10286 Rama Ct Garage
Last Modified Jan 11, 2016
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Distributing air from my compressor.
My first workbench for the garage.

Original Condition

The garage was in pretty rough shape. Related to the laundry room, the dryer vent exhausted into the garage. That obviously caused problems with moisture (drywall joint failures on the ceiling), and was a fire hazard. It didn't help that the wall between the garage and the laundry room was all hacked up. The previous owner cut a huge hole (more than 4 sq. ft.) in the 5/8" drywall, a big no-no since that's required by code as a fire barrier. Worse, he also cut an equally large hole right through the sheathing too. He didn't replace the drywall, and his sheathing cutout was just propped in place; no nails, no screws, no glue. It would fall out when the door to the house was opened.

The basement was not sealed off from the garage due to hackery for a utility sink and sprinkler system. See my laundry room page for more details.

The south garage door opener was not functional, due to very poor installation (it would literally swing back and forth at the touch of a finger). The north garage door opener was intermittent for the same reason. I assume these were installed by the previous homeowner. For liability reasons alone, I think a professional would have done a much better job. When I removed the north garage door opener, I found that the lag screws did not hit wood; they were only in the drywall. Yikes, an accident waiting to happen.

The 8' long T12 HO fluorescent light strips were hung from the ceiling drywall with toggle bolts. This pulled the drywall off of the ceiling. Given that they were less then 3 inches away from the bottom of the trusses, my conclusion is that the previous owner was very inexperienced with home improvement. These were heavy lights due to magnetic HO ballasts. Not something you hang from drywall with two toggle bolts.

The original decorator-style switches for the lights and the garage door openers were intermittent. Partly because they're not intended for damp area use and the previous homeowner pumped moisture into the garage regularly (dryer venting). More importantly, they were also not rated for the current that was drawn by the garage door openers at startup and the 900+ watts was used by the fluorescent lighting.

The previous homeowner had installed a utility sink, but none of the pipes were insulated or heated. Both of the feed pipes had burst right off of the sink, and the waste pipe (PVC) was missing, probably because it cracked when not winterized.

The previous homeowner had installed schedule 40 PVC to feed a sprinkler system. It was cracked apart due to lack of winterization. I don't know which part of "NOT FOR PRESSURIZED APPLICATIONS" written repeatedly down the length of the PVC pipe was not understood. The sprinkler system was rendered unusable anyway, since the control box was removed and much of the irrigation system in the yard was ripped out or damaged (lacerated wiring, etc.).

My Changes

I bought two new Craftsman 3/4 HP garage door openers. Both are now installed. I did a much better job installing them than the original owner; they're mounted to the roof trusses instead of just the drywall, with proper trapezoidal bracing of 1.5" steel angle and an X on the trapezoid to prevent lateral movement. The trapezoid's plane is on an angle to reduce stress on the header when closing the door.

Due to a messy installation of the original garage door openers, I created a 1/4" thick mounting plate for my new openers out of underlayment left over from the laundry room project. It is painted with appliance paint to make it easy to clean of dirty handprints.

I replaced all of the low-grade decorator light switches with Leviton 20A illuminated industrial toggle switches, and replaced the nylon cover plates with stainless steel cover plates. That includes the pair of switches that disable the garage door openers. Some of the original switches had failed. I expect the new industrial switches to last a very long time.

I bought new 13-ball nylon garage door rollers, I've installed them on both of the doors. A ten minute job for each door, and now the doors are nearly silent.

I bought new bottom seals for the doors, but I may decide to use different ones. I also bought new side and top seals that I have not installed yet.

I bought some 4' long T8 4-lamp fixtures with electronic ballasts, I am going to buy more. These were going to replace the 8' long T12 HO fixtures that were not hung correctly (previous owner) and buzz like crazy. However, I then bought new electronic ballasts for the 8' long T12 HO fixtures, which are instant-on and rated for 0F temperature. They are silent, and they're much lighter than the heavy magnetic ballasts they replaced. I moved each of these lights to under a truss, so they are no longer pulling the drywall off of the ceiling.

I bought twenty four 6" air-tight IC-rated Halo H7ICAT recessed light housings. I have now installed all of them. I put Cree 9.5W BR30 5000K LED bulbs in them. These lights are turned on and off by a Leviton commercial occupancy sensor; there is no light switch for them. I installed trim rings with white metal baffles on all of them.

I retaped and rejointed ALL of the ceiling joints. All had failed, largely due to the drywall not having enough fasteners (the construction adhesive that was used as a substitute for proper fastener spacing failed in many places). This work took eons. It's nowhere near perfect cosmetically, but my objective was to get the drywall resecured and to seal the garage from the attic.

I primed and painted the ceiling and all of the walls except the window cove. I'm working on that area right now.

I installed two 84" long Rubbermaid FastTrack rails on the north wall near the garage door. Most of my yard tools are now hanging from the upper one, and my fuel cans on the lower one. I also installed a 32" long one up high.

I bought three sheets of slatwall from Menard's but did not install any of it. It turns out that I won't be using it in the garage because the inserts sold for it can't be installed; they just don't fit. Hence the load rating is 30 lbs. for a 6" hook. I need a higher load rating in most areas.

