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Forum topic by MikeDVB posted 08-21-2018 08:10 PM 900 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MikeDVB

180 posts in 1298 days


08-21-2018 08:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: basement garage hvac heating cooling

Currently I am using about 2 bays of my 3 bag in-insulated garage for my shop.

I don’t mind the heat and I don’t mind the cold personally but I’ve had a fair bit of tools get rusty over the last few years if I forgot to wax it due to the swings in temperature and humidity. I should be more on-top of it but to be honest I sometimes just forget – until I see something rusty.

I was considering insulating the walls and attic and putting in a mini split but it occurs to me that I have a 1,900 square foot basement that’s already heated and cooled. It was finished at one point long before I bought the house but that was ripped out due to it flooding while the house was foreclosed.

The primary issues keeping me from simply setting up the shop in the basement are:

1, The stairs. I hate stairs and the stairs to my basement are what I would describe as narrow and steep.

2. Dust – the basement is used to store other stuff – but I have this same issue in the garage.

3. No insulation between basement and upper floors – so no noise insulation either.

4. Did I mention stairs?

5. Potential for flooding – about 2 feet up the wall if sump is un-powered for extended periods of time.

Realistically anything I build I should be able to transport through the stairs so I would most likely want to keep an assembly table in the garage just to avoid having to negotiate up stairs with a finished product.

I wouldn’t be using the full 1900 square feet for the shop and would most likely want to build off a portion of the basement for it with a door or two. This would ideally be to keep sawdust in and off of everything else in the basement and would also give me a locking door to keep the kids out. I figure I can throw in some 2×4 walls pretty easily and sheath them but I don’t know about anchoring them to the concrete floor. I’m sure it’s doable but I would worry about cracking the floor.

The joists in the basement are exposed so adding some insulation between the basement shop and the living area would likely be easy enough.

All in all it’ll be “easier” to stick with less space in the garage and no heat/cooling but it would be cheaper to have the shop in the basement for HVAC.

I’m really on the fence – mostly because I freakin’ hate stairs.

The basement does have a sump pump that runs year around – obviously more when it’s raining. It does take quite a while for the basement to start to flood – which has never happened while I’ve lived there – but there are water marks on the concrete walls where it’s happened. About the only things that could suffer as a result of this would be the power tools as all of the hand tools are stored up above that maximum line. I do carry flood insurance but still – would prefer not to have anything damaged by water – which seems to be a danger of using a basement.

-- Mike


19 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

6159 posts in 1255 days


#1 posted 08-21-2018 08:18 PM

If it were me, there is no way I’d want to have to go up and down stairs every time I went to the shop or to have to move tools, lumber, etc. up and down “narrow and steep” stairs. Even if it gave me double the space, I think I’d be 1/2 as happy with it. My garage is part of my basement so there’s a man door and 2 bay doors which suits me fine. There is no heat or AC but it is insulated. It’s still uncomfortable in the hottest part of summer or the coldest part of winter. But, I use a kerosene heater in the winter and occasionally turn a fan on in the summer.

I would also HATE having my assembly area in the garage and all my tools in the basement. If it were me, I’d sacrifice the space and the HVAC. Just my $.02 though…

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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MikeDVB

180 posts in 1298 days


#2 posted 08-21-2018 08:25 PM


If it were me, there is no way I d want to have to go up and down stairs every time I went to the shop or to have to move tools, lumber, etc. up and down “narrow and steep” stairs.
That’s basically where I’ve stood on this the whole time thus far – but I’m considering insulating the walls in the garage [door is already insulated] and throwing up some 1/2” OSB Sheathing and blowing in insulation in the attic for it mostly just to help with the temperature swings.

The temp swings / humidity is what has been causing my hand tools the most trouble – beyond me not remembering to always re-wax them when I’m done with them.

I was considering doing the insulation/sheathing in one step and then relying on a propane heater [I have a couple] + a de-humidifier to keep it above freezing and dry in the winter.

The reason I want HVAC is honestly not for me – but for the tools – I really only want to keep the temperature above 40~45*F in the winter. In the summer my primary goal is to keep humidity down – I am fine with it being warm or even hot.

Even if it gave me double the space, I think I d be 1/2 as happy with it. My garage is part of my basement so there s a man door and 2 bay doors which suits me fine.
I wish my basement had a walk-out or big door – then it’d be a no-brainer.

There is no heat or AC but it is insulated. It s still uncomfortable in the hottest part of summer or the coldest part of winter. But, I use a kerosene heater in the winter and occasionally turn a fan on in the summer.
Yeah I have a decent fan and a couple of propane heaters I’ve used in the past. Propane seems to put off a lot of moisture though.

I would also HATE having my assembly area in the garage and all my tools in the basement. If it were me, I d sacrifice the space and the HVAC. Just my $.02 though…
I don’t relish the idea of it – but I really want my tools to stay in good shape and I’m not perfect when it comes to remembering to give them a coating of wax. Usually I remember but the times I forget – the rust really pisses me off.

