I’m really happy with what I accomplished today, with a little (a lot of) help. Today was “Garage Loft Day” and the garage loft is complete!
Cost was right around a thousand dollars, and took two people (my brother and I) five hours to complete start to finish. It’s about 7′ x 21′ in size. All the framing is 2×8’s except for a 9-1/4″ LVL header across the open end of the loft.
We started out by chalking a level line on all three walls. Then we located the wall studs and transferred those measurements to the main long rim joist. With the joist on saw horses we installed metal joist hangers and predrilled holes for our 3×5/8 Ledgerlok Screws. The Ledgerloks were used to attached the long rim joist to the studs. We also used them to fasten the two LVL’s together. After everything was marked we installed the long rim joist against the wall studs.
Next we installed the first two floor joists, the ones that go against the short run against the wall. We used a blind joist hanger at the one end and a couple Ledgerlok’s at the other end to secure these shorter rim joists. They only need to bear the weight above them, not the whole assembly so no need to lag them into every stud.
With the LVL on the saw horses we attached the remainder of the joist hangers to the board. A blind joist hanger at each end. The LVL was then lifted up and secured to the shorter rim joists with nails and ultimately a pair of lag bolts at each end.
To support the LVL header we installed three pressure treated 4×4 posts. Each post rests on a metal bracket that was mounted to the cement floor using 1/4 x 2-1/4 tapcon bolts. A 3/16″ x 4-1/2″ tapcon bit was used to drill the holes.
Once all the framing was complete we installed treated 5/4 boards, 12′ and 16′ lengths minimized the number of joints we had to deal with. We used #8 x 2″ deck screws to fasten the floor boards. The boards will shrink creating gaps between them which will help when I go to sweep the floor up there, allowing debris to fall through the cracks.
I’m very excited to have completed this project. It give us an “attic” that is easily accessible via a ladder. The loft has great capacity for holiday decoration and flea market bins, as well as other items that we don’t need that ofter, or can’t bear to get rid of. Looking at you original Jeep rims, when I say this.
The next project will be to design and build storage shelves along the back wall, as well as work benches and shelves for my shop below the loft.
Check out the photos below to the various steps in pictures.
First step is to chalk a level line for the rim joists on the drywall.
We used metal lags to mount the rim joist along the wall. We installed the joist hangers ahead of time to make the job easier.
Lag bolts into the wall studs on the left, joist hanger ready to accept floor joist on the right.
This is a blind joist hanger. It has no flanges to get in the way of the wall and as such may be mounted flush to the adjacent wall as shown. This is for the short rim joist.
Short rim joist installed on far wall.
Installing the joist hangers on the LVL. Blind hanger in the foreground.
This is the 4×4 post plate, fastened to the cement floor.
With half of the LVL header in place we could install the 4×4 posts to support it.
All the floor joists sitting happily in their joist hanger pockets.
5/4 decking being installed on top of the floor joists.
The completed loft
Detail on how we joined the two halves of the LVL using these lag bolts.
Stuff is already starting to accumulate in the new loft.
View of all my junk moved back into the space. We’ll fill up the loft this autumn.
The completed loft looking from the man door in the garage.