Garage work begins

Back from summer holidays a couple of weeks ago, I had a sudden epiphany. I had a car kit arriving in 12 weeks and a garage that’s a midden. After documenting it in the linked post, I set to work. I’m not half way yet, but some progress has been made.

Down The Pit

I chose to kick the whole thing off in the pit. My reasoning was that I could make a difference quickly, then cover it up while I complete the rest of the renovation work.

The pit

The pit as I found it, with covering planks removed.

My Dad gave me a steer here, from his years as a diesel mechanic, working in the post-war period when pits were common in garages. Paint the walls and floor white, he said. Any light that gets in there you want to make the most of. Also install a small shelf in the pit. Inevitably, when you put something down on the garage floor when you are working down there, it’ll roll away. Put a shelf in and it’s easily within reach.

So, chuck out the broken, rotten chair, bowls full of engine oil and plastic chainlink fencing. Paint a first coat of white emulsion diluted to 50:50 with water to seal the walls, followed by an undiluted top coat.

Two coats of emulsion on the pit walls

Two coats of emulsion on the pit walls

On to the floor. After sealing the concrete, I had hoped to get away with one coat of floor paint, but it needs proper mixing, as I discovered after my first coat started out pale to the point of translucent.

Pit with floor painted.

Pit with floor painted. Almost done.

Handily, the extending roller arm I already had, including cheap-as-chips half-dead rough surface roller proved to be a perfect combo for covering the floor without painting myself into a corner. A second coat, after a better stir, and we have a blindingly white pit. It’ll never be this clean again.

I still need to pop a shelf in, paint the metal lip with black Hammerite and plan what to do with the boards. The floor tiles are black so I’m thinking not black. Back to my Dad and his experience – he suggests painting a diagonal stripe of colour to ensure the boards go back in the same order. Dark grey and a red stripe maybe. Or red and a dark grey stripe? This will probably be the last thing I do before the garage is pronounced ready, so I still have time to work it out.


After much sweating and a few conversations with salespeople about price, I eventually settled on the Black textured 500/7 Ecotile floor tiles. Ordered on a Thursday, they were delivered the following Monday, thanks to the helpful folk at Ecotile. They are sitting under the blue sheet you can see in the foreground of some of the photos of the pit, above. They look easy to put together, and are massive compared to the samples I received. I knew the dimensions when I ordered them, but 500mm x 500mm still looks huge. Hopefully they go down easily. I’ve been advised by Ecotile that I may need to stick them down around the pit edge and below where the car exhaust ends up, but I think I’ll wait and see if this is necessary before going down that route.


I’m going for white on the walls, for light much the same as the pit. I’ve started to strip off the shelving and renovate the rusty brackets. It’s a time consuming repetitive process, but one which I’m quite enjoying. Time to think, plan out the rest of the garage, do the job right.

Rusting strip light

Rusting strip light

There are five strip lights attached to the ceiling, that were once white. Now, they are quietly rusting into oblivion. Or at least they were. Attacked with a wire brush, sandpaper and my new best friend, white, smooth finish Hammerite they at least now look presentable. In the photos the fittings are missing the strip of metal which hides the wiring as I’ve taken this off to paint on the floor.

Renovated strip light

Renovated strip light

This was actually the most rusty part of the fitting. I think there was a substantial leak in the roof in the past, which has led to the rust. The roof is much newer than the rest of the building. New roof, old lights. An afternoon later and the five of them are looking like they might last a few more years. I did consider putting in a light on the wall at waist height, but eventually decided against it. I’ll have plenty of light, space and better access to the car than most household garages provide. I’ve got enough to do without making the list longer.

Left To Do

Lots. Paint the walls, ceiling, shelf brackets, shelves. Lay the floor. Paint the pit lip and boards. And, fit that small shelf in the pit. Lots.

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