Tailored Living (Burnaby, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, BC)

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Renovating Your Garage: When Do You Need a Permit?

old garageThis is a question that sometimes gets asked when extensive garage renovations are being undertaken. It’s a valid and pertinent question and one that, despite some of the differing nuances in language and minor specifications in the various municipalities that make up the Lower Mainland, has basically the same answer no matter where you live.

Because nicer weather is beginning to drive home owners out to their garages, be it for building and tinkering purposes or simply for hanging out, it’s the time of year that garage renovations pick up steam. Tailored Living does all kinds of different garage transformations, from Man Caves to workshops to basic all-purpose rooms for parking the car and storing tools and sporting gear. In the vast majority of garage renos that we are involved in here in the Greater Vancouver area, no building permits are required.

We strongly urge home owners to do their due diligence and check with their city office if they suspect that they may be doing renovations that require a permit. That being said, there are some general rules of thumb that you can apply when planning your garage reno (or any other home renovation for that matter). You will most likely need a building permit if:

* You plan to add onto an existing structure.

* You want to move any walls or partitions.

* You must move any lines such as plumbing, gas or electrical.

* You are making repairs or changes to the structure itself.

* You are adding, removing or moving doors or windows.

* You are changing the primary use of your garage space, i.e. converting your garage into a permanent living space (rather than a place to park and store household items).

You may also be required to get a trade permit along with a building permit. Trade permits are often required for alterations on or significant changes to electrical systems, gas systems, plumbing systems and sprinkler systems.

Another thing you need to be aware of when planning a garage renovation or other room or home renos is that, in order to undertake certain kinds of renovations, your municipality may require you to install entirely new systems or components you weren’t planning for. Sometimes these installations may even apply to other parts of the house that aren’t part of the space you are renovating. For example, one Greater Vancouver home owner wanted to make renovations to his family room area, including an addition. However, in order to comply with local code, the homeowner would have had to install a sprinkler system in his whole 1970’s-built home in order to comply. This requirement would have cost the home owner more than double what the basic renovation to the room would have cost and simply made the project unfeasible. Instead, he made significant changes to his plans and decided to forgo the addition in order to be able to get a cosmetic upgrade without having to install the sprinkler system.

In general, it can all be boiled down to a basic rule of thumb: if the changes that you are making to your garage are “cosmetic” and not structural, you will not be required to get any permits. If, however, you are adding to, upgrading, repairing or changing the basic structure or those crucial systems mentioned previously, this will likely require you to get a permit and, subsequently, an inspection to ensure that all new work is up to the current code in your municipality. As we already mentioned, most of the garage renovations that Tailored Living does in Greater Vancouver are considered “cosmetic” and do not require any permits. However, it’s always prudent to check with the municipal authority, just in case.

City of Vancouver building permit info.

Coquitlam building permit info.

Burnaby building permit info.

Surrey building permit info.

Maple Ridge building permit info.

Pitt Meadows building permit info.


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10 Garage Maintenance Tasks You Should Tackle This Spring

lego-568039_960_720We feel like we are pretty safe in saying that spring has finally arrived in Greater Vancouver, even though it has been pretty wet so far. At least the snow is finished, and with cherry blossoms exploding everywhere and warmer weather even on cloudy days, it’s hard to be too bothered by the rain.

Of course, spring also means “spring cleaning.” It’s a tradition the origin of which is difficult to pinpoint. Nevertheless, it’s a smart thing to do when you own a home (no matter how big or small). Since we are experts in all things garage, and since this part of the house probably gets the least amount of attention, we thought it would be timely to draw attention to some spring cleaning maintenance tasks for the garage. By spending a little extra time at this time of year, you can save yourself hassle, grief and even more time the rest of the year.

1) Tidy up. Why do people spring clean the living areas of their home but neglect the garage? Spring is a great time to tackle the garage, too. Purge the space of items you don’t use or need anymore and take the time to organize everything else. Check out these spring garage cleaning tips from one of our previous posts: https://tailoredlivingvancouver.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/spring-cleaning-and-organizing-in-the-garage-is-easier-this-year/

2) Sweep and clean your entire garage floor. This is super important, because you probably dragged in all kinds of dirt, gravel and muck over the winter which isn’t good for your floors or for your vehicle’s tires.

3) Inspect your garage door. Are all of its parts in good working order or does anything need to be replaced? Give its moving parts (tracks, springs, hinges, rollers, etc.) a garagecleaning if needed by gently brushing away dirt and grease clumps with a soft-bristled brush and then lubricate them with a garage door lubricant.

4) Remove winter window coverings, if you have any.

5) Remove and replace worn weather stripping.

Optional and Periodic Garage Maintenance Tasks:

1) Patch holes and cracks in your garage floor.

2) Re-coat/re-seal your garage floor. The frequency with which you’ll need to do this depends on what your floor is made of and what kind of sealant (if any) is already on it. If it’s time for a new sealant, check out our exclusive PremierOne® Garage Floor Coatings. Depending on what type you choose, our coatings are guaranteed to last for a specific length of time, meaning you don’t have to reseal year after year.

painting-black-paint-roller3) Repair dents and nicks in drywall and repaint.

4) Have your garage door professionally inspected and make any repairs or parts replacements that are needed.

5) Conduct a full-out purging and re-organize your garage. Maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve tackled the clutter in your garage. Or, maybe you’ve been doing regular tidying up, but the accumulation of stuff has outpaced your ability to keep on top of being organized. Whatever your reasons, sometimes a garage interior reorganization is necessary in order to maintain your own sanity and keep clutter and accumulation under control.

If clutter is an ongoing problem in your garage, maybe it’s time for a complete garage storage overhaul. Tailored Living has hundreds of solutions and a plan that’s made just for you and the space that you have to work with. It doesn’t matter if your garage is small… Tailored Living can design solutions that perfectly fit the space you do have.

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13 Tips for Preventing Garage Fires

mancave-8October is Fire Prevention Month, with the week of October 9 – 15 having been devoted specifically to fire prevention education and awareness. We think this is the perfect opportunity to talk about garage fire prevention. While most home owners are very conscious about keeping their homes fire-proofed and checking their smoke detectors regularly, they often overlook the garage when it comes to fire prevention measures.

According to the US Fire Administration, garage fires tend to spread farther and cause more injuries and dollar losses per fire than fires that start in all other areas of the home. Just look at these sobering statistics:

* According to 2007 statistics (the most recent year for which complete stats are available), approximately 3% of all home fires in BC originated in the garage.

* The total annual cost average of damages in garage fires in BC is $4,821,040.

* A significant number of garage fires are related to chemicals (i.e. gasoline, motor oil) that are ignited by sparks from vehicles or electrical equipment. Others are related to faulty wiring and exacerbated by flammable chemicals stored in the garage.Burn Baby Burn

* A majority of residential single-family homes with garages do not have smoke detectors in the garage.

* Although residential arson fires are rare, garages are frequently targeted in home arsons.

With all of its flammables and potential fuel sources, garages should be getting more attention when it comes to fire prevention. You can start with these easy tips:

1) Be mindful of potential sources of sparks. This includes your car’s engine and battery, power tools, power cords and outlets and any appliances that are plugged in (spare refrigerator, deep freeze). An accident or electrical short in any of these things have potential to start a fire. Try to keep them away from flammables.

2) Keep your garage door open if you’re working with power tools.

3) Check power cords and outlets regularly for wear, tears or exposed wiring. Keep power cords secured to the floor if possible and close to the walls.

4) Don’t block or cover up power outlets. Give them room to breathe.

5) Don’t overload outlets.

6) Unplug any tools or appliances that aren’t being used.

7) Keep highly flammable items away from potential sources of sparks.

8) Get rid of old car batteries, “empty” motor oil containers and propane bottles (they’re never truly empty) and other potential flammables that don’t need to be saved. (Almost all of these things can go to recycling in Greater Vancouver.)

9) Don’t smoke in your garage. Don’t leave butts in the garage.

