Garage / Workshop construction 2006


Footers & Stem Walls

Location:  Duluth, Georgia, USA
Construction started:  March 2006
Structure:  2 story detached garage / woodworking shop
Dimensions:  26' x 44' with one piece double garage door & side door & 9 windows on second story and 300 sq ft attic space.
Construction by:  Robert & Jane & a few others.  This report is being written by Jane.
Design:  Robert designed and drew all plans for the building.

Layout of the property - the new garage/workshop at bottom left.

Permission to build
It took us 4 years to get approval to build this structure.  When we first looked at the house and yard we figured the flat area to the back and side of the lot would be perfect for a garage/workshop.  After buying the place and trying to get a permit to build we only realized the hassles associated with living within the Chattahoochee River Corridor.  As we are only 600 feet away from the river special laws apply as to the amount of impervious structure that is allowed per square foot of land.  To cut a long story short, we ended up having to buy impervious credits from a neighbor, having to conform to a revegetation program and several other hoops we had to jump through, all of which took us 4 years.

February 15, 2006 - Before construction started - Red arrow shows South East corner of garage.

After we got the permit we had to move my two garden sheds, the boats and several other items before we could get started on construction.  This area had been kept mainly clear in anticipation of the garage construction being approved.

March 25, 2006 - Removing topsoil - Red arrow shows South East corner of garage.

Robert rented a ditch digger with a scraper to clear the topsoil away and dig the ditches.  After installing a silt fence around the perimeter he scraped the topsoil towards the edges of the property.  Using a transit Robert then marked out the four corners of the building and we marked the position of the footers with spray paint.

March 26, 2006 - Footers almost finished - Red arrow shows South East corner of garage.

Robert started the footers with the ditch digger and him and I then used shovels to clean up the footers and flatten the sides and bottom.  In some places the footers ended up very wide, but Robert figured that would make it all that much stronger.

March 30, 2006 - Footer frames in place.  Jane inspecting rebar with Robert's shadow taking photo.

After having the inspector give his OK on the footers we framed them with 2x4's and installed rebar.  Robert got several lengths of rebar for free so he was able to use a little more than is required... once again, the more the stronger the footers.

March 31, 2006 - Footers poured - Robert working off outer edges.

For the footers pour we got two laborers to help.  Once everything had been leveled and screed Robert inserted the rebar and worked off the outer edges.

April 16 - Creative forms for stem walls - Robert carrying plywood and Jane's shadow with camera.

Robert decided it would cost a lot less if we constructed the forms for the stem walls from 2x4's and sheets of plywood.  We nailed 2x4's into the footers and using a pneumatic nailer attached the base of the plywood to these boards.  Then we braced the plywood with 2 more rows of 2x4's and cross braces into the ground.  The inside of these forms were sprayed with a latex material to prevent the concrete from sticking.  Once the outer forms were up we attached the horizontal running rebar and reinforced the corners.

April 25, 2006 - Stem wall forms in place.

With the rebar in place we were able to construct and insert the inner forms.  Then we inserted steel rods connecting the inner and outer boards to keep the forms from bursting apart under the pressure of the concrete.  In hindsight, Robert says he should have inserted a lot more of these rods and reinforced the areas where the plywood sheets joined.

April 26, 2006 - Stem wall pour - Joyce positioning spout, Jane vibrating and Robert screeding.

Once again, in hindsight we needed at least 4 people on this job.  Once we started to pour the far side back wall it started to bulge and would probably have burst apart if we had not noticed this happening and started reinforcing the bracing.  While Robert was working on reinforcements Joyce and I kept the pour going.  The second load of concrete showed up way too early so that by the time we started to pour it the concrete had already started to set up.  This made the pour very difficult and prevented us from vibrating the wall sufficiently to remove all the air pockets.  Robert was also not able to get the anchor bolts in as the bolts would not penetrate the already partially set concrete.

April 26, 2006 - Stem walls poured.

After the pour we left the wall to cure for 4 days before removing the forms.  The south-facing wall showed very little sign of bulging but the west- and north-facing walls had some serious bulges, both to the inside and outside.  Robert was not too bothered by these as the walls would still be strong enough to support the structure, they were just a bit fatter than they needed to be.  Robert eventually got a concrete saw and we cut about 6" down from the top of the walls to straighten the walls as the bulged concrete would have got in the way of the siding.

Stem wall construction.


April 30, 2006 - Jane on the stem wall.

We removed all the plywood and 2x4" and let the walls rest for 10 days before starting to fill.

Footers & Stem Walls Slab & Framing 2nd Floor Construction Siding & Roof The Interior & finishing touches The


Copyright Reserved - Created May 2006 - Greentree Creations - e-mail Jane