The Organized Garage

Storage solutions allow garages to be zoned for different activities.

CI-California-Closets_car-garage_s4x3 Photo courtesy of California Closets

Contractors, take note: Homeowners have more options than ever before for garage-friendly storage solutions. In today's bigger, deluxe spaces, garage tinkerers are dividing the space into zones for storage, hobbies, work spaces and more.

"The garage is the last room of the home that people think of. Now, builders are starting to recognize that homeowners want to finish out or outfit these rooms," says Zev Pomerance, founder of Potomac Garage Solutions.

It all starts with organization and cabinetry. Pomerance advises contractors to use only metal-based and wood cabinets. He says to avoid wood-based products, such as melamine particle and MDF fiberboard, as well as plastic cabinets. "The major concern with plastic cabinets is they don't hold weight and the melamine or laminate products can deteriorate more easily than real wood." Instead, Pomerance recommends a plywood-based line, Slide-Lok garage and storage cabinets by Bass Cabinets. "These modular cabinets are made from actual plywood, not condensed wood, with thick veneer coating over the wood."

Another benefit, Pomerance says, is the ability to custom-configure Slide-Lok by size and type of cabinet, including tall cabinets, stackable units and wall cabinets. Floor cabinets feature raised plastic European legs that allow for easy adjustment and conform to uneven floors. Contractors can quickly assemble units because components slide together without force or effort.

Steel cabinets bring unmatched durability and one such manufacturer also offers matching all-weather appliances: Whirlpool's Gladiator Garageworks line. Contractors give Gladiator gear high marks because it's easy to install, flexible and extremely rugged.

Whirlpool launched the line a few years ago after hearing from consumers in warm-weather markets that their appliances were dying in the garage due to extreme heat. Construction is durable, powder-coated steel, which gives a sleek look in a stamped metal-tread finish. Gear boxes and appliances feature bumper-protected locking rollers to lend versatility for future needs.

Here's an overview of the Gladiator Garageworks line:

Tool and gear storage. Think modular and easily moveable floor units: wheeled tall and short gear boxes, plus a gear drawer set. Also, two sizes of wall cabinets.

Workbenches. Sturdy maple-topped workbenches in 6-foot and 8-foot lengths, fit perfectly around wheeled gear boxes, allowing for "wiggle room" between units.

Appliances. The Freezerator is Garageworks' innovative 21 cubic feet convertible freezer-refrigerator. It's a bottom freezer, while the smaller, top unit converts from a freezer to fridge with the flip of a switch. It won't sweat in high humidity environments and in cold climates protects against freezing fridge items. The Chillerator is its 19 cubic feet refrigerator. Want to crunch the trash? It even offers a garage compactor.

Floor covering. Racing checkerboard flooring finishes the sleek look with 12 inch by 12 inch interlocking tile flooring in silver and black. The tile takes a beating, resists staining and matches the tread plates on cabinets and appliances. Garageworks also features roll PVC flooring in 8-feet-wide widths and varying lengths, with 2-inch interlocking seams.

Also available are matching accessories such as power strips and stools. Mini wall-storage bins, hooks and tool holders are easily mounted on its wall racks and panels to create a unified appearance. The line has even moved into the home: Gladiator gear is found in laundry rooms, bathrooms and kitchens.

More information on each of the two lines, including dealer information, can be found at www.slide-lok.com and www.gladiatorgw.com.

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