Ben’s Garage: Wall Day

by Ben N on November 25, 2016

While other folks were out buying their Christmas gifts at the Black Friday sales, we were busy building walls for the garage!

What’s it take to build a few walls? For starters, a crew. My Dad, Jim, and my brother, Wayne, came out today to build walls. Of course, the two of them are pretty experienced when it comes to construction. I’m mostly good at carrying lumber.

IMG_2324First thing, the lumber yard dropped off a pile of materials. The stack included 16′ 2x4s, pressure-treated 2x4s, pre-cut studs, and 1/2″ OSB sheathing.

IMG_2116Starting from the north-west corner of the garage, we marked out the location of the bolts already cast into the masonry wall on a pressure-treated 2×4. We drilled through those holes, test fit that sill board on the wall, and then pulled it back off. Next, we marked every 16 inches, which is where the studs will go. This line was also marked on a matching 2×4, which becomes the top of the wall. Between the two boards, we laid out 2×4 studs and put two nails into each end. And with that, we have our first section of wall built, although still laying on the ground.

Next, we rolled out a “sill seal” – a thin layer of foam that acts as insulation and sealer between the concrete stem wall and the sill of the wall. Then it was time to lift the stud wall up onto the concrete, lining up the holes in the bottom with the existing bolts sticking out of the concrete. After that, it was a matter of bracing the two ends of the wall and making sure it was perfectly vertical with a level.

The garage is 27′ by 29′. The long 2x4s are 16′ long, so each wall was built in two sections. These sections were small enough that three guys could easily build a wall section, lift it in place, set it, and brace it.

We repeated this until all three stud walls were up. Temporary exterior bracing was built by nailing together two long 2x4s to make a large triangle. You might remember that’s the same technique we used to lever the old garage to the ground.

IMG_2141Sheathing is the process of adding an exterior cover to the stud walls. In this was, we were using 1/2″ OSB (Oriented Strand Board.) The first piece is the most important, as it squares up the wall. Once the first piece is in place with everything plumb, flush, even, and square, the rest of the pieces go on pretty quickly. We slid a pallet knife between stem-wall and the sill plate as a rest and bottom alignment tool for each sheet of sheathing. I’d rest the bottom of the 4’x8′ sheathing on the knife, and Wayne would nail it to the studs.

Overall, the walls went up well and quickly, with very few irregularities. We did end up short two sheets of sheathing – must have miscounted sometime before placing the order. The other big thing is that we only built THREE out of the four walls. The reason why is that the entire south wall is MOSTLY DOORS! That’s going to be the two overhead doors for cars and a human-sized “man-door”. To support that side of the roof, we need a beam that will span all those doors. That’s a special “micro-lam” beam, which is custom ordered from the lumberyard. Also, it’s something we don’t have yet….

IMG_2139So, at this point, we have the three walls up. They are sheathed and braced, so no worries about wind while we wait for the beam. After we get that installed, it will be time to put up the trusses, which will be a feat in itself and will require some additional people-power, as the trusses are 214 pounds each!

I had no idea how much work we actually would or wouldn’t get done today. The time lapse video represents a 6 hour time period. Overall, I’m very pleased with the progress on the project.

My only regret is that the interior bracing prevents me from parking the car in the garage for the first time yet!

Until next time, stay charged up!

PS: You may have noticed that we didn’t frame in any openings for WINDOWS! That’s right, there’s no windows in the garage. My old garage had one window on each of the three walls that didn’t have the garage doors on it. I found that the windows just got covered by shelving anyways, and I would rather have had wall-space. Also, a plain wall without a window is cheaper, easier, better insulated, quieter, and simpler. Also, without windows, it’s easier to control lighting and sound for filming instructional videos. In the summer, if I want more light, I can just leave a garage door open.

The upstairs will have a window at either end for light and ventilation.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ed H November 25, 2016 at 7:59 pm

Super nice! It’s starting to take shape now. Don’t blame you for wanting to park the car in there. Ed

2 Dick December 2, 2016 at 7:27 pm

Nice, can relate. Cost of 2×6 vs 2×4 walls? Will be great when done.

3 Jay Donnaway December 5, 2016 at 12:11 am

Way to go Ben! At this rate you’ll be dried in before any serious snow.

4 admin December 5, 2016 at 8:09 am

We got the first real snow of the year the day after we put up the trusses. Oh well. As great as it would be to have had the plywood on the roof already, getting the trusses in place was the single biggest/most complicated thing to do, and we got those done.

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