Lucky or Unlucky Garage Build Project

So a little post about a partial Do It Yourself (DIY) project that aligns with the weekend-engagement theme.

This project has been going on since last September and has had many setbacks and disappointments. Was this lucky or unlucky? I posit that there is no such thing (unless you win the lotto), else it is just a matter of perspective and timing. Let's see how this plays out.

As I said this project started in September 2021. The project was to simply build a freestanding garage to serve as a workshop, and to house ATV, Truck, tools, mowers, snowblowers, excess storage containers from the house, etc.

We initially started by just wanting to bring in a pre-fab unit. Then found out that they couldn't fit a decent size one over the small bridge to our house. Bad luck.. Or was that good luck that we now got to build a custom one on-site?

Next we find the perfect spot. We were lucky that there was a nice flat area just at the end of the road right after it passes our driveway, just perfect that it leaves a large flat drive and turnaround in front of the soon to be garage. How Lucky! .... or was it?

We continued to work and bring in tractors to grade it level, then dig for the concrete footings. Turns out the bridge is also limited for weight and we cannot get a cement truck up to our location either. Bad Luck! ....or was it? Turns out we were able to save a bit of money and have the builder and his crew bring up concrete blocks and then hand-mix concrete to go inside them. How Lucky! ... or was it? We were now on track to pour the concrete floor well before winter, and all the material for the walls and roof had been delivered. How Lucky! ....or was it?

A week later, we found out from the city regulators that there was a 150 year old "right-of-way" smack in the middle of where we just put the footings, and we would have to bury it or face fines of $150 per day. Bad Luck! ....or was it? I later got the map and followed that old road "right-of-way" back 2-3 miles to a beautiful lake deep in the woods. How Lucky!

We had to bury the footings I had just paid for (and wasted a month's effort on). Bad Luck! ...or was it? This now gave me a much larger flat turnaround and parking area in that space that the city was responsible to snow plow and maintain. How Lucky!

We picked out a new spot off to the side. Lucky for us the tractor was there and could start work right away as soon as they finished covering up the other part. Lucky for us, there was already a partial turnaround spot there that the snowplow had been using. We started clearing and leveling a spot. Then the city regulators came out again. Bad Luck! The new location wasn't far enough off the "right-of-way" .... or was it? We were Lucky to have plenty of land behind it to just level out more further back, and Lucky to get a longer driveway and parking then. ....or was it? Bad Luck! to go back far enough, we would have to cut into the large hill, move more dirt, and take out a few trees that were there. Bad Luck! ....or was it? The three trees we cut down will generate enough firewood to heat the house for at least a year, maybe two. How Lucky! ... or was it? A lot of work to cut those trees up and stack for firewood, but they were able to get the new footings and foundation made.

(Truck was not happy without garage!)

Then off to work they started, footings poured, foundation poured, then due to the pending winter, they decided to put the walls and roof on first, then pour the floor later, just in case the cold didn't permit pouring the floor. How Lucky we were to get the walls and roof up! .....or was it? Next, bitter cold weather kicked in, along with it snow and more snow. Bad Luck! I couldn't even park in the garage to keep my truck out of the snow because they still had a large pile of dirt in there! ....or was it? A couple weeks later, they were able to come out and jackhammer the now frozen dirt out enough to put in some gravel so I could park under it. How Lucky! ....or was it? There was yet no door, since they couldn't mount the garage door until the floor was poured, and there was no front siding for the same reason.
Then Bad Luck! Heavy snows and cold weather kicked in project was put on hold for 3 months. Then here came early warm weather in March, the ground started thawing earlier than expected, How Lucky! ....or was it? This then brought in Mud season, and trucks could not make it up the hill or to the garage area from the rain and mud.
(This is half the concrete that was needed for floor).

May came and they started again. This time they knew they would have to hand-pour the floor hauling about 300 bags of concrete a truckload at a time over the bridge and up the hill. How Lucky they had their portable cement mixer! ....or was it? They finally poured the floor in only two days, half the first day, and half the second day. How Lucky! ...or was it? After inspecting the floor, it was evident they hadn't floated the concrete properly, hadn't mixed it right, or combination of the above. This left pitting, spalling and many holes in the surface. Bad Luck! ...or was it?

I hadn't planned on finishing the floor, but this gave me the opportunity to try my hand at epoxy coating the floor. I've always liked the look of those, but never had one or done one (I did help a friend once). How Lucky! ...or was it? Bad luck, all of those deep holes and pitting had to be patched using some special poly-based cement patch. Then the patches had to be ground down.

Then the floor must be either acid-etched or ground with a diamond grinder to take all the finish / sealer off. How Lucky the floor did not have any sealer applied yet! ...or was it? I then found out the "new" concrete floor has to dry out for at least a month before epoxy can be applied. Bad Luck! ... or was it? I checked around, and the professional grade epoxy I wanted had to be ordered and would take at least 2-3 weeks to get here anyway. How lucky this gave me the extra time to finish the prep work on the weekends!

Then came final days of epoxy coating, after all that careful preparation, it was going to take 3 coats, a primer coat, a base epoxy coat (then with the colored flakes), then a final clear coat. I was all setup to start on the Saturday morning of this long memorial day weekend laying out the tools, the primer, the epoxy, but Bad Luck! They didn't send me the final top clear coat mixture! .... or was it? I went driving to 6 different stores until I found one kit at one store and a second matching kit at another store, How Lucky! I was still able to come home and get started. The three coats each need between 12-24 hours drying time between them. I got even more lucky, because the original top clear-coat was going to be a month drying time to drive on, and this new one is driveable in 4 days, How Lucky!

So here we are, all finished up and lucky to finally done with this project. (or are we?) Moral of the story is Lotto is Lucky, everything else is timing and perspective. Stuff happens, make the most out of it no matter how it seems at the time and you just may be surprised at how the "bad luck" was actually in your favor and the timing just not right to realize it yet.

Want to see how that floor came out? I'll give you a hint, that picture of the clear-coat box was taken on the finished floor.

See here for before and after video. I hope everyone had a Lucky holiday weekend. And if not, how will you turn it around?


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