Building a two car Garage from Pallet Racking

 
ColdHouse
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Post by ColdHouse » Wed. Nov. 23, 2022 5:43 am

I originally was thinking of using pallets of coal strategically stacked to form a structure that I could cover and park some things under. After I got the coal home, I realized the skids were not as tall as I envisioned and not great when stacked. The concept of having more covered parking had planted a seed that I wanted to germinate. After many hours of contemplation and looking at all sorts of portable garages and thinking and thinking I developed what I thought was a brilliant idea. Purchase industrial pallet racking and clip them together in a way that creates a garage with storage. Use the pallet racking as my structure. So I found a defunct business that had a huge warehouse and procured pallet racking uprights and beams. I had mentioned this in the Brace Yourself thread but decided it deserved its own place and didn't want to derail that thread anymore than I have already. So here is where the documentation and progress of this endeavor will be recorded.
Understand that I took all the materials down at the place where they were purchased. My son helped me load. The building of this structure is all done by one person. Me and I am nothing more than a 5'6" Sixty one year old guy. No help from anyone. Uprights are 14 feet tall and probably close to 100#, beams are 113" and probably 40#. I got the material here Sunday and want to get the structure in place by Friday so I can pour some concrete under the upright legs. It is supposed to not be freezing Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
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This is the load before leaving the place we bought them. I decided to negotiate a price on much more material. I bought 85 uprights, and 335 beams. I will go alone starting next Monday to dismantle as much as possible and bring home beams. I will then schedule a time to have my son help me get what I don't want to do alone. There is no power inside the facility and the place is huge. Material has to be manually moved a long way to load. I expect my garage to use 24 uprights, 10 will be used for the roof, and about 60 beams. My thought is the building will be a click together and therefore easily taken down if so desired.
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The plan at this point is to get one row where I want it. I tamped down some gravel and leveled the area. I placed a couple cement blocks and leveled them. I turned an upright that was on the trailer 90* and eased it to the ground and stood it vertical. I then walked it over by moving each leg a foot or so at a time right then left then right and keeping it vertical. I had a little giant step ladder set up close to where I wanted the first upright to go. When I got the upright where I wanted it on top of the blocks, I used vice grips to secure a piece of aluminum to the ladder and to the upright holding it where I thought I wanted it. I had already leveled a second set of blocks with the first set so I was prepared for the second upright. I got a second step ladder and used it to hold the second upright. Then I got my first beam and maneuvered the uprights to where they needed to be to accept the beam. These beams and racking system are very nice. They have spring loaded pin clips that when placed inside holes in the uprights, they lock the beam so you cannot remove it without removing the pin. So at this point my goal is to get some sections put up with vertical uprights and a couple beams locked in on each side. I first had them set up and my neighbor came over. He mentioned that the back of my garage will be too far to the right when finished. So I was glad he came. I decided to move it over several feet to the left. So where it is now is where I will erect it.
At first I thought I would pour piers before putting up the structure. Then I thought I would put it on blocks or pressure treated wood. I started with the blocks. I tamped down the gravel, added sand and leveled pretty meticulously. But that is too much work! I have decided to get it pretty close as quickly as possible to erect the structure. It is the locked in beams that will dictate where things need to be and keep it secure, especially when those pins are inserted locking the beams in place.
So the first day I got 3 uprights put up and 6 beams and the creative juices flowing. I have it planned that there will be three rows of racking that will be about 30 feet deep when assembled. The center row I will keep at 14'. The row to the left and right will be cut shorter allowing for a 4/12 pitch on the roof. Positioning of my left and right rows of shelving will be critical to achieve success. I developed a plan that at around 10 feet plus or minus, I would click in a beam on the center, the left and the right. This beam will have remnants of the cut off uprights welded to them. So these special beams will click into place and be able to accept beams perpendicular to the rows. This next picture shows the beams. Understand that they are down low now but will get moved high later. The reason they are low is so that I can easily determine where my left and right row needs to be and get them positioned. Once my structure is further along these special welded beams will get moved high and hold the building right to left and lock it in place.
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Here is a picture of my custom welded beams that will accept perpendicular beams to keep the structure solid from left to right.
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A mathematical calculation was done. I know the actual size of an upright is 34" deep. the uprights are 3" wide. So if I have a 34" upright and weld a 3" scab piece of upright to a beam and attach a 113" beam to that and another 3" piece of scab upright that is welded to a beam, my width from outer left or outer right to inner center upright will be 34+3+113+3=153". This is critical to know. Because before I put up the right or left upright I need to cut off the extra length and use that for my scab pieces. My plan is to probably make the top middle section flat because of the limitation of my upright lengths that will be used for my roof rafters/supports. But that is not important now. What is important is that on the left or right side of my center row, I have 14' from ground to roof. If I have 14 feet up and want to have a 4/12 pitch I need to know how far away my outsides are. Well we already figured that is 153 inches. So (153/12)*4=51" So I know my total height on the outside of my left and right upright needs to be 51 inches shorter than 14'. Then if I take that 51" and divide it by 153 inches in width, that tells me that for every inch I move in my height needs to go up 0.3333333 inches. I know my uprights are 34 inches so when I multiply 34x0.33333=11.3333. So what that tells me is that if I mark my outside edge of my upright 51 inches down and the inside edge of my upright 51-11 3/8=39 5/8 that will get me close enough for my pitch. I draw a line between those two marks and cut my uprights.
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So I have concluded that putting this structure on top of cement blocks will not yield an end result that will satisfy me. In the essense of assembly, an assembled structure locks itself together and would resemble a finished product. So I have determined to asseble the structure without worrying about being to level or perfect. Get uprights cut, get some beams locked into uprights and pinned and get perpendicular beams locked in and pinned. Once all uprights are in position and some beams are locked in on the entire structure, I use beams that are locked in way down low to jack up and level the structure. I jack up each section until perfectly level and support the lowest locked in beams with whatever I have available to support them. With those low locked in beams supported, my structure will be supported and perfectly level. I will be able to remove whatever I had under the uprights initially, and put some J-bolts into the upright frame and pour a small pad under each upright foot that is in place. I can elect to keep those supports under the locked in lower beams forever. Notice in this picture on the far right those low beams. They are locked in and I jacked them and shimmed between the upright supports and the concrete blocks to achieve level. Today I will make better progress. I need to weld more beams, cut uprights, and do more assembly.
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warminmn
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Post by warminmn » Wed. Nov. 23, 2022 7:56 am

