Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Done! (ish)

A few years ago, before the tango virus bit, I saw a posting in the free section of craigslist from someone that was giving away some used hard wood flooring. I picked it up thinking I would use it in one of the apartments in my house to replace the carpet. I put it in the garage and it sat there until last year in the fall. That's when I thought about converting my garage into a studio. A "photo" studio with ... ahem ... hardwood floors.

So I started to lay down the floor. But it got cold, and I didn't feel working in sub-freezing temperatures. Sometimes in the spring I found another post on CL for really cheap R13 insulation, less then $5 per roll. I got that one too. Then another post for free 4x4 masonite sheets. About a month ago I decided it's about time to finish this by putting all of this together. And now it's almost done, to be inaugurated soon!

As with any other project, it took a lot more work then expected. Here's a list with stuff that had to be done, just in case you consider doing this yourself.

* remove all the junk from the garage (that was painful)
* break sections of the concrete floor as they were highly uneven and cracked
* transport all that broken concrete somewhere else
* pour concrete (5' x 20' )
* pressure wash the rest of the concrete
* replace one garage door as it was falling apart (luckily I found a used one on CL for $50)
* lay down the hardwood floor (on 1x2s set up about a foot apart) (400 sq ft)
* paint the concrete blocks that form the "foundation"
* remove all electric wiring (as it was a hack job)
* remove all shelves and everything that was attached to walls
* install insulation
* use the 4x4 masonite panels to cover all walls
* extend the window frames using leftover hardwood flooring
* paint the window frames (this was Debbi's doing)
* paint the walls linen white (this was Debbi's doing)
* paint the two garage doors inside
* paint the side door (this was Debbi's doing)
* Install a deadbolt in the side door
* install rubber seals on the bottom of the garage doors.
* install foam seals on the top of the garage doors
* re-install electric wiring, power panel, hookup to the electric system with a suspended wire
* clean garage attic to make space to store all the crap that used to live in the garage
* Install spot lights & wiring to provide indirect light
* install speakers on the ceiling
* install the tv on the ceiling
* install amplifier and wire all audio & video stuff
* install fan on the ceiling

And I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Here's what I learned from this project.

* Make your budget (time & money) and then multiply the time by 3 and the money by two.
* Don't expect to dance (or walk) the day after you're laying down 400sq feet of flooring. Not going to happen.
* There is a lot more crap in the garage then it looks. A LOT MORE.
* If you're planning to paint your walls white, don't cover the walls with dark brown stuff. You will need A LOT of paint.
* Masonite is prone to warping and you need to use a table saw to cut it. Unless you are totally broke, just go buy drywall.
* Thank God (if there is one) for power nailers, can't imagine installing a floor with a hammer & regular nails.
* A garage door spring is VERY powerful, make sure you don't let it decompress abruptly, it may rip your head off.