2018 Garage addition

For many years I've pondered an addition to the 'big garage'...my 24x40 polebarn. Until a few years ago I had a 10x12 yard barn next to the garage, so my thoughts of a garage addition were mostly day dreaming. A few years ago one of the guys on the fire department posted on Facebook that he was looking for something to use as a chicken coop. I told him he could have the yard barn. Unfortunately, as he was preparing it for transport it collapsed. I guess it didn't want to leave. He salvaged most of the framing which he used in his coop, so part of the old yardbarn lives on.

With the yardbarn gone I now had an empty space that needed something on it. My Jeep CJ-7 and my Trans Am both need some mechanical repairs that will take some time to complete. I don't want them to clog up the big garage so I started thinking seriously about that garage addition. I also use the big garage to house our semi. It is also a work in progress.

Once I decided that a build was going to happen I went through several different floor plans. I was initially going to build a moderate 16x24 addition. I can only reasonably come out 16 feet from the back of the garage due to some large pine trees. The 24' was determined by using the existing polebarn posts. Then I decided to add a 16x16 addition onto the addition for small projects such as motorcycle and mower maintenance. This created an 'L' shaped addition. I planned to use a 16' overhead door and possibly an 8' door on the end of the addition for alternate access.

Once I started measuring it became clear I needed to make some changes. Some of the 16' overhead door wouldn't be useable due to a present structure so I changed to a 12' door. I also came to the realization that the 24' depth was too small to work on even the Jeep and Trans Am, not to mention my Superduty truck which is 23 1/2' from the grille guard to the bumper hitch. I decided to make the addition deeper by coming to the post that supports the big garage entry door. This gained me another 5 feet. I also added another 8 feet to the addition addition. You can't have too much space.


Here is the final plan. A 21x40 addition with a 16x8 lean-to to take advantage of the space at the end of the garage. A total of 968 square feet. This will double the size of the big garage. This way I can use one size of truss which should be manageable if I do it myself. I plan on three windows for cross ventilation. Insulating it is a possibility, as might be a mini-split. I decided to put the truss girts under the 10' girt on the existing garage. This should give me a 9 1/2' ceiling height when the concrete floor is taken into account, and allow for an 8' tall overhead door. If I put the truss girts OVER the 10' girt it would allow for a 9' tall door, but that would require taller posts. After some pondering I decided to go with the taller posts and the 9' door.

I'm a big DIY guy for two reasons...I'm cheap and it's horrible trying to hire work out. I planned for this to be a pole barn addition but one day the thought occurred to me that if I could find someone to pour a slab I could build a framed garage and when I was done building the addition it would be ready to use. I left a bunch of messages, emails, texts and only received one reply. I'd never heard of the company and they disappeared when I asked for references. So much for that.

My brother has an older Case 1537 skidsteer. Not the best machine for excavation but it is free and I could use it as long as I needed. He dropped it off one day and when I got home from work I hopped on to try it out. It was dead as a door nail. I jumped it with the Jeep Liberty and pulled it under the porch and put it on a battery charger. The next day I got two cranks before the battery was dead. An investigation revealed a bad battery and alternator. I replaced them. Cheap rental fee. Now it starts every time.

When I built another garage in 2006 one of the guys who helped was Dave Evans. He offered building advice and drilled some of my post holes with his tractor. He told me to call him if I ever needed any more holes dug. Over the years it was nice knowing that he was available. Sadly, Dave passed away last spring from cancer. Gone...but not forgotten.

August 2018


The excavation has started. The nearest silver line is the 40' mark. The pondering was over and it was time to get dirty.


Over the course of several weekends I excavated the site for the new addition. There is quite a bit of slope and I had to dig out almost two feet of dirt. I used most of it to fill in some low spots and valleys on my property. Due to the proximetry of trees I had to deal with a bunch of roots. I finished the excavation over the Labor Day weekend.

