Garage Closet - Oklahoma Home
with Rafter Hanger System
July - August 2018
September 11 - 14, 2018
It seems like just yesterday,
that I was building a storage closet in a garage.
Well....I guess I am. I built the garage
storage area for the El Paso home only two years
After purchasing our larger home in Oklahoma the
first thing I needed to do was build a garage
storage closet to store all of our tools.
Every tool I had in El Paso, was still stored in
boxes. Every time I needed a specific tool, I
had to dig through a pile of boxes to find it.
A 5 minute task would turn into 2 hours of
searching. I needed to get all of my tools out
of the boxes and organized ASAP.
A pet peeve of mine is the absence of any storage
space in garages.
Reality check. Most garages, now days, are
used to store an excess of stuff, junk, seasonal
items, etc. Only a small percentage of home
owners actually use their garages to park a working
vehicle. Don't believe me? Step outside
your house and look at your neighbors' houses.
Of note: My husband and I are the only
homeowners that park our SUV's in our garages at
both houses in Oklahoma. Every single close neighbor
So why does one rarely find a home that already has
built in storage closets or shelves in a garage???
High end homes will usually have storage areas.
Think the Vanilla Ice Project homes.
Ordinary homes? Forget about it. You can
buy a bunch of ticky tacky shelves, which is what
most folks do. I prefer a closet where you can
hide all of the stuff from view.
Unlike the El Paso house garage, which had no fancy
doors or moulding, the Oklahoma garage has moulding,
doors, and door knobs that match the interior of the
house. So when I designed this closet, I
needed to match the existing decor so the closet
"appears" as if it was built when the rest of the
house was built.
area of garage where closet will be built.
Moulding on wall along floor was removed and will be
used later on outside of closet. Note walnut
stained moulding around door openings and arched
paneled doors. These design elements will be
used on the closet exterior.
The first thing I needed to do
was select the area of the garage to build a closet.
The wall between the garage and the house was the
obvious place. This area was also recessed
which would help in framing the closet.
To get accurate measurements I first had to remove
the moulding along the wall at the floor. The
removed moulding will be used on the outside of the
closet. The length of the recessed area was 163.5".
The next decision was deciding how deep to make the
closet. The obvious choice would be to make
the closet as deep as the water heater closet which
is 34". However, this is a 3 car garage.
The 2 car side of the garage is large and we only
have 2 SUV's. Even with the SUV's parked
inside, there is ample room to walk. So I can
make the closet deeper than 34" giving me more
storage space. BUT.... there is a pull down
stair for the attic access that cannot be blocked.
The size I decided on would be 40"
The height of the ceiling is the garage is 9 feet.
I could make the closet ceiling height.
However, I always like large storage places for thin
flat objects like scrap wood or moulding. So I
decided to make the closet only 8 feet high with a
foot of storage area on top of the closet.
The image below shows the floor plan for the closet.
There will be 2 large shelving places for large
items. I section with smaller shelving and
several areas for hanging items using rafter hooks.
There will be two 28" doors for easy access into the
Floor plan for closet
After drawing out my plans for
the closet, I made an online purchase with Lowes.
For this project I decided to make the purchase
online paying $65 extra for the delivery. Why
Lowes? For the area that we are in, in
Oklahoma, Lowes was the only company that allowed
online purchase with delivery. Home Depot, no
delivery. For McCoy's, you need to make the
purchase in person in the store. Since we live
outside of the city where these stores are, Lowes
was the only option for the purchase of the framing,
doors, and plywood.
Also, there is the time involved picking out the
materials in the store. The Big Box store
lumber can be less than desirable. Warped,
twisted, too many knots in woods, etc. When
selecting 2 x 4's or plywood, I spend hours going
through the piles looking for wood that is decent
enough for what I want. Also, a lot of time is spent
loading my old SUV. I also cannot haul full
sheets of plywood.
With an online purchase, the store does all the
picking and delivery. Yes, I take a chance of
getting a crappy piece of wood, which I did.
However, the twisted or warped 2 x 4's will be used
for smaller pieces. Worth the $65 delivery
charge not having to go to the store myself.
