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  • "Garage" Build

    Where I live, City bylaws give us different rules for garages and workshops, so this, dear reader, is a GARAGE. With lots of outlets. For an electric vehicle of course. And electric scooters. All of which I don't yet own. And probably never will.

    This thread will be a bit different because the worGARAGE is already done! I dragged my feet making a thread and it's long overdue. Unlike my daughter, which you will learn about by the end of this post.

    My original plan was a 12x24 shed, but my wife wanted to add in a storage room so it became 12x30, the maximum that bylaws would permit. I've since talked the wife into having a storage wall so that I can use the storage room's unused floor space for the shop I have not yet built said wall - it's the thought that counts.

    We have a couple of spruce trees at the back of our narrow property that we wanted to keep, and we have a narrow downtown lot that means I didn't want to make a massive overbearing tall structure - it needed to fit in to the neighbourhood and not rule the yard. It kind of rules the yard, though. But i could have built it a meter taller (with a flat roof) and REALLY made it rule the yard! The woodworker side of me wanted to, the good neighbour and husband stepped in and talked some sense into him.

    I set the building back from the back of the house because we plan to build an extension some day... if we build out 20' this should leave the garage around 15' from the back of the extension, which should be fine. Like I say, it's not a huge lot!


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    I had a contractor friend over to help demolish the existing structure. With careful demo we fit the whole garage and pad into one bin, and it only took about 8 hours. Pretty nasty old building, full of carpenter ants.

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    Next up was the excavation - in order to expedite construction (we knew we had a baby on the way) I hired a contractor to take the building from the empty site up to a weathertight box, and I would do everything on the inside and all of the cladding. I still haven't moved that godforesaken pile of dirt in the back.

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    Things went at a fairly good clip so there isn't a whole lot to say - a hole was dug, a pad was poured, framing went up (in two days they had framed the whole thing and put the roof on and installed the windows - it was awesome), it got roofed, tyveked, and then it was my turn! From demo to weathertight with a torched on roof was around 5 weeks in total.

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    By the end of June 2017 I was starting on the inside, and through july I got all of the wiring done twice (long story short: electrician told me inspector would only care about panel hookup and told me to do what i wanted so I did split outlets, electrical inspector said he'd only sign off after inspecting the inside so I had to re-wire the whole thing... in the end the inspector said it was one of the best jobs he'd seen recently so that was nice - i had good advice from my electrician plus used my own obsessive nature to line everything up).

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    After my electrical signoff it was time to insulate, VB, and board it up. I took my delivery of drywall and insulation, and this is the day that I learned how heavy two-packs of 5/8" type-X drywall are. They are... very, very heavy. You'll note that I didn't split them up but in fact I got them all into the garage in pairs. I didn't have help and I have a narrow driveway so I had to carry them all myself (note the cart that I fashioned out of the skids that my pavers came on when I realized I couldn't even get the damn roxul down the driveway by myself - it wouldn't budge with four sheets of drywall but rolled OK with two. size matters when it comes to casters, people.)

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    One of my favorite times of doing a build is when the insulation goes up, it's so eerily quiet!
    But that wouldn't last - it was time to put up the vapour barrier - my wife was due in three weeks so I knew I needed to get a move on if I was going to be done in time - I was gearing up for a big push!

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    Look at that beauty - one big sheet of VB!! Tape joints are for wimps!

    Turns out that's the last photo I would take of my progress - shortly before it I got a text from my wife that says her OB kept her at the hospital, and to bring the hospital bag and pack the car seat into the car, because we will probably be coming home with our first baby. 3 weeks early. So I took that photo for posterity, drove to the hospital, and the next few hundred photos were variations of this:

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    She's still my finest creation, but that shop won't finish itself! I took a ten day break through August 2017 and then got back to it, thus beginning one of the more exhausting periods of my life. Stay tuned...

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  • #2

    Re: "Garage" Build

    Enjoyed the trip.
    Thanks.

    Noel
    "Being so impressed with the beauty of nature, I never cease to be amazed at how the
    'touch of the human hand' can transform it into another kind of beauty that is so uniquely human.
    "
    John Snow, Outdoorsman and Retired Teacher

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    • #3

      Re: "Garage" Build

      Part 2: Eating the Whole Elephant

      Ten days after my daughter was born, I knew it was time to git 'r' dunn. It was a tvekked building that was half VB'd, and it was a long way from being finished! There was also the "first time parents with a brand new baby" thing that my wife and I were dealing with, so while my wife rested and the baby slept (thank god she was a good sleeper) I could steal some time outside after all the chores were taken care of. some evenings I'd only be putting in 30 minutes, and hour, or less... but as the saying goes, "How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time..."

      On with the photos!

