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JThw8 UltimaDork
5/21/21 7:30 p.m.

Backstory for those who havent heard it.  2 years ago, burnt out on my job, parents retired south, dad fell ill.  Opportunity arose to transfer to new position in my company in the NC plant.  Gets me closer to folks, new work challenges and finally gets me the hell out of NJ.  But it was a FAST move, 30 days from interview to start so I had to live in an extended stay and SWMBO and I had to forego our usualy 6+ months of hunting the perfect house and find something close which could be made what we want.  House is lovely, property (11 acres) is awesome.   Garage....doesnt exist.  (sad trombone)  2 car carport on the house and a barn so its a start.  All my shop equipment and tools were unceremoniously dumped in the barn and its been a cluster ever since.  I knew I wouldnt get it right until I built a garage.  2 years of saving and this week we started.

While I will be the first to say I wish it could be bigger, I'll also say its bigger than anything Ive had in the past.  30x50, 12 ft high with a 10x8 and 10x10 roll up door.   Work is VERY busy so there's no DIY here, sadly, but I'd rather have it done so I can get back to some projects.

Day 0 - 40 tons of fill dirt, as estimated by the builder was delivered.  They do the work but they dont haul dirt so it was on us to find a place (this becomes relevant later)

Day 1 (note these are not necessarily chronological, just days they show up to work) 2 guys show up to level and dig the foundation.  I kept waiting for their bobcat or mini excavator to show up, it did not.   2 guys, 2 shovels.  Earning their pay.

Unfortunately by noon it was very appearant they underestimated the amount of fill required.  Another 20 tons was needed but since they dont haul their own dirt we called all around and the best we could do was next day delivery....sigh.  So the day ended there and dirt was delivered the next day (wednesday)  Unfortunately they couldnt return to finish the dig until Friday.

Day 2 - Friday came, 8am, 2 guys 2 shovels.   But dang they did it.   The observant in the group will notice on the left side there is a depression in the floor.  The basic floor is poured at 4inches.  The depression is 3x15 and will be poured at 10 inches. Somehow I think you all will understand :)

So that's where we sit today, inspectors come monday then we can pour.   That is my one gripe.  Im in farm country and I guess a lot of people throw these buildings up unpermitted.  I'm not willing to take the risk so to get the exact same building but with certified blueprints cost me an extra $3k, plus permit and inspection fees.   Still I'll sleep better at night knowing no one is going to eff with me in the future over it.

The builing is very near the power transformer on our property so it will be an easy install to have service to the building.  And while our house is on city water we have a good well and a well head 5 ft from the new building so I will run piping from that into the building with a small hot water heater so I can have a wash sink.  I plan to drain it to a greywater leech tank.

Once its done then the DIY phases will begin.

1. I will have to do a gravel driveway to it so as long as Im digging that (due to the property size I have a tractor with a front end loader) I'll add a 10 x 50 gravel pad next to the shop for parking the tractor and my trailer.   Eventually I'll put a roof over it and then some walls may appear down the road ;)

2.  Once the barn is empty I will start to set that up as the fabrication shop with woodworking tools and possibly the metal fab too.   Barn is a 30x40 metal pole barn with half the floor in concrete already.  It also has a 10x40 lean to off the back.  Keeping my options open on this one as we may add some larger farm animals which will need to use the barn.

QuasiMofo (John Brown)
QuasiMofo (John Brown) MegaDork
5/21/21 7:57 p.m.

That, my man, is great news!

JThw8 UltimaDork
5/21/21 8:18 p.m.
QuasiMofo (John Brown) said:

That, my man, is great news!

Yeah, I have a few projects stacked up so it will be nice to get back to work.  Wasnt sure I was going to get here as Im really doing my best to avoid accruing any more debt than needed these days (starting over on a mortgage is disheartening) so this was a cash only ordeal, thus the 2 year delay while I squirreled away all I could

paddygarcia Reader
5/21/21 8:35 p.m.

That is super!

Extra super even - an all-cash project. 

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/21/21 8:46 p.m.

I'm really excited for you!

I'm a little confused by the construction so far... did they strip topsoil?  Your pics look like they dumped fill directly on the grass....

JThw8 UltimaDork
5/21/21 8:52 p.m.