10) Regularly go through items stored in the garage and get rid of things you don’t need. Everything in the garage is a potential fuel source. Even though some things ignite and burn faster than others, you should assume that anything you keep in the garage is a potential fuel source. If you don’t need it or don’t plan to use it again, get rid of it. (See recycling in Greater Vancouver, #7)

11) Always keep garage floors clear of debris. Don’t store items on the floor if possible. Hang them, put them on shelves or inside cupboards or work benches. You can even suspend items from the ceiling. Check out our garage accessories page for some practical, surprising and inexpensive ways to store items off of the garage floor.

12) Install a smoke detector in your garage. (It will not only save your garage; it might save your entire home.)Smoke Alarm

13) Ensure that the door from the garage to the house is fire-rated and well-sealed.

Tailored Living can not only design your custom dream garage, we can also make your space practical and efficient with storage solutions that fit your lifestyle, keep you organized and ensure that you have a proper place for everything in your garage.

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Why Tailored Living Metal and Stainless Steel Garage Cabinets Are the Best of the Best

metal garage cabinets with carMetal garage cabinetry offers some excellent benefits, not the least of which is aesthetic value. They look amazingly contemporary and lend themselves to a variety of design styles and concepts. In addition to being exceptionally good-looking, metal and stainless steel garage cabinets offer more durability than traditional cabinet materials like engineered wood. If you’re planning to update your garage and you’re looking for lasting value, or you’re selling your home and want to get a leg up on other home sellers in your neighbourhood, steel is the way to go.

metal3 cabinet lockingOf course, there are lots of options out there in metal cabinetry, including over-the-counter cookie-cutter models. However, there is a reason why Tailored Living has chosen its industry-tough product as part of its garage cabinet lineup. Actually, there are several reasons why our product beats every other competitor’s product on the market:

* Fully-welded 18-gauge steel frames provide superior support for cabinets, accessories and contents.

* Double-walled steel doors provide a barrier between contents and the elements, like wet Lower Mainland weather. Locks come standard, so you can store valuable content inside and not worry about security.

* Optional under-cabinet LED lighting available with integrated valance so you get light wherever you need it, whether it’s for working on that hobby project or spotlighting your favourite sports memorabilia.

* Two different options for countertop/workbenches: bamboo or stainless steel. Either choice will last for years and stand up to wear and repeated use (even blows from tools).

* Convenient cut-outs in base cabinets for cables and electrical cords.

* Option of steel legs or casters for floor cabinets.

* A variety of cabinet choices designed for functionality: sporting equipment, tools or multi-use.

* High quality powder coat finish provides superior scratch and stain resistance plus easy clean up.

* Because Tailored Living installs its cabinets using its own, dedicated and trained contractors, it is able to offer a lifetime guarantee on all of its metal cabinets. You won’t find a guarantee like this from a big box chain store.

When you purchase cabinets (steel or otherwise) over-the-counter, more often than not it’s like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. It might fit, sort of, but you’ll always know by the gaps and cabinet doors that open in the wrong direction that it wasn’t made for your particular space. Custom garage cabinets made for your exact dimensions ensure that you get the best possible use of the space that you have. No awkward gaps, no empty corners, just efficient and durable storage for your lifestyle.

metal10 tall cabinet

Wonder how stainless steel cabinets might transform your garage from utilitarian to actual living space? Request a free consultation, where you can see in three dimensions the possibilities.

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Seven Luxury Garage Accessories Dads Will Drool Over

man working with tools in garageFather’s Day season is always a great time of year to highlight the ultimate Man Cave: the garage. It doesn’t really matter what guys (dads and non-dads alike) like to do in the garage, whether its tinkering with engines, building stuff or just hanging out. There are all kinds of luxury garage accessories out there that dads can’t help but drool over. We’ve picked out seven of our favourites. What guy wouldn’t want one of these:

1) Automotive elevator: Only a two-car garage? “Two car” might be relative if you install an automotive elevator. This way, you can stack cars two-high, so a two-car garage might become a four-car garage. It’s a great way to store your classic car or the sports car that only comes out storage in the summer.

