signifies moss, mold, fungi, or other plant-life, your roof is likely retaining moisture which will adversely affect its condition.

The Final Step: Contact a Chicago-Area Garage Roofing Professional

Do not neglect the roof of your garage; it needs as much care as the rest of your home’s exterior. If you need help evaluating the condition of your garage’s roof or you are interested in remodeling or replacing your garage, call a Downers Grove garage specialist at 630-852-8485. Blue Sky Builders has been doing this for decades—we can assess your situation and provide you with various options.

Source:

https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/7-signs-you-need-a-new-roof-48751

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/

 

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/

4 Great Ways to Get Your Garage Organized

DuPage County garage organization professionalsWhen thinking of all the different ways you could update your garage, you might easily forget the primary purpose for garages in the first place: to provide storage for your car and other items. Unlike most parts of your house, the garage lends itself particularly well to clever organization and storage systems, especially when you are dealing with a diverse cornucopia of things that need a home. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get your garage organized while also saving space.  

Ideas for Garage Storage That Work Well

The primary goal when it comes to organizing your garage is to figure out ways to optimize storage capacity. Most garages are small, and space can be limited, particularly if you intend to keep your car in the garage. Due to this, you need to determine how best to store things without taking up too much space. Some possible ideas to achieve this goal include:

  1. Using the Walls—You would be surprised at how many different tools and other items you can fit on a wall. By placing these things flush against a wall, including even fairly large tools, it can seem like making them flat, since they no longer take up space on the floor. To enable effective use of the walls for storage, you might want to consider some of these handy options:
    • Pegboards and Other Paneling—Pegboards are simple ways to place small tools and other items on the wall with continued easy access while using very little real estate. In fact, pegboards can be used to secure not just small tools, but also rakes, brooms, shovels, and other larger pieces of equipment to the wall.
    • Magnetic Strips—If you do not have space for pegboards, you can also consider using magnetic strips, which can be added virtually anywhere, including across walls, on workbenches, and along shelving.
    • Hangers and Hooks—These can be attached to the walls and ceiling of your garage, and if they are used creatively, they can save space and create an interesting atmosphere in the garage.
    • Racks and Shelves—While these may be a more obvious option, they can provide valuable storage space to begin a serious organization of your garage.
  2. Using the Ceiling—Possibly one of the most common uses of ceiling space is to hang bicycles. This can be especially helpful, because bikes can take up significant space in your garage, and other pieces of equipment may also be stored in this manner. Decreasing the amount of overhead clearance in your garage can be a welcome compromise that opens up floor space for other items.
  3. Labeling—You can apply the same methods you use to organize your office to your garage space. This means grouping items in specific categories and creating clear labels that are easy to understand. Labeling could be done in several ways, including:
    • With Words—An affordable label-maker from the local office supply store will make labeling with words a breeze.
    • With Color—Color-coding is another option. This can allow you to group items by similar categories, while providing a more aesthetically pleasing (and colorful) way of organizing your garage.
  4. Installing a Multifunctional Workbench—Workbenches do not just have to be flat surfaces to complete work on. If you are inventive with your workbench, you might be able to include hidden cabinets, equipment used for specific crafts or projects, and other spaces where you can store the items you use often.

Contact a Downers Grove Garage Renovation Professional

As you work to organize your garage, you might come across a few things that could use some serious work, such as replacement windows, new siding or roofing, a new electric garage door opener, or any other number of major garage projects. Call our Chicago-area custom garage experts at 630-852-8485 to learn how we can help you create the perfect garage to meet your family’s needs.

 

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.

Should My Garage Have One Double or Two Single Garage Doors?

Blue Sky Builders single vs. double garage doorsWhen you want to upgrade the look and functionality of your garage, several of the most important decisions you must make involve the garage doors. Some decisions will significantly impact your property’s curb appeal, such as the color and decorative style of the doors. Other decisions are more functional, such as the insulating value and the type of electric garage door opener you install. But the most long-lasting decision you will make is this: should you design your garage for one double garage door or two single doors? Read more

What Are the Options for Finishing the Interior of My Garage?

Downers Grove finishing garage interiorIf your garage has an unfinished interior with exposed studs, you have probably wondered about the options for insulating and finishing a garage. After all, the garage is one of the most-used rooms in your house. In fact, if your garage is attached to your house, it is probably your most-used entryway. You will get daily enjoyment out of your investment in finishing this space. Read more