In reply to SVreX (Forum Supporter) :

Im right there with you.  I asked around an looked at some other projects and that seems to be the way around here.  Build it up then dig it out rather than just dig what's there.  I was a bit shocked when they said they wanted to bring in fill because I have pretty dang level ground (former farm so these are all flat fields)  I can only guess the logic is they want it above the surrounding ground level so it doesnt flood.  The inspector was out to check setbacks and I asked him about it and he pretty much said "yep, thats how we do it here"   

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
5/21/21 8:54 p.m.

In for the exciting pictures!

JThw8 UltimaDork
5/21/21 8:56 p.m.
paddygarcia said:

That is super!

Extra super even - an all-cash project. 

The all cash bit was definitely a limiting factor but with a new mortgage I really didnt want to pile on.   Last year I sold off my car which had a payment and moved to a truck which was paid off.  I've done a bit of wheeling and dealing and set aside cash after we finally sold our NJ house.  My folks also gave a rather generous christmas gift to help as well.   I waited a bit longer than needed because I got very comfortable having some money in reserve (which I usually dont) so I wanted to be sure I saved more than I needed so I still had a reserve.   First 2 projects in the new shop will inject more funds as Im getting two of my older projects ready to sell.


SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/21/21 8:59 p.m.

In reply to JThw8 :

Building up and digging out is pretty normal. Building on topsoil is not.

JThw8 UltimaDork
8/20/21 9:46 a.m.

Long overdue updates.  Things have been progressing but other issues in life have kept me a bit out of things.  When we left off we were ready for the pad pour and that happened a day later after the inspection.

I dont know why but as a bare pad it looks really small.  I was tempted to do the epoxy coat before the building went up as there was a delay at this point of 4 weeks.  But I really wanted the concrete to have a good 60-90 days of curing before epoxy so that did not happen.

Eventually though *this* did happen.  Guys showed up at 5:30 am and left at 6:30pm, but they did it in one day.  The lead guy told me the company pays them 2 days for an install so if they finish in 1 they get a free day off with pay.  It was in the 90s that day so they earned their money either way.

The small pad looks less small with a building on it now so that's good.


While waiting for the electrician to free up (permitted work, I wasnt going to trust my own efforts although I have worked as an electrician in the past) I started on the driveway.  I dug out all the topsoil for the driveway and trailer pad.  Even with a tractor its a pain of a job.

And then I had 40 ton of base rock delivered and I spent a weekend spreading that.  Another 20 ton was delivered today as I still had low spots that were ponding in the rain so that is on the weekend project list.  I will leave the base as the only driveway until spring and then topcoat in with #57 stone to match the rest of the driveway but I want to drive over this for awhile to compact it well.

That brings us up to date.  The electrical passed inspection today so Im just waiting on the utility company to come hook it up then I will get some inside shots with the lighting setup.  I did something a little different which may be the best or dumbest idea ever, time will tell.  Im also starting on the plumbing for a wash sink and the epoxy for the floor arrives next week.

mslevin New Reader
8/20/21 11:10 a.m.

Looks great!! This makes me want to move somewhere, buy some land, and build a big shop. Sigh.

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
8/20/21 11:39 a.m.

Nice work - we built a garage at our first house and we called it a floating slab but I can't imagine 15 yards of concrete moving.   Yours looks really great.   I'm envious.   

In Chicago Danley garages was known for fast and cheap garages. My buddy was a carpenter and they were paid "per garage" and the incentive was to hustle to make more money. Similar to your guy.  

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/22/21 11:22 a.m.

Looks great. 

What's the reason for the 2 different sized doors?

docwyte PowerDork
8/22/21 1:06 p.m.

I'd love to have a 30x50 garage!  Mine is a standard suburban 3 car side loader that's barely 1 1/4 cars deep...

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) UberDork
8/22/21 1:43 p.m.

I missed this the first time thru, not sure how.


Pouring on top of sod and top soil isn't exactly my go to move but people do do it with monopours( what you have) a lot and it's usually ok. I usually dig out at least 6 inches and compact the crap out of it in lifts but I usually am a little extra. Other than that it looks good with the moisture barrier and good amount of sawcuts.


