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110 Cookson Lane | Whitefield, ME  04353 | 207-232-7600 |

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Phase 3:  Finish Work

Shop Home Page
Shop Planning
Phase 1:  Site Prep and Foundation
Phase 2:  Framing
Phase 3:  Finish Work
Phase 4:  Shop Setup
Windows and Doors

With an inclination for plenty of natural light, as well as experience with clerestory windows in the old shop, numerous window openings were a must.  At the time of construction, I was unsure how many windows I wanted to install, so after consultation with Bob, we decided to frame in a large number of openings in both boat bays, as well as the woodshop area in the back.  With the openings in place, I could choose to install as many or as few windows as I desired--now or in the future.

Of course, I may have gone overboard.  With clerestory windows framed with 16" between them, all along both long walls of the building, the number of openings was significant--as was the amount of framing in each wall as a result.  Each boat bay ended up with 9 openings, while the shop bay in the back featured 6 openings closer to floor height (4' off the finished floor), as well as three clerestory openings on the west wall, and two on the east wall, in the future finishing room area.  Obviously, I would not be able to--nor want to--install all of these windows.

For the clerestory and shop windows, I chose a basic single hung Pella Thermastar 28" x 38" all-vinyl window with integral brickmold and J-channel on the exterior (to accommodate the planned vinyl siding).  I chose these windows for their size and low price; since they would never be opened, located so far from the floor, a simple single hung design made sense.  For a utility window, they looked rather nice, and I preferred them to the sliding windows that I used in my old shop.

I had to order number of the smaller windows for the shop spaces, but did locate five of them, which Bob promptly installed in the woodshop in the back.


In the office, I decided on four larger, higher end double hung Pella Thermastar 32" x 48" windows, centered on the eastern corner.  These locations (two on each wall, with the corner in between) afforded the best views of the field beyond, and also allowed some wall space on one wall for shelving, file cabinets, or the like.  The spacing also conveniently avoided the important studs supporting the laminated beams that in turn supported the back corner of the main building, into which the office space was "inserted".

Soon after completing the waterproof roofing membrane, Bob and Rod worked one day to install the actual roof shingles on the office hip roof.  With that done, there was no reason not to install the office windows, so in they went, followed several days later by the office door.   This helped make the office a sort of warm haven during a couple especially cold weeks in December.

I thought the new windows were pretty nice for what they were--hardly top-of-the line, but still a very good quality all-vinyl window, with integral grilles, insulated low-E glass, full screens, and other good features.

The office door was a basic fiberglass entry door incorporating a large window.  There was a similar door at the front end of boat bay 2, the bay on the eastern side of the building (right side as you face the front).




Thanks to inefficient ordering and a supply problem, it took many weeks before I could obtain the 10 windows to fill the clerestory openings in the two shop bays.  I originally ordered the windows before Christmas, only to find  two weeks later that the order had never been placed.  I ensured that the order was placed at that time, but it still took nearly three weeks for all the windows to come in, causing frustrating--if hardly life-threatening--delays.  As the windows arrived, sometimes one or two at a time, I brought them immediately up for installation. 

Finally, in the last full week of January, all the windows had arrived, and all the openings in the building were finally filled properly.


Garage and Shop Doors

After some research, I decided upon steel commercial overhead doors for the shop bays.  The cost was not nearly as terrible as I would have guessed, and they looked like the best option.  I specified manual chain hoist and as large a size as possible given the space available.  This ended up allowing doors that were 15'-6" tall and 18' wide--virtually the whole wall.

I put a deposit on the doors in October, but with the delays in construction the building wasn't ready for them until December.  After some administrative-type delays (not hearing back promptly from the door contractor), we eventually settled on an installation date beginning December 27.  The installation would take two days.


I didn't closely watch the installation, but it seemed fairly straightforward, just as it might be to assemble a residential-type garage door.  At the end of two days, the job was done, and I was very pleased with the doors and their operation.  The chain hoists were effortless, and the doors rose themselves with the assist from large torsion springs.  What a pleasant difference from the balky wooden/roller doors in the old shop!  The only problem I could identify was that the doors, when opened, were so close to the ceiling as to prevent any lights from being installed in the first 16' of the shop.  I figured I'd find some way around this, but that was for later.




In the woodshop, I planned a basic 10' x 8' wooden door on standard barn door rollers.  I built the door with a 2x4 framework, which I screwed together with temporary braces after checking each corner for squareness.  Once the frame was built and secured together, I turned it over, so the temporary braces faced down, and applied sheets of 3/4" CDX plywood to the other side, securing them with screws.  This held the framework in position, so I could remove the temporary braces.  The braces were designed to allow me to just make simple butt joints with the dimensional lumber; otherwise, there was no way to hold it together at the joints.  All the strength and resistance to racking comes from the plywood sheathing.; the frame is to add thickness for the hanging hardware, and to allow the addition of foam insulation.

