Salvaging a Garage

What do you get when you pay $15,000 for a three-story, two-family brick house with a 4-1/2-car garage?

This is the second-floor kitchen. The patio doors lead to the deck overlooking the fenced backyard The good news: The cabinets and countertops are in excellent condition. 

The bad news: Fourteen floor tiles are cracked, which means that the subfloor was inadequate. So: Tear up the tile floor and install cement board to keep the new tiles from flexing and breaking.

The good news: the countertop has plenty of outlets and they're wired up with 12-gauge wire. The bad news: Every single one of them is mis-wired. The black hot wire was wired to the silver neutral terminal. And they were 15-amp receptacles. So: Replace the outlets with 20-amp receptacles and wire them correctly.

In the corner, out of view to the right, was a lot of water damage.

Up on the roof, the valley was leaking badly. A complete tear-off of this section of the roof was needed. Three layers of shingles were removed, and sheathing was applied over the spaced boards.

They had great lumber to work with back then. Some of the 140-year-old planks were 14" wide.

But the worst was yet to come. Out in the 4-12-car garage . . .

Yikes! Look out below! This back section of the garage roof was collapsing. Trees had grown up next to the garage, and the branches had torn off many shingles. Water got in, rotting this section of the sheathing and rafters.

Would you build a new roof, or tear down this whole back half of the garage? 

Demolition of the back half would mean bringing in heavy equipment, tearing down the old garage walls and roof, digging out the old foundation, filling dumpsters with debris, trucking in fill, digging new footings for a new gable end wall, pouring concrete, building a new gable end wall . . . expensive, and you'd end up with less storage space, not more. The walls and foundation are not gorgeous but are still serviceable, so let's just build a new roof.

First, stabilize the old roof so that it doesn't collapse on you or under you as you remove the boards one at a time. Start bracing from the solid end and work towards the hole. 

Use whatever lumber and other equipment you have that's laying around. Here it's scaffolding parts plus old 2"x4"s.