I'm currently building my "dream" garage, but we're still in the destruction phase.
A couple of things we've encountered that's adding to the expense of mine are:
1- The electric service to the house runs under where I want to build. This was known beforehand, but the difficulty and expense of fixing it is much higher than anticipated.
2- The field lines for my septic system are also under where I want to build. This was unexpected, as the previous owners couldn't tell us where they were, and there were no signs above ground indicating their location. More expense, more trenching of the property.
Some might say that this is more of a bad dream, but we'll get through it eventually. I'm taking the paperwork to the health dept. this morning that once signed, will allow us to start on the new drain field. We're also on the electric company's schedule to get the service switched over to the new line.
Hopefully, we'll get to start building the garage soon! :B
I've weighed my 1121 when I knew it was at it's heaviest, and it was just over 5600 lbs. Though it would undoubtedly put my F450 over its GVWR (the 1121 can even put it over by a couple hundred), I would be OK with putting this TC on it. Adding a few extra leafs to the overload pack would be all that would be needed.
I made some for my truck out of some 1/2" thick Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMW) that I had scrapped from work.
I stacked two 3"x3" squares, and mounted them using two galvanized carriage bolts. I cut a concave surface on the top block to match the shape of the spring perch on a table saw by running it perpendicular across the spinning blade. I had to make a special fence that clamped to the regular fence to do that. To get the square shoulder under the bolt head to settle into the plastic, I just torched the head a little and let it melt its way in.
When I have time I want to make a new set with three layers, but as you can see I'll need to buy longer bolts for that.
In case you were wondering what the "red thing" behind the pile of ballast rock is, it's an old billboard vinyl that I've cut up and used as tarps. When old billboard ads are taken down, the vinyl is salvaged and sold. They come in a single piece that's bigger than a 60'x20' billboard. Very heavy vinyl, and they have hemmed edges. This one happened to have a WaMu ad on it.
I've got one piece covering a flat-bed trailer, and another covering my firewood.
My wood pile (and the Great Wall of China) can be seen from space! :B
Here's some pictures that cover the recent progress.
Finally getting close to the end.
And it's gone.
All the reclaimed ballast rock that was behind the wall. I didn't think there would be this much when I started piling it here. Kinda buried that poor tree. The mess in front of the pile is the filled in trench. Lots of cleanup to do now.
Digging the trench for the new electrical feed to the house. Those two white pipes running across the trench are the septic lines we dug through. It's probably better that we found this now, the lines and D-box were pretty choked with tree roots. Not a fun job, though.
The new conduit is in the trench. Due to the length of the run and the number of turns, there will be a "pedestal" here to make pulling the wires easier.
A big stump. This will be on my burn-pile for a while. Those things take forever to burn up.
Our camper refuge to help us get through the septic problem. Now that the tank has been pumped, we'll continue to use the camper for showers and such. We can use the toilets in the house sparingly for quite a while without having to worry about filling up the septic tank. Everyone who should know says it's 1000 gallon tank.
Gotta figure out where to put the new field lines and D-box now. Somebody from the county is supposed to come out and do perk tests. I don't expect any issues there (famous last words) as this hillside seems to have excellent drainage.
Well, a lot has happened since my last update, and none of it has been good. I don't have any pictures today, but I'll try to take some tomorrow and post them.
I finally got the retaining wall down, and I have to say that was probably the most under-estimated task I've ever taken on. The amount of back-fill I had to move was unexpected, and consequently the amount of time it took ballooned dramatically. I also found that over the entire length of the wall, there was at least one and in some places two blocks below ground level. Those were tough to get out.
In all, I moved 288 wall blocks at about 90 lbs each, and probably 50 or so cap blocks (I didn't count the caps). I weighed one of the wall blocks just to make sure I wasn't mistaken on how much they weigh, and the one I put on the scale was 95lbs. Two caps stacked are the same height and width as one wall block, but two caps weigh more than 90 lbs because they have no holes in them. Total weight.....over 28,000 lbs of blocks. Makes my back and shoulders hurt just thinking about it.
