First Post Question On Heating The Shop

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Forum topic by MikeBeee posted 10-20-2015 01:57 AM 1087 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 368 days

10-20-2015 01:57 AM

What’s up guys! This is my first post so don’t be too hard on me if this is a common question. I have a 12’x20’ workshop that I’m trying to heat. The walls are already covered with pegboard with no insulation. Although the ceilings are 8’ but its just rafters would it be worth the money to insulate the ceiling and make a full loft? In addition I use a standard space heater and an Eden Pure infrared heater but it doesn’t seem to help much so if anyone has any others heaters they could recommend the advice would me much appreciated! Thanks in advance!

27 replies so far

View mmax's profile


177 posts in 2873 days

#1 posted 10-20-2015 02:10 AM

Where are you located?

-- Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else

View TinWhiskers's profile


179 posts in 370 days

#2 posted 10-20-2015 02:20 AM

I spent 5K insulating. Firm believer in insulating. Would be surprised if you would want to heat it to let varnish dry.

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David Taylor

326 posts in 505 days

#3 posted 10-20-2015 02:24 AM

If you’re asking about heat I assume you’re somewhere where there is actual winter. (I lived in AL for a number of years, never did see a winter there – now I am back in New England we are back to real winters!)

In any case to your question – I think you will find the heaters you have more up to the task with insulation – it’s amazing the difference if you can just keep the heat in. Without it, anything your heaters are generating is just going right out of the building so it seems much more like they don’t seem to help much.

I am still building my shop, and got the ceiling insulated in the last week or so and already the difference is amazing even without doing the walls yet. I bought a Heat Storm Mojave which did nearly nothing at first while I was getting the insulation up into the ceiling, since I got that finished it brings up the 20×20 shop up from below 40 to over 50 degrees in a half hour. Just in a nick of time too, we got down into the 20’s last night!

-- Learn Relentlessly

View RCL's profile


3 posts in 368 days

#4 posted 10-20-2015 02:31 AM

Insulation is worth every penny you spend on it.Not only will it heat faster but it will retain heat shop is 24×30 and it was 16’ to the center and hard to heat.I put in the 4’x8’ sheets of styrofoam in the ceiling and covered the bottom of the rafters overhead with pressboard and put R-15 on it and the styrofoam on the walls and it heats up fairly quickly. I use a wood costs a little but it’s nice to stay warm.

-- RCL

View BurlyBob's profile


3456 posts in 1683 days

#5 posted 10-20-2015 04:11 AM

Is this your residence or are you renting? If it’s yours and your going to be there for any length of time, get it wired right, lighten right and hang a ceiling and button up the walls. You’ll find that more insulation in the ceiling is better. You’ll be able to keep it warm enough to work with a couple of milk house heaters no problem.

View clin's profile


485 posts in 414 days

#6 posted 10-20-2015 05:31 AM

Cheapest thing you can do is insulate. With insulation you can use a smaller, less expensive heater and won’t spend nearly as much on electricity or gas (or whatever fuel) you are using to heat with. Also, insulation will make it more comfortable in the summer as well.

While insulating the roof is most important, you really need to do the walls as well.

In addition to insulating, make sure to seal the building with caulk and weather stripping. Also, a single window can be more heat loss than an entire (insulated) wall. If the windows aren’t double glassed, add a storm window or just go old school and staple clear plastic over the window leaving a small gap between the plastic and glass.

Just took a quick look at R19 wall insulation, and it was about $0.50 a sq ft for the first thing I saw on the Lowes website. The OPs space has about 500 sq ft of walls, needing about $250 for the walls. Roof would be a bit more than 240 sq ft with R30 would still be less than $1 a sq ft. So for less than $500 in materials, you could insulate the place.

Finally don’t forget about the floor. If it is a concrete slab, a lot of heat loss can occur through the edge of the slab if the slab is not insulated. Usually this is foam board extending down 3 feet or so or wrapped under the edge of the slab by 3 feet or so. this of course is done before the slab is poured. Adding a wood floor, perhaps over sleepers with insulation between, can help a lot as well.

It’s a bit to spend up front, but you’ll be much more comfortable and it will be much cheaper to heat the place.

