All Replies on Garage or Basement Shop?

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Garage or Basement Shop?

by RedOakRomance
posted 07-23-2010 04:02 AM

30 replies so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3846 days

#1 posted 07-23-2010 04:08 AM


View canadianchips's profile


2608 posts in 3145 days

#2 posted 07-23-2010 04:09 AM

I would put the money into the garage. I tried the basement workshop, too dusty, smells floating throughout the house, noise. I had it “What I thought” sealed off very well.The garage gives you option of opening doors for more space on nice days. Basement might be an open window ?
Yes you might want to keep the area from freezing. Glues, stains and paints really don’t do well after freezing.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3190 days

#3 posted 07-23-2010 04:21 AM

Definitely the garage. When I lived in Oregon I had bought a fire proof storage container for combustibles and it really kept the paints and glues from getting to cold. So if you can put them in some sort of semi insulated cabinet that should help.

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Steven H

1117 posts in 3208 days

#4 posted 07-23-2010 04:26 AM

You don’t want a fire coming from a basement.

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3074 days

#5 posted 07-23-2010 05:02 AM

My vote is also for the garage. You will love it.

Some of the glues now can be frozen up to half a dozen times and still work well.
I used to keep my perishables in the attached garage and only take what I needed out to the detached little garage/shop when I needed them.

The lumber needs to acclimate to it’s surroundings when you change humidity, heat, cold, etc. so just make it gradual.

Alternatively, you could hang a small radiant heater if you have gas nearby, and keep the garage at 3 degrees and avoid some of those issues.

All the Best!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View RedOakRomance's profile


11 posts in 3020 days

#6 posted 07-23-2010 05:16 AM

Wow, unanimous! I really appreciate the feedback!

-- "Life is good..."

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21321 posts in 3254 days

#7 posted 07-23-2010 05:41 AM

I vote for the basement because a workshop in the garage gets your cars all dusty and it is more humid even if insulated , then that big door is open, and you are inviting rust on your tools.(Clean cars are my piority.)
The basement is easy to dry out with a dehumidifier but dust will still be a problem. Dust in the air by the open flame of a water heater or furnace could be a safety hazard but you could get a dust collector. The one drawback in any shop is access to take material in and product out. If you just have a standard stairway and no walkout access, you’ll be limited in project size. You should make a list of pros and cons and let your wife decide!!!!!!!!
That garage will be COLD in the winter in Buffalo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3263 days

#8 posted 07-23-2010 05:44 AM

even thow I have my shop in the basement
I wote for the garage , insulate it well and it wont cost you much to heat it up.
there is so many opotunyties with the garage you don´t have in the basement
even thow it´s great to just walk down the stairs and start working
but it has a lot of drawbacks , can´t start noisy tools if the other sleep
and then you have the odeuor and fire to consider


View hairy's profile


2765 posts in 3680 days

#9 posted 07-23-2010 06:56 AM

I’m using both.

It’s not by choice, but it works for me. If I could, I would have a seperate shop, no cars or laundry, just tools.

I’m a freak about dust and safety. Sometimes a lot of walking is involved to get what’s in the basement when I’m working in the garage.

Weather is not an issue, I have heat in the garage, a/c in the basement.

Make the best of what you have, and you’ll be fine.

-- My reality check bounced...

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 3109 days

#10 posted 07-23-2010 03:10 PM

Garage gets my vote. Wish I had one. Should have build a free standing garage when I was working and had extra $$$$$$. If the garage isn’t insulated, you can rent one of those blower units at the box store and blow in insulation. The drawback is that the insulation will settle over time. Good luck and keep us posted with pix of the new shop.

View ClayandNancy's profile


520 posts in 3163 days

#11 posted 07-23-2010 03:23 PM

Built a large garage and walled off the back for a shop. My last house it was in the basement, what a pain to get machines and sheet goods downstairs, not to mention the dust. Even with a DC and air filtration still there is the dust, ask my wife.

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 3292 days

#12 posted 07-23-2010 04:50 PM

Garage, power and hand tools are too polite to say it but being in the same room as women’s unmentionables makes them ashamed.

Wax your cast iron, install a vented heater and move on in.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3223 days

#13 posted 07-23-2010 04:50 PM

I may be in the minority here – but I prefer a basement workshop. Dust is a very minor problem that my wife is willing to put up with. It benefits from both heat and aid conditioning.

However, you said your basement workshop would have to be small but you didn’t say how small. In my opinion, if you have all of the standard shop equipment plus a workbench and storage for hand tools, 400 square feet is the minimum requirement. You can get by with less, but you’ll have to move tools around on mobile bases.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View sawblade1's profile


754 posts in 3175 days

#14 posted 07-23-2010 05:05 PM

Garage is my vote :) outside, no dust, man cave need I say more? :) checking for insulation is not to hard just drill a 3/4” hole in a small inconspicuous area and see Plus blown in insulation is still an option.

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path

View nate22's profile


475 posts in 3023 days

#15 posted 07-23-2010 05:12 PM

I would go with the garage. Espicially if you build bigger things it will be easier to move the projects to when they are finished. I live in northern indiana and I have the same problem that you have with glueing in the winter. But you will like the garage in the summer time because you can open up the door and enjoy the warm temps. Thats my two cents about it its up to you want you want to do.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


718 posts in 3421 days

#16 posted 07-23-2010 06:48 PM

Mine is a two car garage – but the cars stay outside most of the time! I have a wood stove so I have to stoke up a fire (a way to get rid of scrap wood!) and wait for the shop to warm up in winter. In summer, I have a window air conditioner and two ceiling fans.

