Well I must say that I am lucky to have a woman in my life willing to give up the garage space to allow me to really set up a shop. Living in the Northern Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania has it perks, and like all places, it’s down sides. This is the first in a series of how I convert my garage spaces into a functional shop for me to produce my work without causing problems if and when we would decide to move.
My area like a lot of others has it’s dynamic swings with temperature and humidity. While I can’t pretend to control it completely I can make efforts to curb mother nature to a point. With that in mind I decided that if I am to make a small living from doing custom work around here I have to be able to keep things somewhat predictable. I am lucky in the fact that three walls are cinderblock and for the most part below grade on the property. This helps but my garage doors were over twenty years old and made from wood.
Now this past summer when I was building my deck these old doors started giving me trouble by jumping off their track on the top panel. This problem eventually caused the lower panel to crack and sag (you can only fix a track and wheels so many times). This gave me the excuse to replace them, not only for the house value but for me too. After a lot of research I decided if I was going to replace them I was going to do it right. I’ve seen a lot of guys just get the aluminum doors and put something on the interior to keep things warm / cold and I’ve seen another in my neighborhood outright brick up one of the doors to use the space. Not that they are woodworkers but it was their solution to help control heat / cooling loss in the living space above. Neither was a solution for me. If I am to create things for myself and others I needed a space that was conducive to that goal. Some place comfortable, after all I am going to be spending a lot of time in this space.
After a lot of research I settled on Clopay and more specifically their Premium Series steel door with 2-inches of insulation. Not willing to just settle with just an insulated door and wanting some type of natural light for me, I opted to add the insulated glass panels on the top panel of the door. So it was decided and incredibly Home Depot was the preferred vendor so off I went expecting to be disappointed and appalled at the cost. When it was all said and done I honestly couldn’t believe it. Not only were they quite affordable (mind you I had two of them and needed all the hardware as well) but I found out that the Home Depot only sold the doors and Clopay would actually be doing the install. Bonus.
So after some measuring and placing the order I was surprised when only one guy came out to put them in. After about 6 hours later I had new doors, a new opener on one of them (the other has the HVAC trunk blocking an opener’s installation) with remotes, keypad and IR sensors for those stray scraps that get in the way of a door closing. My old doors were taken away by the installer and my Home Depot charge got hit for $2400 (during the 1-year of no interest deal mind you). I couldn’t be happier. Now I would have loved to get that 8” Grizzly Joiner, and the 14” Jet bandsaw, I’ve been eying up, but hey, that’s why a banker invented savings right? and besides what good would that joiner be if it (or me) was frozen?
So a couple of really cold days and nights later and the results are? Well, right now it’s not much above 5 degrees F and I am amazed. Our master bedroom is over top of the shop and noticeably warmer as is my home office. To boot our stairway to the basement and the interior entrance to the shop always had the zone where you would expect a cloud to be. The temperature variation there was terribly drastic in the winter time and it’s gone. As for the shop? Noticeable, There isn’t a draft any longer and the temp has stayed above freezing in there since the installation.
Now step two in this process is putting up better interior walls with actual studs on the 16”. The brain child that owned the place before me put up 2” of foam and wedged them between a 2×4 every 4-feet. Makes it hard to hang things from the wall. And the baseboard heaters across the back wall. That’ll be step #2 and starting this weekend. I’ll keep you all posted
-- Such a Beautiful Place When You See It From Space