Hardest part of your job might be removing the pegboard to get at the walls. But it would be well worth the effort.

-- Clin

View BenjaminNY's profile


48 posts in 820 days

#7 posted 10-20-2015 10:31 AM

I put rigid foam and sleepers on the floor with plywood over it and insulated the ceiling and the walls with fiberglass batts.

What a difference. Like night and day.

View patron's profile


13524 posts in 2759 days

#8 posted 10-20-2015 10:50 AM

pay for it once

pay for it forever

both together
saves money and health

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View canadianchips's profile


2307 posts in 2415 days

#9 posted 10-20-2015 11:03 AM

Insulation will help dramatically !
Tear the pegboard OFF the walls and insulate walls too.
I wouldnt bother with loft, you don,t have enough ceiling height with 8 ft walls.
If you can make cathedral ceiling .
Warm in winter and cool in summer.

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

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

21522 posts in 1756 days

#10 posted 10-20-2015 11:09 AM

Welcome to Lumberjocks. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3839 posts in 1911 days

#11 posted 10-20-2015 11:20 AM

There’s a few important questions in the earlier posts, specifically location and ownership…but generally insulating first (and a lot) is always best. 12×20 can be heated fairly easily once it’s insulated…unless you live in above the Arctic circle.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View johnstoneb's profile


2104 posts in 1590 days

#12 posted 10-20-2015 01:21 PM

Insulate ceiling and walls. No insulation = no heat. Once it is insulated you will be able to heat that space with one of those heaters.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 594 days

#13 posted 10-20-2015 02:03 PM

Welcome to LumberJocks! You will find plenty of useful and sometimes conflicting information here.

If you rent try approaching the owner with the idea of you providing the labor and the owner provide materials to insulate. You will have a better shop and save money in heating / cooling. The owner will have an improved property. Maybe he could even raise the rent for the next renter. If you use this approach get everything in writing.

If you add studs and insulation consider using plywood instead of drywall. Plywood will hold a cabinet or simply a screw to hang stuff better than drywall will. Adding studs and insulation on the inside will decrease your available space.

You should also consider electrical. Will you need additional outlets? Will you have a tool that needs 240 volts? How about lighting?

As far as heating, I have tried oil filled electric radiators, electric heaters (with exposed hot heating wire), and propane (the ones that don’t vent outside). Finally, I broke down and installed a Mitsubishi ductless heat pump. So far it kept the shop cool this summer, still waiting on the winter. Installed this system was about $3000.

A friend has a wood burning stove in his shop. I never trusted it.

Good Luck. Let us know how it turns out.

P.S. as others have mentioned you could get better results if you include your location.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1006 posts in 993 days

#14 posted 10-20-2015 02:47 PM

I agree with clin,as someone that used to insulate for a living(nasty job).It won’t cost anymore to buy insulation that a new heater and run all of them for a winter or two,plus it keeps the heat out as well on those hot summer days.
And installing insulation is hard at all you can learn the idea on you tube in ten mins.and all you need is a box cutter,and a staple gun. start with the ceiling if cost is a issue.I like the foam board with the silver paper on it for ceilings,You can almost lay it on the rafters or nail it from the underside (ceiling side) but batt is good too.they make the not itch stuff too.measure between the studs and the rafters batt comes in 16” and 24” width.

View Holbs's profile


1346 posts in 1447 days

#15 posted 10-23-2015 03:53 PM

I remember the days of trying to work in my 2 car garage that was not insulated while using a kerosene torpedo heater. I was much much younger then and could take it! (Ooopps… younger as in 2 years ago). For a economical heating source, I think torpedo heaters are king. Pro’s and Con’s to them, but the BTU they put out is unmatched. Once the heat is in your shop, now it’s upto insulation and sealing to keep it in. I slapped R-19 batts in my rafters. Made a HUGE difference. I have yet to do the walls themselves in my 20’x20’ garage. I am unsure what the ROI is if I use blown-in for the walls, but so far I haven’t a need. I’m in northern Nevada where winters only drop to 20 or 30 degrees at night.

-- Yes, my profile picture is of a Carpenter Bee! The name is derived from the Ancient Greek "wood-cutter"

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