August 30, 2010

Much ado about trusses

Look back over DIY trusses putting up’ing:

- Work with a crew who knows the basics of construction and DIY work. You don’t want to have someone over who has never picked up a hammer before. Enthusiasm -while wonderful is second to skill for this task.

- Be knowledgeable. There were a lot of little things that Pete got done before the trusses went up that I haven’t touched on. Please do not use my thoughts on the garage process as an all encompassing DIY guide to building a garage.

- Realize how dangerous the job can be. When you are alert to the fact you have to be thoughtful and careful the entire time it really helps everyone stay on their toes to keep safety as numero uno.

- Have the right equipment! What was done to our garage could have never gotten done without the bucket lift and our firefighter friend manning the controls for it. He was 30 plus feet in the air the entire time and not a peep of complaint. I think maybe we should have gone for a crane though.

After the trusses went up Pete and I talked about the whole day in lengthy detail and what we learned from the job. I told him that I’d be really hesitant to recommend the same route we took to many people who were looking into building a garage. In fact I’m still not convinced that we should have taken the DIY route for this job. It. Was. Hard. This job was one of those times where I’m glad that the final DIY product is good but it was a royal pain to get there.

When you combine everything that is making our garage unique, you get a lot of complications with DIY construction. Th big starting point is the size of 26’ x 40’, which makes it a four car garage (hi, my husband’s name is Pete and he is addicted to cars) instead of the much more regular two car sized garage. The size required almost double the amount of trusses than what would be considered standard. Had it been a normal amount, I think everything would have been able to be wrapped up by 3pm, which was when we were about 2/3rd the way through with the 22 trusses.

Then we have the open room space on the second floor, instead of the space being eaten up by roof supports. While I can’t wait to have all that spare space and think it was a great idea to add for not that much more added money, it also lead to needing a higher roof to create usable headroom space and balance out the first floor car space size. The high pitch also helps to mimic of our house’s roof, trying to tie everything together in some sort of continuity. All together this meant we had bigger and bulkier than normal to handle floor and roof trusses and at almost 200lbs each they just added another layer of difficulty to an already hard job.

Had everything not been New Jersey super sized I think it would have been a bit easier to handle and get done without having a panic attack on my end…

Want to see some more DIY Garage building?
Check out Life Begins at 30's awesome garage! I adore the french door that overlooks their backyard and am a little (lots) jealous at how fast the project seems to be moving along.
The Flipping Couple built a massive space to help house their cars from the frosty Minnesota winter weather.


  1. All that extra space will be so worth it!! We talked about an extra room upstairs in our garage but our city has a height limit on garages that squashed the idea. In the end maybe that's a good thing, after reading about your fun and games getting them up that high.

    Thanks for the shout out! Can't wait to hear more about your garage adventure.

  2. Whoa! You guys are rock stars! I was impressed all along, but these pictures are incredible.

  3. That's an amazing picture of the crane! Your garage is bigger than my house!

  4. Yippie, I'll have a place to crash in your garage attic space if a night at Cowtown gets out of hand.

  5. Impressive work!! It will be all worth it in the end :-)