Having more space to work would be great – a dedicated space that I don’t have to share with anything else – but those stairs!

I don’t mind the hot and cold myself – I can deal with it – it’s the tools I want to keep in good shape. You would think it’d be cheaper/easier for me to just to remember to give them a quick waxing when I was done working but I don’t always remember to do it.

-- Mike

View Peteybadboy's profile

Peteybadboy

415 posts in 2066 days


#3 posted 08-21-2018 08:28 PM

I say garage. Stairs and the threat of flooding would make my decision. I put a split in my garage and love it.

-- Petey

View Breeze73's profile

Breeze73

94 posts in 797 days


#4 posted 08-21-2018 08:34 PM

I also vote the garage. If you do the insulation work yourself, you could then enclose the walls with reclaimed shiplap or T-111 siding. That would give you an added ability to attach anything to the walls nearly anyhere. Plus, I would imagine the cost do all of that yourself vs. hiring a pro would cost about the same, if not less. I put a minisplit into my 3-car garage a couple of years back and it has been a godsend. We park our 2 cars in the garage and it is so nice to jump into a 70 degree car in the wintertime when it used to be 25 degrees in there.

-- Breeze

View clin's profile

clin

919 posts in 1112 days


#5 posted 08-21-2018 09:00 PM

Since you seem to be fine giving up the use of the garage for cars, I’d go with the garage. Of course, it might be possible to add exterior access to the basement. You could dig it out and add access depending on the specifics of your house. And stairs can be made bigger.

But insulating your garage is easy as is adding heating and cooling. I converted one garage bay and added a mini-split. There are some DIY mini-splits available and save some money. Mini-splits are generally VERY efficient and if you insulate properly, probably the smallest one you can buy is still bigger than you’d need.

Mini-splits also are best to run 24/7. They are not like typical AC units that are usually grossly oversized that you kick on, just while your in there. They’re more like having a really small car engine that is just cruising all the time.

Another consideration is a utility sink. It’s nice to have this in a shop. So consider what it might take to add it in either location. In my garage, I was able to access the plumbing to a bathroom on the other side of a wall so that made it easy to do.

Just to help the decision, if your basement is tied into the heating and cooling of the house, this means that the dust you create in the shop will get distributed through the house. That’s not good. It’s not so much the dust you can see. It’s the very fine dust that is invisible that gets drawn deep into your lungs (and the family’s) and this is not stuff you cough up. The threat of course depends on how much and how often etc. But, it really doesn’t go away once it gets in your house.

Also, you will almost certainly want to do something about noise if you use the basement. So you’d be looking at sound proofing the ceiling. To do that well would likely cost more and be more work than insulating the garage.

Keep in mind that since your garage walls are open, now would be the time to add more electrical circuits and outlets. Some 240 V and so on.

Also, if this 2-bay garage is open to the 3rd bay, consider walling it off. That way if the other bay is being opened and closed daily, you aren’t letting all the air conditioned air out and letting the humidity in. Also, woodworking dust will not cover that part of the garage.

In my case, I walled off a 3rd bay from the other two. Fully insulated that wall and wired it. I wanted a better sealing and insulated door so, I removed the overhead garage door and replaced it with two large swinging doors. I cut the original garage door panels in half and fit them it to steel frames. Added a wood frame, insulated and then plywood on the inside. On the outside, the two doors look just like the original garage doors (because they are). Only thing different is the seam in the middle. but I didn’t put a latch or anything on the outside, just top and bottom bolts on the inside. Bottom line it blends in well with the house and the doors are about 4-5” thick and well insulated, weather sealed etc. So they are about as good as an insulated 2×4 wall would be.

-- Clin

View hokieman's profile

hokieman

189 posts in 3870 days


#6 posted 08-21-2018 11:57 PM

I had a basement shop once and while it was convenient, it was noisy for the rest of the house but more importantly it transferred dust to all other rooms. I now have the ultimate with a 16 by 22 detached shop with a split unit. I really like the split unit. I’d try and keep your shop separate from the living space, so I’d go with the split unit in the garage. Make sure your garage doors are insulated, though.

View MikeDVB's profile

MikeDVB

180 posts in 1298 days


#7 posted 08-23-2018 01:43 PM

I really would like to install a split unit with heat pump so it can do cooling in the summer and heating in the winter – but I’ve not had much luck finding pricing information. One of my cousins is a HVAC guy and did the furnace/AC for my mom’s house so I’ll probably give him a call and see what he thinks.

The garage as a whole is 660 square feet but 10ft tall. It shouldn’t cost too much to insulate it and I do plan on using 1/2” OSB instead of drywall – mostly so I can hang stuff wherever I want to.

I do plan on marking on the wall where all electrical wires are [so I don’t have to be concerned with that in the future when hanging stuff] and I do need to run a couple more power circuits.

