Garage or Basement Shop?

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Forum topic by RedOakRomance posted 07-23-2010 04:02 AM 1832 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 2992 days

07-23-2010 04:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

My wife and I are moving to a new house. My shop is currently in my basement and I have a great amount of space because it’s a ranch-style house. My wife was very sweet while we were looking for houses and wanted to make sure I would have a good-sized shop. Nonetheless, the new house has a smaller basement. Putting a shop down there is doable, but the washer and dryer are near the main work area would be and it won’t be easy to close them off in a room (but I could probably figure something out). The other option is to put the shop in the garage, which is a 2 car attached garage. There’s drywall up, but I’m not sure if it’s insulated. I like the idea of having the shop there because I wouldn’t have to contend with the laundry, support posts, or a lack of lighting. It would be great to open the door in the spring and summer while I’m working too. However, I live just outside of Buffalo, NY, so winter is long and cold.

I’ve read some great stuff on here about heating solutions, and I’m glad there are some good options. My main concern is that I would have to keep the shop heated pretty consistently (even when I’m not in it) to avoid problems with glues and finishes, etc. For those of you who have garage shops in similar environments, does the problem coldness affect the integrity of your glue-ups and/or finishes? Does it cause problems with wood moving in unpredictable ways once the projects are moved into the house?


-- "Life is good..."

30 replies so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3818 days

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


View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3117 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 3162 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 3181 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 3046 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 2992 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

21117 posts in 3226 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 3236 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


2752 posts in 3653 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 3081 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 3136 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 3265 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 3195 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 3147 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 2996 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.

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