The completed door was very heavy, and I pondered for a time how to lift it so that I could access the bottom (inside) side, remove the braces, and install the insulation board.  Then I eyeballed my tractor, sitting conveniently in the same shop bay, and, after some quick rearranging of the junk and debris around, used the tractor's bucket to raise the door into a standing position against the wall, where I removed the bracing and installed two additional 2x4 frame members to support the plywood seams.  Then, I installed 1-1/2" thick foil-covered foam insulation inside the door frame members; I didn't buy enough, which is why the center panel is unfilled in these photos.


For hardware, I used basic rolling barn door hardware, available at any farm store.  It was easy to install with just three bolts for each of the two rollers.  Since it was very wet outdoors on the day I built the door, I couldn't install the overhead track and hang the door, so I left it inside for the time being.


A couple days later, I returned to install the track and hang the door.  I was looking forward to filling this final large hole in the exterior of the building.

After setting up some staging outside, I began by determining the height of the track.  With the height of the door, the distance of the rollers above the door, and the height of the track and brackets as factors, I determined the top level of the brackets, about 8-1/2" above the door opening.  After striking a level line, I nailed up a pine ledger/spacer board.  The 3/4" space would allow the door to slide easily by the exterior siding without interference, and prevent any binding or damage.

Next, I installed the first two brackets at the far end of the track, beginning with an end bracket with a sealed side, but not before I measured and marked for the stud locations.  I installed each bracket with a supplied lag screw into the studs, using an impact gun to drive them home, with the top edge of the brackets located right at the top edge of the ledger board.

With two of the brackets installed, I fed the first section of track in, and then slipped on the remaining brackets for that section.  The brackets are designed to be installed 24" on center, but because of the stud spacing available I had to vary this a little.  At the end of the track rail, I installed a special splice bracket, which incorporates setscrews that I tightened into holes in the track ends to hold the track securely.

Then, I repeated the process with the second track section.  I left the second end bracket off for the time being, so that I could install the door from the open end.  Also, the track was overly long, and I planned to cut off the excess once the door was hung and I could determine the exact location of the end bracket.  This completed, for now, the track installation, and I moved on to hang the large door.

Working alone, and with some effort, I managed to slide the door diagonally out through the door opening; once it was out enough, and the pesky roller hardware had cleared the opening, I held it upright using the tractor bucket and rotated the door completely out of the opening, leaning it against the wall in its proper orientation.  Then, with the door more or less stable, I used the tractor to carefully push the door towards the open end of the track, until the second roller (in other words, the first roller to be installed) was clear of the open track end.

Now the fun began.  I had to lift the door several inches and get the rollers started in the track.  Because of a nearby slope and very icy conditions, I could not realize the utility of the tractor and its helpful bucket nearly as much as I wanted, as I feared that I'd not be able to control the tractor on the slope, and that it would slip on the ice.  I nearly slipped on the ice a dozen times during the process, enhancing my mood.  (It was 17 out.)

Of course, I meant to bring my hydraulic jack, but left it at home, so instead I used scrap lumber to jack the door up a few inches as required and get the roller more or less aligned with the track.  The issue was complicated by the fact that the roller, left to its own devices, would flop around.  Eventually, I thought I had it, and moved around to the tractor to push the door gently.  To my horror, I watched as the door--all 80 square feet of it--flopped over in slow motion to the ground, flattening a stepladder (but not me) beneath it.  (The ladder survived, amazingly.)

I soon had the door raised up vertically again, using the same process I used inside the shop when I first built it, and then within a short time managed to actually succeed in getting the first roller started in the track.  From there, it was a simple matter to roll the door along and then get the second roller installed, completing the installation.  Forgive me if there are fewer pictures of this whole process than there might be.

Now, I located the final end bracket for the track, cut the track and ledger board beneath off to the proper length, and installed the last bracket.  Then, I continued by building a simple valance over the track, using two pine boards.  I installed aluminum flashing over the seam between the top board ("roof") and the side of the building, which would later be covered by the siding.  The simple valance would help keep the door weathertight from above, and also served as trim to cover the metal rail and brackets.

Finally, I installed--temporarily, as it would turn out--two latches on the inside of the door.  I determined early on that it would be a temporary installation, as I lacked the proper fasteners to truly install these strong latches properly.  With some temporary drywall screws, I installed them well enough to serve for now, and made mental notes as to the materials required to properly install them the next time I arrived.


All that is required to complete the door is some exterior siding and trim (TBD), and a final piece of insulation to fill the center area inside.
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This page was originally posted on December 21, 2005.