Types of Garage Construction

The next thing I needed to figure out was how the garage was going to be constructed.

Post and Beam (Pole Building) Construction...

I purchased a book on post and beam construction, formerly called pole building construction, since that is what many of the quotes were for. I figured it must be a cost effective and efficient way to build since contractors were quoting it. What I learned was that in post and beam construction, the major support of the building is in the posts, which are embedded deep into the ground in holes filled with concrete. In between the posts there are upper and lower girders that stabilize them. The upper girders serve as the base for the roof trusses or rafters. Early pole building construction could be done with used telephone poles, but the round poles posed attachment problems for the girders, and the strength of a used telephone pole could not be accurately estimated.

What I learned was that post and beam construction was not particularly common anymore, and virtually unused in my area. In order to construct a building of the strength that I needed to meet my local snow and wind loads, the cost of the necessary heavy timbers would be extraordinary, and the embedment depth of the posts would be ridiculous.


Frame Construction...

Another option was traditional frame construction, just as most houses are built today. There would be a lot of lumber, but most of it would be inexpensive, and frame construction is easy for a do-it-yourselfer to learn. The support of the structure is spread across a multitude of framing elements, making the construction fairly idiot-proof. A wall frame of 2x4 or 2x6 lumber would need to be built and then covered with Oriented Strand Board (OSB) sheathing. The 2x's provided up and down strength while the OSB provided the lateral strength that kept the 2x's upright. The roof would then be constructed of pre-built trusses which would be delivered to the garage ready to be set into place. OSB would be placed over the roof trusses, again for lateral support, and the OSB would be covered with metal roofing. The OSB on the walls would be covered with whatever type of siding I wanted. I learned that this method is easier for amateurs, even though it requires more of a foundation, which may (or may not) have to be handled by professionals.

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