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If This Garage is A-Rockin… It Probably Hasn’t Been Structurally Reinforced Yet…

May 5, 2010

This weekend I finally got working on the garage.  I have to admit that starting was definitely the hardest part.  When you are standing inside a building that you are pretty sure shouldn’t be standing and have to cut away structural members, that first cut is very nerve wracking.  After the first cut didn’t bring the garage down on top of me things went pretty well.  I got most of the studs in and really go the garage’s spider population down.

The garage is built on slab with the wooden mudsill resting directly on the slab.  This of course has led to some pretty sever termite damage over the last 85 years.  Below is the old mudsill.

And here is the shiny new pressure treated mudsill.  The only problem is, this wall is along the property line and my neighbor has planted a garden right against the wall.  He then installed automatic sprinklers to water his plants.  This makes it very difficult or impossible to stop termites from just doing the same thing over again.  Right now my best hope is removing about 2 feet from the bottom of the siding, putting up a vapor barrier sealed against the foundation with a long apron buried down along the foundation, then covering with Hardieboard type siding.  Even this will probably only keep the bugs at bay for a few years.  Alexandra is advocating sheeting the inside of the garage; I’m not so enthused.  On the one hand it would like a lot better, but on the other it would definitely make space feel smaller and hide any possible future bug or water issues.

Speaking of bugs, Alexandra is going to a conference at the end of May and I am going to go visit Spencer and Lindsay up in Seattle so this seems like a great time to have our house fumigated.  So we are having a company come in to give us an estimate and report.  I’m sure the report will also turn up a whole lot of wood that will likely need replacing, which means more journeys under the house.  I survived my last trip under there but it was really pretty terrible and I am not looking forward to going back under there again.

In happier news the graduate student Alexandra worked for at Michigan Tech has graduated and is joining her research group at CalTech.  He drove the moving van out from Michigan and arrived yesterday and his wife is flying in on Thursday.

Hopefully this weekend I will be able to finish framing the garage and possibly start working on repairing and replacing some of the siding.  As always though I will not be surprised if some other project side tracks me.

Finally, some of you have found the month in review page linked at the top of the blog.  I’ve been updating this with a summary of what all the work that has been done so far.  It is kind of fun to scroll through and see how far we have come so far.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2010 5:47 PM

    Nice and informative!
    Make sure to provide for temporary support before removing or undermining any supporting members. Also, sheeting is a good idea as it stiffens the structure significantly. As for the water issues, I suggest addressing those regardless of sheeting. Do this from the outside.
    Good luck!

    • May 6, 2010 8:52 AM

      Thanks for commenting! To clarify, one of the biggest issues with this was deciding on appropriate temporary reinforcement measures. Because there were virtually no vertical members (none in the corners, no studs, only one 2×4 on either side of the main door), it was very hard to understand what was holding the whole structure up. In the end I decided a less is more policy was probably best and started in a corner near the front right next to one of the two existing vertical members. I braced and supported the roof rafters and the top plate then carefully removed 8 feet of the mudsill from the front corner of the garage toward the back of the building; at the same time I removed what is for lack of a better term a “chair rail” that ran about 4 feet up from the mudsill. I’m guessing this was there to keep the vertical siding from bowing out. I then replaced the mudsill with pressure treated and built a 3 stud corner and started putting in my studs until I was at the end of my new mudsill. I removed the temporary bracing and moved down the wall and repeated the process until I was at the other side of the garage door.

      I’m still hung up on trying to keep water from infiltrating the structure so any ideas on how to accomplish it without removing all of the siding would be appreciated!

  2. May 12, 2010 8:11 PM

    Ok, it’s been a week. Unacceptable.

  3. Spencer permalink
    May 16, 2010 11:58 AM


  4. Jess permalink
    May 18, 2010 6:16 AM

    you know, pretty soon you will be to the point of not being able to post a monthly update b/c you have not posted anything for a month.
    then again… i havnt updated my house pics in a week or two or three either. oops.

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