1920's 1-car garage to crowded shop

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Oct 2, 2014
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When I bought my house, the garage was in a sad state, with and 80" ceiling height. Leaky roof, broken windows, a small portion of the entry door and a garage door that was almost on the ground.

After cleaning, removing what was left with the doors & windows, & removing the stucco exterior; I tackled the roof first. I removed the 50+ year old corrugated sheet metal and built new roof edge fascia panels. This gave me a solid attachment point for the lower edges of the roofing. This was especially important out here where the winds often reach 80+ mph.

The old roofing had been repeatedly re-nailed along it's edges over the years and was quite loose. The side exposed to the weather was rusty, the galvanized coating had washed almost completely away. The back side however was in great shape.

I decided to reuse the roofing, overlapping by one extra rib to cover the multiple nail holes. I installed 30# roofing paper then screwed down the roofing using old holes where possible, filling a few others.
(10years later it has never leaked a drop.)

Next I tackled the ceiling height problem, I bolted in a bunch of bracing, cut the foundation bolts & built some new 2x6" stub walls 32" tall, sheathed with 7/16" OSB.

I used 4 Hi-Lift jacks in the corners to raise the entire garage 32". The first time one of the lifting points disintegrated causing the entire garage to fall from about 30". With a resounding crash & flying splinters. Yes, I was inside at the time, as that was the only way to access the jacks.

I levered it back into position and started again, but this time I stacked blocking under all 4 corners. The most it could have dropped this way would be less then the thickness of a 2x4.

Once I reached 33-35", I lowered one side onto the block stack to stabilize it. I went outside and slipped a section of stub wall under the floating area. Then lowered that side. After bolting that side to the old garage bottom plate, I raised the other side & slipped in another section, lowered & bolted them together. Then I raised the back end & installed that section.

Finally I drilled and installed new foundation bolts to secure the garage. I closed up both sides of the front opening to create an 8' wide double garage doorway.

In the 2nd picture, you can see half a 55 gal drum upside down a few feet from the garage. That is an idiots idea of how to cover & insulate a well head that sticks out of the ground. It was filled with fiberglass insulation. The water line comes out the top of the well casing, which sticks up a foot out of the ground, then goes back into the ground to the house. No heat tape.

My solution since I planned to heat the garage, was to build out from the side of the garage & create a pump room. I cut down from both sides of the window to make a doorway and built a simple shed extension attached to the garage. I widened the original entry door & installed a new steel door. All the other windows were blocked

After installing lots of electric outlets, insulation, drywall, furnace; I now have a perfectly too small shop.






shop layout 2014.jpg
Nice job. Small, but you do have a lot of good storage space up in that pitched roof space.
A lot of hard work has taken place here ,and it would not matter how big it was built it still would be to small in about 2yrs . For some reason known only to the Shop Gods the walls must grow inward . Enjoy what you have!
I have no access to the pitched roof space, which is actually quite small. I added 2x4 ceiling joists 16" on center, 6" insulation & dry walled the ceiling.

Sure a tear down & replacement would have been almost the same amount of work, but I had a neighbor calling the building & zoning people every week about one thing or another. A new building would have required permits, a licensed electrical contractor, & most likely; I would have been required to bring the house up to code as well. No way could I afford that at the time, if it was even possible for a 100 year old house with a bad foundation. It also would have forced me to live in town, 50+ miles away during the construction.

The really funny thing is nobody noticed that the old garage was suddenly taller. :hDe:
I guess the shiny roof along with the tar paper I covered the exterior walls with immediately after bolting it down confused the scale. Without the layer of tar paper, the OSB sub walls would have been obviously visible from a mile away.

The diagram is approximate, it feels much more claustrophobic than it looks on paper. I am always walking sideways around stuff. It also doesn't show the 24" round table on a desk chair post & base that I roll around. Or a small utility cart from Harbor Freight that I use as a second work bench. I installed the top tray upside down and screwed a wood top to it with an overhang for clamping stuff. I lay a sheet metal oil drip pan on top of this for welding. It's exhausting move 3 things do one, more four more, do one, move it all back around to get to the door to go pee. If only someone would take pity on me and donate a nice shiny new building. I have 1/2 an acre, just saying.
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