Basement shop or garage shop?

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Forum topic by ChuckC posted 11-01-2011 11:28 PM 3538 views 0 times favorited 47 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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828 posts in 2931 days

11-01-2011 11:28 PM

I’ve always liked the fact that my garage was my shop. It’s easy to get tools and materials in and I don’t have to worry about rattling the house when I turn something on. Plus, the leaf blower makes quick work of “dusting”!

However, when fall come around and the temperature dips I envy those who have basement shops. For me, I don’t have a choice since I don’t have a basement but I was wondering how everyone else felt about the topic? Why did you choose one over the other? What do you prefer?

47 replies so far

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3139 days

#1 posted 11-01-2011 11:36 PM

I chose a garage shop. Our house doesn’t have a basement but we had shop location in mind when choosing our house a couple of years ago. The effort involved in getting my table saw and 8” jointer into the shop proved that it was the right decision for me, let alone any other factors!

I do like that I can make noise or dust and not have it leak into the main house (it’s a detached garage). It does get cold in winter but there’s an electric heater on the side and after running that for a few minutes things get toasty.

View MoshupTrail's profile


304 posts in 2476 days

#2 posted 11-01-2011 11:42 PM

Oh yes, garage. You can insulate the garage. You can get stuff in and out easily. No contest.

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

View Belle City Woodworking's profile

Belle City Woodworking

355 posts in 4012 days

#3 posted 11-01-2011 11:49 PM


I happen to be a basement kinda guy. It is limiting on the size of pieces you can build but let’s face it, what we build usually has to fit through someones door :) I have had my shop in an out building, in the basement, and then in an attached garage, and I am moving back to the basement! The basement space by far was the most comfortable and relaxing of the spaces. I don’t have to share it with the lawn mower, trash cans, lawn chairs, garden hoses, and bicycles. If I build a piece too big for the doorway, I will assemble it in the Garage and then deliver it. it basically comes down to each his own. But this works for me.


-- Formerly known as John's Woodshop - and NO not the one from Ohio!

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Mark E.

387 posts in 3738 days

#4 posted 11-02-2011 12:02 AM

My shop was in the basement in our house in New Hampshire. But, the house was on a hill and the basement had a sliding door at ground level for access. It had plumbing and heat. Didn’t like the concrete floors, tough on my legs.

We moved to North Carolina and my shop was in the 2 car garage. No basement in this house. Not bad, but I had to share the space with yard equipment and basic storage. And still on concrete floor.

We ended up building a detached ‘storage building’, ~22×25 and 1.5 stories. It is built on a crawl space. Finally got wood floors to walk on. The building is fully insulated, including R30 between the shop and the room upstairs. We have a through the wall heating/cooling unit on each floor. I like this shop the best so far. I wish I had plumbing out there, but it is a short walk to the house.

To answer your original post, I preferred the basement shop to the garage shop for a number of reasons.

-- Mark

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2966 days

#5 posted 11-02-2011 12:10 AM

Basement for me.

But, my lot slopes so that my basement garage is ground level for that end of the house.

Then I added a double door between the garage and the rest of the basement, which is my shop.

Well actuall you can’t get a car in the garage either because of bicycles, kayaks, mowers, wood storage and my welding/mechanical shop. I also reduce sheet material to size, and do finishing in the garage.

View hairy's profile


2701 posts in 3528 days

#6 posted 11-02-2011 12:49 AM

Why not both?
I have a tablesaw, planer , jointer and dust collector in the garage. Everything else is in the basement.
A lot depends on your projects. I don’t do large projects.
If you move into the basement, take a good look at your steps first. I added more supports.

-- My reality check bounced...

View flippedcracker's profile


91 posts in 2449 days

#7 posted 11-02-2011 01:15 AM

i live in california, therefore i don’t have a basement. pretty easy decision.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3070 days

#8 posted 11-02-2011 01:28 AM

My previous shop was a garage shop and now i have a basement shop and I much prefer the basement shop. In my case, we have a walk out basement and I can drive around to the back of the house and down to the basement level easily. We also have a staircase from the basement directly up to the garage.

