Is Overhead Garage Storage Worth It?

Garage Storage Racks

It is almost funny when we think back to when homes first started having garages, they were detached and large enough for only one car. There weren’t any expensive automotive tools, or garden and lawn equipment. Nor was there any concern with having ample storage. 

But today, in today’s garage, storage is a big concern. But what do you do when your garage isn’t big enough to add more storage cabinets or shelving units along the wall? Or how can you maximize storage in a small garage?  Well, take a look up! Yes, the ceiling offers more real estate, ideal for overhead garage storage racks

Many homeowners use their attic for storage for some things, but some attics aren’t accessible, or maybe you’ve run out of space there too?!  And sometimes, the attic isn’t the best place to store certain things, like the stuff you use regularly. So, how do you decide what is better to store in the attic or the garage?

Well, first you want to consider the frequency of use for items you’re going to be storing.  The attic and the basement are excellent places for storing items that are specific to a time of year, such as holiday decorations. The garage should be storage for things you use more frequently, such as: 

  • Sports equipment
  • Automotive tools
  • Gardening equipment
  • Bikes 

… and outdoor furniture, like patio umbrellas, that may not hold up to certain weather conditions and elements.

Okay, with all of that stored in the garage, you can run out of space pretty quickly. Especially if you have work benches installed for hobbies or everyday usage. So, let’s consider going upward, your garage has potential obvious storage in plain sight that you’re not utilizing.  

Of course, you need to make sure the construction of the garage will hold storage safely, and then determine which type of garage storage racks are going to work the best for you. Some of the more common types of garage storage racks for the ceiling include: 

  1. Heavy-duty racks: When you have heavy items, choose heavy-duty garage storage racks that have a capacity of 600 pounds. These types of garage storage racks typically have a wire mesh platform and are installed on the ceiling joists and for extra support, are anchored to the wall. 
  2. Moveable storage racks: This type of garage storage racks has a solid metal platform with a pulley system that allows you to lower and raise to remove or add stuff. 
  3. Storage hoist system: Similar to the above-described moveable storage garage storage racks, but without the platform. These types of garage storage racks are used for storing specific items like canoes, kayaks, ladders, wheelbarrows, etc. 
  4. Ceiling storage bins: These types of garage storage racks are a system of rails mounted on the garage ceiling where plastic storage bins are installed to slide in and out as needed.
  5. Ceiling storage hooks: These types of garage storage racks are the most common because they are inexpensive and simple to install, the large screw-in hooks are installed into the ceiling joists and are most commonly used to store bikes. 

What is the maximum weight for overhead garage storage?

Before you invest in garage storage racks or other types of ceiling storage, you need to know how much weight can be safely stored from the garage ceiling. You don’t need things falling on your vehicles, or you!  One option to find out is having an engineering inspection done, or hiring a storage expert who is experienced and familiar with what type and size of garage storage racks are acceptable and safe. 

Depending on the age of your home, it either has rafters or trusses, with trusses being found in most residential garages today.  This creates a pyramid-shaped roof. Unless you have a room directly over your garage, a combination of ceiling-to-floor truss systems will usually support up to 40 pounds per square foot.  

Never attach anything, including garage storage racks, to the lower support beams if the garage has only ceiling trusses. This type of garage construction is designed to support the garage drywall, lighting, and roof ONLY! 

When You’re Taking It Upward: 

Of course, there is a cost associated with anything you do in the way of adding to your home, including garage storage racks. So, just how much can this cost? Well, if you doing it yourself, you could spend as little as $100 (or less) on those large screw-in hooks, or you could spend hundreds of dollars on the systems we’ve mentioned.  

Then there is the option of hiring a storage specialist. Yes, that will cost more, but they will discuss what your garage is used for, what you plan to store, and suggest the different methods of garage storage racks that are available. Some companies will do only the sketch and sell you those sketched plans for a DIY project, or they will do the work and supply the materials too. 

The costs, like the options, are endless.  But is it all worthwhile?  Yes, if you’re in your forever home and you’re raising children and/or living a busy lifestyle, garage storage racks and other types of storage are worth the convenience provided. And if you ever decide to sell, this can be a great feature to spotlight for future potential buyers.