What’s new since the last blog post about the garage? Glad you asked!
Here’s what we’ve been up to lately. Mostly, work on the garage has proceeded on Fridays and Holidays. We also had a cold spell there and some snow that slowed things down.
On the day before Christmas, we studded in and sheathed the ends of the upstairs. The end trusses are built to be open, and then are framed in for the opening of a door, window, or whatever else might go in there. In our case, there’s a single window in either end of the upstairs. We built in studs, framed out the window, covered the whole wall with the OSB sheathing, and then cut out the rough opening for the window. The upstairs felt very dark after filling in the wall, but before cutting out the window opening.
We also managed to nick the cord of the power saw while cutting. Fortunately, I had a replacement plug, wired it on, and we could keep working, even though the saw now only had a one-foot pigtail!
After the walls of the upstairs were done, I played around a bit with lighting. I dug up a few “clamp lamps” and clipped them to the trusses. I experimented with the spacing a bit and found that five fixtures spaced out more or less evenly did a nice job of lighting the place up. I was using 650 lumen, 8 watt, LED, BR30 bulbs. I bought them on sale for two dollars for a four pack, and the bulbs are fully dimmable. In fact, I think a dimmer switch would be rather nice. I can completely see using the upstairs of the garage as a possible guest space, and a dimmer switch up there would be nice!
Most recently, we got a lot of work done on this New Years Weekend.
Friday and Saturday were spent working on the fascia. Fascia is the outside piece of wood that covers the end of the rafters. On the gable ends, it’s the part that comes down from the roof overhang. We created the overhang by building a “ladder” – a long 2×6 which then gets short pieces of 2×6 nailed to it. This gets nailed up and under the plywood overhang directly to the building. After that, another 2×6 gets pressed up against the “ladder rungs” and nailed to it and the plywood overhang.
On the front and the back of the building, a 2×6 is nailed across the ends of the rafters. Any rafters that are short get shimmed so that the 2×6 makes a nice straight line across the building. Needless to say, this building is pretty large, and a single 2×6 doesn’t reach all the way across any one side or the roof edge. Because of that, we had to measure and splice. That and working high in the air on ladders made all this work slow-going.
On Sunday, we finished the fascia, including installing the exterior face of the fascia, which is the finished side. This material was pre-painted, and I tried my best not to miss with the hammer when nailing it in place.
After that, we started to put the foam on the outside of the garage. This is 1/2″ thick urethane foam. While the r-value of the foam isn’t all that high, staggering the seams from the sheathing means it acts as a preventative to wind infiltration, and it’s a thermal break between the siding and sheathing. We had a mis-matched set of insulation, as part of the pile was close-out (half-off pricing!) at the lumber yard. When installing the foam, we did put the nice-looking matched panels on the side facing the road. No sense not to have it look somewhat nice until the siding goes on. The foam was simply plumbed and nailed on with roofing nails. It goes on surprisingly fast and actually felt like we were making some quick progress.
Next, we worked on the windows. When I mentioned on Facebook that I was installing windows, somebody asked “Have you considered Linux instead?”. That, of course, is why I also have a photo of an Apple next to my Windows.
Installing windows is actually pretty straight-forward, as long as the rough opening is the right size. We just put the window in the hole, make sure it’s plumb, flush, and square, and nail through the nailing flange on the outside of the window into the wall. A small piece of foam is stuck over the gaps in the corners not covered by the folded-out nailing flanges. We then covered the edges of the window with strips of Ice and Water Shield. These windows are Energy Star rated fiberglass double-hung.
The view from the windows is pretty good. Looking out the west window, I actually can look fairly far to the north, where the Solar Swing Set is now located. I hope that means that I can keep an eye on the Little Girl in the back yard during the summer from my garage loft.
Yesterday, we installed the skylights. SKYLIGHTS!?!? What kind of person installs skylights in a GARAGE!? Good question! If this was only a garage, nobody would. However, this building is also acting as a workshop and possibly yoga studio/writing office/secret headquarters, you name it. One way or another, the upstairs “storage space” will get some pretty regular use. Because the upstairs is sort of a long wide hallway, it doesn’t get all that much light from the ends. Skylights add plenty of light to the middle of the building.
To install skylights, you first have to decide where they should go. We already picked which trusses they should go between. This was roughly one-third of the way in from either end of the building, and eight feet apart. After measuring and marking, we cut 2x6s for the top and bottom of the rough openings and nailed them in place. Next, we cut through the roof with a Sawzall from the inside. That’s also the moment when you really hope you measured everything right and wonder why you just put a hole in a perfectly good roof.
We put up a pair of long 2x6s on roof brackets to make a place to stand for working on the skylights from the outside. Wayne and I handed the the skylights up through the hole to my Dad. We then centered them, and Dad nailed the skylights in place from the outside. He then applied Ice and Water Shield over the bottom edge of the skylight and up the side, making sure that the roofing felt was still layered correctly.
Of course, we also had a ladder set up so that he had a way to get back DOWN from the roof, now that the hole were filled with the skylights. It took longer than I thought to apply the sealing materials to the skylights, but this is one part you want done right. A properly installed skylight is a great way to let in light – an improperly installed one is a nightmare of leaks.
While Dad was finishing up on the roof, Wayne and I worked on the front of the garage. We framed out the garage doors the rest of the way to the proper rough opening, trimmed the plywood to size and installed the last of the foam. After a quick lunch break, we finished all the foam by taping all the seams.
I also painted the cut ends of the fascia. The material itself is sort of a fancy OSB. Left exposed to the weather, the cut ends could absorb rainwater and swell.
At the very end of the day, the roofer stopped by to take some measurements. He told me he’d probably get the metal roofing ordered in the next day or two. I hope that also means that the roof can go on sooner rather than later. That, of course, depends on his schedule and the weather.
Lastly, I still need to find a paint sample of our house color. We are able to get siding PRE-PAINTED! Of course, this costs a little more, but it’s also a lot of time, work, and risk for me to be painting siding while dangling off ladders, especially at this time of year. I dug a can of paint out of my crawl-space and applied it to a piece of fascia scrap. It didn’t match at all! This color looked like a lemon compared to my house color. Why I have a can of paint this bright yellow, I’ll never know. I don’t have ANYTHING this color. I’ll have to keep digging in the crawl space and see if I have a can of the right color down there somewhere…
I’m pretty excited about the garage. Each step brings it closer to completion. Even if some days are cold and the other days are muddy.
Until next time, stay charged up!