I ordered the basic building materials and pre-hung
doors (moulding and paint bought later) online on
Friday, July 20, 2018. Delivery was the next
morning on Saturday, July 21, 2018. Less than
24 hours from ordering to delivery. Can't beat
Materials for Garage Closet
3 -- 14 foot - 2" x 4"
50 -- 8 foot -
2" x 4" for framing
2 -- 8 foot -
2" x 8" for rafter hanging system
boxes (4 lbs) 2 -1/2" nails
4' x 8' sheets of 15/32 pine plywood
for walls, ceiling
4' x 8' sheets of 23/32 pine
plywood for shelves
pre-hung 28" doors
1 gallon oil
based primer Ace Hardware
1 gallon semi
gloss paint for inside closet
1/2 gallon egg
shell paint exterior of closet matching
rest of garage. No cost. Left by
Walnut colored stain
for moulding. No cost. Left by
Moulding - outside
corner, quarter rounds, top of closet,
chalk board frame
Moulding bought at
Home Depot for around doors
1 box of 1 1/2"
The first section of the closet
to build was the framing along the wall shared with
the house. Since this framing was being butted
up against an existing wall, the 2 x 4's were laid
long edge against the wall. If this wall was a
free standing wall, I would turn the 2 x 4's the
other way. This way allows more room on the
Two of the 14 foot long 2 x 4's were cut to 163.5"
and were used at the top and bottom of frame.
Ten 8 foot 2 x 4's were first cut to 93" and then
attached to the 163.5"- 2
x 4's. Spacing of the 2 x 4's is every 16"
starting from the right side. I also needed to make
sure that the 2 x 4's did not hit where the two
existing power outlets are.
The 3" scrap pieces of the 2 x 4's that were cut off
were later used as shelf supports nailed to the
Back wall sketch
Back wall of closet framed and attached to existing
studs in house wall.
The back frame was nailed
together with the 2-1/2 inch nails. Since
nailing for me is difficult with the nerve damage in
my hands, I pre-drilled the holes first and then
In the corner of the back
closet frame, I notched both corners. The side
walls of the closet will be slid in here and then
attached to the 2 x 4 on the back frame. Since
this framing is supported by the existing walls, it
is silly to waste a 2 x 4 in a corner that does not
need the usual support of a freestanding structure.
Corner notch made. Side of closet wall
framing will slide in here and be attached
to the 2 x 4 in corner.
The next section was the wall on
the left side against the water heater closet.
The horizontal 2 x 4's were placed where the shelves
will be placed. The horizontal 2 x 4's will be
used to support the permanent shelves.
Left wall of corner put in place. Horizontal 2
x 4's on this section will double as shelf supports.
The next section completed was
the front wall of closet on the left side.
Horizontal 2 x 4's were placed at the same height as
the side piece. This will provide the support
for the shelves on the left side.
Left front wall attached to the side.
Horizontal 2 x 4's match side to additionally
support the shelves.
I then worked on the
framing for the right side of the closet.
The side framing has a
large open space on the bottom section that
will be used to store scaffolding platforms.
Two scaffolding platforms will fit exactly
into this space, held in place with a piece
of wood slid into place.
The front wall framing has a rafter hook
hanging system. I just placed
additional 2 x 4's on top of the horizontal
2 x 4's for the rafter hanging system.
You just move the hangers where you need
them to be.
This rafter system can handle really heavy
items, if needed.
Right side and right front wall complete.
Right front wall had rafter hook hanging
Left and right side complete. Right and left
corner fronts complete. Shelves for the left
side cut and put in place until closet is painted.
The shelves for the left side of
the closet were cut and put temporarily in place.
They will be removed when painted. The shelves
also came in handy to store my tools while working
on the closet. The support for the shelves on
the right side were provided by using the 3" scraps
cut from the back section's 2 x 4's. I just
nailed the 3" scraps to the back frame.
The next sections to complete was the center front
and the door framing. These three sections
were completed laying flat on the garage floor and
were then lifted into place. The horizontal 2
x 4's on the center front section will support the 4
large shelves that will be in the middle of the
At the top of the door frame a 2 x 4 was added
providing more hanging area for rafter hangers.
Wall framing complete for the closet.
From this point on, I did not
take any photographs. I was so involved with just
finishing this project while the temperatures
outside were in the 90's and 100's. Hot , hot, hot.
I needed to get all of the plywood off the floor of
the garage so with my husbands help, the ceiling and
walls were cut. The ceiling and wall were
hammered into place.
I then built the small shelf section on the left
side. The large shelves were also cut for the
I made a run to the hardware store to purchase the
moulding for the top of the closet, moulding for the
inside and outside corners of , the doors, and the
chalk board that will be painted on. The
moulding was put in place and caulked.
