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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the process of planning a detached garage. (In another thread, I asked about sealing the floor.)

As I considered the specifications of the garage, it occurred to me that I would have room for a lift for the very first time.

Some of the questions to be answered are kind of obvious. 2 post are better for repairs, while 4 post are better for storage (though some under car work is feasible).

I need to consider the garage floor itself. The builder has specified 4" of 3000 PSI concrete in his quote. This seems to be the minimum for the typical 9000 pound 2 post lift, with slightly less required for 4 post. Do you find this to be adequate, or should the thickness be bumped up a bit?

Also, I would like to hear recommendations on specific lifts in the 9000-10000 pound range (both for and against), in terms of specific brands and models. (I don't anticipate anything bigger than a 3/4 ton truck or Suburban, which are in the 6000 pound range.)
 

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I would figure exactly where you would need to place a two post lift for maximum clearance to the ceiling then explain to the builder that where the lift will set needs to be 6 to 8" thick it's just a matter of making a strip a few feet wide the width of the footprint of a lift or around 12' wide which cover most non commercial lifts. That is how I did mine when I built my 36x30 3 bay garage. You can or at least could buy a decent offshore lift for less than $2000 also keep a look out for used lifts often you can find them in the $1000 range sometimes still in use. I gave $500 for my western no longer made & Ive only had to have one cylinder resealed in the 13 years I've been using it. Good luck
 

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I bought a Bendpak 10000lb asymmetric lift. Bendpak spec for the concrete was a minimum of 4" thick with a 3000 psi mix. I went with 4000 psi mix and dug a small 8" deep trench around where the lift was going to set. I haven't had any signs of weakness or cracks since I installed it 10 years ago.
 

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You could put a “trayed ceiling” in part of your garage to add height. Figure the height needed by adding how high lift goes at max, height of your car and some extra. This would take special trusses. Concur with adding to cement thickness.

Fuzz
 

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That is what I had to do in my county they have a ordinance that a out building can't be taller than the existing house so we built the center stall only with a cathedral ceiling so the lift will work.I have screwed up & stuck a hood ornament through the ceiling drywall a couple times with the hood open & I didn't think to have the garage door follow the ceiling line so I can't have the door up & lift a car fully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The garage we're contemplating is part of building a new house, so the builder will handle the permits and whatnot on everything. (Given the crazy real estate market, the difference in cost between a new house and a 15 year old house in the same area is minimal when you factor in the major maintenance costs on the horizon for the latter. In some cases, the brand new house may be cheaper.)

The garage in question will be 28' wide by 40' deep, with a walk-up attic for storage (1 1/2 story structure). With a 10' garage door, the ceiling height should be 11-12'. I hadn't talked to the builder since I started thinking about the lift question, so I don't know the exact ceiling height.

The house is likewise 1 1/2 story, so no big deal there. The garage is deep instead of wide, so its size is not quite so obvious from the street. 40' wide would be nice, but with all those garage doors, my wife said it would look like a fire station. :)
 

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You will be able to find quite a few lifts that will work with a 12' ceiling less that work in a 11' but they are available & a few needing even less head room.I bought my lift then built the garage so as to make it work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You will be able to find quite a few lifts that will work with a 12' ceiling less that work in a 11' but they are available & a few needing even less head room.I bought my lift then built the garage so as to make it work.
I'd given passing thought to 4 post lifts for storage purposes, but not 2 posts. I hadn't even thought about 2 post lifts until 2 days ago, so I just started looking at them.

It does appear the 2 post ones with the crossbar at the top seem to be right at 12' tall. Most of the shorter ones have the crossbar on the floor, which doesn't seem like as sturdy of a design.

As I looked at all of this, I realized I needed to think about all this right away, so any changes required could be put into the specs before we do a contract.

The builder is starting a 28x36 for a recent buyer, and this will be essentially the same thing. I don't think raising the height will be an issue if needed - I just need to ask about it.
 

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A four post lift doubles your parking space If you can lift it high enough for another vehicle to drive under it. If you just make ceiling high enough for working under car, it may not be high enough for vehicle to go under. I put my lift higher than what I normally work on my vehicles so I’m able to park under it. You have to measure everything in the beginning. Too late when you’re done. Personally, I wouldn’t trust a two post lift to store a vehicle - or park under it.

Fuzz
 

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Buddy has a 4 post lift, what he likes is he can expand on floor space park two cars, sports coupes, sports sedans and convertibles wont flex when lifted, you can have add on accessories for front end work.
 

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A four post lift doubles your parking space If you can lift it high enough for another vehicle to drive under it. If you just make ceiling high enough for working under car, it may not be high enough for vehicle to go under. I put my lift higher than what I normally work on my vehicles so I’m able to park under it. You have to measure everything in the beginning. Too late when you’re done. Personally, I wouldn’t trust a two post lift to store a vehicle - or park under it.

