Remodeling Garage - raising the ceiling

Old 09-01-03, 02:48 PM
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Question Remodeling Garage - raising the ceiling

Due to the recent purchase of an auto lift (and the recent failure of my 15+ year old garage door opener) - I've decided that now's the time to seriously consider raising the ceiling of my garage to increase the headroom so that the lift can fully extend.

There are three major issues concerning the re-design:

Truss redesign

Currently my garage roof is a "simple" 2x4 truss system. Each truss is constructed of 4 external 2x4s, two making up the roof angle and two across the bottom making the ceiling of the garage. These two 2x4s are tied together by truss mesh in the center of the garage. There are three additional truss members internal to the trusses. One going straight up vertically, and two going diagonally from the center truss to approx 1/2 up the roof diagonal.

I'd like to modify the truss design so that it is essentially an 'Emerald' type ceiling. I've enclosed to try and better define what I would like to do. Comments? Safe? Bad idea you idiot - what are you thinking?

Garage Door redesign
In order to make the best use out of this - I would need to re-design the garage door tracks for my garage door. After staring at it a little while, I've come to the conclusion that th ebest way to do this is to section the 90 degree curve into two 45 degree curves and place a section of straight track in between them that is appropriatly long. Again - Comments? Safe? Bad idea you idiot - what are you thinking?

Garage Door opener
Given that my current garage door opener is ka-poot, and that Wayne-dalton seems to have, what I thought was, the perfect replace for me in their idrive unit for torsion springs. I purchased one last week. In general this seems to be a very good solution in that it doesn't require any track mechanism and therefore has NO inpact on headroom and also would seem to not be impacted at all by my potentially unusual garage door tracking scheme.

Alas though I've run into an issue - as usual. What appears to be a simple install may not be compatible with my current door assembly in that some plastic covers that are supposed to go over the cable drums will not fit. Those covers can only be placed over a 4" drum and my drums are anywhere from 41/4 - 41/2". My guess is that these covers are there to keep the cable from jumping off of the drum on one drum if the other side of the door gets jammed - or on initial closure where there might not be enough of the door pulling down on the springs to allow the door to close fast enough and keeping up with the motor.
I'm guessing that changing those drums out for 4" drums is not a simple task and one for a PRO. In addition - it seems as though my door may need some adjustment. So I may need to call someone anyway.

(It looks as though my drawing can't be attached. If onyone would like to see it, please let me know and I can e-mail it out.)

Thanks in advance for your opinions.

Old 09-01-03, 03:30 PM
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I understand completely what you want to do. First your trusses.
Do not try to alter your trussess. They were designed and made for a certain set of circumstances. By alteration you will weaken the trusses. But what you could do is to, is to replace the entire trusses you need heightened by installing catherdral trusses. You can have them designed for your needs, and they are not expensive. But, they will not be easy to install.

I do not think your garage door track will work for the track setup you want. The problem is with the door. Doors are designed for either a 12" or 15" radius. You would have neither. I am not saying it will not work, but I just do not think it will. If you door would be in the way for your lift when it is up, I would just install a can garage door. No problems there.

I think you had better get a pro to change your opener wheels. This is very dangerous, and one little mistake will be costly, like a missing thumb, broken hand, or part of your face missing. Bad business. Think about the can door before installing your new opener. Good Luck
Old 09-03-03, 10:04 PM
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I'm also tossing around the idea of raising my garage roof (detached garage) due to the purchase of a camper. This would give me a REAL reason to do it, not just because I've wanted to for the last 5 years!

The garage has 8' ceilings, I'd like to go to 10' high. Size is 24' wide x 40' long. Trusses are 24" O.C., wall studs are 16" O.C. I'm thinking I would be able to do the work myself, with the exception of renting a crane to reset the trusses.

My thoughts are: the trusses would be reused, new roofing and roofing underlayment would be installed. As far as the walls go ... would it be kosher to build a 2' high wall and mount it atop the existing wall, or would a new taller wall be required? I would think that some of the structural integrity of the wall would be lost by going with the first option. Or could you just extend the height of the wall by mounting 2x4's adjacent to the existing ones?

Thanks for any and all thoughts and help,

Old 09-04-03, 11:14 AM
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NMR - your situation, if not the solution , is slightly different than mine. I was looking for a way to increase the heigth of my ceiling and move the garage door track out of the way so that I could raise a vehicle inside the garage. Your situation is that you want to increase not only the heidth of the garage ceiling but of course also the garage door opening as well. If you are going to be moving the trailer in and out the opening has to of course be able to be tall enough.

That being said - I looked into my situation in a bit more detail and found the following.

With respect to the trusses, virtually no-one (including JtC ) recommends outright modifying existing trusses on sight. It may be theoritically possible to box in a partial opening for me over a portion of the lift that would still be able maintain the structural integrity of the trusses - BUT there would still be the issue of liability. No matter how well I was able to do it, if something were to happen (even if all the roofs in the rest of the neighborhood also caved in) it would give my homeowners insurance reason to deny a claim.

One big $$ option I am considering is going with a licensed engineering company in the area. After some initial discussions with them, they claimed it is possible to "retruss", or partially "retruss" the roof/ceiling by attaching new trusses to the old and then removing some material from the old trusses. Engineering cost alone for something like this would be ~$500 and they back of the envelope estimated the new trusses at ~$1000. That still leaves the problem of getting the new trusses under the existing roof and they recommended so called 1/2 trusses and then field attaching them. They claimed that this type of thing was industry accepted and infact has to be done sometimes when trusses are miss-manufactured. It's not clear to me whether or not the new trusses would go from wall to roof point or just some partial. I suppose that if I indeed did get the engineering work done and got it to pass inspection, then the insurance company would have to accept it as 'acceptable'.

I also spoke with some garage door people and received a few different options. Probably the best was to essentially make the door appropriatly taller with a false panel, replace the vertical channel, and replace the springs, cables, and drums appropriatly, and move the existing opener as high against the ceiling as reasonable possible.

Well as usual - things are more complicated, and therefore expensive, than I had originally thought so a lot of soul searching is going to have to happen.

One thing I may do to reduce some costs for me might be to modify only those sections of the ceiling that I absolutely have to to get this thing to work optimally. That may end up being only 4 new trusses instead of the 10 or so that are in the garage.

Thanks for the input.

Old 09-04-03, 09:01 PM
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If you want to raise your garage roof, you might as well just tear off the old roof scrap it including your top sill plates. Then run new studs up adjacent to your existing studs and put on new sill plates and a new roof. I doubt if you can use your existing trusses. Once you tear off the whole roof, and take the existing trusses down, you will probably have weakened the integrity of the truss. Good Luck

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