LumberJocks

Garage shop advice

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by jtrz posted 08-17-2018 04:09 PM 594 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jtrz's profile

jtrz

159 posts in 1294 days


08-17-2018 04:09 PM

So I am going to be moving in the next month or so and will actually have the opportunity to setup a somewhat real wood shop. At first I thought I had a few options for shop placement because the house has a detached two car garage and a basement. The basement isn’t really an option thought because it isn’t a walkout and the stairs are narrow making moving even my Ridgid contractor table saw down there impossible.

So it’s the garage but I am going to need to put some work into it. I’m taking over the house from my aunt who is moving so I am very familiar with this garage because I have done repairs on it over the years. It’s an old wood framed and siding garage (probably from the 40’s or 50’s) but it doesn’t have any sheathing. Just siding nailed to the 2×4’s and the siding was in bad shape when I worked on it before (I replaced the worst of it) so I am sure that hasn’t gotten any better. Obviously no drywall and it just has cross ties so no ceiling.

Obviously, it’s detached so it doesn’t have a heat source or insulation and winter isn’t too far off and I would like to be able to work in there this winter. I’m also not sure about storing wood because even with a heater that I might use when I am in there I can’t afford to heat it night and day. The wood shop I first got a chance to work in wasn’t heated at night but was used enough that it only occasionally got super cold or hot. Even so, wood that I had jointed and planed wouldn’t necessarily be that way when I got to the shop the next day.

Along with heating, security is a bit of a concern. It isn’t a bad neighborhood by any means but a garage with a bunch of power tools will always be enticing to someone. It has two garage doors and one regular hinged door. The buttons for the garage door are on the outside so I either need to move or disable those and get a remote opener or maybe a code pad for the opener. I don’t have any super expensive equipment as I am still a novice but it would be a major setback if all my power tools suddenly disappeared.

I don’t know what the electrical situation is off hand but I would imagine it is two or three 110 volt outlets at best. I don’t have any tools that must use 220 volt but I want to make sure I have enough power for future additions, like a dust collection system, hopefully a decent band saw and, as long as I’m dreaming, a nice table saw.

So who has a detached garage shop and what have you done to address the issues that come with it? I am definitely on a budget so I need to be smart about what I do first. What are the priority items that I can do initially just to get me operational?

I am thinking, for starters, I will throw up some batt insulation in the walls and roof, maybe nail up some cheap plywood inside and get a remote opener for the garage doors. That will be probably max my budget for the time being.

Any advice or thoughts are always appreciated. Thanks

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky


12 replies so far

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3173 posts in 3351 days


#1 posted 08-17-2018 04:53 PM

Good luck. That garage sounds exactly like my mom’s garage. Hers should probably be torn down and start over but that won’t be happening any time soon.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View moke's profile

moke

1229 posts in 2897 days


#2 posted 08-17-2018 05:56 PM

Jtrz-
I built a stand alone 3 1/2 stall 14 years ago…I immediately installed an old forced air furnace. It has really done the trick for me. Im not saying its the answer for everyone, but it has worked well for me. I just had a plenum made and a short run, which I blow out once every couple years or so, and really doesn’t have much dust in it. I leave it at 45 degrees all winter long and it cost me about 20 to 25 dollars a month…it’s not as much as you think. What is does do is allow me to store and keep all my chemicals and paints in there and never let it freeze. Also if your tools freeze and warm a lot that promotes rust. Even if you wax or oil them there will be rust where you can’t get to…...whatever you you install for heat, make sure it is safe too leave at low temps and on continually.
Most garage doors can not fitted with a sliding dead bolt. Then dead bolt the service door too…that should solve that problem.
I have been doing ww for 35 years now and building up my tools a little at a time…...set goals…fixate on that end and accomplish it and move on. Have a plan, but don’t be so rigid you can’t skip ahead if a good buy comes along. I started with so so tools and have steadily replaced them as time goes on…..I always say I started with “C” and “D” tools and worked my way up. It worked for me. I have a friend that would only buy powermatic or similar tools or nothing…...hes now 63 and just got his first bandsaw and router table about 3 years ago…...his tools are nice…..if you want to wait.
Just my .02…..
Good luck, keep us in the loop!

