Every car fanatic and detailer has a dream detailing garage setup in their mind.
Having the perfect setup can completely change your thoughts and feelings. Working in a garage that’s hard to operate in, can make you hate detailing and make it feel like a chore.
Below is a list of ideas that you can combine to make your garage into the dream setup
Probably the hardest thing on this list to get.
Having enough space in your garage will determine whether you want to work in it.
If you’re trying to operate in a single bay garage that has barely any room to fit a car, let alone work on it, you’re not going to want to spend much time in there.
There are ways to make a small garage feel bigger and/or store more equipment. Buying wall mounts and storage on wheels that you can move around is a start.
Unfortunately, efficient storage will only get you so far. You will always be better off getting an extension to your garage, but it can be both complicated and very costly.
If you’re yet to find a workspace, keep this in mind. Buy right or buy twice.
Overlooking the type of flooring that you have in your garage is a common mistake that people make.
Having the correct flooring will allow you to wash your car and take care of those oil spills without damaging the original flooring in your garage.
Listed below are the most common types of flooring you’ll find in a garage. Each style of flooring has pros and cons, it’s up to you to decide which best suits you.
Paint – For a very basic level of protection, you can give the floor a coat of paint.
Doing this will brighten up the place but it will not give you the professional or modern look that you may be going for.
If you’re on a budget and are looking to DIY your dream garage, you are able to get latex and epoxy paint solutions that you can apply yourself.
I would always choose epoxy paint, it has a modern gloss type finish and it’s said to last a lot longer than latex-based solutions.
Epoxy Coating- Despite being epoxy, Epoxy paint and Epoxy coating are very different.
Epoxy paint is a latex-based solution with a slight amount of epoxy mixed in. It’s prone to staining and will begin to crack in high traffic areas.
Epoxy coating, on the other hand, is a 2 part solution. You have the epoxy resin itself and a hardener.
Choosing the epoxy coating will cost a lot more. That said, it will provide a long-lasting, slip-resistant floor that gives your garage the professional look.
If you do decide to choose epoxy coating, you’ll need to get a professional to install it. It’s not something you can do yourself and get right.
Tiles – Probably the most commonly used flooring in home garages.
Depending on the type of tiles you go for, the price should come in somewhere between the paint options and epoxy coating.
The tiles will sit on top of your garage floor and will offer slip resistance, protection and much more.
You are able to install most tiles within a day. There’s no need for a professional to install and you are able to replace damaged tiles within minutes.
You don’t have to cover your entire garage with tiles, a lot of places will have dedicated bays with tiles on top of an epoxied floor.
RaceDeck is where it all began. They’re the original creators of the “modular garage flooring” industry.
There are many options on amazon but if you go direct to RaceDeck you will find a floor design page that will allow you to customize your own flooring.
Unfortunately, because they were the first and the game and are still the industry leader, this is the most expensive tiling option. The quality, customization, and support justify the price though.
SwissTrax, as the name suggests, was founded in Switzerland. They were in the game for 20 years until they brought the product to North America in 2006.
Like RaceDeck, they offer customization and do their best to make sure that you get the floor design that you dream of.
Do you have trouble visualizing what your garage would look like finished? Swisstrax offers a 3d designer which allows you to recreate your garage and see what it would look like when complete.
Once you’ve finished your design you’ll be able to receive a quote from SwissTrax and have your dream garage within a matter of days.
Again, these are one of the industry leaders so the price you are quoted may shock you at first. Don’t rule them out until you’ve received a quote though.
Depending on where you’re located, there are other, cheaper options. If you’re in the United Kingdom or Mainland Europe, a company like Duramat may be of use.
If you want to be extra safe, you can always combine tiling with an epoxy coated floor. A lot of professional garages do this, though it will cost you a fair amount.
If you’re looking to ever wash your car in the garage using a pressure washer, drainage is essential.
Most of the time I would wash the car outside before taking it into the garage to dry it. This wouldn’t require any drainage but performing a full wash would.
There are a lot of precautions you would need to take to wash a car properly in a garage. You would need to drain the water, have proper ventilation and baseboards to protect the walls from water.
Effectively you would turn your garage into one huge wet room. It’s a lot of money and a lot of effort, but if you want to perform a full wash while being indoors, it’s crucial to protect your garage as much as possible.
If you are able to pre-wash the vehicle outside and then perform an ONR wash indoors, you may not even need a drain, let alone all the other precautions.
The truth is, it’s probably not worth it to set up your garage to wash indoors. It’s a lot of money to avoid washing outdoors in the cold.
Having the right lighting in your detailing garage is crucial.
In a detailing garage, you want to recreate daylight. The idea is to get light that comes in around 5000k.
Daylight is 5000-6500K, Lights that you would have in your home are normally around 2700k.
Lights in the range of 5000 give off a bluer-light that’s closer to daylight while still being easy on the eyes. If you go up to 6500, it may be a little more strenuous on your eyes.
