Making a Padded Garage

[KJ] Not to be confused with a padded cell is the padded garage, intended to prevent inadvertent door dings. These are of particular concern in a double garage where the other car frequently contains children. Here is my solution, which you can use as a starting point for your own design:

First, if a wall is adjacent to a door of your car, find a suitable pillow or pad and nail it to the wall.Use a stud finder (one VERY worthwhile tool to have around the house) to make sure you are nailing into a stud, and also make sure that your nails are above the level of the bottom of the door glass.

Second, design and hang a padded partition between the cars. Optimally, you would like a direct connection between the hanging pad and the ceiling. If you have a tilt-up door, you can probably get away with this, since the raised door is only halfway inside the garage.

With a hinged multi-section door, you will not be able to directly attach the hanging pad to the ceiling. Here is a side view of the configuration I used instead:

front of garage                      back of garage  -------------------------------------------------  Ceiling                            |          |    ----------------------  |          |    raised         ---------------------  pipe    garage          |         |        |    door            |         |        |                    |         |        |                    |         |        |                    |         |        |                    |         |        |                    ---------------------                   | ------------------  |  carpet section, with long                   |                     |  wood or metal strip near                    |                     |  the top for rigidity                    ---------------------              

The carpet section or whatever pad you use will not want to stay straight unless you attach a stiff wood or metal strip near the top (on the burlap side, not on the side facing the NSX, of course!). I sacrificed a 75-inch aluminum straight edge tool, punching holes in the carpet above and below the metal strip to allow me to lace the strip in place with short pieces of clothesline.

With the carpet section prepared, the next step was the ceiling mount. I bought a 7-foot section of pipe, though an 8-foot section probably would have been better. I used 1/2 inch ID galvanized pipe, which actually bends noticeably under light shear load. Even though the bending is not a hazard, I’d recommend that you try 3/4 pipe.

For the rear mount, I nailed a short 2×4 section to a rafter and drilled a hole for the pipe at the correct height, just below the raised garage door.

For the front mount, I was concerned about a failure dropping the pipe on my totally unscratched NSX. Therefore I required a redundant support, which ruled out the use of another 2×4 section. Instead, I screwed two eyelets into the rafter, a few inches on either side of the pipe. I then tied the pipe up separately to each eyelet on the ceiling. Rather than just passing each rope around the pipe, I also clamped each rope in position on the pipe to prevent sliding in case of any support failure. For the coup de grace, I used steel rope rather than nylon. To attach the ends of the steel rope, I used split bolts, which electricians use to attach heavy guage wires to each other. It’s a slotted bolt: 2 wires go into the slot and you tighten the nut on them. I now had two completely independent connections to the ceiling, each strong enough to hold well over 100 pounds.

The rest was simple: just tie the carpet section to the pipe at the appropriate point. I used an end cap to secure the pipe end at the 2×4 section and keep it from pulling through. If your pipe is long enough, this is not needed. I recommend hanging the pad from each end of the pipe as shown, because the hanging string reminds you of the presence of the pipe above. My pipe is 6.5 feet off the floor, meaning that no NSX driver could hit his head on it.

Voila! I now have a nearly ding-proof garage for the NSX. That is, once I finish strapping the furniture against earthquake movement. Of course, if the quake is strong enough to move the car, all bets are off. Of course, the NSX will stay planted much better than whatever car you put next to it.

Do It Yourself