Today I started the day by breaking the steering arm on one of the front spindles on my tractor. When I took the spindle off, it was apparent that the welds holding the arm and spindle together had broken, so I took it to a local welding shop and had them fix it for me. Much cheaper than a new spindle from JD. One of the welds obviously had poor penetration, so it wasn't surprising it broke. It only took 13 years with me at the wheel to break it, though!
Today the excavator started digging the trench for the new electrical feed to my house. My house has a septic tank, and one thing I never knew was where the field lines were. I knew where the tank was, because I had to have it pumped about 10 years ago, but there has never been any evidence on the surface where the fields lines were. I know where they are now, because the trench we were digging went right through three of them. Because of how they were all converging to a single point, it was also apparent that we were very close to the distribution box. When we uncovered the D-box, the concrete started crumbling, so now I need a new D-box and field lines. As they say, stuff happens.
I've got a honey wagon coming tomorrow morning to pump the septic tank out, and in the meantime we're using the camper for all our waste water needs. The gray water can go via a long garden hose out into the woods, and the black tank hopefully will last until the septic tank is fixed.
I had a feeling this phase of the project was going to be tough.
From the picture, it looks like there's a bubble under the siding over the large side window. I'd check that out carefully, as that would be indication of water intrusion, delamination, and possible "expensive to fix" damage. Aluminum framed capers still have a fair amount of wood in them that can be damaged by water leaks. My first TC had that type of corrugated fiberglass siding, too.
Ralph I had a similar situation on my 1121 last year, although there was no delamination of the wood underneath. The white outer covering was peeling off badly, so I manually removed all of it from one side. I then sanded and scraped all the loose adhesive from the wood, primed it with an oil-based primer, then painted it with Rustoleum Door Paint, which is also an oil-based paint. I used a roller and really laid it on thick. It dried quickly, and produced a really hard, durable coating. I like it so much that I want the rest of the old junk to peel off too.
Thanks Dak. As long as I'm not being pressured by deadlines, which I'm not at this point, I enjoy doing some of this stuff myself. Taking this wall apart has turned into quite a chore! I had forgotten just how much ballast stone was put behind it, and since it continually collapses on top of the lower blocks, I'm having to scoop it up and put it in a pile away from the construction site. At least I'm able to reclaim some of the stone that way. Under all that back-fill are the big rocks that covered the slope below the garage foundation. Those are adding their own fun to the job: when I hit one with the loader it almost loosens my fillings!
The DW and I moved another 50 or so blocks today. I do all the lifting, she helps cleaning them up for stacking. I can fit five of the wall blocks and one cap stone in the bucket, and can lift them about 2 feet off the ground. The work is slowing down as the wall gets higher because I have to move so much more back-fill.
My little tractor is a JD 455 that I bought new in 1999. It has a Yanmar 23 HP 3-cylinder Diesel engine. It was the smallest tractor JD made at the time that could handle a loader. It's not 4WD, but it does have a locking transaxle. I've had it bogged down in the mud a few times, but I've never had to get it pulled out by something else.
It has about 850 hours on it now, all with me in the seat. It has about 700 lbs. of ballast weights on the rear to counter-balance the loader. It's got a nice low center of gravity, and it's very maneuverable. Perfect for operating on my slope and around the trees.
It's class is sub-compact, or Cat-0. It's got a 3-point hitch that can handle Cat-1 ground-engaging implements as long as they aren't too big. When it's not doing front-end loader chores, it mows the grass. It's also got power steering, cruise control, and a tilt steering wheel. No, I'm not kidding!
Here's what we accomplished today.
I'm going to try adding a video my wife took of me working today. Hopefully, it won't blow my allowed bandwidth on Photobucket.
Dehumidifiers that use Peltier thermoelectric cubes are totally inadequate for any space larger than a coat closet or a gun safe. These things can only extract about a cup of water a day from the air. The only affordable and effective dehumidifier for a living space is going to have a compressor, and will probably be too large and make too much noise for a TC. Depending on the relative humidity where you are, you need a dehumidifier that extracts several quarts or gallons of water a day.
Still working on removing a section of the retaining wall, which is taking longer than I anticipated. The top two or three courses of blocks are easy enough, but the backfill starts collapsing as I go lower. Have to stop and clear it away periodically. Also, the bottom course of blocks is below ground level, so those have to be pried out with a long iron rod.
