This week’s HWOW was born mid-Covid and lives in Tash Elwyn’s garage in Saint Petersburg, FL. This professionally constructed mini-gym offers 4 different angles, including a 90-degree overhang. Check out past HWOW here.
When did you build your wall?
How long did it take you to build?
What did your workdays look like when you were building? Highlights/lowlights of the process?
This project began May 14th and the first phase (the 90-degree wall) was finished a week later. I planned to do the framing myself and then using wall panels I purchased from Eldo Walls, but I quickly concluded since I have a day job it was better to outsource this work to a handyman with framing experience. The work was pretty nonstop the first week. The only lowlight of the process was waiting patiently to be able to begin setting the wall and start climbing.
Not including holds and padding, how much did it cost you to build?
Can you tell me a little bit more about your cost structure? Did you do any budgeting beforehand?
I didn’t do any budgeting beforehand, but fortunately a lot of the cost was years behind me. I began buying holds 7 years ago with the good intentions then of building the wall while my kids were younger. Life got in the way until COVID when the inability to go to our local gym, Vertical Ventures, led me to dust off those long ago purchased holds, order the wall panels and get going.
Did anything in particular inspire your wall design?
We have garage doors on both the front and rear of the garage so out height and angles had to plan around where the doors open up to the ceiling.
Had you thought about building a wall prior to the virus? Any particular builds you saw online that helped you DIY?
See above for how long I’d been thinking about this. Some of the builds that inspired me came from the Home Climbing Wall Forum group on Facebook. It’s a very supportive, friendly group with lots of good home wall examples.
What was the most difficult aspect of the design and build?
Building it around the garage doors
How’d you end up building around the garage doors? Anything you had to alter to accommodate the moving doors?
One of our biggest challenges is that our old 1923 garage has garage doors that open up to the ceiling on both the front AND rear of the garage. Great for cars because you can pull straight through like the fire department but not so great for a home climbing wall because we couldn’t use the ceiling and were somewhat limited on height as a result. The handyman we hired is a former military engineer though and is a whiz at precision and he was able to measure, measure, and measure again and build the wall in such a way that it uses every inch as best as possible. He’s now working on phase 2 which is to add a ceiling/cave to climb on which is quite a feat given it can’t attach to the ceiling and has to fit under the garage door but still permit cars to use the garage. We also are building another 90-degree wall on the other end of the ceiling and a campus board ladder on the back of it. This second phase will all hopefully be finished by the end of this week. We just need the last 4 panels from Eldo Walls to arrive any day now (they are in town and about to be delivered).
Who did you hire to do the framing and installation? Did you assist them at all?
I hired a local handyman to do the framing and installation. This was a his first climbing wall, but he’s really talented and has kept his sense of humor and never batted an eye when I said, ‘can you do this, what about that?’
Did you make any mistakes along the way or choose to re-do any aspects? What would you do differently?
Even though the only sketches of what I envisioned building were in my mind and never on paper, there’s nothing we’d do over. If I had to do something differently, I would’ve built it a long time ago!
What is your favorite aspect?
Climbing with my 19-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son
How often do you guys use the wall? Do you think you’ll still use it as much when all of the gyms open back up?
We use the wall 3-4 times a week although it’s a little warm in there during our humid Florida summers. I do still think we’ll use it for quick late night or early morning climbs as a complement to returning to our local gym, Vertical Ventures, to continue climbing there as well.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring homewallers?
We hired a pro to do the framing and the panel installation.
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