One week was spent painting
everything three coats of paint. All of the
bare wood got a coat of oil based primer. Why
oil based and a primer for something inside?????
Just extra protection in case anything DID get wet
and because of the abuse a garage storage space will
get. After the primer, the inside got two
coats of a semi-gloss. Semi-gloss in case
something spills. Easier to clean. The
outside of the closet received 2 coats of the
eggshell color that was used on the surrounding
Another half of a day was spent getting the two
doors hung properly. After the doors were put
up, the moulding for around the doorway was cut,
stained, and put in place.
The floor moulding removed from the back wall was
cut to fit the outside closet walls and put in
The two 2 x 8's were cut to provide additional
rafter hook hanging along the right side of closet
and on the front of the closet.
Four coats of blackboard paint was painted directly
on the small right wall. The moulding was cut,
stained and glued onto the wall over the painted
Completed closet. Scrap lumber and moulding
stored on top.
For the center wall of the
closet, between the doors, I am debating whether to
place a fold-up table there or not. If I place
a fold-up or fold-down table here, I will add the
photo on the right shows the right corner of
Where the closet wall extended beyond the
existing wall, quarter round moulding was
used in the inside corner. For the
outside corners, I used PVC corner moulding
which is cheaper than wood and a little
tougher if dinged.
At the top of the closet I placed moulding
to hide where the plywood walls edges meet
the plywood ceiling edges. This
moulding was painted the same color as the
The chalkboard was made by first painting 4
coats of chalkboard paint. The
moulding for the frame was cut and stained.
I then glued the frame together on a flat
surface. Since the chalkboard is on a
single plywood surface I glued on the
chalkboard frame instead of nailing it. I
used a scrap piece of moulding and wood to
make the chalk and eraser tray. It was
mounted on top of the chalkboard to keep it
out of the way.
photo to the right shows the small shelving
inside the left side of the closet.
Nine small shelves hold small objects like
nails (using Crystal Light containers),
tape, small tools, etc.
To the left and right of the small shelves I
nailed on short pieces of 2 x 4's to the
back frame to create more rafter hanging
Since I used pre-hung doors, the frame for
the doors were the generic primer white.
Around the door openings, I needed to stain
the door stop area to match the moulding. This
matches the style throughout the house and
The doors also needed to be painted the same
bright white to match the doors in the
Large shelving in left corner of closet
Large shelving in center of closet from
left side of closet
Larger shelving in center from
the right side of
Rafter hanging system along back wall
right side of closet
the right shows the right inside corner of
As I mentioned above, the right wall of the
closet would be used to store some
scaffolding platforms held in place with a
The rafter hanging system on right front
wall of closet is currently holding a ladder
and some extension cords.
If the closet looks packed you would be
correct. I have my tools. My husband
has his tools. Combined, there is a
lot of duplication of tools. Oh well,
we will work this out over time.
This garage will also have a work bench and
cupboards that will be built in the far
right corner of the garage to the left of
the water heater closet. When I build
the work bench, I will add it to this web
Rafter Hanger System
What am I talking about when I mention a
rafter hanger system?
It is simply a hanging storage system using
rafter hangers. The cheapest and
strongest rafter hangers I have found can be
found at the Home Depot.
The hangers are usually used in garages or
storage sheds where the rafters are exposed.
However, you can still use these hangers
without exposed rafters by using 2 x 4's, 2
x 6's, 2 x 8's, etc.
8" Everbilt rafter hangers
Just mount a 2 x 4 on a wall with as little
as a 1/2 inch behind it so the rafter hanger
hooks over the top. As your storage
needs change, just move the hangers where
you need them. One hanger holds 50
lbs. So 2 hangers can hold a 100lb
object. Just make sure your 2 x 4, 2 x
6, or 2 x 8 is mounted on studs in your wall
and not just drywall.
To create the space behind the wood, just
attach a 1 x 4 on the wall on each end and
some in the middle, if your wood is long, to
the studs on your wall. Then attach
your 2 x 4, 2 x 6, or 2 x 8 on top of the 1
For the rafter hanging I created on the
front of the closet walls, I did a little
extra work. Instead of a 1 x 4, I used
2 scrap pieces of 2 x 4's cut 8" long.
I then routed out a corner on each.
Mounted the 2 x 4's on the wall and then
placed my 2 x 8 in the notches. See
diagram below and photograph.
