Tuesday November 20, 2018
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Garage Project - Part 1

How I Built My Garage

Garage - part 1 | Garage - part 2 | Garage - part 3

Welcome to my first attempt at garage building. Here you will find a few photos of the construction process. No particular expertise is claimed, but most all the work was done by me. I laid out the building, squared it, and then hired someone to excavate the site, dig and pour the footings. I laid the block foundation and then hired a crew to pour and finish the concrete slab. Some things are just too much for one person to handle. All other construction tasks were done by me with my primary help consisting of my dad and my wife's dad. I joked about the two of them having a total of 163 years of experience between them, so what couldn't we handle? My son Stephen saved the day when I was roofing the garage by showing up on a Sunday afternoon and providing the necessary help to complete the roofing before nightfall. Thanks to all who offered their help but time and circumstances wouldn't allow us to get together. Maybe next time?
In case you are wondering, yes, I had a permit and all the required inspections were done. Not bragging, but the inspector did say this was a "very well built garage". For a first timer, that meant a lot to me coming from the county building inspector. I'm sure that was due in part to putting a little extra effort into using additional bracing top side, hurricane ties, metal corner braces, oversize headers, extra lag bolts, and plenty of nails, that were beyond the code requirements. All in all, it was a fun project. I should have pictures of the footings but I haven't found them. If I do I'll add them later. I wish I had a photo of the 22 ton mountain of gravel I spread for the slab, but at that point I never considered the option of posting this on a website. That gravel mountain was, uh, lets just say "interesting".

I started work around mid-June of 1999. The photo on the left is how things were looking just before Labor Day. Expect some lost time waiting for any thing you hire done. The walls were being built by Labor Day and stacked, ready to be raised on the foundation in the photo at the left.

Walls were framed in two 16 foot sections per side, and two 12 foot sections front and back, raised into place, braced, and the top sill plate added.

Another view of the framing with some of the siding started on the corners. (right) First truss is going up. This was before I decided to rent scaffolding. I did manage to put the first truss up by myself using a 10' step ladder... and that's exactly why I rented scaffolding.

Walls are framed 8 feet high, sitting on top of 3 courses of block above the slab inside the garage. This gives a full 10 feet from the floor to the ceiling.

(left) Back to the trusses after a trip off the mountain! Notice the addition of two helpers and two sections of scaffolding. (right) Standing on a 2x10 on top of an 8 foot high scaffold looks much higher when looking down, and there's nothing to hold onto but the loose truss.

It would be a good idea to check each truss before installing them. I found 1 truss that was ever so slightly off. One out of 17 probably isn't bad, but it did require a small shim to correct and maintain a nice flat roof. It would have been better to find the difference before it was on top of a 10 foot high wall.

The last truss is being attached. Note my dad on the ladder to the right nailing to the low side wall. You can barely see my in-law sitting inside the garage on a stack of lumber. As mentioned earlier, they were ages 80 and 83 when we were doing this. Pretty good, huh?

I was beat by this point. I was climbing off the scaffold, carrying the center of the truss with my crew on the ends, hoisting it onto the side walls one end at a time, climbing up the scaffold, standing the truss up and positioning it while my dad measured from the outside, nailing a temporary brace to the top, then climbing off the scaffold and up an extension ladder to attach the truss to the high side wall at the left, then back up the scaffold to nail in permanent blocking between the trusses.  Then, climb back down and repeat with the next truss. Hint: we used a short piece of rope to raise the truss. Gravity will keep the truss upside down between the walls. The rope was the easiest way I found to swing the truss upright.

Garage - part 1 | Garage - part 2 | Garage - part 3