This last holiday season one Carey brother finally broke from tradition and purchased an artificial Christmas tree. Turns out to have been a good move. The tree stands 10 feet tall and comes in four sections. It has collapsible branches that are prewired with hundreds of twinkle lights. The prospect of never having to string another set of lights or add water to the reservoir, along with future annual savings, was all it took.
The new tree survived the holidays well. In contrast to previous cut trees, it looked as good as the day it was put up. It came apart the same way that it was assembled, and in a matter of minutes, was placed neatly on the garage floor. It was only at that moment the Carey brother in question began to panic. Where was this new addition to spend the other 11 months of the year?
The two-car garage already was cluttered to the point where it barely accommodated one vehicle. The artificial tree, only moments before a marvelous find, became the enemy, as it threatened a man’s final frontier and most sacred of all places — the garage.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and it was time to win back the garage. Its walls were lined from floor to ceiling and wall to wall with boxes of all shapes and sizes. The mission was to make room for the tree and as many of the boxes as possible. The answer was to convert dead attic space above the finished garage into a storage area.
This was accomplished by cutting a hole in the garage ceiling and installing a pull-down attic staircase, along with several sheets of plywood flooring atop the ceiling joist. Since the underside of a pull-down attic staircase usually consists of plywood and is, therefore, not fireproof, the fireproof configuration needed to be preserved by installing a solid-core fire door at the ceiling.
Besides storing the tree, the space accommodated all the boxes, making room in the garage for a second car.
Not all storage stories have such a happy ending, however. Often, a garage ceiling is either unfinished or consists of pre-manufactured roof trusses, which make it virtually impossible to use the area for storage. Recently we came across a new product that offers a storage solution for those who are space-challenged. HyLoft overhead storage (www.hyloftusa.com) converts otherwise useless overhead garage space into valuable storage real estate.
The system consists of one 4-foot-by-4-foot wire-grid shelf unit that hangs from the ceiling of the garage. The lightweight grid sits atop two metal support bars that are fastened to four downrods. The downrods are in turn anchored to the underside of two ceiling joist. A previous homemade incarnation of this system consisted of 2-by-4s and plywood, which were, unfortunately, exceedingly heavy, thus limiting the weight of items to be stored. The four downrods on the system can be adjusted from 16 inches to 28 inches from the ceiling. One aspect that makes this system especially appealing is it can be installed immediately above a garage door, providing there is a minimum of 17 inches clearance. Properly installed, the system will not interfere either with garage doors or openers.
One 4-foot-by-4-foot overhead storage system will provide about 35 cubic feet of storage and is warranted to hold a maximum of 250 pounds, evenly distributed. To adequately disperse the stored load, not more than two HyLoft units should be installed on any two ceiling joist.
The installation consists of locating the ceiling joist, measuring the bracket locations and anchoring the brackets to the ceiling joist with the screws provided. Complete the job by fastening the downrods and attaching the crossbar supports. You get instant storage in a location that might otherwise have gone unused.
For more home improvement tips and information visit our Web site at www.onthehouse.com.