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Old 10-20-2010, 09:22 AM   #1
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Garage Lift - Making Room for Your Airstream

I am adding this post because I looked everywhere online and could not find any information on how to raise my garage so I could make it tall enough to house my 1955 Flying Cloud. The job is done and I hope many of you find this information useful. A little history: in 2001 I bought a garage for $200 and moved it from a lot that was going to be developed. I stripped the shingles and siding to make it lighter but because it was built in (I'm guessing) the 1950's, it was covered in 1" x 12" boards for the sheathing on the sides and roof. In other words, it was built like a tank. My dad and brother helped me lift and move it. I mention this because that information helped me when I later decided to lift it. At first, I was going to just try to raise the roof but later decided that it would be too difficult to change the wiring and since it was a hip roof, there was very little room to work and to further complicate matters, I had since finished the interior including drywall.

The pictures tell a 1000 words to I'll just put them in order and follow up with a few details. The first picture shows the removal of 1' of drywall at the top when I was thinking of lifting only the roof. The second picture shows the bottom siding removed to allow for the removal of the anchor bolts the the beginnings of the interior bracing need before the lift.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:28 AM   #2
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More Progress

Here are some more bracing shots. I doubled up two 2" x 10"s and lag bolted into every stud. Then and did the same 2" x 10" boards across and beneath in three spots which gave me 6 jacking spots. I used six 8 ton bottle jacks that you can buy at Harbor Freight for about $24 each and solid concrete blocks. We had one guy on each jack and would go up at the same time until there was enough room to slide in another block. Then we would let the jacks down, pull out the jack and add another block under it and repeat. Kind of scary when we were getting close to full 3' lift height. It was swaying just a bit.

There is also a picture of my dad, a retired electrician, making some temporary jumpers so we would continue to have power while we lifted.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:32 AM   #3
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More Progress

And we have lift off. This doesn't look like much but getting it off the ground even an inch was a BIG deal to me.

More picture during lifting, the team and the garage with the walls in.

Finally the garage gets some siding.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:34 AM   #4
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Looks like your FC is going to have a happy little home. To paraphrase Johnnie Cochran - if it doesn't fit, you must raise it!

Neat job.

Pat
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:35 AM   #5
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Completed Garage

Here is the fruit of about 4 months of work. I hope you find this useful and motivational if you would also like to attempt this type of project. My Airstream finally has an indoor home and can be out of the weather in the rain and rough Iowa winters. I also have a place to restore my 55 Cloud anytime of year. After all this work, the restoration may not seem like that big of deal!
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:37 AM   #6
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Some more technical information. The garage is 20' x 30'. It now has a 9' overhead door with an 11' interior ceiling height. It used to have a 7' overhead door and an 8' ceiling height. I also added a window air conditioning unit that I installed into the north wall before siding.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:38 AM   #7
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Thanks Pat!
I had some of this posted in my 1955 Flying Cloud restoration thread but thought posting a new thread made more sense.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:39 AM   #8
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This is great! I've definitely seen another similar thread recently, but thanks for sharing your process anyhow. Not only is this a success story in regards to the "big lift", but you recycled an entire garage - that's got to feel good as well.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:40 AM   #9
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Interesting approach to solving your access problem. Thanks for sharing.

Kevin
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:44 AM   #10
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Very Cool!

...and very creative design. I am sure it was bear to get it lifted, but what a great solution. Enjoy the new digs to work on your trailer.

Tina
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:21 AM   #11
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Well done!
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:04 AM   #12
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I did recycle that garage and I'm a big fan of that! I was also able to use some of the bracing/lifting wood as a new overhead garage door header and sold the rest on Craigs List. I was also able to return all of the unbroken block used in the lift and sold 4 of the 6 bottle jacks. As many of you probably noticed, I had to completely re-side the garage since I added on to the bottom. I was able to re-use nearly all of the siding and installed it on the north and west walls and only bought enough new siding for the south and east walls. The singles were still in great shape so they were left alone. I also sold the 7' garage door on Craigs List (the guy even took it down himself) which eased the pain of the $1000 for the new door.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:27 AM   #13
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And in your spare time you......? Very nice work. LJH
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Old 10-20-2010, 03:03 PM   #14
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Yes, in my "spare time" between working full time, being married, raising three boys, playing bass in a rock cover band, honey do lists, and Airstreaming.
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