In winter, I store my finishes and glues in the basement where I have a small bench and tool board in one corner. If I’m working on something small or quick, where I don’t need stationary power tools, I just work down there. Once the weather warms up to stay, I just move everything back out to the garage.

Best of both worlds for me. But I no longer have to make a living with woodworking.


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3322 days

#17 posted 07-23-2010 06:55 PM

One way to look at this is to get one of the couple of REALLY good books on the subject … like …

this one

Sandor Nagyszalanczy (and—presumably—the other authors) do a great job of explaining the relative pros and cons for each of the most common locations—attic, basement, garage, room in house, free-standing.

I went with the basement, and … so far … am glad I did.

Our homes are really close together, in this neighborhood. When my next-door-neighbor (a woodworker who put HIS shop in the garage) is cutting … especially with the garage door open … you really couldn’t sleep, in homes on either side of him ;-)

I LOVE the fact that—in the rather extreme Northern Colorado climate—my shop is always comfortable.

-- -- Neil

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 4105 days

#18 posted 07-23-2010 07:34 PM

My shop is in my garage which is located under my house….so I guess I have both! I like the ability to walk into my basement from my shop (and vise versa), and it gives me extra room to store stuff. I can practically back right up to my table saw with a pickup truck full of plywood and slide the sheets off the bed of the truck right into my saw. As far as temperature, I have a small electric heater for the winter, the garage door is well insulated, and the combination of being mostly underground, and a central air duct running through the middle that leaks a little it hasn’t gotten any hotter than 75 degrees F, 70% relative humidity… even on a humid, 95 degree plus day (as long as I keep the door closed). The only problem I have is with all my machines, shop tables, fixtures, and a bench..there isn’t a heck of allot of room left over…and I haven’t even finished buying tools yet!


View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3914 days

#19 posted 07-24-2010 02:12 AM

Rich –
400 square feet is the minimum…..... You have to give us guys a little more credit than that. My shop is 160 square feet. I do just fine, thank you.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3071 days

#20 posted 07-24-2010 02:27 AM

Get an old refridgerator and put a light bulb in it. That will keep your glues and paints from freezing in the winter.

-- Life is good.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3131 days

#21 posted 07-24-2010 02:49 AM

I vote for the garage. Sounds like all you need to do would be to tie into the house system to keep from freezing or getting to hot. All my shops have been climate controlled, never know when I want to play and its always comfortable.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3322 days

#22 posted 07-24-2010 02:53 AM

I vote for the garage. Sounds like all you need to do would be to tie into the house system to keep from freezing or getting to hot.

Why do I have the impression that you can’t (the easy way) do that—that there’s a big fire code no-no that you have to work around ?

I think my brother (Generally Smart Guy) told me that….

Anybody ??

-- -- Neil

View Manado's profile


6 posts in 3229 days

#23 posted 07-24-2010 03:18 AM

What is the basement access situation? Walkout? Bulkhead? Stairway only?

If you have decent access I would lean toward the basement, for temperature/humidity controll reasons. While you can certainly tie into your home’s system to provide heating/cooling for the garage, that big door to the outside is a giant liability. No amount of caulking, or blowing insulation is going to keep that baby from leaking lots of heat in the winter.

I would take the money you would have put into insulating and tying into the heat in the garage , and put it into dust collection, de-humidification, and renovation of the basement.

View RedOakRomance's profile


11 posts in 3020 days

#24 posted 07-25-2010 01:32 AM

I had a chance to walk through the house again yesterday and access to the basement is a bit of a pain. The door is just off the kitchen, so lumber and other supplies would have to be lugged through the front hallway and down into the basement. The basement is a little bigger than I remembered and a wall that I though was permanent was concrete was just a partition wall that could easily be removed, adding a little more space/flow.

As far as dust collection, I have an air filter and 1 1/2 hp collector, so whether in the basement or garage, dust should be pretty well held in check. I just bought a Jet Xacta Deluxe cabinet saw and it’d be nice to not have to lug that into the basement. My wife’s vote is for the garage, as we’ve never parked inside our current garage (it’s detached) and with us now having kids, she’d rather the finishing work not be done in the basement.

Thanks again for all your help!

-- "Life is good..."

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3263 days

#25 posted 07-25-2010 02:49 AM

good luck with the new shop building

View Ger21's profile


1075 posts in 3279 days

#26 posted 07-25-2010 03:20 AM

I bring my glue and water based finishes in the house in the winter, so I don’t have to keep the garage heated all winter. With a good gas heater, even on the coldest days, it’s warm enough to work in in 15 minutes.

-- Gerry,

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3821 days

#27 posted 07-25-2010 03:23 AM

I would rather have a garage shop.

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3343 days

#28 posted 07-25-2010 04:05 AM

I spent a couple hundred insulating my garage walls and ceiling. I also put foam insulation strips around the garage and kept the door closed all winter. If you have a non-insulated garage door, they sell insulation to fit those as well.

I used an electric heater in there 24/7 this past winter which added about a $100/month to my heating bills so I don’t think I’ll be doing it again. The furnace is on the other side of the interior door of the garage, so I may see about adding a new vent to the garage that only takes a portion of the air to make sure it still gets to the rest of the house. The summer though I’m using two fans, so I’m hoping venting a/c as well soon.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3836 days

#29 posted 07-25-2010 05:42 AM

I really enjoy my climate controlled basement , even though I have to deal with the washer / dryer / water heater / furnace …not a speck of rust on any of my tools down there , but the ones I keep in my garage are a different story : (

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4041 days

#30 posted 07-25-2010 05:53 AM

I hate basements. Geographically situated to “bury” shit, be it old lamps, rags, wool, kinitting needles and freaky “dolls” where the wife holds the “pin” poke you like some sacrarificial cushion of a doll

a “garage”

hands down

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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