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2 Lift or Not 2 Lift. That is the question


NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
Sacramento, CA
What's up guys. During the last Sacramento Meet N Greet, some of you got to see my new house and barn which will eventually become my new shop.

The barn currently has 9'-0" clearance from the floor to the roof truss system and the concrete "Foundation" of the barn is basically sitting on top of the ground.

Right now I am torn between just adding a concrete floor and calling it good (since it is better than the 2 car garage that I had previously) or going more overboard with renovations by adding a proper foundation and excavating the floor a few feet to allow for a full size 2 post lift.

...Or do I just scrap the whole thing and going big with a whole new building. (Few possible issues with this route on top of the added cost)

Is a 2 post lift worth the cost and headache of all this work? How often am I really going to use it to validate the extra work and cost?
If it is worth it, should I go crazy making it possible for a full size lift so I can stand under it or would the shorter lifts that work under 9' ceilings be worth it to work on stuff and just deal with sitting on a chair to roll under projects.
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keep the barn for storage if you are going to build a new garage altogether, and build a new garage and keep the barn. I wouldn't tear it down
The only problem is I don't think that I can legally build any more out buildings. Too much square footage in comparison to the house.
This is what I was up against when I built my garage and shop 25 yrs ago. I still kick myself for not pushing for a variance to increase the square footage to include another bay.

I haven't seen your building but I'll chime in with my 2 cents anyway. If you're going to stay in this house for a few yrs at a minimum I would add provisions for the lift in the slab design. Nice to have options and the extra concrete and rebar is small potatoes, all things considered. Even if you never install a lift this could be a selling point when/if you sell in the future. As far as the lift itself, if you have the room by all means go for it. You aren't getting any younger and crawling around under cars sucks more the older you get. "Have the room" meaning your floor space is big enough where you won't be bumping into it during your everyday use of the garage, like parking, opening/closing car doors, walking around, etc.
Well. 2 post lift can be had for about $2200 well worth it. Wish I had one at my house. It can make so many jobs easier and less stressfull. If you dont have the height maybe dig down like you said. Make sure to put drainage in front of garage door so rain doesn't flow into your shop. Most 2 post lifts require 4 inch thick concrete rebab 16 on center. I would just pay a little more and go 5-6 inch thick and you will never have to worry.
+1 for the lift. If possible, can you raise the roof of the barn to over 9'? Then you might be able to stack cars.
At that point I feel like I might as well tear down the barn and build it right. I just have a hard time justifying a 20k or more shop to work on a crappy 5k jeep. Lol
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id leave the barn as is for now if it suits your needs for now. Save to build a legit shop for down the road.
You know your layout better than I do of course, but excavating down for clearance sounds like a high potential to screw up access slopes and/or turn the barn into a pond.

How deep are the existing trusses? I am guessing they are wood? You may be able to gain clearance by rebuilding some of the trusses as scissor trusses. You could do just a few over the potential lift area.

Edit: I would not just rebuild the trusses without an engineered plan.