Midnight Woodworking


Handicap accessibility for my in-law’s

Its been a few months since I have put up a new post. I have been spending all of my spare time at my in-laws, trying to make their house a little more handicap accessible.

The first challenge is getting out of the house using a walker. There are steps out the front, but they are steep and there is no room for a ramp. The best option I could come up with was to come through the garage. This required the driveway to be elevated 16″ and extended 30′ so you could walk straight out the garage side door.

I built a retaining wall and laid down fabric to prevent the gravel from sinking into the ground. I also rerouted the downspout and sump pump drainage to move the water out past the driveway, then had 37 tons of gravel and crushed stone (CR-6) delivered and spread.

With the driveway elevated, I started converting the garage to a bedroom, the powder room to a full bath, and since I had to get the plumber out there, I added a laundry area as well. This puts all of the required facilities on the main floor of the house. The rest of the bedrooms are all on the second floor and the laundry was in the basement. The next thing I had to do was build a ramp down to the exterior door (10-1/2″ drop).

Then I blocked up the bottom of the old garage door and framed in the opening.

I managed to catch a warm day where it got above 50 degrees F, so I could install siding without it cracking.

Once the garage was closed in, I cut a hole through the concrete wall into the existing ductwork to heat the crawl space and prevent pipes from freezing. Then I cut an access into the basement to reach the plumbing when the floor is in place.

After two days of using the hammer drill and jack hammer, I was sick of concrete and my back was killing me. Glad I don’t do this for a living…

I installed 3/4 of the flooring to give the plumber access to the new shower and sink locations.

When the plumber was done, I worked on finishing the floor while my buddy Ed installed the tile in the shower.

The old garage had 2″x4″ stud walls. To bring them up to code, I added another row of 2″x4″ studs, leaving a 1/2″ gap between them to give me a thermal break and to make routing the new wiring easy. No drilling required wherever I had a gap. I then routed all the wiring back to the new sub panel, and insulated the 7″ thick walls with R-21 fiberglass insulation. In the crawlspace, below the floor, I lined the exterior walls with R-38 insulation.

This room is the most insulated room in the house. To heat and cool the main room, I had a mini-split heat pump installed, once the drywall had been hung.

Opposite the new shower, I installed a new vanity. This allowed me to remove the old vanity from the old powder room, allowing room for a walker, in front of the toilet.

After cutting through to the old powder room, I refinished the bathroom and installed a taller handicap accessible toilet and a few grab rails.



After the drywall was finished and painted, I installed a vinyl flooring that looks like reclaimed wood, but is 100% water proof, Then I installed base trim around the room.

I still have a bit of trim to do in the ramp area, but I need to replace the exterior door first, and I don’t want to do that until it is warmer out. I did manage to do a little woodworking. I made a wood casing and trim for the window, and I made a wood cap for the railing.

Yes, it is a cramped space, but there is room for two single beds and the standing freezer, until it finds a new home. The new stackable washer/dryer comes next week, and my in-law’s are happy.

Now it is time to get back in the shop and start working on my 3 month backlog of projects for other people…


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This entry was posted on February 24, 2019 by in Misc... and tagged , , , .

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