Skip to main content

garage, DIY disasterStep right up! Photo: Max Curtis of MaxInspect in Livermore, CA (via The Money Pit). Used with permission of the ASHI Reporter.

This driveway is ideal for the four-wheeling enthusiast who wants to bring his hobby home -- and he'll need to if he expects to get his car into this garage!

Diagnosis
This garage entrance arrangement even has me stumped; who builds a garage with no intention of ever driving into it? The only possibility that comes to mind is that this garage was used as the sales office for a housing development, although the entry isn't exactly the greatest selling point for model home design.

On the other hand, if this garage is meant for its traditional purpose, let's hope the owner at least drives an SUV or an all-terrain vehicle!

Rx
For this garage to be usable, the retaining walls lining the driveway will have to be rebuilt and the driveway itself will have to be raised to garage-entry level.

Building a retaining wall requires skill, the right materials and structure for the terrain, and consideration of the climate in which you live. It's lucky that the example here is located in California's San Francisco Bay Area, where the climate is mild and there isn't much chance of the freezing temperatures and snow load that could make this driveway rebuild even more of a challenge.

The driveway and garage entry must be rebuilt to handle automotive load while ensuring that the surrounding landscaping is shored up and able to drain properly. Depending on your experience, a structural project of this magnitude may call for a professional's guidance .

It all begins by tearing out of those steps and pseudo-retaining walls, and replacing them with new walls and a built-up driveway. There are a number of retaining wall options available from basic wood ties to modular stone walls. But just as important will be compaction of the fill material used to raise the level of the grade between the walls up to the height of the garage floors.

Done correctly though, the new, stair-free driveway should allow even a Humvee to glide into the garage at the end of the day.

Can I Treat This Myself?
If you've got a cement mixer (or can rent one), go for it. If you're inexperienced laying cement and you want a perfect job, you'd be best to work with a qualified masonry contractor for this critical structural rebuild.


Tom Kraeutler delivers home improvement tips and ideas each week as host of The Money Pit Home Improvement Show, a nationally syndicated radio program. He is also author of My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. You can also subscribe to Tom's latest home improvement podcast or free home improvement newsletter.

** Got a DIY disaster you'd like us to feature? Send a photo of the disaster to DIYDisasterDr@aol.com, and we just might publish it here on DIY Life. All submissions will remain anonymous. **



  • Eubie Dooooo

    Contractor did not have a clue.

    Reply
  • karen

    Looks like they'll have to fix the garage door, too.. It's off a couple of inches.

    Reply
  • Dan

    This is not a driveway and garage door. It is a normal sized entry door which has been stretched in photoshop.Look at how the horizontal lines are repeated across the width of the door. it is still crooked though.

    Reply
  • HUGO

    GOOD OBSERVATION, DAN... YOU SON-OF-A-GUN; YOU BEAT ME TO IT. I NOTICED THE SAME THING, RIGHT OFF THE BAT. IT IS A PISS-POOR JOB AT PHOTO RETOUCHING. WHAT CAUGHT MY EYE, FIRST... WAS THE AREA ABOVE THE DOOR; WITH ITS' INCONSISTANT, WAVY, LINES WHICH MAKE NO SENSE, ARCHITECTUALLY... OR FROM THE STAND POINT OF A CARPENTER, WHICH I AM. AND, ANYONE WHO'S HAD ANY EXPERIENCE WITH "DIGITALLY RETOUCHING" PHOTOS CAN TELL YOU... THOSE DIAGONAL LINES OFTEN APPEAR WHEN ONE IS TRYING TO FILL IN A SPACE WHICH RUNS 'TRULY HORIZONTALLY'... BUT, THE "MATERIAL" USED TO EXTEND THE SPACE, BY CLONING, RUNS ON A BIAS.


  • Tony

    How do you explain the tire marks in the drive way then ?


  • Tim

    Not a normal sized entry door, not photo-shopped. There are no "cloned" sections of the photo. Why would somebody have a "normal sized entry door" at the end of their driveway? Can you say now that the driveway is really a "normal sized sidewalk" and that the stain in the driveway is also an illusion? The photo is original. The guy uses the garage for storage, like most people out here do. It's just a really crappy job, that's all.


  • BARB

    Its perfect for most as the car usually sits outside and the garage is full of junk.

    Reply
  • mary

    thats a easy fix

    Reply
  • Chris

    Just build a ramp

    Reply
  • pete

    You ppl don't get it. Optical illusion. Sidewalk art, the driveway is actuall smooth to the door.

    Reply
  • rlau290541

    ....and so how does Joe Biden get his car in the garage...or out of it???

    Reply
  • chris

    that's freakin funny. I'm laughing hard.

    Reply
  • Little miss muffet

    It's possible!!!
    But as a rule....mexican workers are very smart and hard workers!!!
    It was probably done by some red-neck from the ozarks!!!

    Reply
  • SpikesMommy

    DAN AND HUGO. I HAVE A GOOD QUESTION FOR YOU TWO SINCE YALL SAY IT'S PHOTO SHOPPED AND EVERYTHING. IF IT'S A REGULAR ENTRANCE DOOR (IM GUESSING U MEAN LIKE A FRONT DOOR) SINCE WHEN DO THEY (REGULAR DOORS) OPEN FROM THE BOTTOM UP? EVERY REGULAR DOOR I'VE EVER SEEN OPENS FROM SIDE TO SIDE. PLUS IF IT'S A REGULAR DOOR STRETCHED, WHERE'S THE DOOR HANDLE?? JUST WONDERING. =)

    Reply
  • Kathy

    This is to LittleMissMuffett --- Please!! My husband and I are both Rednecks from the Ozarks!! He is a master carpenter.

    Reply
  • Tim

    Dan, you are wrong. The photo is not doctored. That is not a normal sized entry door. Tell me, who would put a normal sized entry door at the end of their driveway? Don't tell me the driveway is actually a "normal sized sidewalk" either. There are absolutely NO repeated lines horizontally or otherwise. This is simply a garage that is used as a storage unit.

    Reply
  • Tim

    Little miss muffet, in general, mexicans are in this country illegally and should get out while they still can. There is a civil war coming and I, for one, am ready to take whatever steps necessary to insure that my side WINS.

    Reply
  • Bob

    looks like an Obummer program !

    Reply
  • Hello goodbye

    If your car can climb steps then it's ok!

    Reply
  • gorncmdr

    I have run into these situations in older areas where streets have been vertically realigned for some reason or another. Most cities won't allow a slope gradient over 20% and homeowners get creative instead of spending a lot of cash on lowering slabs and deepening footings. Of course it renders the garage useless for anything but storage, office, or game room.

    Reply
  • 26 Comments / 2 Pages

Add Your Comments

  • New Users
  • Returning

If you are posting a comment for the first time, please enter your name and email address in the fields above. Your name will be displayed with your comment. Your email address will never be displayed.

Add Your Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.

When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password.

To create a live link, simply type the URL (including http://) or email address and we will make it a live link for you. You can put up to 3 URLs in your comments. Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically converted — no need to use <p> or <br /> tags.

Advertisement

Follow Us

  • No features currently available.

  • More Hot Topics The Daily Fix  •  DIY Warrior  •  Home Ec  •  Handmade
    DIY Disaster Doctor  •  In the Workshop  •  Product Picks

    Home Improvement Videos