Diagram of how I did rafter hanger on the
front of closet wall
Rafter hanger on front of closet wall
paint your rafter hanging system wood with
decorative colors or don't paint it at all.
If painted, it can look as fancy as those
expensive less versatile metal hanging
On the center wall of the garage closet I
wanted to place a folding table. I
always need a flat surface to work on or to
set stuff on. Being older, with a bad
back, I hate having to bend over all of the
I wanted the table to lay flat against the wall when not in use. I
also wanted it to fold down NOT up. I
wanted to use the space above the table to
place more hanging space.
After searching on the internet for what
other folding tables have been done, I soon
realized that having a folding table WITH
folding legs that folded down was going to
be impossible for the small space I wanted
for a table. If the table folded UP on
the wall, there would be no problem.
Because I wanted this table to fold DOWN, it
would be impossible. It is hard to
explain this, but with only 24 inches to
place the table, the legs would not fit, if
I also wanted this table strong, so if you
throw something that weighs 50+ lbs on it,
it will not collapse. Therefore, the
wall support needed to be attached to a stud
within the closet. The stud height
that will be used is 39.25" high from the
floor. This is higher than a normal
table height of say 30", but this was ok.
I am tall and my husband is 6'2". The
edge of the table will be resting on top of
this wall support and not the hinge for
The table will fold down using a 24" piano
The legs for the table will be made from 2 x
4's and rails of 1 x 4's. The legs
that support the end of the table will slide
under the table when the table is in use.
Step One - Determine size of table
The width of the table is 24" wide
(width of wall) and 35"
long (folding down). I could have made
the table longer, up to 39", however, I did
not want the table to hit the floor moulding
Step Two - Make table top
I could have taken a
piece of plywood and cut it to 24" x 35".
However, I did not have any 1" plywood
on-hand, or a piece of project wood.
Both would work just fine. You want
something close to 3/4" - 1" thick for a
decent table top. I did have several
pieces of 1 x 12's that I used as shelving
at the old house in El Paso that I dragged
with me to Oklahoma. I did not toss
them because it was good lumber!!
I ripped this lumber into 4" wide pieces and
put them together to make my table top.
I used wood glue to hold it together.
No nails. On the underside of the
table I placed cross supports and screwed
them into each piece of wood.
The two cross supports at the end of the
table where spaced just far enough apart to
allow the table legs to slide in.
The cross support near where the hinge would
be was placed just low enough to prevent any
interference with the hinge.
The table top was then given a good sanding,
primed, and then painted the same color as
Step Three - Mount the table to the wall
The wood support for the hinge was screwed
into the stud on the wall with 3 2-1/2" wood
screws. The piano hinge was then
attached to the wall support.
The table top was
fitted in place on top of the wall support
and the end propped up so it was level.
I then went underneath the table top and
attached the piano hinge.
Wall support screwed into wall and the stud
on the other side. Piano hinge mounted
Table top screwed onto piano hinge and
folded down out of the way
Step Four - Make the legs
I needed to wait until
the table top was hung on the wall to make
sure my legs were exactly the right height
to make the table top level. I placed
a level on top of the table top and measured
the height for the legs.
The 2 x 4 legs ended up being 40 1/8" inches
long. Using my old ripped shelving
wood, I made the rails for the legs.
Attaching the wood on both sides of the 2 x
4's and screwing them in place with 2 1/2"
The legs were then primed and painted the
color of the table top. Plastic 2 x 4
caps, purchased from a children's playground
equipment website, were glued on the bottom
of the legs. Believe it or not, no one
else sells plastic end caps for 2 x 4's.
There are metal caps for fencing, but no
plastic ones for leg bottoms, unless you
have a 3-D printer. Someone has online
plans to make
Table folded up and ready for use.
Additional hanging space added above table
Table folded down and legs resting on
A couple of things you may wonder
Will the legs come out from underneath
the table? Of course, if you hit
it hard enough. But you would really need to
hit it hard. Normal abuse. Nope.
The table only lifts a couple of inches up
from the level position. This is
because the wall edge of the table hits the
wall and prevents the table from folding up.
Will the legs stored on top of the table
ledge fall off? Again, yes, if you
hit it hard enough. I could also throw
the legs up on the hooks above if needed.
If any of the above become a problem, I will
just make adjustments to secure the legs
To be continued when
I build the work bench....