I really like working in a shop with air conditioning and heat. The shop is comfortable year round.

There are 2 downsides to a basement shop, dust and noise. I try pretty hard to keep the dust under control with a dust collector and an air filtration system. In my opinion, I do a pretty good job of dust control. My wife may disagree a little (but not much). With respect to noise, there is only so much you can do. For the most part, my wife is understanding and I appreciate that.

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

View Tennwood's profile


112 posts in 3177 days

#9 posted 11-02-2011 02:08 AM

I have had both and prefer my current basement shop over the garage. It is nice not having to move the cars outside and pull everything out from their hiding spots as the bikes, yard equipment, etc. is falling on me.

My basement is fully underground, but when we built, I had a storm door (Bilco style door) lead into the shop. Getting the heavy stuff like the table saw and joiner was a pain and the table saw may just be a permanent fixture after I am dead and gone.

I agree with Rich on the two down sides (and totally agree with having an understanding wife) and add one more downside, I need more space. I under-designed my space and am paying for it, and there is no where to expand out.

When I hit the lottery, a dedicated LARGE shop building will be high on the list.

-- Jim, SE Tennessee, "Don't spare the kindling Dear, we have plenty"

View drbyte's profile


796 posts in 4058 days

#10 posted 11-02-2011 03:44 PM

I like my basement shop, warm and toasty in the winter, cool in the summer. Getting the 300# metal lathe down there was a real challenge but I did it. Like Tennwood said, it may be a permanent fixture! If I build a large bookcase or other project, I do final assembly in the garage but most of the actual work in the basement.

-- Dennis, WV

View StumpyNubs's profile


7590 posts in 2796 days

#11 posted 11-02-2011 03:51 PM

I have a basement shop under the garage.

That’s not true…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View helluvawreck's profile


31044 posts in 2862 days

#12 posted 11-02-2011 03:51 PM

I have a carport attached to the house that I enclosed with a small sub panel. If I had my preferences I would have an exterior dedicated building for a shop with it’s own dedicated electrical service or a sub panel from the house service. Many basement shops have some problems that they are prone to as far as I’m concerned. However, a basement shop is better than no shop.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4929 posts in 3956 days

#13 posted 11-02-2011 03:57 PM

My shop is at ground level attached to the house/garage. Insulated, cvt floor, ceiling fans, and oil filled radiator(s) for heat. Plenty of elec/computer wiring, thermal doors and windows. Love it ‘cause it is fully accesable for tools and materials. I’m lucky. No excess moisture to fight. Sweet!


View JohnL's profile


33 posts in 2864 days

#14 posted 11-02-2011 04:29 PM

I would love to have my shop in my basement, but the location of the stairs limits the size of the wood to the point where I’d still need a selection of tools in the garage to cut pieces down to size. Width is my issue, as I do have an egress window in the basement where I could get long pieces in, but not long and wide. The stairs have too much of a bend at the top to allow long/wide boards in. I think I could just barely get a 4×8 sheet of ply in, but getting a piece of furniture, canoe or kayak out would be a huge issue.

So, with all that said…
If stairs/windows don’t limit your ability to get things into (or out of), then I’d say go for the comfort of your basement, otherwise stick to the garage.

-- I'm looking forward to regretting this.

View dbhost's profile


5710 posts in 3228 days

#15 posted 11-02-2011 04:46 PM

I haven’t lived in a home with a basement for over 30 years, so the point is probably moot. However as I remember basement stairs usually are narrow, and somewhat steep, basements tend to the damp side of things etc…

Honestly, if I had the land and the cash to do it, I would build a stand alone dedicated shop, kind of an extra garage, but with proper insulation, power and HVAC. But if I had to chose between basement or garage, Garage would win out every single time…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

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