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Thread: Building a Garage

  1. #1

    Building a Garage

    Started clearing land to build a garage. Looking for advice and tips from anyone who has built a garage. What would you do differently etc if you were to do it again. My plan is to get the land cleared and have the excavation done and get a foundation poured before winter and then build the garage in spring next year. I live in the northeast so looking for input on that idea. Is it ok to do the foundation now and build in the spring or should it all be done at the same time? Thanks in advance for hints tips and suggestions.
    Looking for K frame square butt Stag grips and Marlin Ballard Wind Gauge Spirit Level Front Globe Sight

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    When I built my garage several years ago, I dug the foundation beams about twice as deep as the minimum code required.
    and put a extra row of the 3/4" rebar in the ditches.
    I used 1/2" rebar instead of 3/8ths on 12" centers for the top grid part. Then a 6" pour instead of the legal 4" for the floor.

    Leave a couple feet of the gray plastic conduit coming into the slab so the power cable
    can come up from below ground and be inside the wall, if it isn't run overhead.
    Its overbuilt, but I didn't worry much about the slab cracking and moving either.

    For the walls, I bolted down the sole plates with Hilti anchors instead of ram set nails.
    Our tornados will have a hard time taking off with it like the Alice in Wonderland house did.

    We have termite problems here, so I used the green pressure treated 2 x 4 for the sole and top plates.
    They won't eat it, and can't eat & travel along a section of a wall like regular boards..

    For the wiring; I'd run a bigger service than you think you'll need; nothing less than 100 amps.
    If you'll ever think you might air condition it, make it 200 amps.,

    Use the heavier 12 ga. wire on 20 amp 120v circuts instead of the 'normal' 15 amp breakers with 14 ga wire.
    Even a small 120v welder or air compressor will easily trip a 15 amp, and the 14ga. wire will be real hot.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 09-17-2020 at 12:11 AM.
    FAIR WARNING:
    As often as not, I offer sarcasm rather than advice.

    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Had to do a new footing for a chimney once. Old one was just poured concrete. As Winger Ed suggested I used 1/2" rebar in two levels tied together with the steel wire. And while I was at it extended the footing down at least 6" and when done I actually had a 4'x6' slab for the footing. That was a very long day as I broke it up into a two day project. One day was the rebar and the next was mixing and pouring all that concrete. Rented a cement mixer and that was why I managed to get the concrete work done in a day. Also used a vibrator to help settle out the concrete and eliminate any air pockets. Also rented that one as well. And borrowed a Hilti gun which is like an electric jack hammer to break up all the old concrete as well. Working rotating shifts is why I had to get it done in two days. And as mentioned try to over size things like electric feeds to your garage. May not need it now but when you decide to use it you'll be glad you did. Only 4 duplex outlets in the garage. And had to run 240 single phase 30 amp for the motor on my lathe. Frank

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Moleman-'s Avatar
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    Don't get a short 7' rollup door meant for cars only 8' or 10' if you can swing it. It will mean a taller ceiling but will be worth it. Last house about 20 years ago was in a subdivision. Made sure they put a 8' garage door on it so I could part the truck inside. Neighbors on either side were ticked because their full sized suv's wouldn't fit and mine would. Went with a 10' door and 12' ceiling in the current place, along with 6" thick floor, and 220v. Agree with the above posts about electrical and concrete and wood choices. Also it's a lot easier to insulate and cover the walls before you start loading it up with stuff.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy Joe504's Avatar
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    Well, you will ofcourse be limited to budget, but, if this is a detached garage, have plumbing setup for a toilet/shower when you pour the foundation.