I do plan on putting the sheathing up with screws instead of nails so that it can be taken down easily if I need to – such as to install a new circuit / replace a board / etc.

-- Mike

View Snipes's profile

Snipes

184 posts in 2361 days


#8 posted 08-23-2018 04:47 PM

Does it get cold in Indiana? I would do garage for sure. I have my garage insulated well and with no heat and it never freezes out there. A couple years back I added bath fan that pulls from basement where I have wood stove and that seems to help a lot.
Mini splits are real nice, we use them a lot in remodels.

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View MikeDVB's profile

MikeDVB

180 posts in 1298 days


#9 posted 08-23-2018 05:49 PM



Does it get cold in Indiana? I would do garage for sure. I have my garage insulated well and with no heat and it never freezes out there. A couple years back I added bath fan that pulls from basement where I have wood stove and that seems to help a lot.
Mini splits are real nice, we use them a lot in remodels.

- Snipes


It does get down into the single digits Fahrenheit, sometimes negative. Worst I’ve seen was -21.

-- Mike

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1163 posts in 2227 days


#10 posted 08-23-2018 06:20 PM


I figure I can throw in some 2×4 walls pretty easily and sheath them but I don’t know about anchoring them to the concrete floor. I’m sure it’s doable but I would worry about cracking the floor.

- MikeDVB

Use a treated 2×4 as your sole plate when framing. You can use PL400 to secure it to the floor. If you are worried about it moving while the adhesive sets, drill a hole in the plate and the concrete floor (1/8” is fine). Drive two nails into the hole. They will wedge in the concrete and hold it in place.

I accidentally put some pl400 down where a door opening needed to be cut away. Took a few very hard blows with a 6 pound sledge to remove it. It was the concrete that broke, not the glue.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View MikeDVB's profile

MikeDVB

180 posts in 1298 days


#11 posted 08-23-2018 06:25 PM

I figure I can throw in some 2×4 walls pretty easily and sheath them but I don’t know about anchoring them to the concrete floor. I’m sure it’s doable but I would worry about cracking the floor.

- MikeDVB

Use a treated 2×4 as your sole plate when framing. You can use PL400 to secure it to the floor. If you are worried about it moving while the adhesive sets, drill a hole in the plate and the concrete floor (1/8” is fine). Drive two nails into the hole. They will wedge in the concrete and hold it in place.

I accidentally put some pl400 down where a door opening needed to be cut away. Took a few very hard blows with a 6 pound sledge to remove it. It was the concrete that broke, not the glue.

- JADobson


Ideally I’d like to have the option to remove whatever I installed down the road – say I go to sell the house. I figure if I used a standard concrete anchor I could un-bolt the lower framing and then cut the anchor off flush with the concrete. Not sure how I’d remove adhesive without doing more damage to the concrete.

-- Mike

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1239 posts in 2877 days


#12 posted 08-23-2018 06:33 PM

One thing you may try is storing your tools in an air tight cabinet with a large bag of silica gel. Silica gel is a desiccant, meaning it absorbs moisture. You often find little packages of it in certain foods and in prescription containers. It is dirt cheap to purchase. Just Google “buy silica gel”.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1224 posts in 720 days


#13 posted 08-23-2018 10:09 PM

Didn’t notice that you listed any real “pros” to moving into the basement. :-) The narrow stairs would be a deal breaker for me.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Tony1212's profile

Tony1212

218 posts in 1851 days


#14 posted 08-24-2018 01:10 PM

I’m living on the south side of Chicago, not too far from Indiana. I insulated my 3 car garage and put up 1/2” OSB on all of the walls and ceiling (garage doors were already insulated). I got a ceiling mounted 220V electrical heater and a window unit AC.

During the winters, I’ve had no problem keeping the temp at around 65. Perfect for jeans and a flannel and allowing finishes and glue to dry. I’ve only had the window unit AC for this summer, which hasn’t been too hot, but the AC keeps it at about 70 in my shop – rather nice.

I thought about the mini split, but the heater was only $250 (already had the 220V for my table saw) and I found the window unit at a garage sale for $20. It would have cost me over $1,000 to run the gas pipe to a mini split.

The only thing that I’m not 100% happy with is the OSB walls that I painted white. I would have much rather gone with a wood look, but shiplap or anything other than cheap 70’s paneling was out of my budget.

If you want to see my shop, I have a youtube channel with a bunch of videos done in the shop.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View MikeDVB's profile

MikeDVB

180 posts in 1298 days


#15 posted 08-24-2018 02:04 PM

1/2” OSB painted white is my goal. Right now it’s just open studs and exterior sheathing.

I can’t do a window A/C unless I put a hole in the far wall for it. I do have two windows but the home owners association will not let me put in a window AC and the two windows face the street. The side wall faces away from the street so the only thing stopping me would be needing to put the hole and header in the wall – and then having to undo that to sell most likely when the time comes.

At least with a mini split I won’t have to worry about removing it to sell.

-- Mike

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