Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Warmer Garage Work Space At The Tinker's Workshop

  It has been a busy week or more here at the Tinker's Workshop with more parts being made for the velomobile project, fiber glassing, sanding and fitting parts on the body and the list keeps growing. 
   With winter just around the corner I have also been working on prepping my garage so that I can continue work in the space without freezing in the process. I have the garage completely insulated now including the garage doors.  Not a fun task but one that will pay off with a much warmer space to work in when the snow is flying outside.
I finished installing another nice feature in my 24 X 24 foot garage this morning.  That's what this post is all about.

Here is a shot of my garage.  Looks like any other garage except now I am able to split the area in half with a roll up wall.  You can see it in white running along the newly insulated ceiling. 

With the wall rolled down I am now able to retain all of the heat from my space heater and the flood lamps in a space half as big.  This will make it a lot easier to keep the space warmer.  This worked out perfectly and is nothing more than painter tarp that come in 12 x 8 foot pieces.  As the garage is 24 foot long two of these tarps are all that I needed create the wall along with a few other parts to make it all work.  These tarps are sealed so no moisture (aka paint etc) can seep through.  So if it can hold moisture back it can also hold the heat in.

At the base of each tarp I laid down a 1 1/4 inch PVC pipe with an extension on it to make it 12 feet long. As you can see with the tarp hanging down it just reaches the floor and will seal off the air from below. 

I then rolled the tarp around the PVC pipe and taped it down with duct tape to hold it into place.

The upper portion of the tarp I stapled to the ceiling joist and then  I nailed a strip of wood 3/8th inches thick along it's entire length to better secure it.  

Along with this wooden strip are two small pulleys to make each section of the wall roll up properly.  These were again fastened to the ceiling joists three feet from each end of each tarp using small pieces of metal chain screwed into place.   

A  3/16th inch rope was then attached to a nail pounded into the ceiling joist on the opposite side of  the wall from the pulley. This rope was  routed under the PVC pipe (when the wall was down) and then fed through the upper pulleys.  When both ropes are pulled the tarp wall rolls up perfectly to get it out of the way when it is not needed. 

The ropes are then tied off at one end of the wall and secured using a metal cleat fastened to the wall. 

 I had to place the cleat up high on the wall so that the ropes coming from the pulleys did not block access in the garage when walking near the wall. 

The tarp wall tucks away nicely in the garage and is hardly noticeable when not in use.  But it sure will come in handy when I want to heat the work space during the cold winter months.  Total cost for the portable wall was around $35.  Not bad considering what the wall does and what it will help with when I am trying to stay warm while working in the winter months.

(Click on diagram for a larger view)

Here is another illustration of how the ropes are set up for the roll up tarp wall.  Hope this helps explain it all a bit further.  If you still have questions just let me know.


  1. Can you provide a few additional details?
    - How does the PVC 'roll' up? or does it just slide up and bunch the tarp on the way?
    - Can you more specifically explain the rope pattern, and where the rope begins/travels/ends?

    I'm very interested in this design - thanks for the great idea!

    1. This is a great post and a fascinating solution for a temporary wall. Yet I have the same question as Jordan -- what makes the tarp roll up around the PVC pipe and not just bunch up as the pipe is lifted upwards?

    2. If the tube was tied to the ropes and then pulled up it would bunch up as you would think. The fact that the ropes are wrapped underneath the tube makes the tube spin as the ropes are pulled. Hard to believe but it works great. Thanks for the question.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. I was wondering same thing.. nice idea. You may have helped me save my house. Without being able to work in winter I can't bring in extra money needed.

  4. Hello Michael, The ropes for the tarp are attached to the ceiling joist on one side. Then they go all the way to the floor underneath the PVC pipe that is attached to the painters tarp with duct tape. Then the ropes go back up to the opposite side of the tarp (which is down) to a pulley for each rope at the ceiling joist on the opposite side of where it is originally attached. Once the ropes are fed through their prospective pulleys and pulled the rope provides the lift and the rotation of the PVC pipe that starts at the floor and is slowly rolled up until it reaches the ceiling. The ropes are then tied off with cleats attached to the wall so that they are also out of the way then the wall is being stored away when not in use.

  5. Dave, I am very interested in making a wall like this, but I just cannot visualize it based on your description. Could you make a video or take some pictures? I need to figure out a way to make a pvc/tarp paint booth that folds up into the ceiling of my garage when not I'm not using it and I think your design for this wall will help me.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Hi Linda,
      I've added an additional illustration to hopefully explain in easier terms how the wall is assembled and works. Check it out on this post. If you have any further questions just let me know.

  6. Grateful for the time you put into cataloguing and sharing your work with us. I appreciate your resourcefulness and I'm hopeful to build two of these. One will be for a small shed-roof (lean-to) opening attached to the side of my shed and the other will be for our attached carport. Both of these will be exterior walls, hoping to keep the wind and snow out. In place of the painters tarp I'll probably use a cheap tarp from Harbor Freight

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. I am thankful to this blog for assisting me. I added some specified clues which are really important for me to use them in my writing skill. Really helpful stuff made by this blog.
    Car Garages near me

  9. This is a perfect idea for my shop/garage that i need a tarp barrier wall. My question is does this require two people to pull/roll up each time? Im reading that there is a rope and pulley on each side.

  10. The reason that there is a pull/roll up on each end as this was set up for a 24 foot garage. I split the wall up into two sections for easier assembly. I pull up or put down one side and then do the other side. Very light weight and easy to do.