2) Automotive lift: Every guy who likes to work on cars can appreciate how much easier it would be to have one of these. You’ll be able to throw your hydraulic jack away.

bar-1329386 beer keg

Photo by Elizabeth Espichan

3) Bar: There’s no rule that the garage is only for cars. Or for that matter, that bars are only for basement rec rooms. Turn your garage into a neighbourhood hangout with a bar, counter and bar stools. Install a beer tap and get ready for the influx of new friends you’ll make. If you can’t afford to convert your whole garage because you still need someplace to park the car, how about a mini bar instead? Install a small cabinet to hold your favourite spirits and a mini fridge for beer and other cold drinks.

4) Gym: Even a small, single-car garage can be transformed into a gym with rack, bench and weights. If you are lucky enough to have an exceptionally-large garage, go crazy and put in a basketball or racquetball court for the ultimate home athletic centre.

black car in garage5) Flooring: This is a luxury that is much more affordable to indulge in than an elevator or bar. Tailored Living’s PremierOne floor coatings cover your existing concrete floor, protecting it from potential damage due to moisture and other elements. Plus, it looks amazing! It even makes a great garage gym floor. Even more affordable is Tailored Living’s PremierTrax interlocking floor tiles. These durable tiles are laid right over your existing floor. Installation can be completed in a matter of hours and there is no wait time to get back inside your garage (and maybe set up your weights and bench).

6) Entertainment/gaming centre. Call it a Man Cave if you like, but there’s nothing cave-ish about a garage that doubles as a place to hang out with the guys, complete with built in big screen TV, DVD player and gaming console. Throw in your favourite beat-up couch, popcorn and beer and you have a party just waiting to happen.

Stainless steel cabinets and drawers with work table by Tailored Living. Gridwall on wall allows for easy hanging and storage of tools and other items.

Stainless steel cabinets and drawers with work table by Tailored Living. Gridwall on wall allows for easy hanging and storage of tools and other items.

7) The ultimate workshop: Whether wood work, welding/metal work or automotive repair or restoration is your thing, your garage can be the ideal workshop. Build in work benches, tables or equipment. Add pegboard, slatwall or gridwall and you’ll have a place to hang tools and other things you need.





These are just a small handful of ideas. Even if a car elevator is out of the question, you can still get a great garage makeover at an affordable price. Tailored Living offers free in-home consultations and can work with you to create a customized garage space for whatever you like to do in the garage.


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Ten Common Garage Pet Hazards

shimi-and-bella-1410823-1279x852It’s not always easy to see things from the perspective of your pet. Not only are humans viewing the world at a totally different height than their cats and dogs, they also experience the world differently with their senses that humans do. Dogs have poorer eyesight than people, so they experience and explore their environment through their sense of smell. Cats use both their superior night time and peripheral vision and their heightened sense of smell to interpret the world.

When it comes to the garage, there are all kinds of hazards that pets may come into contact with. Not only may humans not be aware of what some of these hazards are, they may not even realize they are there. However, your pets will. If you don’t take proper precautions and preventative measures, you could end up with a very sick pet, or worse.

Tailored Living/Premier Garage’s commitment to customer satisfaction also extends to the four-legged members of its customers’ families. Because spring and summer bring warmer weather, which also tends to put pets in a much more explorative frame of mind, we wanted to share with our customers ten of the most common pet garage hazards and what you can do to keep your pets away from them.

By the way, almost all of the substances that are hazardous to pets are also toxic or harmful to people. While you know better than to drink antifreeze, your toddler may not, so these tips are also useful for parents of young children:


1) Ethylene glycol: This substance is the chief ingredient in antifreeze, a liquid which almost every pet owner knows is lethal to pets, even in very small doses. What many pet owners don’t realize is that ethylene glycol can be found in many other products besides antifreeze. Some of the most surprising include brake fluid, some paint and stain products, agricultural fungicides, caulking material, glass cleaner and numerous other types of cleaners. Don’t assume that the nasty scent of these products will turn pets off, either. Ethylene glycol has a sweet flavour, and it only takes one lick for a pet to get hooked. Ingesting even a little bit almost always results in pet death within hours, and a great deal of suffering leading up to it.

