Garage: Exterior Finished

Ok, it’s about time for another update on the garage project. I know you guys are just aching to hear what I’ve been up to. I haven’t posted anything about the garage in about one month. And gosh, I can not express how frustrating it is to find time to work on a project like this, so progress has been slow.

The last time I wrote, I mentioned that we had finished installing all the siding, but hadn’t finished painting it. I didn’t think the weather would allow us to finish painting before spring. However, an unusually warm November weekend allowed us to finish all the painting (thanks, global warming!). With that finished, the exterior is officially done.

Here is the official before shot:


And the official after shot:


That after shot doesn’t quite do the structure justice, I don’t think, but it’s the same angle as the before shot. And ignore that blue painters tape near the top that has never been taken down (it’s scheduled for 2015). How about this angle? Is this better?


And from another angle, before:

Not so bad from this angle.

And after:

Finished front of garage.

That’s a pretty dramatic difference, right?

Actually, I’m just realizing that it’s a little early to declare the exterior finished since we haven’t hung any lights outdoors yet. We’ll get to it one of these years.

Speaking of electrical, that was also on the list of things to finish. I really struggled with what approach to take with the garage electrical. I had it narrowed down to a couple options: 1)the easy way that would have provided plenty of power for anything we’ll ever need; 2) the hard option that provides WAY more power than we’ll ever want or need and is really just a little ridiculous.

I went with option 2 – the subpanel. Except the hilarious part is that I went through all the trouble of installing a subpanel, while also selecting the smallest subpanel available, which makes it really not much more useful than if there wasn’t a subpanel at all.

All the work, none of the benefits.┬áThat’s how I do it.┬áHere’s my wee little subpanel:

Garage Subpanel.

And here’s the inside of the garage right now.

Firewall almost finished.

In case you’re wondering, no, we haven’t parked a car in there yet. Mostly because it’s been too full of junk (I need an even newer, bigger garage…). There’s a foot of fresh snow on the ground outside today, and our car was parked on the street the whole time, rather than inside our new garage. Awesome, huh?

We still have a few odds and ends to finish up before we’ll be ready for the final inspection by the city. We need to finish up that firewall (we have to hang drywall on the inside of the gable in the photo above…), and we’ll be ready for inspection.

6 thoughts on “Garage: Exterior Finished”

  1. How did you run the line for the subpanel? I have an old line which is (I think) in a conduit out to my garage right now. I recently upgraded the electrical, just running everything into one spot and connecting it at a J-box. But I’d rather have a subpanel than having every load in the garage sharing a 15a branch circuit. Did you trench a new line to the garage?

    1. @Matt – yes, I paid a neighbor kid $40 to dig a 2′ trench between the house and the garage. Digging is easy when your entire lot is nothing but sand. I didn’t use conduit. I just directly buried 6/3 w/ ground UF cable, which I have connected to a 60A breaker in my basement.

  2. Thanks. I might have to consider that, although I’d need to route it around a concrete patio. I see you also have the recycling upgrade with your new garage. Hopefully Northrop will get that soon.

    1. FWIW, if I were doing this again, I would use conduit and individual conductors rather than UF cable. My decision to use UF in this case was mostly a misunderstanding. I went to the big-box store to buy the THWN conductors to pull inside conduit, and was surprised to learn that they only had THHN conductors, which I wasn’t comfortable using. In a pinch, I decided to use UF instead. Turns out, though, that the wire at the big-box store was dual-rated as THHN and THWN, so I could have just used it. The main benefit is just not having to work with this damned 6/3 UF cable which is just generally large and unwieldy.

  3. Any idea what size conduit you’d need? I’d love to figure out a way to put in a subpanel using the existing 1/2″ conduit if I can scope it out and make sure it’s still good.

    1. I’m no electrician, so I’m just guessing. I’m sure there are tables out there that will tell you how many wires of different sizes are permitted to be inside a specified conduit size. Of course, it depends on what size wire you want to use as well. I used a #6 wire, which as near as I can tell, is good up to about a 60A subpanel. I’m guessing it would be pretty tough to pull three #6’s and a #10 ground wire through a 1/2″ conduit. I probably wouldn’t try it with less than 1″. I ended up using 1.5″ conduit for the short lengths where the wire was above ground, but that’s mostly because of that damned gigantic UF type wire I used.

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