-- Mike

View KenofShelby's profile

KenofShelby

3 posts in 38 days


#3 posted 08-17-2018 06:11 PM

I have a detached garage, two stall with another 16’ for a work shop,,, I put a raised wood floor in, just used rough sawn pine, insulated the walls, and am finishing putting R-30 in the ceiling,,,have a pellet stove which kept it above freezing all last winters with just 4” foam insulation in the ceiling and R’16 on the walls. Sounds like you don’t have room for that, but if you are going to use both stalls for a shop, it will work fine, after lots of prep work.

View GrantA's profile

GrantA

401 posts in 1528 days


#4 posted 08-17-2018 07:38 PM

As much as I hate the thought of no exterior access I’d think hard about the basement. Remember the contractor saw comes off the stand and 2 people could easily carry the top half down stairs.
If you’re planning on making mostly small items and don’t need full sheets of plywood or 12ft+ lumber it could be a nice work space.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

2397 posts in 1508 days


#5 posted 08-17-2018 07:41 PM

Think about insulating the garage door too. That can make a big difference. Adding some weatherstripping around the sides and top of the garage door helps quite a bit too. I added the weatherstrip that last winter and it improved my temp at least 10 degrees overnight while the heater was off. When you put up the plywood walls, you might want to caulk around them to reduce air leakage there as well.

I use a portable rollaround A/C & Heater unit to cool and heat my garage workshop and the added steps to seal the door has made it much more comfortable in there in both the winter and summer.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View KenofShelby's profile

KenofShelby

3 posts in 38 days


#6 posted 08-17-2018 07:45 PM

Good point about insulating the garage doors, they can be a big source of heat loss.

View jtrz's profile

jtrz

159 posts in 1294 days


#7 posted 08-17-2018 08:26 PM

Thanks everyone.


I have a detached garage, two stall with another 16’ for a work shop,,, I put a raised wood floor in, just used rough sawn pine, insulated the walls, and am finishing putting R-30 in the ceiling,,,have a pellet stove which kept it above freezing all last winters with just 4” foam insulation in the ceiling and R’16 on the walls. Sounds like you don’t have room for that, but if you are going to use both stalls for a shop, it will work fine, after lots of prep work.

- KenofShelby

Would love to have something other than a slab on grade but putting a raised floor in just ain’t happening with this garage shop. Pellet stove is something I’ve been thinking about as an option.


As much as I hate the thought of no exterior access I d think hard about the basement. Remember the contractor saw comes off the stand and 2 people could easily carry the top half down stairs.
If you re planning on making mostly small items and don t need full sheets of plywood or 12ft+ lumber it could be a nice work space.

- GrantA

You would really hate the thought of this no access basement. Size and layout wise it would be perfect but the stairs aren’t just narrow, the door to them opens on the side of the landing at the top so you have to deal with turning a corner. The landing is super small as well. It’s an older house and none of the stairs in this house comply with any code now on the books.


Think about insulating the garage door too. That can make a big difference. Adding some weatherstripping around the sides and top of the garage door helps quite a bit too. I added the weatherstrip that last winter and it improved my temp at least 10 degrees overnight while the heater was off. When you put up the plywood walls, you might want to caulk around them to reduce air leakage there as well.

I use a portable rollaround A/C & Heater unit to cool and heat my garage workshop and the added steps to seal the door has made it much more comfortable in there in both the winter and summer.

- Lazyman

Totally right about weatherstripping the doors. I’ll do that to the regular door and the window as well.

I think I can get OSB for cheaper than plywood. I can’t think of any reason why it would matter all that much which one I use. The R-value for both is probably negligible. Whatever works and is cheap is what I’m looking for.

I was actually thinking about adding some plastic sheeting after I install the insulation. As a vapor barrier and to minimize air leaks. I am trying to work it out in my head if that will help with condensation in the wall cavity or cause condensation. Especially, because there isn’t any sheathing.

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

2397 posts in 1508 days


#8 posted 08-17-2018 09:02 PM

There is lots of debate about vapor barriers—whether you need them in your area and which side of the insulation you put them on. In your situation, where it sounds like the siding could be less than watertight, you need to make sure that whatever you do, it doesn’t make that situation worse. Unfortunately, most information is related to new construction so it may be hard to find any definitive information about the best approach. Short of removing the siding and adding the appropriate vapor retarder under the siding, the key may be just to make sure you get good airflow through the wall so that any moisture that gets into the wall dries quickly or has a place to go. What I know is from the confusing research I have done online so take that with a grain of salt. I am certainly no expert.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View sepeck's profile