How to avoid it: Always store antifreeze and other chemicals out of reach of pets. High shelves are a good solution; a closed cabinet is even better. Cats can climb, so keep this in mind when selecting a storage spot. Make sure to re-cap all containers when non in use. Never leave antifreeze or other chemicals in a catch pan. Store all chemicals, including antifreeze, in their original containers. Make sure the containers are always clearly labelled.

2) Diethylene glycol: This compound derived from ethylene glycol can be just as deadly, though it does so differently than ethylene glycol. It is found in many of the same products as ethylene glycol, particularly in solvents. It, too, has a sweet taste and so is attractive to pets and sometimes children.

How to avoid it: The same principles apply here as for ethylene glycol: keep it out of reach of pets and kids. Better yet, keep it behind closed cabinet doors.

3) De-icing salt: It’s commonly used in winter time to melt snow and ice on roads, and it’s very effective but is notoriously corrosive to the metal in vehicles. Many people don’t realize that it’s also bad for cats and dogs. It contains the same kind of salt that is in table salt, and table salt in excessive amounts is bad for everyone, pets and people alike. However, de-icing salt also contains other ingredients. These ingredients can cause damage mouth and throat burns. In bigger amounts it can lead to liver failure and death.

Even if you don’t keep de-icing salt in your garage, you carry it in on your tires any time it is used on local roads. Both cats and dogs have been known to lick their paws after walking on de-iced roads and sidewalks and then get sick and even die. Thankfully we don’t get much snow and ice here in the Lower Mainland, but you should still remain watchful in the winter time.

How to avoid it: If you keep a supply of your own de-icing salt, make sure it is kept up high or in a cabinet or pet-proof container. Hose down your garage floor after bad weather when you know you may have tracked salt in on your tires.

4) Car Battery acid: Car batteries contain sulfuric acid. It is unlikely that a pet will ingest battery acid by licking it off the garage floor, although it’s not out of the question. The more likely scenario is that a pet may accidentally walk through it and then like it off of its paw. Contact with sulfuric acid on any part of the body can cause burns to the skin. If it is ingested, it can burn the mouth and throat. It may even lead to death.

How to avoid it: Don’t store car batteries in your garage. If for some reason you must, make sure that they are sealed and not in a place where they can be easily knocked over. Keep them in a closed cabinet if possible. If your pet does accidentally come into contact with battery acid, you may actually see burns on its skin.

5) Rodent bait: Rat and mouse poisons contain a whole host of different ingredients, all of which can cause illness or death in pets. Different types contain different ingredients, but the most common kinds contain blood thinners (anti-coagulants). If your dog or cat ingests this type, it can lead to internal bleeding.

How to avoid it: Choose a non-chemical mode of ridding your garage of unwanted rodents, such as traps (there are lots of different types on the market). If you must use rodenticides, use only those that have measures in place to prevent pets from accessing the poison inside the device. You can also choose rodenticides that are toxic to rodents but not to other animals, although this kind of claim may not always be reliable. Watch for signs of poisoning like abnormal bleeding, hematomas (bumps on the skin containing blood) or other abnormal behavior. Exposure to rodenticides can successfully be treated in pets if caught in time.

6) Fertilizer: The basic ingredients in most fertilizers (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) are themselves dangerous if ingested. Fertilizers may have a long list of other ingredients and additives that are equally or even more toxic.

How to avoid it: Keep fertilizer bags closed. Better yet, keep it in pet-proof containers. Store it behind a closed cabinet door if possible.

engine-oil-can-2-1463613-1279x17057) Cleaning and automotive fluids: These types of liquids contain ingredients that are harmful to pets if ingested. Even if not ingested, some can cause burns to the skin, should your pet come into contact with them. They may even emit fumes that are dangerous to pets if not stored properly.

How to avoid it: Always keep automotive fluids and cleaners of any kind out of reach of pets and in a cabinet if possible. Make sure all containers are completely closed/sealed and clearly labelled. Always store them in their original containers.

