Garage Update; Nov 9 2016

by Ben N on November 9, 2016

Been working hard lately! Whew, time for an update on the garage!

In the time since tearing down the garage, the next step was to get the ugly old maple tree out of there. It’s EXACTLY where the new corner of the larger garage will go, so it needed to come out roots and all!

I arrived home Friday night after work and after dark to find the whole tree plopped solidly on my old garage’s concrete slab. The problem with that was that the mason starts work the following Monday to bust up and REMOVE that very same slab. Also, when the tree was getting pulled-out, the cable television connection got cut. Diggers Hotline marked all the power and telephone cables in our area, but NOT the Cable TV. We only have the cable connection for our internet access.

So, I had a tree on my slab, no internet, and the mason was coming on Monday. Well, there goes my weekend…

It was time to get some chainsaws and some help. Over the weekend, my friend Rich, and my brother, Wayne, both came over to help. We hacked at the huge hunk-o-wood with multiple saws. For the lower section, we used the largest chainsaw I could rent locally and blew threw four chains. After all of that, we STILL didn’t have it in enough pieces. Finally, I cut 4×4 posts into large wedges and sledge-hammered those into the cut to split the root into two pieces. Each piece alone was still too big for two men to move, but the Bobcat should be able to move it.

Between rounds of running out to get more chain-saw blades, I was also working to see if I could get the internet back up. I was able to dig out my old VHS VCR to use as an RF signal generator to hunt down which was the right cable to feed into the house. I was finally able to get a signal to my TV, but was never able to get the cable modem up and running again.

Monday, I headed out to work extra early. When I got home (after dark) it was amazing to see how much work the masons had done. Not only was all the concrete from the old slab GONE, but they also dug the trench and poured the concrete for the footer! The cable guy also showed up and I had a new bright orange cable running on the ground making a wide berth of the construction area. Internet was up and we could SEE where the cable was, to not cut it again!

On Tuesday, the mason’s started laying up the block. The first layer is traditional 8″ block, but the next two were only 6″ wide. The narrower block allows for 2 inches of extruded insulation to go around the edge of the concrete slab. On Wednesday, the short block wall that the wood walls go on top of was essentially complete. It was starting to look like a garage.

In the next few days, the gravel should go in and get 2″ of extruded foam insulation on top of it. I’m expecting to work on the Pex tubing this weekend.

Stay tuned for further updates!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 LA_Follower November 14, 2016 at 9:59 am

Hi Ben,
Long time follower, first time post. This is SO awesome – following your ‘Garage replacement’ project. (I’m sure you’re just anxious to get situated in your own new Garage!)
So over here in LA – where land is at a premium – I see in your pictures that you have plenty of land – (SO jealous) – and you could have gone a bit wider, for what looks like a potential 3 or 3.5 car wide garage…
My main question is – Was there a reason why you went with what appears to be a minimal increase to a 2.5 car garage?? (local city code limits? physical barrier?) I know you mentioned briefly about an upstairs – and i could guess that a wider footprint, could add structural concerns for the upstairs, i suppose. (so, I’m curious how you arrived at your design size)
Keep up the great work. It’s a pleasure following your activities; You’re “Keep It Simple” designs are truly admirable!
John in LA.

2 admin November 14, 2016 at 8:41 pm

Thanks John!
I’m pretty excited to be working on the garage.

Short answer: NO, I couldn’t have built larger.

Unfortunately, I’m somewhat limited on what I can do with the new garage due to both physical space limitations and local politics. To start with, my property is actually smaller than what you see in many of the photos. It’s a corner property, so I have setbacks from BOTH roads, and the one road has an UNUSUALLY large setback because it was once a State Highway. (It no longer is, but even though it’s just officially a local road now, the county STILL has an oddly large setback. The property is actually very narrow and runs north and south.

The south-east corner of the original garage was actually ON the lot line, so for me to do ANY work at all on the garage, I had to go through a special appeals process. That included paying lots of money to be in on a meeting and getting a laundry list of requirements from County Government on what I could and couldn’t do, including total size of the garage, total height of the garage, and they even have a special ratio of “greenspace to square footage of building”.

Frankly, it’s all a huge hassle. Which is too bad, because I think a steeper roof would look nicer AND provide more space upstairs AND be a slightly better angle for solar PV panels.

There WILL be an upstairs to the garage, although again, it’s limited by what I could get away with vs the governmental board of “no, you can’t do that.” I’ll have a space upstairs that will be a little taller than 6 foot by about four foot wide running the length of the garage. There will be storage space on either side of that, but it will have a walkable section straight down the middle. That will be accessible by a pull-down staircase, similar to what many people use for attic access.

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