The epoxy coats usually need the slab to have a certain moisture content and below to work. Usually that means you want it undercover since concrete is hydroscopic and absorbs any and all moisture it can.


Looks nice and those buildings go up fast! 



JThw8 UltimaDork
8/22/21 6:20 p.m.
SVreX (Forum Supporter) said:

What's the reason for the 2 different sized doors?

Cost.  The 10x10 costs $300 more than the 8x10.  As a cash only project every bit of savings is useful savings.  I cannot really see needing a 10ft door but I acquiesced to one 10x10 on the chance I'd need it at some point.

JThw8 UltimaDork
8/22/21 6:25 p.m.
Antihero (Forum Supporter) said:

The epoxy coats usually need the slab to have a certain moisture content and below to work. Usually that means you want it undercover since concrete is hydroscopic and absorbs any and all moisture it can.

Understood and really why Ive held off on the epoxy.  It just felt like it would be a lot easier to do while it was an open pad.  That project starts later this week.  Hoping they get the electric hooked up before then as it would help but it looks like they wont.  I'll at least get the cleaning and etching done.  I have the 2 post and some larger equipment arriving soon so I'd like to get the epoxy done so I have a place to put everything.  Im NOT looking forward to working in there with no fans and sweating my ass off but it is what it is.

JThw8 UltimaDork
8/22/21 6:34 p.m.
docwyte said:

I'd love to have a 30x50 garage!  Mine is a standard suburban 3 car side loader that's barely 1 1/4 cars deep...

That's been my primary setup for that last few houses we've had.  Depth has always been my biggest issue so Im looking forward to not worrying about buying something too long for the garage for a change (I had a truck which I had to remove the bumpers on to close the door at my last garage)

84FSP UltraDork
8/22/21 6:42 p.m.

Very jealous - actively negotiating for a father in law garage parking spot and wish I had it all close to home.

JThw8 UltimaDork
8/25/21 6:04 p.m.

Not a really interesting photo but progress continues.   Not sure what I was thinking this morning other than Ive got some time off and projects to get done, but spending the day cleaning and etching 1500 sq ft of concrete in 90 degree heat inside a metal box was a bit of torture.  But tomorrow I can do a final rinse and mop and maybe get epoxy on before the weekend.  Then I can finally start to move things in and set up.  Utility company is supposed to be out Friday or Monday to hook up power so that will be nice.  If they come friday then I may wait until sundown and paint the epoxy at night.  That heat sucks.


volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
8/26/21 10:34 a.m.

Hey man!  Long time no hear- didn't realize you were moving down to NC.  Hope everything's going well with you guys- we still have our Asphalt Adventures T-shirts from 2013 and wear them often.  Nice looking garage!

WonkoTheSane UltraDork
8/26/21 10:43 a.m.

Glad to hear things are going well for you down south :)   Nice looking garage!

iansane HalfDork
8/26/21 11:03 a.m.

So much space for activities!

JThw8 UltimaDork
8/26/21 4:26 p.m.
volvoclearinghouse said:

Hey man!  Long time no hear- didn't realize you were moving down to NC.  Hope everything's going well with you guys- we still have our Asphalt Adventures T-shirts from 2013 and wear them often.  Nice looking garage!

It happened so fast I think there are people that still dont know 2 years later.   It was May 2019 I had to go to the NC plant on business and was talking with one of the IT managers who used to work in NJ and I've known for 14 years.  She moved to the NC plant to take care of her dad when he fell ill (he lives in NC obviously) and I commisurated that I was in a similar situation with my father.  I was heading from NC over to Denmark to corporate HQ so she said, when your plane lands check our job listings, you'll know what to do.  By the time I hit ground she had listed a position for me (to be fair it was a position she needed to fill anyway but she tailored the JD to me) I applied and interviewed via video and then when I got stateside they flew me down again for a face to face.  I got the offer call on my drive back to the airport and had 15 days to get to NC and start.   So it was that fast :)

tb Dork
8/26/21 4:40 p.m.

Good for you, brother! I admit I was sad to move back to Philly and find out we are no longer close but it sounds like you are in a good place.


I just moved into a modest 2 car garage and began upgrades immediately so I can relate to how good it feels!

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