Unfortunately, given the height of the truck’s cab, it was not possible to park the vehicle in my garage. I did not really want to leave it exposed to the elements, nor did I want to park it on the street, so I started looking at possible options.
My first choice was to raise the roof of my garage sufficiently so that I could park the truck in there. Alas, that option proved to be “too hard” for every builder I contacted, and it probably would not get building approval because of the finished roof height.
After a bit of deliberation I resigned myself to the only viable option; a carport at the side of my existing garage. Building approval for the carport would not be required, as long as I worked within the guidelines outlined by the building and planning authority. Carports have far less “rules” than a garage, which makes building them far less complicated. Not having to worry about building approval definitely simplified things but this was still not a straight forward job; it involved demolishing an existing stone wall and letterbox, excavating about three metres further into the front yard and down to below the level of the existing pavers, reconstructing a new retaining wall and letterbox and paving the excavated area. All that, plus building of the carport structure itself. No small project, but I needed somewhere to park the truck.
The work on the carport was started at the beginning of January, 2010. The demolition of the existing stone wall and excavations only took the bobcat guy a bit over half a day and the building of the new stone wall and letterbox took about a week. After we cleaned up the mess of rubble left by the stonemason, work on the carport structure could begin.
The carport roof framing is made up of three separate rectangular sections. There are a couple of reasons it was fabricated in sections; firstly, I could weld each section together in my garage and secondly, putting up smaller sections was considerably easier for me to do. My wife helps where she can but her medical issues preclude her from helping me with most things. For this reason, the majority of my projects are normally centred around designs that can be completed by one person; me! Luckily, we have some good neighbors so if things become too difficult or heavy for me to handle by myself, a call usually goes out to one or more of them for a bit of a helping hand. There are numerous benefits in knowing and getting along with your neighbors…
With the carport skeleton completed, the next task was to affix wooden batons to the underside of the frames to allow fixing of fibre cement sheets for the ceiling. With the batons in place fascia was attached to three sides. One end was left off so that the ceiling sheets could be installed more easily. Prior to doing this all of the fascia pieces were undercoated with an oil based primer then painted with Dulux WeatherShield. Each ceiling sheet was also given two coats of Dulux WeatherShield prior to being nailed in place. Pre painting everything prior to putting it up is so much easier, and I highly recommend doing this whenever possible.
With all of the ceiling sheets in place, and the forth piece of fascia attached, it was time to put in the electrical wiring for the lights. For anyone that is interested, installing your own electrical wiring is legal, but you need a licensed electrician to sign off on your work and attach it to the power. Knowing the electrician definitely helps.
The roof was now ready to be insulated. Here in Canberra, insulation is necessary to stop condensation from forming on the ceiling in the colder months. I used a fibreglass ceiling batt with a R2.5 rating. To be honest, the R value was not the determining factor; it just worked out that way for the available depth of the roof cavity.
The last job was to make it all waterproof. First to go on was the Colorbond roofing sheets then I attached the custom flashings I had made. Foam infill was also used to fill the ends of the corrugations to keep all those unwanted creatures out; it helps with the weatherproofing too. Last to go on was the gutter. I used a length of garden hose with a piece of clear plastic hose at each end filled with water to get my levels, then allowed for a bit of fall towards the gutter on the house.
All that remained now was to make the trim for the top of the poles and give the ceiling one more coat of paint, primarily to cover the fibro cement joiner strips and trims.
With the actual carport now complete, my focus turned back to the paving. Prior to starting the carport fabrication I had laid road base into the excavated area to cover the dirt and keep things a little cleaner. I am not a fan of sand under paving, especially on a driveway. All of my paving is laid on a bed of road base and a 30mm top layer of scalpings (blue metal dust). It is no more difficult doing it this way, but I think that the results are much better, especially where weight is involved. Luckily, I had plenty of pavers left over from the original landscaping around the garage, which meant I did not have to buy any more. Lucky, because when I inquired I found out that they no longer make the pavers! The plan was to pave an area in the backyard with these, that’s why I had lots to spare, but I never got around to doing that. Anyway, they have a new mission in life now…
One of the first tasks was to lift about 3 square metres of the existing pavers to remove an unwanted hump. This hump was there because of how the pavers were laid to blend with the original mailbox. Removing the hump was a simple task of screeding the area flat and then relaying the pavers.
I hired a whacker (plate compactor) and compressed the road base in the newly excavated area. The scalpings were then laid, whacked and screeded to get the correct falls to the drain. One of the more fiddly tasks is getting the correct height to match up with the existing pavers. It is not an overly difficult task, but it is a little time consuming.
To save a bit of money I chose to use my nine inch angle grinder, fitted with a diamond blade, to do the paver cuts. Unless you have done any paving, or tiling, you probably would not realize how many cuts need to be made; there were hundreds for this job. A dedicated brick saw would definitely have been easier but I managed just fine with the grinder.
The final task was to sweep some sand in between the pavers. I used a product called Gap Sand which includes additives that make it better than just using normal sand.
At the end of March I finally completed the carport and the paving.
I could have finished things earlier if the weather were more accommodating; alas, that was not the case. Since starting this project it has been wet more days than it has been dry!