GOAL: Garage Of A Lifetime

Some of you may recall from my prior COALs, that we moved into an old house about 15 years ago. I haven’t had use of a garage since, unfortunately.

We have a two car garage around back, but one side has always stayed full of the stuff that a family of five has: bikes, skateboards, leaf blower, sleds, you name it! My wife parked on “her” side, but “my” side was the dumping ground. And one reason this situation was allowed to continue was I didn’t have a garage door opener on my side.

So, while I am perfectly capable of opening and closing a door, it was inconvenient. And I have recently figured out it didn’t have to be this way, so I thought I would share this with you all. A GOAL, instead of a COAL!

So this is “my” side, the old dumping grounds, with the Lexus pulled in. The garage was dark and dingy, like garages in 70 year old houses tend to be. We replaced the old bare light bulb with the LED fixture you see in the top of the screen, between the two doors, which was one of only two bulbs down there.

We added some more lights as well, and painted over the drab grey walls and ceiling with plain white. I bought an eight foot long workbench/cabinet setup at samsclub.com on Black Friday, with free freight delivery to the house.

So, things were looking so fresh, and I hauled off so much trash and junk during the painting process, that I decided I would like to make use of my side for once. Having a car small enough to fit is a help too; this bay is not as deep as the other side due to the construction of the house. Bertha will barely fit, and you can’t walk around her with the garage door shut, for example. Another reason I just never tried to use this side.

When moved in the house, we had to get a new opener on the other side. We were told that an opener could not be added to “my” side, as there isn’t enough room. This is the Lexus side, and you can see that there is a metal beam to your left. That’s holding up the back wall of the two story house. And, that beam is in the way of the opener and track.

Aren’t old houses great? To the right of the metal I-beam, is a poured concrete porch across the back of the house, which wraps around and comes up the side of the house as well. So, the Lexus in the garage is halfway under the house, and the back half of the car is under the back porch.

Here’s another shot from the driver side of the Cayenne, where were are able to have an opener. The metal pole in the middle of the screen is the corner of the original house. The Cayenne, then, sits not under the original house, but under the poured concrete porch coming up the side of the house (which we have enclosed to be a TV room). You can see the opener and track have to sit well back from the pole and beam, to have room for the door to open fully.

Not satisfied with not having an opener, I started researching online. I have this spring loaded shaft on my side; can’t you put a motor on that and spin the door open and closed? We replaced the garage doors about a year ago, and the door company said they had never seen anything like that in a house. The cast iron pipe, by the way, is simply connected to ONE downspout above the garage. They don’t build houses the way they used to!

I pretty quickly came upon this: a “jackshaft” opener. Maybe a lot of you know about these, but I didn’t. And apparently the door company didn’t either. Or maybe it’s a recent creation for residential applications? About $320 with free shipping on Amazon.

This is the back, so you can see more clearly that the motor drive sticks out of both sides….so you can mount it in either side of the door.

And it just goes onto that shaft for the door, as I imagined. There is a single clamp to attach the bottom of the opener to the wall.

You need power for it, of course. With concrete walls and a concrete ceiling, and few outlets, my options are limited. Fortunately, one of the former bare light bulbs is nearby, above the Mercedes sign. It has a pull chain fixture, so it’s always hot. I’ll just replace the old porcelain socket with a regular outlet and suitable cover.

If not for the light socket, there is a “low voltage” kit I could have bought. It’s a 24 volt motor, so this kit will let you plug into a far away outlet, and run just the low voltage line up to the motor unit.

They’ve thought of the entry lighting too. Instead of a bulb on the opener, you get this remote control light that you locate and plug in wherever you prefer. The opener sends it a signal to come on for a time you determine, when the door is opened or closed.

Owing to it’s compact size, the opener isn’t intended for heavy duty or commercial usage, apparently, but I think every six minutes is often enough.

We have an entry door in the basement playroom, but no “person door” in the garage. So, I had to spring for a keypad for outside, so a pedestrian can open the door and walk in. About $28 with free shipping.

So this isn’t a “dream garage” like you see on TV, but it’s a dream come true for me! It’s the best garage setup I’ve had in many years.

Maybe GOAL should be a regular feature, we can all post ideas and improvements to! Any other GOAL projects out there you want to tell us about?