Garage Organization By a Newbie #5: Back On Track!

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Blog entry by CyBorge posted 07-01-2010 07:42 PM 3637 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Progress, or Setback? Part 5 of Garage Organization By a Newbie series Part 6: Something's Finally Built! »

It’s hard to believe how little progress I have made in the last month, but other areas of my life tend to take priority sometimes. The last time I posted, the overwhelming consensus was that I had unwittingly applied moldy drywall compound to my walls. Go me! It sure is a good thing this is a blog, where mistakes are okay, rather than a how-to tutorial! :-)

I was lucky in that a lot of the mud was still wet enough that I could pry it off in large sections with a small drywall knife. This made removal far easier, and a whole lot less messy. I still had to wet-sand a bunch of areas, and ended up taking off some of the paper in a few spots, but it was a lot easier than it could have been!

With all, or nearly all, of the tainted mud and tape removed, I gave it several days to dry out before re-doing all the work. After re-taping, top-coating and sanding, I cleaned the walls and primed with Kilz 2 stain-blocking latex primer. The bare drywall soaked that stuff up like crazy, so I ended up doing two coats of primer. Wow is that stuff bright compared to old drywall!! I still don’t like pure white, though, so I followed up with two coats of Color Place (Wal-Mart) interior latex paint with a satin sheen. The color? “White oak”. :-) It’s basically an off-white, but someone got paid a lot of money to come up with a hundred different names for a hundred different shades of off-white, so I might as well use it.

One of my next projects is to build some corner shelves, which will probably be of more interest to all of you than what I’ve written about so far. At some point it occurred to me that once those shelves are constructed I probably won’t be able to reach the corner when I’m painting the ceiling. So, planning ahead a bit, I went ahead and primed the ceiling in the corner and followed up with some ceiling paint. It looks a little strange now, but will be better when the rest of the ceiling is done.

With the main wall ready to go, I started to put the outlet covers back on and move some things back to the wall. That’s when I realized most, if not all, of my garage outlets are not grounded. :-( Looking in the boxes (they are all plastic) proved a little disheartening. Bare copper wires do exist in all the boxes, and the feed is definitely grounded at the panel, but half of them are simply not attached to the bright green screws clearly intended for a grounding wire—or anything else for that matter. I found one box with three lines in/out. Two of the ground wires are wrapped around each other and shoved into the back of the box. The third ground wire is wrapped around the screw on the receptacle, but not in contact with either of the other two ground wires. Several of the wires (including hot and neutrals) that are connected are not wrapped around the screws; they’re simply stuck under one side and clamped down. It’s going to take some effort to fix all this, especially with some of the worst offenders being on the ceiling, but I think it needs to be done. Oh yeah, many of the outlet boxes are aligned to the studs instead of the drywall, so the receptacles are either shimmed with nuts and/or washers, or simply “floating” semi-loosely. It’s great.

The good news is, there’s some actual construction in the near future. I mentioned some corner shelves, which are going to be 24×48. This is approximately what I’m looking to build:

Corner Shelves

The walls will be carrying almost all of the load, but I need a support for the front left corner, so I figure a basic 2×4 should work. I’m not sure what, if anything, if I should do to the bottom of that support to protect it from moisture since it will rest directly on top of concrete. The second vertical 2×4, the one next to the wall, is there because I might use some plywood or OSB to “cap” the end. If I follow up with that I will probably do something similar (but with hinges) on the front. That should keep most of the dust out, look nicer, and I could probably add a lock if anything valuable or dangerous goes on those shelves.

One concern I have is that the shorter of the two wall supports doesn’t have a stud near the outer end. I can screw it to a stud real close to the corner, and approximately where the dotted line is near the middle, but that leaves probably ten inches of shelf on the end with no local support. Hopefully it will be okay. I’m looking at using #10 screws for this; should I go bigger?

The other project slated for the near future is moving my extension ladder from the wall to the ceiling. I touched on my intentions in one of HokieMojo's blog entries. Basically, it’s going to look something like this:

Hanging Extension Ladder

The ladder slides in between the 2×4’s and rolls over the PVC pipe. The pipe itself is simply covering a threaded rod that actually bears the weight of the ladder, transferring it to the 2×4’s hanging from the ceiling. It works in theory; let’s see how it works in practice!

-- "How can I be lost if I've got nowhere to go?"

5 comments so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4058 days

#1 posted 07-02-2010 01:39 AM

A few comments.

