first day of spring...

(Note damage to shingles on garage roof - photo taken fall 2007)

(Can you tell the garage is ever-so leaning? Photo taken this past winter - garage door had been removed already)

We’re in the process of getting estimates to have our garage torn down and rebuilt. The plan is to put a second story on the garage that can be accessed from the hill. A little extra “living” space.

The hill is the reason we need to get the garage rebuilt. It is essentially pushing it over. The garage was built into the hill on two sides; the west side and the south side (back). You can imagine the kind of force that the hill is putting on the garage walls.

It seems to us that the garage structure had been repaired in the past. Someone had added some structural columns.

Besides being pushed over, the roof is a mess. The shingles have been falling off since before we bought the house. There was a vine, I believe we were told it was hop’s growing on the roof when we bought the house and it was destroying what shingles were left. The gutter on the west side had been pulled off by the hop’s and was hanging by a string when we moved in.
(Moving in week 6 16 2005 - note vine growing on roof of garage)

Two years ago we had a local company come out and give us an estimate. At the time it was going to be $18,500. They would put piers in the hill and somehow support the garage wall by running something to those piers. We were planning on selling our other house in Clinton Township and with the profit from that house, build the garage. Well, as you know from previous posts and our current economic crisis; the Clinton Township house stood there looking pretty.

On to plan two; save the money.

So, we had two years and have sufficiently saved the money. The guy who estimated two years ago is no longer living in Michigan. So, we had to round up a new bunch of contractors to give us their opinion.

1st Opinion:

Even though the guy from two years ago has left Michigan, the company remains and so, the old partner, John came to give his estimate. We gave him everything that we had received from his partner; including the price that was quoted.

We had some additions to the original plan: different roof-line for porch going into the "living space". Metal roof. Flight of stairs inside the garage leading to the "living space" and the possibility of a retaining wall for the hill (so as to not push down the new structure). We were prepared that the updated estimate would be more than the last.

Well, John got in touch with a few retaining wall builders and had them evaluate that possibility. Then we all met earlier this week to go over the plan. Mostly the meeting was about the retaining wall and "drainage" issues. The chosen retaining wall builder, Cam felt the biggest reason that the garage was having this issue was water drainage. The idea was to make a large retaining wall made up of smaller sized boulders, all stacked up cascading away from the structure. The angle would be 4-5 feet at the bottom and nearly 10 feet at the top at a height from the garage floor to basically the garage ceiling. Also put in a bunch of drain tiles connected with PVC and then funneling down the driveway to drain in the street. Cam felt that the driveway was in such bad shape because of the water drainage issue as well. The cost for the retaining wall you ask?...$26,000. This does not include the garage, the second story or replacing the really crappy driveway. The garage will be an additional $21,000+ and we have no idea what the driveway will cost. Plus Cam wants to cut down two of our trees (one that is an old flowering tree and another that turns yellow in the fall) and with no guarantee that the garage floor will remain intact. Can you say "cha-ching" and FCUK no? This does not sound green to there is a squirrel nest in one of the trees...what will happen to the displaced squirrels?

We left John with the idea of hopefully looking at alternatives without a retaining wall.

We have another estimate with a different company on Monday evening. It will take a couple of weeks before the new guy has his plan. In the meantime or when the weather starts getting nicer, we're going to begin emptying the garage and start the demolition. We sort of already began the demo with the garage door during the Christmas fell down halfway, and we took it the rest of the way. We plan to take down the top portion of the existing garage, hopefully saving as much reusable material as possible.


Tami said…
Make sure you get pictures with you wielding a sledge hammer! Try to make it medeivelesque if you can.

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