8) Carbon monoxide: This is an obvious danger, yet people don’t always associate carbon monoxide poisoning with pets. If a pet is left inside of a closed garage with a vehicle that is running for even a few minutes, it can lead to death.

How to avoid it: Don’t run your vehicle in your garage, or if you do make sure that the door is open.

9) Power cords: Some cats and many dogs (especially puppies) love to chew things, and electrical cords are no exception. Animals have been known to chew right through electrical cords. The obvious danger is electrocution, but other materials in cords can also be harmful to pets.

How to avoid it: Ensure that any electrical cords (such as the one to your deep freeze) cannot be accessed by your pets. Roll up and secure any extra length of cord.

10) Clutter: A garage full of clutter carries all kinds of risks to pets. It may hide things that you aren’t aware are there, like rodent traps and even wild animals. Precariously-stacked piles can topple over and trap or crush pets.

How to avoid it: Keep your garage free from clutter. Be careful when stacking items, like boxes. Keep things organized and have a designated place for everything in your garage. Know what’s in, behind and around any stacked items.

The best way to keep pets safe from garage hazards is simply to keep them out of the garage. If your dog likes to hang out with you while you are tinkering around in the garage, just make sure you don’t leave him there unsupervised, and bring him inside with you when you’re done. Never leave an animal in the garage overnight. Besides all of the above dangers, pets can suffer hypothermia or heat stroke in a garage very quickly. Veterinarians agree that the garage isn’t a good place for cats and dogs.

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Spring Cleaning and Organizing in the Garage is Easier This Year

TraditionalGarCabinets2You know how you’re always feeling like there just isn’t enough time to get things done around the house? If only there were more hours in the day…. good news!  We’ve all been banking extra hours over the last four years, and this year we get to cash them in. It’s Leap Year, and there’s a whole extra day to tackle those jobs that keep getting pushed down lower and lower on the “To Do” list, like cleaning and organizing the garage.

We’ve blogged before about getting organized, but in case you missed those previous blogs, we’re going to cover some garage organization tips here. Even if you have read those blogs, it never hurts to read them again. Maybe you’ll be inspired anew to finally tackle problem clutter, dirt and other things that have been gathering in your garage over the months or years. Here’s how to re-create your garage space in four easy steps:

1) Discard: If you’re like a lot of home owners, all of the stuff from inside the house that you’ve tagged as destined for the dump or the Salvation Army gets placed in the garage. Often times that’s where it ends up staying, for weeks or months or even years. Now is the

Versatile gridwall from Premier Garage by Tailored Livingtime to get rid of all that stuff properly so you can free up that space for what it’s really needed for, whatever that happens to be for you and your family. It’s also a perfect opportunity to take a short visual inventory of what’s being stored in the garage and get rid of things you no longer want or use.

2) Clean: For a lot of people, this will be the most unpleasant part, especially if it’s been a while since your garage has been touched by a broom. Chances are that you’ll encounter a lot of dirt, leaves, cobwebs and maybe a critter or two (or what critters have left behind). It’s a good idea to wear a dust mask if it’s been a long time since you’ve cleaned and moved stuff around in the garage. Don’t forget the windows, if there are any.

3) Sort: This step can also be done while you’re working on steps 1 and 2. Group “like” items together (cleaning products in one place, gardening tools in another, etc.) so that they can be stored together and subsequently found easily and quickly next time you need them.

4) Restore order: You know what they say: you can’t clean up a mess without first making a bigger mess. Don’t let that deter you. Just keep the end goal (a clean, healthy, organized and functional garage) in sight. Your efforts will be worth it in the end.

These steps and ideas come straight from the Tailored Living corporate blog on spring cleaning in the garage. It’s worth a read, as it contains even more ideas and suggestions on this topic. You can also check out A Five-Room Spring Cleaning Checklist which we first published last year. If you’d like to improve on storage capability in your garage, PremierGarage.com or the Tailored Living garage storage page.

By the way, just because February 29 falls on a Monday, a work day for many people, it doesn’t give you an excuse not to take advantage of the extra day. Take your Leap Day on Saturday or Sunday instead. You’ll ultimately be glad you did.