I later bought Proslat slatwall, even though it has fewer slots. It's reasonably strong, and is made from PVC so it's not adversely affected by humidity and temperature cycling. It's also easier to install and delivery was free (Home Depot). I installed a 6' x 4' section of it on the wall shared with the laundry room. I installed most of a second kit on the south wall. I have one more kit. I like the ProSlat; it has concealed screws, so it looks nice.

I also installed a GearTrack channel on the south wall just to hold Gladiator Clean-Up Racks. These are paper towel holders with a shelf above. The shelf is handy for cleaning supplies and/or extra paper towel rolls.

I installed a pair of 8' long 20" deep Rubbermaid Tough Stuff shelves over the north garage door. They're rated for 100 lbs. per linear foot. I will use these to store infrequently used items. I installed two more over the south garage door, after repairing a drywall joint on this wall.

I put four 6' long ClosetMaid Maximum Load shelves above my tool cabinets (two rows, 12' long). I put two more on the south wall. I put a 4' long one above my Wright wrench displays near the door to the basement, and hung a 4' long 4-tube T8 shop light from the underside. I put pegboard below my Wright wrench displays, and made a fold-down bench below the pegboard. I put two 4' Maximum Load shelves on the east wall in the south end of the garage, and stainless steel pegboard beneath them.

I installed some FRP panels to protect the drywall in areas where I expect some abuse. Mainly under the Rubbermaid FastTrack rails where I hang yard tools and the like. It's much easier to clean than painted drywall, and is resistant to moisture and chemicals. The pieces behind the FastTrack rail for my yard tools are now installed. Another piece is installed under the window, and more in the corners of the garage where I have air filter/regulator/drain setups. I also installed some smaller pieces behind the filter/regulator between the garage doors, and one near the floor in the same location. There's also a piece below the ProSlat on the wall shared with the laundry room, and one next to the door to the house.

I ran Type L copper along the west wall of the garage at the ceiling, for air supply. Black steel is inexpensive, easy to use and reconfigurable, but Type L copper won't rust, is lighter in weight, and in my experience it's easier to get joints that don't leak over the long haul (as long as the correct flux and solder are used). It's also even easier to reconfigure, assuming I'm careful with the torch. I used 3/4" pipe for the mains and much of the drops, converting to 1/2" for the filters/regulators, manifolds and hose reel feeds. I installed automatic drains on each drop, and will probably run hose to the outdoors from the drains. I don't need 3/4" mains right now, and probably won't in the near future (I'd need a bigger compressor to come anywhere near the limits of 1/2" mains), but it's a little easier to install due to increased rigidity and the cost increase was neglible compared to the labor to install all of the plumbing the way I want it. And I don't want a full loop in the garage, mainly due to the very odd shape of the wall shared with the house and the ugliness of having plumbing on that wall. 3/4" stubbed is more than sufficient for my current needs as well as the foreseeable future. The most distant drop is about 50' of 3/4" copper from my compressor. The significant flow issues are in the 3/8" ID hoses on my three hose reels, not to mention the 1/4" couplers at the tools. I don't use more than one tool at a time, and given the fact that I'm installing manifolds at each drop, I can always plug in a bigger hose with 3/8" couplings for a tool that needs more air.

I installed two inexpensive, 50' long 14-gauge cord reels on the ceiling. One if them is behind the north garage door opener, the second is behind the south garage door opener.

I created corner guards out of 1x3 oak boards to protect the corners of the abutment of the laundry room. These corners were bashed up before I did all of my drywall repair, priming and painting. The new corner guards are attached with Loctite PL and screws, and are ludicrously strong. I won't be having any problems with drywall corners being damaged now. I caulked the edges of them and filled the countersunk screw holes. They look nice in addition to being functional. I created similar guards for the window and installed them.

I mounted a Kidde Pro 340 fire extinguisher on the east wall near the door to the house. It's a 3-A:40-B:C extinguisher, all metal, refillable. I bought a mount with a quick-release metal strap since the mount included with the extinguisher had no strap and was too risky to have in the garage. Since I hate the thought of using ABC dry chemical on one of my cars or an expensive tool, I left room underneath for a second extinguisher which will likely be a 5 lb. halotron but might wind up being a Coldfire. Something I can use on small underhood fires without spewing caustinc chemicals.

Adjacent the fire extinguisher are two of my 3D Maglite flashlights mounted with the Maglite plastic mounts. Attention to detail: I glued a piece of FRP to the mounting board behind the heads of the flashlights since the heads ding the plywood when yanking a flashlight out of its mount. The FRP will put up with a lot of dinging without damage.

I installed an 84" Rubbermaid FastTrack rail under the window. Right now my small Shop-Vac and 4' ladder are hanging on it.

I repaired the window casing, caulked the trim where it meets the wall, sealed the window casing with Zinsser B-I-N and painted the casing and trim with Rust-Oleum door paint.

I installed vinyl floor tile on the window sill, and grouted it. I was going to use porcelain, but I had the vinyl tiles left from the laundry room remodel and they don't require a wetsaw to cut.

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