    Everything costs money, but for a detached building, this is a great upgrade.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I concur with the extra height ceiling and garage door so you can get a truck inside plus add enough extra room in front of the vehicle so that when you are parked you can easily walk around it. I originally wanted to go 32' deep but the wife didn't want to cover a window in the house so I went with 24', that's OK until I put my full size Chevy pickup in and can't walk around it without opening the overhead door because i have a couple of grinders on pedestals along the wall in front of the pickup and no room to move them. It makes it hard to work on the truck when you can't walk around it. I now wish I had gone to a 14' ceiling so I could have a hoist for working on vehicles.
    BIG OR SMALL I LIKE THEM ALL, 577 TO 22 HORNET.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I did the electrical on my home and the a/c so I determined the number of outlets. The garage got 2 circuit breakers and outlet every 6’. Have 10 outlets in garage at 48’ high. Some of these haven’t been used in 20 years but they don’t cost much when you buy a contractor pack, just a little more drilling studs and eliminate the use of a lot of extension cords.

    Also if you want to put freezer out there, don’t put on a GFCI, it can trip and if you don’t have alarm it’ll thaw and you wont know it.

    +1 on the 10-12’ door opening. That I didn’t see coming, you pull up with ladder on top of truck and slam into top of door opening several times and will wish you had a taller door.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    Don't know your situation but have you thought about getting a pole barn then doing the framing, electric, etc? I have a 30x32 that was put up in half a day. Will allow you to work on it this winter if you want to. Good luck.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    if it were me, I would put a full basement under it and have a killer man cave. cant do that around here do to the high water table but I can dream.

    the pole barn idea is good, you can still pour a cement floor later and it gets you a winter project going.
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    My shop is 30x40, with 12' ceiling. 2x6 framing on 24" centers. Divide at 18x30 feet to include a heavy beam sufficient to raise a motor across the 30' length, over the sliding door in the middle. Fully insulated and sheet-rocked. Lots of electrical. Heated (daytime) with a small wood stove. I may upgrade to a larger stove one of these days. I use a small, free-standing electric radiant heater in winter that keeps the whole shop from freezing overnight. What I did not do (but should have) was to put in water and plumbing. Another thing I did wrong was to put the overhead doors in the side of the building instead of the end. This results in snow sliding off the roof, landing in front of the big doors. I hate when that happens! Also I should have built a guest accommodation on one end. Oh yes---it aint big enough!!
    R.D.M.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I had a small low garage when I bought my place. trucks suvs tractors wouldnt fit and the low ceiling would allow handling long lumber easily. The original garage was 24 X 32 x 8 to the ceiling. The new building is 40 x 50 x 10'2" to bottom of trusses gas 1 8' wide and 2 10' wide doors 10' tall no issues getting things in and out.. The entry door is a 6' double door and the back door is a 4' wide single. Again no issues getting in and out even with my wheel chairs. The added size allowed for a 17 x 30 shop room inside. On the big doors I went with the chainfall openers High ratio industrial s. This allows me to open them from wheel chair with out the added cost of electric openers.

    My new building is Pole construction went up is a few weeks including the concrete floor 12" under shop area and 6 in garage.

    My advice is build bigger than you think you will need it fills up fast. Use the best you can.

    One issue with metal pole construction is they sweat in temp changes but with proper venting and new techniques it is managed and not a problem.

    Its a big learning experience putting up anew building enjoy it. I was able to watch interact with contractors on mine every day. I really enjoyed that.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    might look into moisture barrier before pouring concrete.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    CastingFool's Avatar
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    My suggestion is to build it bigger than whay you think you will need. All yhe othet suggestions are good, too!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmbif View Post
    might look into moisture barrier before pouring concrete.
    That's a must have.


    Something I did on my garage/shop:

    I ran 120v outlets 6' apart along the 3 walls at the normal height, and on the side where the work bench
    was going to be, another row above them at 5' over the floor.

    These wall runs were on different circuits so they were on a 'odd & even' deal where each plug
    was on a different circuit than the one next to it
    to spread out the load for different power tools working close together.

    I didn't want all the 120 wall boxes for one wall to be on one circuit.
    Same thing with the lights, so if a breaker tripped, it wouldn't leave me in the dark.

    Also, I planned ahead for where the lights over the work bench would be, and the wall switches for them.

    Don't forget to put a ceiling box in if you ever want to have a garage door opener.

    And I wished I'd put in more outside plug boxes too.
    One on each end was never enough, or in the right place for outside stuff running off a extension cord,
    and I forgot to put one up high outside on a end for a bug zapper.



