Clopay Garage Makeover

By Robert Robillard on Remodeling

 Adding Trim and Siding To ConCrete Block Garage Wall

My recent customer and friend Jon S. asked me to help him give his cinder-block garage a makeover.  This is how he described the garage before the makeover:

“We’ve always loved the charm of our classic New England village colonial style; it’s the kind of house a kid would draw.  Do you know what we don’t love? Cinder blocks!

On the charm scale, our cinder block garage was a zero – and detracted from the curb appeal (and value) of our beautifully renovated 100-year old home wrapped in classic cedar clapboard.

Could we give this cinder block encrusted garage the proper make-over to match our home?

We weren’t sure it was even possible – or financially viable. For years we debated the proper fix. Meanwhile, the two original doors were slowly falling apart. One finally stopped working altogether – stuck closed (“sorry kids, that door doesn’t work anymore”), while the other was literally turning to sawdust in our hands each time we open and closed the door.

Aesthetics aside, the garage had become a safety hazard for a family with three kids. Plus, there was the security concern: if the neighborhood wildlife had a free pass in and out of our garage via the failing garage doors (which they did), well… you get the picture.”  ~ Jon

Clopay Garage Door Make Over Plan:

Jon told me he wanted his garage to look like his house which was sided with cedar clapboards and wide 1×8 corner board trim.  Inspecting his garage it was easy to see that all we had to do is install new garage doors and clapboards nailed to vertical nailing strips.

The front and rear of this garage have cedar clapboard already installed in the upper gable end section of the building nailing strips [similar to a rain screen wall] to the concrete block and nail on the trim and siding – easy as that!

Well . . . not exactly.

The detail that needed to be worked out was the fact that any nailing strip we added to these sides would automatically make our new trim and siding stick out.

What we needed was a transition point to terminate the lower trim and siding and then blend with the old siding.

Shopping For New Garage Doors:   

Jon immediately recognized that the garage doors were a critical element in our garage makeover plan. Not only were we looking for ease of use and low maintenance (with three kids, they get a constant workout), but the doors were the signature style component in turning his ugly duckling into a prince charming.

Selecting a garage door that matched the look and feel of the home seemed overwhelming – so many styles to choose from!

Jon would tell me that he knew he had embarked on a home construction project when he and his wife began eyeing previously-unnoticed details on every neighbor’s home.

Jon related that he and his wife would drive around town, incessantly pointing and calling out, “Hey, look at that garage door!” Cue the kids’ eye rolls.)

Jon told me he found an online tool that was very easy to use and that he had come up with a design that he and his wife immediately liked.

The website was the  Clopay garage doors website.    Jon became fond of Clopay’s Garage Door Imagination System which is an interactive online design tool that is easy to use.  This online tool was invaluable in helping Jon and his wife visualize and choose different style doors.

When he found a design option he liked he simply printed it out in full color.

This wasn’t just an online catalog of pretty pictures. The interactive system allowed him to upload a photo of his existing garage and then choose among different door shapes, styles, hardware, and construction materials, inserting them onto his garage for a visual picture.

I’m no techie, were talking simple drag and drop stuff.   Jon was able to go through about half a dozen different designs to show me what he was thinking.

TIP – If you’re spending a couple of thousand dollars on garage doors, this tool really helps in making you feel comfortable with your final decision.

Now back to the makeover plan . . .

Install Nailer Strips:

In order to install clapboards and corner-boards onto the garage concrete block walls, we had to install one-inch nailer strips to the concrete block wall.  To do this I first ripped 2×4 stock into three 1″ strips.  I then drilled 5-6 holes in each nailer strip and then held them plumb to the building and used my Milwaukee SDS hammer drill to drill the concrete block.

Once all of the holes were drilled I used 1/4x 2-1/4″ Tapper Plus concrete anchors to secure the nailers to the wall.  Most people refer to these fasteners as the brand TapCons.  We used approximately 250 concrete anchor fasteners on this project.

We cut enough strips to provide each corner board with two nailers and then installed the rest of the strips at each end of the clapboards for a nailer and then every 16″ on center.  Pressure-treated nailer strips were installed horizontally along the bottom of the vertical strips to keep out bugs and bees.

Install Window Jamb Trim:

The garage had recessed windows and in order to apply trim around them, we needed to install jamb trim.   I made one piece of window jambs for each window and installed them by toe-nailing into the window frame and then nailing into the vertical nailer strips.   Later the window trim was nailed to the jambs as well.

Trim goes on before Siding:

The next step was to install the corner boards and window trim.  We chose to use PCV trim for this entire project.  The nailer is 1″ and the trim is 3/4″ so we had to use a 1 5/8″ galvanized nail to install the trim.  That’s all the nailing room we had.

We took the time to plumb the corner boards and window trim to make the clapboard installation easier.

The Clopay garage makeover also included trimming out the garage doors as well.  We used 1 x 12″ PVC to top off the 1×6 vertical garage door trim boards.

Determining the Transition Above the Doors:

We decided that the best look for the transition above the garage door was to continue the bed molding from the side of the garage around to the front.  The garage side wall bed molding was used to covered any gaps or irregularities between the last, very top clapboard and the overhanging roof soffit.

We used the same style bed molding that was on the main house and ran it over the corner board, mitered, and returned it to the front of the garage.

Once we had a molding line established we installed a 1×6 PVC trim board with a 20-degree bevel cut on the wood sidewall of the garage front, just above the concrete block area.   This beveled board created a small pitched roof over the bed molding.  We carefully cut and inserted the beveled PVC board into the rake boards on either end of the garage making this detail look intentional and seamless.
Flashing The Transition:

After the beveled PVC trim was installed we applied a rubber self-adhering tap on the garage sheathing and onto the slanted boards.  We counter flashed the rubber with lead flashing and then overlapped the Tyvek house wrap onto the lead flashing.

Once all of the flashings were applied we installed the clapboards above the slanted trim board.

Installing Clapboard Siding on the Garage:

We applied pre-primed cedar clapboard siding to the side of the garage earlier in order to install the bed-molding and establish our return trip across the front of the garage.

To nail on the siding and not hit the concrete clock we had to use 3d galvanized nails.

Once the front of the garage had the clapboards installed it was impossible to tell from the street that the front of the garage had two different wall planes.

Clopay Garage doors:

Shortly after the start of this project Jon and his wife decided on the Clopay Coachman Collection for the garage doors.

The next phase of this garage makeover is to install two insulated Coachman Collection garage doors.  The doors are definitely on the higher end of the price scale and are both functional can be fashionable.   Each door will have a LiftMaster door opener.

One thing  I want to impress upon is that is is super important to take your time and research your choices.  Most people replace their garage door once or twice in their lifetime.

A well-chosen garage door design will increase the curb appeal and value of your home. Let’s face it when selling a house, curb appeal gets people out of the car and into the house.  Today it’s easy to choose both attractive doors and still not sacrifice durability and energy efficiency,  Clopay has all of these covered and with their Door Imagination System, it’s easy to pick out your door.

The Door Imagination System is a great tool to find the best look, but you still have to consider material and insulation.  Using the Clopay Door Imagination System was easy.   Just upload a photo of the garage or house and try on different Clopay door styles to find the perfect match.

The Coachman door is polystyrene insulated low-maintenance carriage house style door constructed of steel with composite overlays. Insulated glass is also available.   The Coachman comes in a handful of colors and can also be painted with high-quality exterior latex to match an existing color scheme.
The next step in the Clopay Garage Door makeover will be to install the Clopay garage doors.
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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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