The most challenging part of framing a garage addition of this size so far has been setting the roof trusses. Trusses were needed due to the width of the garage and the fact that it has no interior walls, just 4000 square feet of open space. Trusses are specifically designed by an engineer to meet wind and snow loads, as well as span requirements for a structure, in this case, our garage addition. Our trusses had to span fifty feet from wall to wall with no intermediate support. The length of the garage trusses, the height of the walls, and proximity from other obstructions is what made this task such an adventure.
The trusses for this addition had to span fifty feet between the two outer walls with a one-foot overhang on each side, so they were fifty-two feet long, tip to tip. The garage walls are sixteen feet tall. We had to set (install) forty of these trusses. If you can picture this in your mind, you would have to wonder how would we set these trusses on top of the garage walls. Well, you guessed it; we would need a crane. A crane big enough to lift and boom (extend) over 120 feet to reach from where the crane was set in front of the garage addition, to set the rear most truss. All of this on residential property that already had a house on it. Not much room to work. On one side we have the house we are connecting the addition to, and on the other side we have the edge of the property, which is tree lined of course.
We are ready to start setting the trusses. On the outer walls of the garage addition we have scaffolding set up, and in the center we have a scissor lift. Here we go, the crane lifts and swings the first truss into position. It’s bending and flexing and about the time we get it close to where it needs to go, we go to raise the scissor lift and it decides to stop working right then. We floundered around for half an hour when we determined we couldn’t fix the scissor lift. While waiting on the lift repair tech we decided we needed to use ladders and more manpower to continue working. Setting the first truss is the hardest since it sets the tone for the rest of the garage roof trusses. It must be plumb, and exactly on its’ markers. The first truss took an hour to set and secure on the garage. The next two trusses took about forty minutes each to properly set. At this rate this garage roof would take two and a half days to finish and we only budgeted the crane for one day. In addition to the forty minutes to set each truss, we had to spend about ten minutes to move all of our equipment every two trusses.
While we were setting the trusses the scissor lift repair tech showed up and determined he couldn’t perform the repair onsite. Sunbelt immediately sent another scissor lift out without telling us and of course, the crane was in the way of getting it into the garage addition. Fortunately, even though the crane was sitting in what was mostly a tree lined driveway on both sides, as you can see from the pictures, the crane was able to lift the scissor lift completely over the trees and the house and into the garage addition. Once we regrouped and got our system down, we were ultimately setting trusses about one every eight minutes. We wound up working into the dark, but we managed to set all the trusses on the garage addition.
The only thing left to complete the garage addition framing is to sheath the roof and complete all of the truss bracing. Sheathing and bracing gives the trusses the needed strength to withstand the winds and any loads that may be put on the garage. The trusses also help lock the walls of the garage in place to ensure there is no movement. At this point we are able to remove all of the temporary bracing we have in place since the trusses would completely lock the garage walls in their proper position.
Thanks for reading our Blog. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to send them in. Stay tuned for more as our garage addition continues!