    Something else I did that worked out well: The slab wasn't level.

    I made it with a tilt and a slightly concave floor.
    It was one inch higher at the back than it was at the front.
    Any storm rain water that blew in, wanted to go to the center, and drain out the door,
    and I could wash down the floor with a water hose before painting a car, and the water ran out by itself.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 09-17-2020 at 05:30 PM.
    FAIR WARNING:
    As often as not, I offer sarcasm rather than advice.

    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.

  15. #15
    Moderator Emeritus

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    Insulate the slab! I have yet to put a heater in the garage I built a few years ago. I live in SW MN where it gets to -20f (record is -31F) and the coldest it has gotten in there is 28 degrees. The walls do have 8" of insulation and the attic area is R50... pole barn style construction... had them do liner panels on the inside and ceiling. 10' ceiling so the ham antennas on the car don't scrape to badly.


  16. #16
    Great this is exactly the stuff I wanted to get me some ideas, thanks and keep em coming. 1 thing no one has gave opinions on is whether I can do the foundation now and have it sit thru the winter and build next year. I have done some reading and it sounds like it may not be the greatest idea. I'd like to hear from anyone with experience in foundations or who may have knowledge whether this is a bad thing to do.
    Looking for K frame square butt Stag grips and Marlin Ballard Wind Gauge Spirit Level Front Globe Sight

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkenhunter50 View Post
    foundation now and have it sit thru the winter and build next year. .
    In the old days, they wanted concrete to cure at least a month before you built on it.

    If it was me, I'd do the slab when ever it was handy, and since that concrete stuff is about as hard of work as there is--
    I'd encourage doing it when the weather wasn't at the extreme end for that time of year.

    As far as the age of it:
    Who has ever had any great concern for that when they're doing a remodel, mounting some machine to the floor,
    adding onto a patio, punching a hole in it for water pipes, conduit, fixing a pot hole in the street, etc.?

    That bare slab will survive the winter about as well as your driveway or the street will.

    As far as anchoring stuff-- it'll be harder than when its fresh, but for that-
    get the good concrete bits for your hammer drill instead of the cheap ones.
    FAIR WARNING:
    As often as not, I offer sarcasm rather than advice.

    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master

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    In Louisiana a house is required to have a visqueen vapor barrier under the house slab ... but garages are not required to have them .... Be smart and install a vapor barrier under the garage slab just like it were a house .
    It holds down moisture in the finished garage , helps keep the floor from sweating .
    If you ever wish to heat and/or cool the garage you will not have a moisture problem .
    Concrete will pass ground moisture ... this may not be a problem in the North .

    We always specified our drives and garage floor slabs to be 6" thick , 3000 psi @ 28 day mix concrete , reinforced with 6 x 6 x 10/10 ga. Welded Wire Mesh . This helps to keep them from cracking . The slab may still show some small cracks but the wire mesh holds everything together.

    Letting the concrete cure for 28 days isn't a bad thing to do if possible .
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    Is this a garage for parking cars or for a workshop? I'm currently building a shop that's about the same as a garage on this thread: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...rkshop-Finally!. Since I'm in the Gulf Coast heat, it is framed with 2x6s for R-19 insulation to minimize cooling costs. Build it as big as you can. I was limited by easement constraints or it would have been bigger. Make sure you have more electrical service than you think you will ever need, preferably 220 and 110 if possible. I have 3 20A 220 outlets and a 50A one for the welding machine. Lots of 110 outlets, most of them at 48" off the floor. Some are at residential height, where I know my welder, dust collector and table saw will plug in. Lots of electrical service over the reloading area for the furnace, hot plate, smoke extraction, clock, electronic powder dispenser, etc.
    Sometimes life taps you on the shoulder and reminds you it's a one way street. Jim Morris

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    If money is tight, do not overlook the possibility of a steel carport. My buddy is doing that. I think he said a 20x24 was $1700 installed. He put down the pad and he will be siding it once it is up. The crew will have it erected in a day or less.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

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