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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am interested in building a loft in my garage and need some advice.

The garage is 2 car 20'x20' with 17' garage door on one side and house entry door on the opposite side. It is the "first floor" of a 4 story townhouse built on a hill giving it a 16 1/2' ceiling of currently wasted space. I would like to basically add an entire floor about 8 feet up with a pull down staircase. The loft will be used for general storage and not a living space. The walls of the garage are 2x4 on 16 on top of a 8' concrete foundation. My idea is to attach an LVL ledger on either side of the garage with SDWS screws and hang I-Joists across the span and frame in the pull down stairwell with doubled LVL's. Then put down a t&g plywood floor.

My concerns are:
1) are the 2x4 walls adequate enough for attaching the ledgers and supporting the additional floor?
2) What size SDS scews should be used for the ledger and how many?
3) My existing garage door opener is suspended from the ceiling with angle iron. Would I be able to relocate the mount to the bottom of an I joist.

Any and all help is much appreciated.

Thanks
 

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retired framer
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Does the foundation provide a ledge at 8 feet and how big is that ledge one three wall?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There is no ledge on the foundation. The 2x4 walls are flush with the inside of the concrete wall. Also, I cant set the joists directly on the sill plate since the entry door into the house ends 6" above the foundation unless I can notch out the first joist or 2 but that seems dangerous.
 

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Hammered Thumb
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My initial thought is that an entire floor would not make the storage space considered an "attic." It would be classified as either "interstitial" space, which storage is not allowed, or "mezzanine" which would get hairy with codes.

LVLs as ledgers are overkill, unless you are trying to match the I-joist depth. Better to build a simple open-sided storage loft over <1/2 the garage. I'd run an LVL across, bearing on posts inside the wall, and 2x joists framed perpendicular to it.
 

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retired framer
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There is no ledge on the foundation. The 2x4 walls are flush with the inside of the concrete wall. Also, I cant set the joists directly on the sill plate since the entry door into the house ends 6" above the foundation unless I can notch out the first joist or 2 but that seems dangerous.
The beam or header over the door would not have been engineered to hang a floor there.

I would talk to the people that sell the TGI about running them full length across the garage. I am not sure about hanging the floor from a ledger with drywall between and removing the drywall is another problem with the seal between garage and living space.
How high is the foundation? I thought you said 8 ft was I wrong?
 

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retired framer
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My initial thought is that an entire floor would not make the storage space considered an "attic." It would be classified as either "interstitial" space, which storage is not allowed, or "mezzanine" which would get hairy with codes.

LVLs as ledgers are overkill, unless you are trying to match the I-joist depth. Better to build a simple open-sided storage loft over <1/2 the garage. I'd run an LVL across, bearing on posts inside the wall, and 2x joists framed perpendicular to it.
The problem with the posts, is being a garage the footing will not be below the slab it will be deeper. Unless it could be anchored to the concrete wall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
3onthetree,

I would be losing out on 250sq.ft. of storage space if I only did half the floor area. Is there any other definition of that space if it is only accessible by pull down stairs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The beam or header over the door would not have been engineered to hang a floor there.

I would talk to the people that sell the TGI about running them full length across the garage. I am not sure about hanging the floor from a ledger with drywall between and removing the drywall is another problem with the seal between garage and living space.
How high is the foundation? I thought you said 8 ft was I wrong?
The ledger would be attached to the walls perpendicular to the garage door and house door. I would remove the drywall to have a secure connection then fill the gap with foam
 

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retired framer
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The ledger would be attached to the walls perpendicular to the garage door and house door. I would remove the drywall to have a secure connection then fill the gap with foam
Foam would not do it. Some cities want a wood trim to cover the cracks and other cities just go nuts with what they want.



How high is the concrete wall?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Foam would not do it. Some cities want a wood trim to cover the cracks and other cities just go nuts with what they want.



How high is the concrete wall?
The contractor that built the community in 2016 sprayed foam as shown in the pictures and it passed inspection.

The concrete walls are 7'8" at the lowest and increase with the slope of the garage slab.
 

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retired framer
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The contractor that built the community in 2016 sprayed foam as shown in the pictures and it passed inspection.

The concrete walls are 7'8" at the lowest and increase with the slope of the garage slab.
So you could anchor bolt a 2 ply ledger flush with the top of the concrete and just build the floor on top of that.
 

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Hammered Thumb
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The problem with the posts, is being a garage the footing will not be below the slab it will be deeper. Unless it could be anchored to the concrete wall.
The posts would be shorties just sitting on the sill plate to hold up the beam ends falling between the stud spaces, at least in my scenario and being built above the man door.

3onthetree,
I would be losing out on 250sq.ft. of storage space if I only did half the floor area. Is there any other definition of that space if it is only accessible by pull down stairs?
That would be a question for your local AHJ
 

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Hammered Thumb
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You just jog around that like a stair case.?
Personally I'd keep it up above the man door, like at the higher row of screws in that first piece of drywall. Still gives about a 5' height for storage, and clear way up above the overhead door if extending beyond over that. Smaller storage height also lessens chance of large items weight or living in the space.

But actually 16' height is killer I'd have a 4 post lift in there to fit 4 cars.
 

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retired framer
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Personally I'd keep it up above the man door, like at the higher row of screws in that first piece of drywall. Still gives about a 5' height for storage, and clear way up above the overhead door if extending beyond over that. Smaller storage height also lessens chance of large items weight or living in the space.

But actually 16' height is killer I'd have a 4 post lift in there to fit 4 cars.
I'm not crazy about screwing or nailing a ledger into studs. Lots of nails I guess?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So you could anchor bolt a 2 ply ledger flush with the top of the concrete and just build the floor on top of that.
It would cover 6" of the door frame entry to the garage which we use as our main entry to the house. I'm 6'4" and would constantly smack my head.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Personally I'd keep it up above the man door, like at the higher row of screws in that first piece of drywall. Still gives about a 5' height for storage, and clear way up above the overhead door if extending beyond over that. Smaller storage height also lessens chance of large items weight or living in the space.

But actually 16' height is killer I'd have a 4 post lift in there to fit 4 cars.
Then the question is how to securely fasten the ledger to the wall so the structure doesn't fall on the cars or compromise the existing structure.

My neighbor has a lift in his garage. It fits his M2 Comp nicely
 

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retired framer
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It would cover 6" of the door frame entry to the garage which we use as our main entry to the house. I'm 6'4" and would constantly smack my head.

Is the door on the back wall or the side wall.

How far from the corner?

Do you have stairs or a landing and stairs up to the door?
 
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