Garage to Shop #1: Let there be light - and power

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Blog entry by LeeG posted 03-08-2010 12:58 AM 2227 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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After getting married and moving into my wife’s house, I decided it was finally time for me to set up a decent shop. I had a decent amount of tools, but I wanted to finally get into woodworking in a serious way and build some quality furniture for our house.

The garage was mine to do with as I pleased – with two conditions. First, all of the existing storage had to remain accessible. This basically took up most of the back wall, as well as the left wall. Second, my wife wanted to be able to park her car inside most of the time. This basically gives me 1 wall, plus half the floor space for permanent use, plus the rest of the floor space for ‘project’ use.

Here is the basic floor plan of the entire garage
Garage-Base Dimensions

There was a single outlet in the garage, and lighting was limited to a single 4’ fluorescent light overhead. So my first step was to add some more of both.

The garage was already drywalled and painted, so I went with surface mounted EMT conduit instead of running romex through the walls. I ran three 120v 20amp circuits, and one 240v 30amp circuit. I used 12ga wire for all of the 20amp lines, and 10ga for the 30amp. I also added two more 8’ fluorescent lights on their own circuit (this was overkill, but I didn’t want to mess with any of the existing wiring).


The outlets on either side of the garage door are mounted about 12” high, and the ones on the wall are at about 36”. The two garage door outlets (S1, S2) share a circuit, as do W1 and W3, and W2 and N1. I added a GFI receptacle to each of the three circuits to meet code requirements.

Some tips for anyone doing this sort of upgrade.
  • Be safe! What you don’t know could kill you or burn your house down. If you are not sure what you are doing, hire a competent professional.
  • Make sure all of your outlets are properly grounded.
  • Put in deep boxes if you are doing any junction work at an outlet. Those boxes get crowded real fast.
  • All wire connections need to be done in a box.
  • If you are doing in the wall wiring, take some photos before you cover it with sheet rock. It can be useful later knowing exactly where the wires are running.

-- Lee in Phoenix

3 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4099 days

#1 posted 03-08-2010 01:56 AM

OK, which of those lessons did you learn the hard way?

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View jim1953's profile


2735 posts in 3841 days

#2 posted 03-08-2010 02:01 AM


-- Jim, Kentucky

View David Murray's profile

David Murray

187 posts in 3114 days

#3 posted 03-08-2010 03:52 AM

Those are 2 pretty big conditions, but half the garage is better than none of the garage.

-- Dave from "The Sawdust Shed"

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