I’m not too clued up on lights but I trust Obsessed Garage when he recommends these overhead lights. He’s clued up on everything detailing and has an amazing detailing garage setup.
Depending on the equipment and types of vehicles you store in your garage, you may have a lot of value in your garage.
It’s not uncommon for criminals to look at garages as a paradise for making money. I had a friend who fell victim to this, losing all his expensive downhill competition bikes while he was sleeping.
If you’re operating a business out of your garage, security is a must-have. You should also have your garage insured.
A lot of times visible security measures are enough to deter burglars from even trying.
Security is no joke and you should always take the required actions to protect yourself from anything bad happening.
Here are some DIY options for you to consider:
Security Cameras – There are many different cameras you can choose for protecting your garage. Depending on your budget and the value of your garage, you could get a simple WiFi Camera or you could go all-in.
Ideally, you would have a camera that is weatherproof, allows real-time monitoring and records footage to your PC or cloud storage.
I also have one which sits inside my garage. Burglars may not expect it, you are able to track stuff that you misplace and you may even see some other stuff on there too.
A good CCTV Camera will set you back anywhere from $50-$200. The fewer features you want, the less it will cost you.
Alarm System – For alarm systems, you’re looking at anywhere upwards of $100. This is for a basic intruder alarm.
While it’s a little more costly, I like the Alarm Security Kit that I purchased from ring. It’s a 5 piece kit and I can expand it anytime that I want with equipment such as video doorbells and so on.
Ring also offers protection plans. In the event of an alarm going off, they will contact 3 of your listed contacts. Not only that but if your wifi cuts out, they will have an always-on cellular backup.
Ring Protection comes at a price though, $10 per month. It’s definitely worth it though if you decide to have a Ring Security Camera and Alarm System for your garage.
Depending on what type of detailer you are, you may not even be familiar with using lifting equipment.
If you want to give the wheel arches and alloys a proper clean and detail, you will need a trolley jack and axle stands to lift the car and take off the wheels.
You may want to do some undercarriage cleaning, in which case you’ll need at least a 2 post car lift.
Think about the type of work you may need lifting equipment for. Do you plan on doing bodywork or mechanical work in the garage too?
If all you’re doing is lifting a car and taking the wheels off, a trolley jack and a set of axle stands will cost you less than $100.
You don’t need to go all out. Buying bigger and better equipment will open up more opportunities but it’ll also cost you a lot more than you may be able to afford.
Whenever you look at a garage, the thing that stands out most is the cabinets. For me, a good cabinet setup acts as a feature wall and provides a mass amount of storage at the same time.
Unfortunately, cabinets can be very costly. Based on the quality and brand of product that you choose, cabinets can cost you anywhere between $100-$10,000.
Each price point will come with different levels of build quality and the materials used will vary.
Budget Cabinets – If you’re just starting out, you may be looking for a budget option that will help you store your stuff while you save for a better setup. That’s completely ok, there are plenty of options still.
The downside with budget cabinets is mostly their aesthetics and durability. If you’re looking to flex on Instagram and show off your garage, budget cabinets aren’t what you need.
Most budget cabinets are made of wood, they can look somewhat clean, but they definitely have limits on how much they can hold.
Middle Tier Cabinets – For middle-tier cabinets you are looking at brands such as Husky and NewAge Products.
If you want to build your own garage storage system, you can buy the standalone units and build them piece by piece.
Because I’m lazy, I go for the pre-bundled storage systems. You can buy cabinet sets that already fit together, look great and have great functionality.
Buying standalone units will cost you more in the long run, but are a good choice if you can’t afford the whole setup at once.
Opting for the storage systems that are already chosen and fit well together will offer a level of convenience but will set you back $500-$2500 in one shot.
This NewAge Product setup costs $1,119 and is a great place to start. Thanks to its modular design, if you want to upgrade, you can buy more units and add them on without any issue.
High-End Cabinets – If you thought $2500 was too much for a storage system, prepare to be even more shocked. A high-end cabinet system will set you back anywhere from $2000-$7500.
All the storage systems from Husky & NewAge Products are high gauge steel and are made with longevity in mind.
The main difference between mid and high-end cabinets is the number of cabinets that you get and how they are setup.
With high-end storage systems, you can arrange it any way you want. You can have it across the back wall or tuck it away into a corner.
The amount of workspace that you get with a more expensive storage system will also increase thanks to the extra countertop space.
I’ll be honest, 99% of people will not need a high-end storage system, especially if they’re only detailing. These are the types of cabinets that you would see in a professional garage.
Unless you have money to burn, stick to the mid-range stuff and build your way up. The modular systems are great and let you do just this.
For those of you with minimal space in your garage, wall mounts will be crucial to making the most out of your space.
Wall mounts are also good for keeping the tools that you use most in an easy to access area. I like to keep detailing brushes and a socket set on my pegboard for example.
