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Basement shop or garage shop?

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Forum topic by ChuckC posted 11-01-2011 11:28 PM 2668 views 0 times favorited 47 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ChuckC

714 posts in 1659 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

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Elizabeth

811 posts in 1867 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.

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MoshupTrail

298 posts in 1204 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.

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John's Woodshop

347 posts in 2740 days


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

Well,

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.

John

-- John -- Racine, WI -- Woodworking..."It's not just a Hobby, it's an Adventure"

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Mark E.

381 posts in 2466 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

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crank49

3481 posts in 1694 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.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

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hairy

2098 posts in 2256 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.

-- in the confusion, I mighta grabbed the gold ...

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flippedcracker

91 posts in 1177 days


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

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

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richgreer

4525 posts in 1798 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.

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Tennwood

103 posts in 1905 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"

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drbyte

583 posts in 2786 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

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StumpyNubs

6259 posts in 1524 days


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

I have a basement shop under the garage.

That’s not true…

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

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helluvawreck

15983 posts in 1590 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.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3541 posts in 2684 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!
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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JohnL

33 posts in 1592 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.

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dbhost

5386 posts in 1956 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…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

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