One hell of a project! In stand alone straight lines they can be tippy but connected together correctly they should be strong. Bolting everything together with strong bolts should make everything stronger.... granted Im sitting here 1000 miles away and not right there looking at it. Carry on and thanks for sharing.

 
ColdHouse
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Post by ColdHouse » Wed. Nov. 23, 2022 7:59 am

warminmn wrote:
Wed. Nov. 23, 2022 7:56 am
One hell of a project! In stand alone straight lines they can be tippy but connected together correctly they should be strong. Bolting everything together with strong bolts should make everything stronger.... granted Im sitting here 1000 miles away and not right there looking at it. Carry on and thanks for sharing.
They have these cool spring loaded pins that lock the beam and make it impossible to remove without taking out the pins.

 
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warminmn
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Post by warminmn » Wed. Nov. 23, 2022 8:14 am

I remember installing and taking them down so know what your talking about. I hate heights so never enjoyed it. I still like the idea of bolts because thats how i am, lol i seem to overkill construction... Ive never been a great carpenter so i use lots of nails.

 
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Post by bruker » Wed. Nov. 23, 2022 9:09 am

I used to work with pallet racking on some projects. All I can say is, "MAKE SURE THEY'RE ANCHORED DOWN!"

 
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Post by franco b » Wed. Nov. 23, 2022 12:10 pm

Ambitious clever plan. Looking forward to progress.

 
ColdHouse
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Post by ColdHouse » Thu. Nov. 24, 2022 3:39 am

