To the casual passer-by the garage looked fine.  Upon closer inspection however, there were many problems.  Two of the corners were six inches lower than the center.  The floor was severely cracked and heaved from poor grading, a thin pour and a very large tree nearby.  Mildew filled the air with a nasty stench after years of rain water flowing under a patio door, then creeping up the drywall and soaking into wood and cheap carpet. A leaking wash basin had not helped matters either.

Structurally it wasn’t any better, with virtually no shear wall strength.  The entire top half of the front was glass panes, and the lower covered in lava rocks.  Vines growing over them crept in through every crack, making the interior feel like a jungle adventure.  Fake wood paneling spanning several decades of interior design were separating from the walls, and water-damaged drywall was falling from a poorly-built loft.

There was no way to add onto this garage without significant modification and repair because of its poor structural design.  Even if we wanted to save this garage, it would be cheaper in the long run to simply start over. So… we did.

A view just before the demolition. Note the 11-foot high glass panes behind the vines.  The area to the right is where the new garage will extend into. The 80-foot-tall tree shaped like a mushroom cloud behind the fence is a premonition of its own demise.


 

Another view of the old garage. The door was the only part that was worth saving, but it wasn’t insulated and it would be too small for the new opening anyway. It would eventually find a new home.


 

Shortly after moving in, this is what we were living with. We had no storage space for all the stuff from the old garage, plus there were eight cars looking for shelter. The TC drew the lucky straw, partly because we moved in the middle of an engine rebuild so I needed it in the “work area”… if you can call this a work area. For those of you who enjoy puzzles, try to locate the following: headlamp rims, floor jack, MG TC grill (not on car), MGA grill, MGB bumpers, detailing towels, MGA door, oil filter, MGB exhaust manifold, magnetic parts tray, tie-down straps, MGB dash panels.


 

With the garage mostly cleared out, we can see the high quality concrete work done when the garage was built. The good thing about these cracks is that they leave no stress points for any other cracks to form. Note the slope as the concrete falls away from the center of the floor. This is a high-tech water drainage feature found only in high-end homes.


 

Here you see me lifting out an inspection panel from the foundation. How clever and courteous of the builders to include such a thing! And it’s so light weight thanks to the nice thin two-inch pour in this section. Also note the awesome 60’s and 70’s fake wood paneling. It appears to be the “easy peel” variety for simplified removal.


 

If you had any doubts about the condition of the floor, note that this was all removed by hand using only a crow bar.


 

After cutting away 40-feet of unused rusty pipes and pulling a few nasty shelves and cabinets off the walls, we begin to assess the mildew. Fortunately the damage was contained in the garage and did not affect the walls of the house.


 

A view of the area where the new garage will be built. Note the sagging corner on the old garage.


 

A view from the other side of the fence. The new garage will extend out to the left. This tree will have to be removed, unfortunately. We love big trees but this one had taken its toll on the garage already, and it was standing right where my work area needed to be.


 

The area is cleared and prepped for demolition. A 20-foot storage container was brought in to house the lifts, parts and machines from the old garage while the new one was being built.


 

The empty garage waiting to be torn apart. All cleaned up like this, it doesn’t look nearly as bad as it really is.


 

Some of the cars gather in front of the garage, discussing where they will go for the next several months. Some chose to stay and tough it out under covers and tarps. Others went to live with relatives.