Pegboards – These are by far the most flexible wall mount storage you can get. You will be able to store anything on these.
If you get a big enough pegboard you will be able to store brushes and tools on it. You can also get lint bins for bolts or screws that you may take out during the detailing process.
Another idea would be to get hooks so that you can also store Microfiber towels on it.
I also have shelves on mine so that I can put a box of disposable gloves in an easily accessible location.
Slatwall Panel – These are what shops use to display products and hang up t-shirts on the wall.
Slatwall panels offer a lot of flexibility. You can put different accessories on them to achieve the functionality you desire.
They also look a lot better than a metal pegboard.
Using hooks, display arms, baskets, and shelves, you will be able to create the ultimate wall mount for your garage.
Make sure to pay attention to maximum loads though. You don’t want to overload the shelves causing them to break and drop your expensive equipment.
Shelving Units or Utility Racks are great for those on a budget.
You can get heavy duty shelving units that hold up to 200kg per shelf for $30-$50 each.
These shelving units will allow you to organize and store your detailing equipment or products while being able to see them at all times.
If you don’t want to see the products and equipment because it looks untidy, you can buy boxes to place them in. It’s all personal preference
I have my DA Polisher on a shelf with a box of pads next to it, then my Microfibers, Wax, Quick Detailers on another.
It’s your garage, I’m just suggesting ideas.
Since you’re in a detailing garage and may have some moisture, choosing plastic units over metal ones may be beneficial.
That being said, I haven’t had any rust issues with my TMZ Rack.
Again, if you’re working in a smaller garage, you may find that these shelving units take up too much space. Make sure to take measurements before purchasing.
Having an entertainment center in your garage could be a distraction, it could also be a very useful source of information.
Depending on what you plan to do in your garage, an entertainment center may be a break spot, or it could be used to learn.
Once you decide what you’re using it for, you can then decided exactly what you’ll need.
PC / Laptop – For me, I’m a PC person all day.
Admittedly, hooking up a PC in your garage isn’t the most convenient thing in the world, and it’s certainly not portable.
In the garage, I have a laptop that’s hooked up to a smart TV.
I chose to get a laptop because it would allow me to have a workstation and I can also have it next to cars as I work
Being able to have a laptop next to you to follow digital guides while you work is very helpful. Though, If you’re just watching detailing videos a smart TV may be enough.
Paying for a laptop and a smart tv is going to cost you a lot.
You should think about whether you need it or not, It will be unnecessary for a lot of people.
Smart TV – As a detailer, most of the content that you will need is available on youtube.
Buying a Smart TV that has access to youtube and the sports channels that you like will be enough in most cases. It will also make your garage a place to hang out if you have some people around or want to escape the missus.
A 42 Inch Smart TV will cost you anywhere from $300-$500. It’s definitely a luxury item but will increase the time you spend in the garage tenfold.
Sound System – From a pure enjoyment perspective, having a good sound system is one of the most important things for me.
I love music and having a good speaker system in the garage can make working on a car a lot more enjoyable.
You could get yourself a pair of wireless headphones but it’s not the same. Having to worry about your earphones as you work is a distraction, they also don’t sound as good.
Retractable Extension Cord
A pricy bit of equipment for what it really is.
If you’re on a budget you can get a normal extension cord, however, a retractable one will save you a lot of time and effort when tidying up.
When you make a job have fewer obstacles and require less effort, you’re more likely to complete the job.
Instead of having to reel the cable in and wind it up around some hooks yourself, you can press a button and it will retract itself.
Having a retractable extension cord will make hoovering, pressure washing and machine polishing that little bit easier. You should definitely consider picking one of these up.
A detail cart is another tool that makes the job that little bit easier.
Depending on the size of your garage, going back and forward to your storage system may be time-consuming. The easiest way to cut out these trips is to have a detailing cart.
Having a good-sized cart will allow you to fill it up with the product and tools that you need for each stage.
Doing this will allow you to drag the cart around the car as you work, meaning you have the tools you need within arm’s length at all times.
Any mobile tool and parts trolley will do, you could also find random storage trolleys that suit your needs as well.
A detailing trolley will set you back anywhere from $50-$250.
This Costway 3 Tier Trolley is what I use, it holds up to 150kg and is built using heavy-duty steel. There’s even a side panel with holes in, perfect for holding thin detailing brushes.
Sink with Hot & Cold Tap
You really don’t realize how much you’ll appreciate this until you have a hot and cold tap in your garage.
Most people can make do with just using their outside tap or traipsing buckets of water through the house but I feel like this is a major upgrade for any garage.
Being able to wash your hands in warm water is great, especially since you’ve just been standing out in the cold washing your car.
It will also allow you to fill up your buckets for the contact wash. You should always use warm water for car shampoo or ONR, it’s what the instructions tell you to do.
If you have any ideas feel free to share them. I’m very interested to see what you guys have in your dream detailing garage setup.