building storage loft in the garage

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Old 04-04-13, 11:09 AM
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building storage loft in the garage

We have roughly a 9x5 area in are garage where the washer/dryer and water heater sit. Above them is probably a good 6' of space. I'd like to build a deck there for storage. I plan on cramming it full of all our assorted boxes of junk we can't part with. Some of these boxes are heavy and that means this deck needs to be able to hold hundreds of pounds safely.

I don't have much knowledge on designing a structure like this. I assume I will use (4) 2x4's as 'legs', then put some heavy plywood on them. I probably need some sort of braces running from the legs to the center of the plywood as well.

Will someone please describe how they would build this? What size wood, etc? I'd really appreciate it.
 
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Old 04-04-13, 11:24 AM
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What's enclosing the space? I mean, are there walls on three sides, two, ...?

I had a corner in my garage where I nailed 2x4s into the studs along the back and side walls and then ran a leg down the front corner. If there had been walls on three sides, I would not have had a leg at all.
 
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Old 04-04-13, 12:55 PM
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I'm sorry, I should have mentioned there are 3 sides. I'll look for studs, but i'm not banking on finding them where I need them. Do you think I'd be okay without any type of braces? I saw some metal plates that connect 2x4s in some pictures and the structure does look pretty solid, and I wouldn't necessarily even have to secure the legs to the walls I would think?
 
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Old 04-04-13, 03:02 PM
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You frame the platform with 2X4s secured horizontally to the studs. It will cross every stud in the wall, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to secure it. 3/4" plywood goes on top. with only a 9' span, you may not need any legs to the floor.
 
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Old 04-04-13, 03:46 PM
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that sounds too good to be true...thanks again!
 
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Old 04-04-13, 05:15 PM
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Just to be clear, you'll need some joists to support the plywood. You can't just use 2xs along the perimeter.
 
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Old 04-04-13, 07:49 PM
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Not using legs will actually be easier, because the corner with the water-heater would be a pain in the butt to get behind.

So, I need the strongest setup without legs (i'm going to put alot of crap up there). I get that I'll put (3) 2x4's horizontal on the walls. Where from there? (1) 2x4 on top of the others, on the side without a wall?

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated, or else I'll end up doing something wacky.
 
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Old 04-04-13, 09:19 PM
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I get that I'll put (3) 2x4's horizontal on the walls. Where from there? (1) 2x4 on top of the others, on the side without a wall?

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated, or else I'll end up doing something wacky.
I guess you might! No, you build all four sides of a box. Have the 2X4s on the sides stop short of the front edge of the shelf by the thickness of a 2X4, then screw or nail the front edge of the box to the fronts of those two pieces.

Originally Posted by marksr
you'll need some joists to support the plywood. You can't just use 2xs along the perimeter.
16" on center across the shelf area. You can nail through from the front to secure the fronts of those, and toe-nail them to the rim joist (the new 2X4) across the back.
 
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Old 04-05-13, 05:41 AM
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So I want to go with nailing, and not screwing?
 
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Old 04-05-13, 09:56 AM
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I would use good quality screws - deck screws, for example. Not brittle drywall screws.
 
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Old 04-05-13, 10:44 AM
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I used framing nails but deck screws should be fine as long as they're long enough to get into the studs.
 
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Old 04-05-13, 02:33 PM
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Are 3.5" screws (or nails for that matter) long enough to do this job?
 
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Old 04-05-13, 03:36 PM
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Yes, I use 3.25" nails ...... because they fit my nail gun
 
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Old 04-05-13, 04:10 PM
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3-1/2" would be fine, but, in my opinion, 3-1/4" would be better. Not to raise any undue concern, because, admittedly, the chances are very small, but whenever drilling blindly into a framing member, you should be cognizant of hidden electrical and mechanical features contained within. And, this being a wall that contains the power and water to your washing machine and dryer, it's a good thing to consider. 3-1/4" should prevent you from running into any approved wire installations. As for nails versus screws, new tools are always a good thing, but if you don't already have a power drill or impact driver, and don't have one in your budget, there wouldn't be anything wrong with nails. Personally though, for a 9' span, and not knowing what might end up being stored there, I might spend a couple extra dollars for a 2x6, at least along the face, as it will be carrying the dumb end of whatever weight you end up with on it.
 
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Old 04-05-13, 04:56 PM
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I like the idea of the 2x6 across the front. The 3-1/4" nails or screws aren't a bad idea either!
 
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Old 04-05-13, 06:56 PM
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Great pro advice, I really appreciate it guys. I do now own a cordless drill thanks to my new father-in-law. I guess marriage ain't all that bad....

Hopefully I get this done sunday, i'll take a pic if I remember.
 
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Old 04-06-13, 09:07 PM
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The connectors are your weak link. Nails/screws require 1-5/8" into the stud, hard to do with 1/2" (or 5/8") drywall on the garage wall for fire. You need full shear values or your pile will be on the appliances/people when you come home. Use a 3-1/2"; Strong-DriveŽ SDS Structural Wood Screw

Or a 4" here, compare the shear values; http://www.fastenmaster.com/details/...plate_0113.pdf

Common nails are only 120-150# with the drywall, if that because of the filler between, and require the 1-5/8" into solid wood; Common wire nails

Using 2x4, 8-3' and 3-9' (double the front one to carry 1/2 the total load/span) = 42'lin.ft. Total load= 567# limited by the front doubler span. Using 2x4, all running across the 9' span, 2-3' and 4-9' at 12"o.c. = 288# x 3' = 864# Change that to 2x6's = 840# x 3 = 2520# total. Use hangers (rated for your load shear values), and enough fasteners per stud to gain the total shear value of the load, combined, divided by the total fasteners in all studs.

Gary
 
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Old 04-07-13, 12:20 AM
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Using 2x4, 8-3' and 3-9' (double the front one to carry 1/2 the total load/span) = 42'lin.ft. Total load= 567# limited by the front doubler span. Using 2x4, all running across the 9' span, 2-3' and 4-9' at 12"o.c. = 288# x 3' = 864# Change that to 2x6's = 840# x 3 = 2520# total.
I was thinking about suggesting using all 2x6s. I had no idea it would make that much difference.

That sounds like the way to go.
 
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Old 04-07-13, 01:11 PM
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That's what I would use, also! The weak link is always the fasteners, hence, use hangers to get full shear loads with multiple (rated) fasteners. To max. load the platform and only use 2 fasteners through the side of one into the end grain of another is a shear loss in itself. If mine, I would remove the drywall where the ledgers attach (easy to examine for wiring/plumbing) and patch any small cracks/openings at the ledgers against fire again to be safe from fumes/gases. Use your good suggestion to install the outside hanger 1-1/2" back for full hanger nails attachment, then double the front one.

Gary
PS. running the 2xs with the span loads each one max. rather than short (front-to-back) with whole platform loading the doubled front one.
 
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Old 04-07-13, 10:56 PM
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running the 2xs with the span loads each one max. rather than short (front-to-back) with whole platform loading the doubled front one.
A good point. I wasn't thinking much about that with the full plywood deck/shelf, but you're right. No need to overlook that,
 
 

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