      Vapour barrier done

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      The memory of moving all of that drywall myself had largely faded, and I forgot how horribly heavy the drywall was. Luckily my contractor friend helped me hang the upper sheets first, and I was able to somehow manhandle the lower sheets into place and wedge them up. I wanted a clean baseboard detail so that I would never have to worry about notching cabinets + stuff, so the bottom sheets are around 4" off the floor. This was a challenge to do on my own!

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      As anyone knows, patching and taping and finishing drywall is suuuuuper fun and easy so I made sure to really truly enjoy every minute of it. In fact it was so fun that I want to leave it on a high note and never do it again ever.

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      By now you're thinking "Is he drywalling the ceiling later?"
      And the answer, dear reader, is that no, I am not. I insulated above the joists with 4" of rigid so that I could have exposed joists. We framed in a couple of skylights but because of my own noise concerns and light pollution worries with neighbours in close proximity, I decided not to do the skylights. My biggest regret is not specifying a better timber for the exposed joists, but oh well. I wanted to keep them exposed for a couple of reasons: my ceiling height is 8' 4.5" so I don't have a tonne of height and I wanted to set the lights between the joists, so that I would minimize my chances of whacking them with lumber or sheet goods. So far that plan has worked perfectly. I also think that the between-joist space is great for all kinds of random stuff - whether it's wood, tracks/jigs that are long and see rare use, etc. I also wanted to be able to add electrical/other wiring runs without having to run boatloads of conduit - I can just core the joists to the OBC's rules and run wiring. I can also keep dust collection ducts out of the way with the right planning, although I also wish that I had put in a central vac style system.

      In any event, by the time I had painted and put in the baseboard (which is vinyl stuck to the vb - should have added a backer) it was early October.

      With winter approaching, it was time to do siding! Having painted wood siding before I knew that one of the most important things to set up is a drying rack, so I set to building that first. Gee, those exposed joists are really handy for making impromptu drying racks - glad I left the ceiling open!

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      Those are cheap boxes of 4" nails hammered into the ends of 2x4's. I don't remember the spacing, but it was based on supporting the siding and leaving enough room to put boards in and out. The biggest downfall of this system is that if you aren't careful putting a board in+out, you can mar the surface with the nail head. If you're careful, it's fine - but it's tricky with 16' long cedar boards.

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      At this point I should mention that even though I'm building my shop, I didn't have access to my old tools - we moved into this place from our previous apartments, at which I had a garage/shop at mine. The new tenant let me keep stuff in there but I couldn't have my building inspector think that I was building a workshop. I also needed a lot of open space. So i wasn't milling my own siding, even though i wanted to.

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      this photo doesn't look much different, but in between shots I sanded both sides of the siding, stained the back, and stained the front. the plan was to put the second coat on after installation - I still haven't bothered. maybe in the spring.

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      Here's the lower section installed! I blind-nailed the T+G siding using stainless steel nails, all by hand. I tried an air nailer but it was too powerful for blind-nailing - it kept splitting the tongues, and it would send them in at funny angles that wouldn't let the grooves slide over the tongues. So, I pre-drilled for every. Single. Nail.

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      I hadn't originally planned to cover the door in siding, but I had to get realistic about the likelihood of building the doors I had planned. I will build them some day, but that's in the distance future for now. To this day I still haven't installed the hardware on the front...

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      The lighting was a whole endeavour into itself - I thought I had left enough space for little LEDs, but what I didn't count on is the fact that the wiring comes directly up and out of the top of the stupid thing - so I had to create a recess at every light (through the peel and stick membrane), re-weather seal it, and then I had to figure out a solution for creating weather-proof wiring joints using stuff that was small enough to fit in the space I had. Because I didn't leave enough space at the window header, I had a very slim area in which to put my wood soffit so that it wouldn't get hit by the operable window. My original plan was actually to do awning windows but I thought the hinged ones would be better for letting air move through the shop. Eventually the lighting got done and it still looks pretty good! The lights in the pic above are way over exposed, it's a lot subtler as you'll see.

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      Next up was the upper siding - this was applied vertically so I had to get creative with my strapping. I scored the back to create vent/drip channels and angled it so that if any water did get behind it, it would have somewhere to go.

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      Here you can see how the strapping angled along the side. One of my fondest/craziest memories of the whole project is standing on a ladder, at 10pm, in the snow, blind nailing in that upper siding using a headlamp. It was the first and only time I got a noise complaint - I ended up talking to my boss and staggered my work days - in the office in the morning, home at lunch to work until the noise bylaw cutoff (7pm), and then I'd finish up my workday at home around 1am. I kept that up until it was done because it was mid-november at this point and I wasn't sure how much longer the snow would hold off. I didn't want to be setting up the ladder in the snow as I had to level it every time I moved it.

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      And there it is! I got my permit signed off in November 2017 and moved my tools in. In the next part I'll cover the lumber rack/plywood cart, and then add to the thread over time as I do shop-related projects.
      At some point we will landscape, and in the spring I hope to finish the fence on the left side. I had the contractor put in the posts but they're still sitting there naked.

      My other project is moving along well too:

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      Last edited by guitarchitect; 10-23-2018, 10:59 PM. Reason: To clarify completion date

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      • #4

        Re: "Garage" Build

        Nice work Terry,congrats,and thanks for sharing

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        • #5

          Re: "Garage" Build

          Originally posted by al.m..
          Nice work Terry,congrats,and thanks for sharing
          Thanks Al - you have the distinct honour of being the only forum member who has seen it in person!

          Sent from my SM-G920W8 using Tapatalk

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          • #6

            Re: "Garage" Build

            Great looking shop and congrats!

            They are a ton of fun

            Nathan

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            • #7

              Re: "Garage" Build

              Thanks for the whole journey.
              Both look great.

              Noel
              "Being so impressed with the beauty of nature, I never cease to be amazed at how the
              'touch of the human hand' can transform it into another kind of beauty that is so uniquely human.
              "
              John Snow, Outdoorsman and Retired Teacher

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: "Garage" Build

                Outstanding shop you've made youself... and congrats as well to you and your spouse on your "first completed project"!
                All the best,

                Marty

                President of Kingston Wood Artisans https://kwoodartca.wordpress.com/

                Proud member of the Wadkin Blockhead Club

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                • #9

                  Re: "Garage" Build

                  Awesome looking workshop. I hope mine turns out looking as good.
                  Darrin

                  Timber Elegance
                  My Etsy Store

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                  • #10

                    Re: "Garage" Build

                    Great write-up, Terry. It was fun to read and the pictures are awesome. It sounds like you were worried about convincing the building inspector that this is a garage. Did you have any issues related to this with the final inspection since your structure looks way nicer than a typical garage?

                    Good luck outfitting the shop,
                    David

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                    • #11

                      Re: "Garage" Build

                      Looks great. Question? Could you actually get a car between the houses and is the property line in the middle of the lane/driveway?
                      "Do it Right!"

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                      • #12

                        Re: "Garage" Build

                        Thanks for the kind words everyone!

                        DGB_WAT yeah, it's always a worry - at least on my side of things. A lot of people feel that it's an open secret that garages aren't really garages downtown, but bylaws are bylaws and you have to build to match your permit drawings! My driveway is a hair under 2100mm wide (and the bylaw requires at least 2.0m clear for a driveway) so I was worried I'd be grilled on the practicality of getting a car back there, but I never was... it was wide enough for our civic so it's plenty wide for lots of smaller cars. My biggest concern was actually the door - I put a rolling overhead door on my plans, because that's what is expected on a garage... as it turns out the "custom overhead door" was "facing delays from the guy making it" and I was "thinking of going to another supplier but that'll mean bigger delays until it gets in"... I had "ordered more siding than I needed so I figured I might as well put up a nice temporary door". Inspector said it was fine since the permit didn't depend on the kind of door on the front, so he signed off. A big sigh of relief was breathed that day!

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                        • #13

                          Re: "Garage" Build

                          Originally posted by Rusty View Post
                          Looks great. Question? Could you actually get a car between the houses and is the property line in the middle of the lane/driveway?
                          yep! I had our civic back there (mirrors in, to be safe) and any compact car would be fine. If we ever get a second car it will be an electric smart car or nissan leaf (or similar - a small electric), and they are even narrower.
                          and yes, the property line is in the middle of the driveway, with an Easement/ROW of 1m on both sides

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                          • #14

                            Re: "Garage" Build

                            I am really curious about the workshop/garage issue. You couldnít build a hobby shop
                            with a garage door? Iíve told my wife that we donít have a garage, itís a workshop. 😄
                            John
                            If you learn from your mistakes, then I'm getting a fantastic education.

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                            • #15

                              Re: "Garage" Build

                              Originally posted by John@Hamilton View Post
                              I am really curious about the workshop/garage issue. You couldnít build a hobby shop
                              with a garage door? Iíve told my wife that we donít have a garage, itís a workshop. 😄
                              John
                              Sure, you could - I didn't want to. I don't want to open a 7' overhead door every time i go in or out. I want a single 3' door with a 4' operable leaf, well-insulated. The current solution is an insulated 2x4 wall that has hinges, both leafs are 3'6".

                              You can build a garage with swing doors, to be sure - but it's not as much of a rubber stamp.
                              You can build a workshop, too - but you're limited to 5% of your property's area. Garages are the only accessory structure permitted to be 10% of your lot area. Our lot is around 3600sf and I feel that 180sf is too small and it's also not as good as a garage is for resale value.

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