1) Good to hear you were able to get the mudding squared away
2) I like the name of the paint. I stuck with “Kilz white” lol. I figure there won’t be much exposed wall by the time I’m done hanging stuff
3) that does suck about the electrical, but I think it is too common to find problems when you open things up. when we opened our main breaker box, there were tons of loose connections. I don’t think that was the electricians fault. just the passage of time caused screws to loosen. I wonder if that could have happened in your case but to an extreme?
4) you are pretty good at sketchup. I just can’t get it going, mostly due to motivation. I’d reconsider the shelves though. While I have put some permanent fixtures (like the lumber rack) in my renovation, I’d avoid it unless absolutely necessary. I understand wanting to get the sides as close to the wall and save on material at the same time, but you could just inset the legs a bit and let the overhanging butt up against the wall. You never know when you might need to move the shelf, and I’d much rather move it than rebuild it. Just my opinion.
5) i’m still debating the ladder rack idea myself. One of the biggest drawbacks for me is I’d probably need to pull the car out of the garage and close the garage door to get it down (a minor inconvenience) but more importantly, I worry that when I install my planned T8 light fixtures, it will probably cast some strange shadows. just something to consider with whatever lighting plan you have. I don’t have a better idea though. I very well may end up doing this myself.

Goo luck. Hope it isn’t too hot there!

View Bureaucrat's profile


18341 posts in 3982 days

#2 posted 07-02-2010 04:27 AM

Good to see you back! I was worried that the moldy setback had gotten the better of you.
My shop is pretty close to Kilz white. I did that so that my aging eyes get more light; and as Hokie said hanging stuff all over does temper it.
One of the approaches I have used for extension ladder storage… I sunk 2 of the yellow plasticoted bike hooks into the rafters above the garage door return area and hung a pulley from the ceiling the length of the ladder away from the bike hooks and away from the door opening. That way I was able to hook the ladder to the ceiling, even with the door open, and pull the other end up with a rope and pulley and tie the rope off to a cleat on the wall. Another advantage for me was that I didn’t have to get out the step ladder to get the extension ladder down, of course your ceiling height may vary.
Good luck and keep posting.

-- Gary D.

View JamesVavra's profile


304 posts in 3646 days

#3 posted 07-02-2010 02:33 PM

Two suggestions:

1) Dip the end of your 2×4 that will rest on the concrete floor in a thinned out finish (deck sealer, tung oil, etc.). Doesn’t really matter what you use, but that end grain will soak it up and, once it cures, it will prevent moisture from traveling up the same path.

2) Provided those side short side supports are attached to the center stud, and somewhere closer to the corner you probably don’t need to also attach them at the outboard end where there is no stud. Just make sure it’s not only supported in the middle – otherwise, it will want to teeter-totter when the weight is not distributed well.


View CyBorge's profile


79 posts in 3505 days

#4 posted 07-02-2010 09:23 PM

Hi guys. It takes more than a little moldy mud to make me give up. Now, moldy cheese on the other hand, forget about it! :-)

While it’s a lot slower and more work to do this piecemeal, one benefit is that I will reach a point where one large wall is painted with white oak and another large wall is only primed. That should give me a visual comparison between the two. I only bought one gallon of the paint to start with, so I wouldn’t be out hardly anything (other than time/cleanup) if I decide white is preferable after all.

There is no way these electrical issues were caused by something as simple as loose connections. 12 gauge copper wiring is too stiff to work itself out of place to this magnitude. It is clear by the way it’s folded and twisted that all of it, with one possible exception, was either intentional or a mistake. The more “behind the scenes” stuff I encounter in this house, the less benefit of the doubt I’m willing to give. Case in point: a few months ago I actually found two circuits that were tied together. As long as either breaker was turned on, all affected outlets and light fixtures were live. The only way to cut power was to turn off both breakers. What’s more, one of the breakers is smaller (15 amp versus 20), and at least part of that circuit is running 14 gauge wiring. How these circuits were crossed I will never know, but it must have happened when a previous owner built an addition off the kitchen/dining room.

Hokie, those are some good suggestions about the shelves. I debated that internally for quite a while. Still do, in fact. I’m not too concerned about moving the shelves later because the design of the garage greatly limits my options. However, one significant change I’ve been thinking about is pulling the entire thing away from the side wall to create a small “pocket” on the end of the shelves. That would be a great place to store something like a step ladder. It would also completely eliminate the concerns about stud placement.

James, would a deck sealer be a long-term solution if it’s inside where the sun won’t get at it? I thought about wrapping the bottom in non-permeable plastic, but I also question how important it is to do anything at all in this environment.

-- "How can I be lost if I've got nowhere to go?"

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4058 days

#5 posted 07-02-2010 09:34 PM

All good points. I’ve really enjoyed watching your progress. I’m hoping to make a little more progress of my own this weekend, but I think the 4th will mostly be spent with the family after some long hours at work. I’m also stuck waiting to get a new HVAC system put in, so I don’t want to do much work on that side of the garage because I want to leave the space clear for them to work safely and comfortably.

I’m continually amazed by my lack of space, despite having a full side of a 2 car garage. I’ve gotta find ways to get more stuff up on the walls.

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