Garage: Barn Lights

We put some finishing touches on the garage project this past weekend. I bet you thought we were done with the project already, huh? No, we’re still working on some finishing touches.

Last time I posted some photos of the garage it looked like this:

Finished front of garage.
Finished front of garage.

Now it looks like this:

Garage: Barn Lights
Garage: Barn Lights

Hint: It’s the lights.

All the house bloggers out there are going nuts about barn lights, and we’re no different, I guess. We think it’s a pretty cool look. Ignore the white around the light on the right – I’ll get around to touching up the paint sometime in 2017. With the lights in place, we had our final inspection by the city a couple days ago, so I’m gonna call it. This project is Dunzo.

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. That’s how I do it. Here’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.

Garage: Siding Finished

Sheesh, this garage project never ends! The hardest part is still just finding time to work on it. A couple hours each weekend just doesn’t cut it.

But here’s the progress so far:

Garage Siding Finished
Garage siding finished!

We finished the siding last weekend. Tomorrow morning, I’ll spend a couple hours caulking all the joints in the siding and we’ll be able to turn our primary focus to the inside of the garage. The exterior is still far from “done”. All the trim still needs to be painted the same deep maroon color as the trim on the house, but that may not happen yet this year. That may be a job for next spring.

Items that still need to be finished before hibernation begins for the winter:

  • Finish the firewall (drywall) assembly on the back wall
  • finish electrical
  • build shelving & a workbench
  • install electric garage opener

Garage: Slowly Making Progress

Progress on the garage is creeping along very slowly. It’s tough to find time to work on this. Weekdays are useless. I get home from work around 5:45. The official sunset time for Minneapolis today was 6:19 PM. Just enough time to get out all the tools and put them away again.

Weekends are my only chance to work on it, but of course I’m also juggling other weekend activities.

And oh yea, turns out I also have a daughter and I would like her to know me as more than “that guy who is always making noise in the backyard.

But we’ll get there eventually. The siding is on one side, and we’re almost done with the siding on the back, too.

Siding – one wall complete.

And check out these great knee braces. This is my favorite part of the garage so far. I think they look pretty sharp! What do you think?

Knee Braces.

And in case you didn’t notice, we have doors.


There’s still a lot to finish up here, and we’ve set a goal to be finished by Thanksgiving. Here’s  a rundown of what’s next:

  • hang soffits – 1 wall
  • finish trim – 1 wall
  • finish siding – 3 walls
  • caulk siding – all
  • paint trim – all
  • finish drywall firewall on inside – 1 wall
  • electrical
  • build shelves

What do you think? Can we finish all this by Thanksgiving if we only have a few hours each weekend to work?

Garage Sneak Peak

Why won’t you post pictures of your garage so we can see all your progress?

Boy you guys just can’t get enough of this garage project, huh? I log off for two weeks and you’re banging my door down trying to get a look at my garage.

Ok, Ok. Here’s a sneak peak at what we’ll be working on tomorrow:

Knee Brace

Sorry if I just blew your minds with these Knee Braces I made out of a couple of 4×4’s.

But wait, isn’t your house like a Tudor Revival style, and aren’t Knee Braces more of a Craftsman style embellishment? Are you mixing and matching architectural styles?

Deal with it, bro. We do what we want.

Garage: Shingled

I’m not saying it was a productive weekend or anything, I’m just saying that I shingled the whole garage in a day and a half.

Fortress, a.k.a. garage.

Yea, I get it. A professional could have had it done in about 6 hours. But I’m not a professional. I’m just some guy.

Some guy who shingled his own garage. Boo-Yah.

Garage Marathon – Still Going

Ok, we’re nearing the end of our garage-building marathon. We’ve spent 5 days working 10-12 hour days, and this is what we’ve got so far:

Blank Wall.

Tomorrow, we’re skipping church, and hoping to get the roof on.

After that, here’s a list of things to finish:

  • build portico
  • build gable supports
  • hang doors (hire out overhead door?)
  • soffits
  • siding

Hmm… still sounds like a lot!

Garage: not done yet

Ok, well at the end of Garage Marathon Day II, this is what things look like.

2.5 walls.

I get it, you’re thinking it doesn’t look like we made much progress today. I’m thinking the same thing. I think we made more progress than it looks like… or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Part of our problem is that we lost 3 prime working hours wandering around Menard’s lumber yard. Honestly, that place wears me out more than building a garage does…

Next up, how are we going to lift our massive five ply header into place? I dunno.

Garage: One and a Half and a Half Walls

Well, this happened today:

It’s one and a half and a half walls.

Looks pretty good, huh? My initial reaction is that wow, these walls are… TALL.  The walls, including the concrete block stem walls are nearly 10 feet tall, which is not an accident since that’s the maximum wall height the City of Minneapolis will permit on a detached garage. At first glance, this garage is going to completely dwarf my neighbors garage.

This garage is going to be…. tall.

Of course, we’re using a very low pitch roof truss, so it’s nearly at full height – it’s not going to get much taller than it is now. We’re going to absolutely love having 10′ walls, but I do wonder what my neighbors will think of it….

KP was the best little helper today, even if she did cry every single time the air compressor kicked on.

No place for a baby like a construction site.

This photo isn’t really that great, I just like these beefy bearing plates.

We did make a major blunder today, which is that we sheathed the back wall of the garage with OSB rather than the fireblock stuff we had planned to use. We were just on a roll and it completely slipped our minds. Not sure what we’re gonna do about that yet.

Keep your eyes peeled for more info tomorrow. We’re hoping to have the walls totally finished by tomorrow evening, and we’ll start on the trusses Thursday.

Garage: It’s about to get REAL

It’s been a little quiet around here, which I bet most of you think means we haven’t really done much on the garage lately. Well, you’re exactly right. We haven’t done anything on the garage lately. This is still what my backyard looks like:

What my backyard looks like right now.

But that’s all about to change, starting in about 10 hours. I’ve taken the day off work tomorrow, and the whole rest of the week, and we’re gonna crank this baby out. The in-laws are in town to help with the work, and to watch KP. We had all the materials delivered this past week, so here’s what my front yard looks like:

What my front yard looks like right now.

And here’s what my driveway looks like:

What my driveway looks like right now.

And here is the really excellent location the Menard’s delivery driver decided to leave our roof trusses:

Good work, Menards…

I don’t know how far we’ll get this week. I’m hoping we’ll at least have the thing framed, sheathed, and roofed. 5 days should be enough for that, right? You’d think so… I guess we’ll find out.

We’re gonna lose half a day tomorrow morning while I unwrap all my brand new tools that I have no idea how to use. We’ll lose at least 30 minutes while I watch youtube videos about “how to use a framing nailer”, and we’ll lose a good 4 or 6 months if I get it wrong and shoot a nail through my own foot.

But in addition to fancy new pneumatic nailing guns, I also treated myself to a nice piece of hardware I’ve always kind of wanted:

A hammer.

Yep, just a plain old hammer. I’ll bet you thought I probably already had a hammer, since I love doing all sorts of DIY projects, but I only sort of have a hammer. The one I’ve been using for the past 5 years has a floppy head and a cracked handle. Mostly, gosh darnit, I just felt like I ought to own a decent hammer. I don’t even know if I’ll need a hammer in this project since hopefully all the nails will be driven with a gun – I didn’t even buy any normal nails, for heaven’s sake! But it just seems like a guy that’s about to build a garage ought to own a nice, solid hammer.

Anyway, wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted.