Fearless Garage II – November 2012

In my Manotick house, one of the first things I had done was to insulate and finish the inside walls of the garage. Then I made a large workbench and installed several shelves over it, to hold all of my supplies and some tools. I used inexpensive OSB board for the walls, which I painted white, and didn’t finish the ceiling after the insulation went in. Later on I repainted the inside of the back door in a checkered flag motif. My brother named it Fearless Garage after I undertook a repair to the Mazda rally car’s engine that he thought was very risky.

That garage was big enough for the three small cars I had, although I could only work on whichever one was in the middle. And I had various things hanging from hooks on all of the walls – it was organized but looked cluttered. I resolved to do better in whatever new house I found, once I had decided to move. So when I found this house in Perth, my prayers were answered.

The new garage is attached to the end of the house with inside entry to a laundry room, with a powder room in the same space. The parking space is about 22 feet square and it has an eight foot square shop area tacked on to the left corner as you drive in. When I moved in, part of the ceiling was finished with drywall and the walls abutting the house were also covered with drywall, but it had never been painted. The rest of the walls and about half the ceiling were exposed joists and studs, without insulation. In addition, there were three structures built from 2 x 4 lumber and plywood – a work bench, a shelving unit and a loft storage shelf.

After taking some measurements and thinking about how I wanted to use the space, I developed a plan and some sketches to guide me through the build process. I began by disassembling those wooden structures, which proved to be more of a challenge than I anticipated, as usual. They had been overbuilt and screwed together with three inch Robertson-headed screws, without drilling holes for the screws. So every one of those hundreds of screws was difficult to extract – some were so tight that I had to use vise-grip pliers and I had to cut off a few that simply wouldn’t budge. When I was finished, I had a pile of usable lumber that took up a lot of space in the basement, where I had established a workshop.

The next step was to hire an insulating contractor to finish the ceiling and exterior walls and to spray foam insulation into the attic above the old drywall, where it had never been insulated. Then I hired a drywall contractor to finish the existing walls with new mud and tape and install new drywall everywhere else. After several days they were finished and I proceeded to paint all of the walls and ceiling. While they had been at work, I was busy downstairs cutting lumber and making new work benches for both the shop area and the back wall. I pre-fabbed everything and painted it all semi-gloss black, so I could simply assemble it in the garage once the space was ready. Once the benches, window mouldings and baseboards were installed, I bought eight Husky steel wall cabinets and hung them over the work benches on three walls. Finally I hung pictures, a shelf for rally trophies and a 32” TV set. Finally Fearless Garage II was finished and ready for cars, just before winter arrived.

I had an open house on November 17, which was attended by about 20 friends from my various car clubs and the garage was a hit with them all! It wasn’t until the following summer that the weather was warm enough to allow me to clean and paint the floor with an oil resistant sealer, to finish the project. I installed a propane heater in January and was able to get a head start on the driving season by working on the cars during the winter months in the comfort of a heated space. I continue to be very pleased with the finished product and my visitors are always impressed with its appearance and cleanliness. Total cost – about $8300.

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