My motto of “if I can knit a sweater, I can do anything” gets me in trouble sometimes. I’ve been told that determination is my best and worst quality. I suppose there are worse personal qualities to possess. It’s just that if I don’t figure out how to do a task, it won’t get done. So, I fly by the seat of my pants sometimes.
In May of 2015, I embarked on a construction project to build a garage next to my house. The plans came from a website called Todaysplans.com. Free garage and workshop plans. I chose the Garden Oak Garage project. The plans had to be approved by the county zoning and building department. The building permit cost about $350.00. The cost of the permit was a real bummer to me as it is my own property you know. After they made some suggestions and stated requirements, I began to plan my attack. In addition, I had to have Bluestake come out and check for lines and wires in the ground where I wanted to dig and build.
Because we have the stinking “endangered” black-tailed prairie dogs here in Iron County, I had to have the BLM come and survey my property for prairie dogs. Little bastards, I hate them. Evidently, a varmint could keep me from building on my property. I let my Jack Russell Terrier out there to sniff them up and send them packing. Take that BLM!
The garage would be located south of my home. I wanted the building to block the wind and weather blowing into the house. The garage would be angled with the doors facing the northwest. It was to be two stories high. There would be a small apartment on the second floor, so my family would have a dog free place to stay when they visit. The plans called for an attic up there. I made a little modification and now there will be ample room for both.
First I went to Home Depot to rent a mini excavator to dig the trenches for the foundation footings. I had never operated a mini excavator before. I met a man there who turned out to be a neighbor. He offered to dig the footings for me with his tractor. We became good friends and he has since become my construction advisor. Good fortune indeed!
We used the laser level to lay out the corners of the buildings. I really didn’t understand all that part so it was good to have Greg helping me. Greg dug the trenches for the concrete footings. I put the rebar for footings in and tied it all together. Then we poured the footings. The county has requirements for width and depth of the footings. The next step took me quite a while. I built all the concrete forms for the foundation walls myself. I cut, placed, and tied together all the rebar myself as well. It was a big job for one person.
The day we poured cement for the foundation walls, I had a group of friends come and help. We did our best to get everything level. Then we let the cement set. After a couple of days, I was out there taking all the forms down. I never throw anything away around here so I kept all the screws, wood, and braces. Never know when you might need that stuff again.
At this point in the project, I needed to get a loan for the construction of the building and the trusses. It was fairly easy to get a loan on the internet. I’ll be paying that loan off for a while but it has been worth it so far.
I have never framed anything bigger than a chicken coop. So I had another friend Brent Jackson bring his handy man crew out to put up the actual building. Brent sent me pictures each day to keep me advised on the progress. We ordered trusses from a company in Cedar City. The plans for the building had to be given to the truss company so they could build the trusses properly. The trusses arrived on a huge flat-bed semi. It was a big deal as we had to cut a hole in the fence to get the truck into the yard. A gentleman with a crane truck was hired to lift the trusses up onto the top of the walls. It was a fascinating process to watch. Brent and his crew did a great job getting them all spaced and secured.
The next step in this gigantic project was to put all the plywood sheathing on the outside of the building and on the roof. I didn’t realize that the roof’s pitch would be quite so steep. The fellas needed to be quite careful working on the roof.
I wanted to use metal for the roof and the “siding” on the outside of the garage. Brent helped me choose Fabral Metal sheeting in a beautiful red color. That is what we used on the roof first. I knew we wouldn’t get much more done before the winter arrived so I painted the outside of the sheathing with some exterior paint. The building spent the winter half-naked but I blocked up the garage doors and side door with plywood and let it rest.
I am creating a photo gallery of the construction progress for this project. I will continue this story in another post.