One guy. Progress not as good as I would have hoped yesterday. First thing I cut about 10 of the green scabs to 8 inches and totally prepped them for welding onto beams to make some perpendicular crossmembers. Welded 2 of them. Cut the pitch on an upright. Kinda prepped the ground for the next upright. With structure already in place, I clipped in a 9 foot beam to an already standing upright. I put a level on it while holding the right edge and used a piece of vertical aluminum and vice gripped it in place. I brought over the cut to size pitched upright, stood it vertical and clipped in the beam. A couple of the uprights had minor damage and I expected to use them. One that I already had in place was a little boogered up at the lowest bottom place to put a crossmember. So it wouldn't clip in without straightening it. That was kind of a chore. I had limited room because my back was to skids of coal. After getting that upright and beams in place, I elected to unload the rest of my trailer. I got tired of having to move the truck to get material and having it block the driveway. So I decided the next section to erect will be the first section to the right of center. Problem is the grading is too high to accommodate level. The beautiful thing about using this pallet racking uprights is they are perfectly produced with slots every 4 inches. So since the grade is higher, I will make the front upright 4 inches shorter at the top to accommodate the higher grade. So to achieve level I added a 4 inch spacer on the center upright block. I need to cut some different thickness blocks to accommodate the shimming necessary to set the uprights on to get structure set. As mentioned my plan is to get structure set up and level with lowest level of beams locked in. Level structure and then pour under the legs of the uprights. I will shim and support the structure from the bolted in lowest beams. I will probably leave in those lowest beams and support shims under them so I will want to have them put in so they could stay forever. In other words not sticking out and looking ghetto. Nice blocking under lowest bolted in beams. In my mind this lowest level of supported beams will be like a continuous foundation.
So I plan to work some today. First thing will be to cut some 2x6 or whatever, some 1x6, some different thickness pieces so I can keep erecting. It appears that as I go back with the structure the grade slopes down so maybe the only upright that needs to be set with a different height is the first one in front. The hardest uprights to place alone are the first 2 in a row. Because they must be somehow be kinda where they are supposed to be and pretty much vertical. So I need two uprights free standing the correct distance to the right of the center row, and parallel to the uprights on the left and center. So 2 uprights just standing vertical somehow and then clip in a 9 foot beam. Once that is clipped in I can fudge placement and all the other uprights and beams are much easier.
The row on the left, and center, still have one more 9 foot section going on the back. All rows will be 3 sections deep. End result will be a garage about 30x30.
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ColdHouse
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Post by ColdHouse » Thu. Nov. 24, 2022 12:53 pm

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ColdHouse
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Post by ColdHouse » Sat. Nov. 26, 2022 9:51 am

I decided to put legs on the lowest beams where the grade is much lower.
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ColdHouse
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Post by ColdHouse » Sat. Nov. 26, 2022 12:23 pm

Much easier to do additional uprights alone than it is to do the first two in a row. Just click a beam into the already installed upright and level it and support the other end.
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warminmn
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Post by warminmn » Sat. Nov. 26, 2022 1:37 pm

Now I can tell where you are going with this. Without rereading, how is this going to be anchored to the ground? It does look like you have wind protection for it.

 
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Post by ColdHouse » Sat. Nov. 26, 2022 3:15 pm

warminmn wrote:
Sat. Nov. 26, 2022 1:37 pm
Now I can tell where you are going with this. Without rereading, how is this going to be anchored to the ground? It does look like you have wind protection for it.
At some point probably next year, I will remove the blocks under the uprights. The entire structure will be supported by the lower beam. When I remove the blocks under the uprights I will insert a J-bolt thru the hole and pour around it. Probably even pour under the first beam too. That unit is locked together up and down and side to side. I might throw a few bags of coal on bottom shelf. It is not going anywhere.
The grade slopes down and away and I don't really want it to be level because it takes water away from my house and a big ledge hill behind me. So the bottom beam on the left row is farther from the ground than the middle and right row. I should have made those uprights longer to accommodate the grade. On the right side I made the uprights 4 inches shorter. So I built feet for the bottom beams on the left row. I made them so a solid concrete block will fit under them and a shim.
This entire structure will be clicked together and locked with pins. Going to be strong, big, inexpensive, the bays are going to be almost 10' wide. Lots of shelf storage.
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warminmn
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Post by warminmn » Sat. Nov. 26, 2022 4:21 pm

I do like all the shelf room this is going to give you. Im a pack rat but would have a hard time filling all the shelves!

 
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Post by ColdHouse » Mon. Nov. 28, 2022 7:38 am

warminmn wrote:
Sat. Nov. 26, 2022 4:21 pm
I do like all the shelf room this is going to give you. Im a pack rat but would have a hard time filling all the shelves!
Can never have enough shelves. With the new roof, siding, and all the projects, my garage is a mess and needs organized. Those outdoor shelves will allow me a place to put things that don't need to be indoors.
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ColdHouse
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Post by ColdHouse » Mon. Nov. 28, 2022 7:41 am

warminmn wrote:
Sat. Nov. 26, 2022 4:21 pm
I do like all the shelf room this is going to give you. Im a pack rat but would have a hard time filling all the shelves!
Shelves and organization for a packrat is like medication for the body. It doesn't cure the problem it just treats the symptoms.


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