It may look like the old foundation is being undermined, but it isn't. The old garage was there long before the retaining wall was installed. It used to be just a steep, rock-covered slope below the foundation. In the background, my power pole and transformer can be seen.
I've got about half of what needs to be removed out at this point. In the new garage, a poured concrete wall will sit in this area between the upper and lower bays.
The blocks of course can be reused. I always was a good block-stacker. That's 112 blocks @ about 90 lbs. each. Over 5 tons, not counting the cap blocks, which I didn't count.
The underground utility locators finally show up, and confirm what I already suspected: the underground electric feed from the pole runs right under where I want to build. A new one will have to be run around the perimeter of the new construction. Ouch! The wife is going to have to put in some overtime to fund that!
Sleepy, are you still jealous?
.... the extension of the house ties it all together.
I agree, and I have "The Boss" to thank for that. My initial plan was to just have the upper bay where the cars park a single-story, with a peaked roof butting into the wall that overlooked the flat garage roof and extending over both the upper and lower garage bays. She convinced me I didn't want that, and in retrospect it probably would have looked strange. I don't think I would have wanted to build an attached RV garage if the roofline over the RV bay had ended up higher than the rest of the house. That's one (and maybe the only) advantage of a hillside lot, I suppose.
I still don't know what we'll actually DO with that space above the garage, though.
As my projects tend to do, certain details of the plans are changing as we go, usually to accommodate "issues" that crop up. For example, I was initially going keep and re-pupose the RV cover on one of two level pads I was having constructed behind the house. The slope and ground sponginess of the hillside turned out to be a bigger problem for the dump trucks than anticipated, though. The entire budget and then some for the two pads was blown on the first pad, so we called it quits. The RV cover has been taken down and will be sold, and the one pad will be where the red barn is moved after the garage is built. I built the red barn planning to eventually move it, so it's mostly screwed together and can be taken apart into panels for reassembly.
One other change has to do with the exterior walls of the new room above the garage. The drawings show a "wall of windows" above the garage doors, with the opposite wall on the backside looking the same. That is a HUGE room though (30x30), bigger than anything else in our house. The boss came up with the idea of moving those exterior walls in about five feet, creating a recessed balcony on each side. The "wall of windows" on each side would then have a french door set in the middle to access the balcony. The interior room would still be pretty big, and the balconies would be nice to sit on. Making the balcony floors weather and water proof is a concern of mine, and we're still working on that with the builder. My thought right now is to have the balcony floors be a 3-4" slab of concrete, but what's done under it to prevent leaks is going to be important. We've talked about having a sheet metal pan made, using shower-pan membrane, etc. If any of you pro's out there have some ideas about this, could you PM me?
The garage is down. The house looks nekkid.
It took all day to get the last of the structure down, but it's done and I'm ready to turn this project over to the guys that make a living building stuff. Actually, I still need to remove a section of the retaining wall below the garage, but that's just moving dry-stacked concrete blocks. Concrete blocks that weigh about 90 lbs. each, but that's another job the tractor can help me with. That will be my weekend "entertainment".
After cleaning up, the last thing to do is move the laminated beam to the storage area.
Those beams are HEAVY, so I had to get creative to move them by myself. I've clamped my hand-dolly to one end of the beam, and chained the other end to the loader bucket.
With a little careful maneuvering, this will work fine.
The slope is almost too much for the tractor, but it makes it with minimal spinning.
All my salvaged lumber, and a stack of pallets for the retaining wall blocks.
The birds don't like it. I heard one of them say "This isn't right. Fix it!"
Another fun-filled day. I pulled the roof off the inner bay.
Once again, the top layer wouldn't tear into manageable pieces, so I had to pull it off in one piece. One giant, heavy piece. I was able to get a chain around it and pulled it out of the way with the tractor. It'll be hauled off with the other non-burnable debris when the foundation is demolished.
The remaining structure will come down tomorrow.
This is where old garages go to die.
I noticed the same thing with the last few grill brushes I bought, which were both fine bristle brushes made in you-know-where.
I threw them away and started buying the coarse bristle, wooden handle brushes typically used for mechanical, welding, and painting chores.
I can't believe we put up with this junk.