Project Garage: Part XI - Car Lifts

by Sarah Forst

When designing Project Garage, there were a few features I was set on including- a sink, a drain, and a lift. Then the local township got involved and put my dreams in park.  While I can make a sink functional somewhere/somehow, and I can use a hose or broom to clean up without a drain, a lift is the one dream I’m most disappointed in not having.  There were a few options I had considered from hydraulic lifts with all the components enclosed under the slab floor or increasing the ceiling height for a two or four post lift- nothing exists above two bays of Project Garage.  I really looked forward to not having to jack up a wheel every time I needed to work under the car but those plans were crushed like the demise of my NX.

So enter Project Guest Garage brought to you by a Canuck friend of mine.  Let’s start with the details- 30’ x 35’ main building garage space (1050 square feet for you math geniuses), 672 square feet 2nd floor storage (6’2” ceiling), 13’ cantilevered car port, and room for six cars nose to tail though it’ll house four for now.
roof trusses
Open air theatre maybe?
The entire project took 2 months start to completion, not including the permit issues.  The first request for a variance was denied- it was too close to the road, too big, too tall, and too freaking awesome.  For whatever reason, the too freaking awesome part came across someone’s desk and a mysterious approval letter appeared in the mailbox a week later.  After the standard appeal period had passed, a visit to the township office to request the building permit ended with being told the variance was denied and that the letter must have been an oops by some hoser.  A few kerkuffles here and there, the desire to kick a runner up a township official’s arse, and eventually a permit was in hand… 3 months later!

Framing and siding completed.
Demo on the old garage commenced and construction began.  And special features, eh?  Lots!  From the gas line for a garage heater to water lines for a sink, and outlets located 3 feet off the ground rather than down low.  And speaking of outlets, this place could double as an electric vehicle charging station.  There are 15 outlets in the first floor space with 2 outlets running 220v lines for a welder and compressor.  On the second floor, there are another 12 outlets.  

To make it easier to get heavy or funky sized items (canoes, kegs of Molson, Moose “trophies”- whatever those Canadians store) up to the storage space, a barn style door was installed at the top of the car port.  An electric winch went in at the end of the steel i-beam and was installed on rollers so it could extend outwards and haul stuff up.  An outlet on the ceiling will provide power to the winch or jib crane.  Lighting is provided by 6’x4’ fluorescent ballasts on the first floor and 3’ x 5’ ballasts on the second floor, all with T5 bulbs.  
Wall mounted jackshaft garage doors were used to maximize ceiling height.
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Friday, November 08, 2013 4:03 AM
This is awesome! If only I had room on my property to build a shop like that. Instead, I'll just have to make a road trip.
Friday, November 08, 2013 5:31 AM
I have always liked the idea of having the in-ground rotary lift with a crane above for lifting out engines without needing an engine hoist. Ceiling height would have to be pretty significant though.
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Friday, November 08, 2013 5:42 AM
BendPak/Ranger makes a portable "Quick Jack" with a 3,500-pound capacity for race cars. I emailed them, and they said they're releasing a 5,000-pound unit early next year. I'm really thinking of getting one of these. No worries about permanent lifts or anything.

Friday, November 08, 2013 8:46 AM
Don't have one but always wanted one. We installed one in a custom home I helped build (a complete waste, he just wanted it to do oil changes on his Harley Davidson F-150).

Other than for storage space, I can't imagine any enthusiast wanting a tire engaging lift. It will severely limit your ability to do specific kinds of work in the air.
Friday, November 08, 2013 9:06 AM
I built my garage with adding a lift later on as one of the requirements. I have already prewired the garage for 220 near the location I am going to put the lift. But that is still a couple of years away. I need to pay off a car first.
Friday, November 08, 2013 4:14 PM
Sarah, what's the issue with the township that isn't allowing you to add a lift? Is that a zoning thing about accessory building usage?
Sarah Forst
Sarah Forstlink
Sunday, November 10, 2013 10:14 AM
Ignorance- they gave no real reason other than no. I do live in suburbia so I know they're hesitant about anything that doesn't serve to look as just any other house. The four car garage was actually a three car option with additional garage space added, a design 3-4 other houses ended up adopting after seeing it built.
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