We've reached the conclusion of this enjoyably smooth garage project. Here's a brief update: I started with a car lift from American Automotive Products (ec, March '07) and followed it with a sick epoxy-urethane floor from Protective Flooring and Imagine That 360 (ec, May '07). Then it was furnished with all-aluminum cabinets from Moduline Garage (ec, Dec '07), giving the place real character. This time, I tackle the other section of the floor and add some extremely bright yet low-consumption lighting.
There are several ways to do garage lighting: large fluorescent fixtures, recessed high-intensity bulbs, or maybe even track lighting. Since the dry wall had already been finished, the easiest option was to mount some fluorescent lights on the ceiling. My only concern was whether they would be bright enough, since a similar setup in my previous home didn't quite do the trick.
With Full Spectrum Solutions, I didn't have to worry. FSS produces a plethora of high-definition fluorescent lighting for home or work. And if you believe the studies that show proper lighting to reduce depression-especially in northern and mid-western states during the winter months-then read on.
An ideal light source will have both a color temperature similar to daylight and a high Color Rendering Index (CRI) value. Broad daylight is considered between 5000 to 6000 Kelvin. FSS' BlueMax T5/T6 hybrid fluorescent lights achieve an impressive 5900k. It's safe to say these tubes provide perfect daytime light.
For the workspace, Full Spectrum sells the Ultralux T5 hybrid tube fixture that provides an extreme amount of light similar to daylight, only it uses less than half the energy of high-intensity discharge units. Each comes with four BlueMax T5/T6 hybrid bulbs (a six-lamp version is also available). I ended up installing four fixtures-three hard-wired and one plug-in. Which may be overkill, but every corner has ample lighting. Additionally, the slant of the vaulted ceiling makes an ideal site for these lights, since they point directly into a car's engine bay and trunk. I'd like to thank my father, Jorge Mazlumian, for his help in wiring the lights and installing the conduit. Come to think of it, that stubborn Armenian pretty much did it all himself and pushed me back any time I tried to help.
The finishing touch was to complete the flooring opposite the workspace. I contacted Protective Industrial Flooring once again, which had just released its latest floor stain. Protective's Eco floor stain is the newest generation of water-based stains made of mostly natural products, and doesn't include acids that were once common in the industry. Protective offers six colors, including light and medium grays, two shades of brown, a tan, and a green. I chose a combination of the two shades of brown, that Protective reps said would potentially give the floor a look like aged leather. Pretty cool.
Protective sent a couple of technicians to apply the flooring. Applying stain is a simpler process than the epoxy urethane in the third car spot. Since the floor must be as clean and grease-free as possible, they started off with a thorough purge using a power washer. This was followed with a couple of applications of stain, and later, a sealer. Then they were done. The stain was left to dry for a couple of days before driving on it. It cured quickly and hasn't had a single issue since. The finish has indeed turned out to look like aged leather and any previous oil stains only add to the effect.
For Protective to apply this stain, the charge is about $6.50 per square foot. Although the stain was still new at the time of the install and not available as a do-it-yourself kit, owner Jim Martin is hopeful he'll have one available with easy-to-follow instructions by the time you read this. If my home phone goes straight to voicemail, you know where I'll be.