sepeck

351 posts in 2261 days


#9 posted 08-17-2018 10:02 PM

While your walls are open, vapor barrier and insulate (see locals for best custom in your area – mentioned above).
Insulate the garage door, it helps with sound and door rigidity. (mentioned above)
Seriously think about your electrical needs and future additions. You probably don’t need 10 circuits. You don’t need every power tool on a dedicated circuit because you’re not a production shop so you’re not likely to be running your tools in parallel. Maybe something dedicated if you are planning on a dust collector at some point in the financially secure future. It’s easier to run wires or conduit now rather then after the walls are boarded up. (Note I hate OSB but that’s me and it’s not rational)
Jay Bates did a video on what he did for HVAC which would be a good review for you since it may not be as much as you think ( https://jayscustomcreations.com/2017/02/workshop-heating-cooling/ ) or it might be.

Don’t be in a rush. It’s already late in the year so unless you have a seriously awesome reason, then don’t stock up on a ton of wood yet. Presumably you will be here for a while so theirs plenty of time to learn you don’t need a massive stockpile at home for 60% of the projects you will do at this time (unless you are drying it, then go for it, ah crap, no heat :).

-- -Steven Peck, http://www.blkmtn.org

View clin's profile

clin

920 posts in 1116 days


#10 posted 08-17-2018 10:41 PM

I second or third the idea of properly insulating. As mentioned, vapor barriers are not a one size fits all thing. There is no perfect vapor barrier solution. Sometimes no vapor barrier is the best. Most are designed for what works for most of the time throughout the seasons in your area.

I would talk with local experts. Given that your exterior siding is probably not very air tight, I would think that would be a factor in how you approach this. I would be prepared to pull all the siding off, if that’s what it takes to do it up right. Assuming most of the siding can be reused, this would be more work, but perhaps not much money.

For the interior, I think plywood may be better than OSB. With something like 3/4” plywood you have a nice strong surface where you can screw anything you want, wherever you want. I.E., you don’t need studs except maybe for something like wall cabinets. OSB isn’t as strong.

Definitely think through your electrical needs. Wire is a modest expense. Definitely put in 240 V, or at least run the wires for it to wherever you might one day place a sub-panel. You may want 240 V for larger machines as well as dust collection some day. This is trivial to do now with the wall open.

I don’t there is such a thing as too much light. So I’d put in twice as much light as you think you will need. If you’re young, put in 4 times as much. Paint the interior a bright white or similar very light color. This again will help with lighting. In my case, my shop rivals an operating room brightness.

Something to consider is replacing the roll-up garage door(s) with more conventional doors. In my case, I converted a 3rd garage bay to a shop. I took the old garage door panels, cut them in half and built them into two large 4 foot wide doors that are about 4” thick. I did this so these new doors would match the other garage bay door. That probably wouldn’t be needed in your case. But the point is these doors are thick and well insulated and actually have two forms of weather stripping on them. So they are about equal to a wall made with 2×4’s.

-- Clin

View jtrz's profile

jtrz

159 posts in 1294 days


#11 posted 08-17-2018 10:48 PM

I’m in Louisville, kY and moisture is definitely something to think about especially in the summer because it can get really humid here. But, other than a big shop fan, I don’t think I’ll be cooling it in the summer and that is the time to worry about I think. The wood siding is far from air tight so as long as I keep the faced side of the insulation facing inside against the vapor barrier it should prevent the insulation from getting wet and allow enough air to circulate inside the wall to dry it out.

And in the winter I’ll only be heating it when I’m in there, not all day and night like if it was a house. So the difference in temperature between the outside and the inside will be more often close to the same so that doesn’t give a lot of time for condensation to accumulate. I think I’ll get the walls insulated and carefully put up some thick plastic sheathing and maybe tape up the seams. Then I’ll just kind of keep an eye on it as I slowly put up the OSB.

As far as the electrical, I will be asking some more detailed questions on here about that a bit later. I won’t need a lot because it’s just a small shop and other than running a dust collector, it’ll just be one tool at a time. I just want to make sure that I have enough light and enough outlets so I don’t have extension cords running all over the place.

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

304 posts in 1223 days


#12 posted 08-19-2018 01:52 AM

While I’m not a lover of basements for shops, they do have advantages. And, it appears that you have a lot of work and expense ahead to get the garage functional. Have you considered building a exterior access to the basement. While I haven’t done it, it doesn’t seem like it would be very difficult or expensive (compared to fixing up the garage):
Dig a hole, build a pair of wing walls, steps, and a steel lockable set of pull-up doors.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com