Finally some progress pictures for you! As soon as we got our garage permit, Jerm was dying to get started. The reason we were in such a rush is because it took forever to get our permit (until November 18th to be exact) and winter was quickly approaching.
Let’s have one last look shall we?
The very next day, Jerm was out there after work with two friends getting ready to knock it down and haul it out. The next step was to rent a jackhammer and break up the old slab. This sounded like an easy task since the slab didn’t seem to be reinforced with rebar or mesh (it was cracked all over), but much to our surprise, we found another much harder, reinforced slab under the first one. The jackhammer wasn’t even being very effective so we soon had an army of sledgehammers in our backyard chipping off tiny little bits until it was finally gone. The whole process took much longer than we thought.
Because Jerm and I both work, we had to do a lot of our garage work at night after our day jobs. Thankfully, we had very understanding neighbors. Instead of complaining or calling the cops on us, they came outside and offered us the use of their garage lights and set up portable lights for us. We are so blessed to have them.
Anyway, after finally getting the slab up, our next step was to prep the space, dig footings, and put up forms for our new slab. Jerm’s family has and old Allis-Chalmers tractor that made easy work of moving some of the larger rocks around. We also used a laser level to make sure our forms were level and to make sure that our stone “foundation” for under the slab was level. Looking back on all of this, I picture those couple weeks as the most labor intensive work we’ve ever done. There was a lot of digging, rock moving, and working late into the night, but for once we got lucky and the snow held out on us.
After the ground was prepped and the forms were up, it was time to get ready to pour the slab. This is one of the few things we didn’t do ourselves because we didn’t want to mess up thousands of dollars of concrete. We hired a local family owned company, and they did gorgeous work. One thing we did to keep our cost down was to purchase all materials and do all of the prep work ourselves (like rebar, mesh, and visqueen). Jerm also wanted in-floor heat, so we ran about 400 feet of pex flexible tubing throughout the shop side and zip stripped it to the mesh. He has big plans for that in the future, but for now, it is all in place and ready to go. Because we did pour in colder weather, we had to keep the slab warm with tarp “blankets” for about a week.
Finally, it was time to start building, and I got a nice surprise upon coming home from work one Saturday—the first two walls were up! In case you are wondering, we bought all of our wood at a local lumberyard called State lumber. Smaller, local businesses are often more reasonable than you would think and we got better quality wood delivered right to our house (vs. picking through all of the warped boards at a home center).
Once the building started, it went much quicker than I thought. Pretty soon we had more walls + our metal beam up to support the loft. We got lucky and found the perfect size beam behind a friends’ barn, so that saved a few hundred dollars. Once the main floor was framed and partially sheathed, we started working on framing the loft, dormers, and roofline. We are truly grateful to all of our friends that came out to help us night after night. We couldn’t have done it without them.
The most challenging part of the framing was getting the huge ridge beams for the roof up into place. For the second beam, Jerm had to get creative and use a hoist to lift the beam up and into place.
New Years Eve was spent sheathing the rest of the roof, and finally, three days before the first snow on January 6, we had a roof.
Roofing was the only other thing we didn’t do ourselves. For one, we were in a hurry to beat the snow and couldn’t have done it as fast, and for two, Jerm didn’t like the idea of being up on such a steep roof. We hired a guy from our church, and they did a great job for us. We chose a 30 year architectural style shingle in “weathered wood” that he supplied.
Whew… That covered a lot of ground in one post. Next up, Jerm goes crazy and spends all of our money on insulation… Just kidding, but he did really prioritize the insulation in our garage.