Fuzz
I can't imagine why you wouldn't trust a two post lift to park another car under if you would trust it with your life they all have locks. No I wouldn't trust it either simply only on the hydraulics. A four post is great for storage not so great if you want to work on the bottom of the car & to do much you need to have the 4 post equipped with a pair of movable swiveling hydraulic jacks raising cost by a few thousand dollars. They also take up way more space. If you have multiply cars to store & have the room 4 post is great. Just my opinion & we all have one.
 

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Check with the company's that make the two post lift on height. A friend put one in and it was 12'-2" tall.

Later,
Kev
 

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BendPak 2 post 10,000 lift, no cables or lines going across the floor between the post. Pour a thicker pad of concrete where the posts are going to go,, it would not be much more work to dig a 12-14" deep hole in those 2 locations for the posts. I put 3'x4' pad with 16 inches of concrete under my posts...Yeah its overkill but when you have 8500 pounds over your head you can never have enough concrete holding it up.
 

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Safe bet on the floor thickness is 6". You could do a 4" thick floor with higher psi concrete but not sure it'll get delivered that way, just get 6" to be safe. Like Flynman said, using a 2 post lift with deeper footings underneath is a good idea. I'd probally get a 4 post lift so I could store another car underneath. But that's my situation, yours may be different.
 

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Have worked under all rack design types including single cylinder in ground, front / rear cylinder in ground.
Twin post with a floor plate = not so good for pulling transmissions with a trans jack otherwise OK.
Twin post with top bar = good. I consider the asymmetrical version the best lift.
Had a 4 post outside @ the FL shop, had the wheel kit to move it around. It can be used as a full service lift with cross beams, jacks etc.
If ceiling height is an issue: After the inspector signs off sandwich plate the trusses with plywood & remove some of the bottom beam(s) for more vertical clearance.
If you make the shop wider use one O/H door @ the far end, put windows in between the door & home to appease the Mrs, My shop is set up like this the 20' wide X 40' deep bay without an O/H door is the "build" bay.
Luck
 

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I went with a 10,000 lb BendPak two post and love it. The concrete in the shop floor is 6 inches but I went a full 8 inches where I was going to put the lift. This was overkill but better safe than sorry.

Two and four post lifts both have their advantages. I prefer working under a two post lift but a four post doesn't need to be bolted to the floor and can be easily moved around the shop.

I bought mine from Summit because they had free shipping. With the help of a friend we put it up in a couple of days.

 

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I would think that all anyone can really tell you about pricing is what they paid whenever they bought a lift. With the increased cost of materials and labor currently, you might still get a big surprise when you actually order the lift.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Guys, this is really helpful. I'm in a situation where I'm not going to be buying a lift right away, but I need to make the correct decisions within a few weeks. Here's my situation:

My wife and I are looking at building a house. Given the price of lumber, you may think we've lost our minds. Not so. We'd planned to start looking for a house further out from town on an acre or so, where we could build a detached garage. But, in this market, any existing house worth owning is listed at a crazy price and then selling for around 10% above asking price, often in 2-3 days. You don't have time to check into whether you can even build the garage before the house is gone. Between the prices and the competition for existing houses, building actually is the more sensible approach.

Meanwhile, we stumbled across the right situation. We found a builder in the next county over who builds a really nice house at a fair price. He builds about a dozen houses per year. When you sign the contract, you get a firm price up front - none of this "cost plus" stuff. He has one lot that's ideal in a subdivision he's just finishing up. Perfect for our needs, far enough out of town to get the price down, but close enough in that a trip to Lowe's doesn't require packing a sandwich before leaving the house. He's wrapping up the last few lots in this subdivision, while focusing on another one that he's got underway (further out and not as nice overall).

A number of the houses in this subdivision have detached garages, and we'd by no means be the largest house in the neighborhood (though maybe the largest garage :) ), so no worries about having the most expensive house in the neighborhood.

We'd looked at a few houses he'd built. We walked through one under construction and said, "this the house, though we don't want this location". Right next door, he was getting ready to build a slightly smaller version (28x36) of this garage for the family that bought that house from him.

He'll hold the lot for awhile as we discuss the details, but it's not long before we need to "put up or shut up".

Unlike these other folks, we need the detached garage completed at the same time the house is completed (no place for all my junk otherwise). So, all the specs need to be in the same contract as the house.

As I've been going over the specs for the house and asking various questions, I started thinking about a lift. I did a little bit of poking around at this stuff and realized, "Oh CRAP - I need to make some decisions on this detached garage RIGHT NOW - not several months from now".

So, I thought, "okay - where can I get some really good advice really fast?". So, here I am - and you guys are coming through for me. And I really appreciate it.
 
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