One of the tools I wanted for this project was a decent laser level that would project 360 degrees. I looked on Craigslist and Facebook marketplace and found a nice Bosch unit in Madison, IN. As it happened, we were riding to Madison the next day. While we were down there we met up with the seller and I got a nearly new laser. Sweet. Included in the kit was a magnetic mount that I stuck to the side of the big garage. This laser level is not very bright in daylight so I usually waited until sun down to use it. It works well then. The first time I used the laser level I took measurements at various points around the excavation, then also made measurements with a water level I had. I was happy when they both matched. It gave me confidence in the laser level's accuracy. I've had some lasers that were junk.

September 14, 2018


I spent several hours building batter boards and using strings to lay out the garage. I took my time making sure the lines were square. When I took some measurements everything looked good. Then I marked the position of the posts. It was a hot and humid day and I was totally beat by the end of the day.

September 19, 2018


This morning I took Donna to Bloomington for her one month post-surgical review. Afterwards we ate at Olive Garden. We got home in plenty of time for my 2:30pm delivery of a skid steer with an 18" auger. I've rented the 'one-man' augers and skid steer augers and the skid steer auger is the way to go when digging a bunch of postholes. It chews through roots that will stop a smaller auger. I got it at Tri County Rental for ~$250 (delivered).


I dug thirteen holes. The first couple were pretty crooked. I might have to do some hand digging to properly set the posts, but I should be okay. On the third hole I finally got the hang of aiming the auger. Here is a nice, straight, 18" wide, 4 foot deep hole.


It is nice to get the postholes dug. Now the actual construction can begin. Friday Graber Post is bringing me a truck load of building supplies.

September 21, 2018

Grabers delivered the building materials today. When they slid the bundles off the truck they came back farther than expected and blocked my garage door. Also, the band on the leftmost bundle broke and some of the lumber spilled off the side of the truck. I spent a couple hours cleaning up the lumber and putting it under tarps. There is a chance of rain tomorrow. I also had to reseat a tire on the skid steer so I could move the bags of Sackrete.

September 22, 2018


This morning I was able to get the corner posts set before the rain came. I was glad to get this done as the other walls will be based off these. I spent a lot of time making sure they were square, plum, and the correct distances from the garage and each other. It took a lot of tweaking to get it perfect.

September 23, 2018


I hadn't planned to work on the garage today. After I finished my yard work and other chores there was still a lot of daylight left and it was a beautiful day. I cleaned out all the holes, added gravel, and set the posts. I also stacked the 2x12s that were on the trailer under an overhang. This emptied the trailer for an upcoming trip to Menards. Menards has their 11% off sale in progress so I ordered windows, doors, and some other supplies.

September 30, 2018


I spent two days getting all the side posts set. We had 4+" of rain one day last week so I got to scoop water out of the post holes one gallon at a time. What a pain. Otherwise, it was pretty straightforward. All the posts ended up within a 1/4" of where I planned them to be. I was happy with that. By the time I was done my body ached and I had no energy left. I only have the two end posts left then I can start framing.

October 4, 2018


I made a trip to Graber Post to pick up the trusses. I was going to do it after work but ended up doing it before due to an issue getting my trailer on base.

October 6, 2018

When I finished my weekend chores (haul trash, mow grass) I was able to get the last two posts set. It felt good to get that done. My parents got a new refrigerator today and I helped them unload it and load the old one. The sun was going down as I filled in the post holes.

October 14, 2018


Saturday I was able to get both 24' 2x12s up and one of the sixteen footers. Sunday morning brought rain and it drizzled most of the day. Despite that I was able to put up the girts on the west side.

I happened to measure my trusses today. My 21' trusses are actually 21' 1 3/4". I'm not sure what is up with that. I'll have to trim them down to 21'. Sigh...

October 21, 2018


I had a lot of stuff to do this weekend not related to the building project. Saturday I got the last outside truss girt up. Sunday I got the lean-to truss girt up and finished most of the other girts. I also framed the window in the lean-to.

I took a sample measurement across the truss girts. I was hoping for something close to 21'. I measured 21' 1/8". Nice! I have been happy with accuracy of the setting of my posts. I have rarely had to adjust the tops more than a 1/4". Not bad for a non-professional.




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