The Shop #2: A disaster waiting to unhappen

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Blog entry by Jon Spelbring posted 02-21-2008 09:27 PM 935 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: In the beginning... Part 2 of The Shop series Part 3: What's Up? »

The garage measured about 22’ wide by 20’ deep. The outside was covered with old asphalt shingles that were supposed to resemble brick. The right door (and hardware) was missing, and the windows were mostly broken out. The entry door on the side was faced with old plywood. On the inside, the walls were made of 10” wide planks, and the roof was a simple truss system. What I found interesting was that the horizontal pieces of the trusses (bottom) were all made of full length boards – a mix of 2×4 and 2×6 (really 2” x 4”, not the modern dimensional stuff).

There was also a partition running down the center – more 2×4s and plywood. The studs on the walls were 2×4, spaced whatever-we-feel-like inches on (off) center.

Several people recommended that I just tear it down, and put up a steel building. Believe me, I was tempted. But, if I did that, I’d have a much smaller shop. The garage was built before the city had any codes about how close to a property line, or alley one could build. So, it was “rehab” time.

The first task was to strip off the old, nasty siding…

It took quite awhile – everything had lots of nails and tacks. Not to mention that some of it had become “tar-glued” to the wood. In the end though, I got it all off.

I did have to replace a few of the planks, but overall, it wasn’t too bad.

I decided that I only wanted to keep one of the large doors, so the other one (left) had to be covered up.

Once I pulled off the plywood, there were swinging doors inside. Sadly, they were beyond salvaging. Notice my new “high tech” door on the right!

Now I was ready to make the outside of the shop more presentable. Note: stripping the siding off magically transformed the building from a “garage” to a “shop” – and that’s how I’ll refer to it from here on. I wrapped the outside in Tyvex, then started on the siding.

I decided on some T&G panels. Look like plywood, but they’re actually a hardboard exterior product from the BORG.

I also decided that I wanted a sliding door, just like Naaahm. So, back to the depot for some hardware, and voila! A door.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not overly fond of Primer Gray as a color, so, when choosing the exterior color, I did what any sensible man (is that an oxymoron?) would do. I put the question to SWMBO:

According to the label, the color is “butter”.

So, now I have proper siding, a nifty sliding door, what’s not to love.

Up next: Trim and windows and a new side door!

-- To do is to be

9 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3238 days

#1 posted 02-21-2008 09:44 PM

This is coming along nicely. It is a vast improvement over what you had originally.

Keep the posts comings.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3374 days

#2 posted 02-22-2008 12:55 AM

I love seeing a project from start to finish! Looking good so far keep the pics coming.


View Fireball's profile


70 posts in 3483 days

#3 posted 02-22-2008 02:32 AM

Hi Jon,

Looking great! I have a similar sized shop ( and have been building it up surely but slowly since our move in last July. Just like you, had to appease the S.O. by making sure the house and her walk in closet were in top shape before slowly building out the garage/shop.

Can you provide a link to and maybe more explanation of how you did the sliding door? I need to replace my old garage door and want to do either a sliding door like yours or something like the french doors Gizmo built for his shop:

Keep us posted on your project – it’s always fun to watch.

View gizmodyne's profile


1768 posts in 3506 days

#4 posted 02-22-2008 04:01 AM

Looks great. What a project.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Patrick Jaromin's profile

Patrick Jaromin

376 posts in 3249 days

#5 posted 02-22-2008 04:09 AM

Nice…keep the pics coming!

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 3670 days

#6 posted 02-22-2008 08:42 PM


I purchased the track, rollers, and the rest of the hardware from Home Depot. As to the construction of the door, I went with simple. Basically, it’s 8×8’ – makes things simple. an 8’ square made of 2×4s (pressure treated), with an additional support piece vertically centered. I used metal braces on the corners, both on the face, and on the inside edge. I covered the outside to match the siding, put 1 1/2” rigid foam on the inside, and, when I get to it, I’ll cover the inside with osb.

A note: While I really like the look and functionality, getting it to stay square, and keeping the wind out is going to be a problem. I’m still working on that part.

I like Gizmos doors! They will probably work better than the sliding door, weather wise.

Your shop is much farther along than mine – I’m jealous.

I like your floor, what did you use? I’ve got a cracked concrete floor that’s 50 years old. I’m considering just laying down DriLok squares.

-- To do is to be

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 3468 days

#7 posted 02-22-2008 09:27 PM

Cool blog it will be fun watching you complete this project thanks for posting.

-- Hope Never fails

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3302 days

#8 posted 03-26-2008 05:55 PM

WOW!!!!!!!!! What a difference it should make you and your neighbors happy.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View HallTree's profile


5663 posts in 3184 days

#9 posted 03-26-2008 09:01 PM

What a good example of ‘old’ and ‘new’. Looking forward to see more photo’s of the progress.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

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