shop door dilemma

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Forum topic by MalcolmLaurel posted 03-20-2014 12:50 AM 1226 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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298 posts in 1589 days

03-20-2014 12:50 AM

Figured I’d break out to a new topic since the last one was mainly about the floor and foundation, and I’ve settled that… The issue now is the door.

This is a 12×20 shop attached to the back of my existing garage. Because I can’t afford to pour a slab, it will be a board floor elevated above grade on concrete filled sonotubes. This limits my ceiling height. Away from the side walls it’s no problem since it will be a cathedral ceiling with a structural ridge beam, but the side walls will be only 6’ high. That’s not a problem in and of itself, but I want an exterior door (there will, of course, be a door connecting it to the garage). I could put the door in the back wall, but my plan is for a full length workbench on that wall, with the RAS in the middle. I could have a hinged or removable section of the bench to access the door (it’s really just for getting big stuff in and out and for emergency access), but the back wall isn’t as convenient. If I put the door in the side wall, under the eaves, it will be slightly less than 6’ high. That’s not the end of the world, I’m not a tall guy, but seems kinda weird.

There will be windows at each end of the back wall, so I can slide stuff in that way (or rip really long boards). One thought is a ramp door, hinged on the bottom like some trailers, so I can easily roll projects or machinery in or out.


-- Malcolm Laurel -

16 replies so far

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2571 days

#1 posted 03-20-2014 01:00 AM

It sounds like you are adding two doors to a relatively small shop. Why not just keep the one going to the garage, make it a double door to facilitate moving machinery or taking out large finished projects, and forget about the exterior door? You will have windows as you say so you will have natural light and fresh air.

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


298 posts in 1589 days

#2 posted 03-20-2014 01:06 AM

That’s a thought, but the garage (which will also still be my metalworking shop) is usually so cluttered that easier access out the side of the shop would be nice.

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2937 days

#3 posted 03-20-2014 01:17 AM

Well, then put the side door in the back corner of the metal shop where there is more height. Then in the same corner put your door into the wood shop. You would just have to de-clutter the back corner of the metal shop.

View bbrewer's profile


43 posts in 1941 days

#4 posted 03-20-2014 01:25 AM

I copied this from the other thread as I didn’t see the jump.

Malcolm if you do the structural ridge you could do a side door by adding a dormer or perpendicular peak. It would also break up the exterior view of the roof line. All you would need to do is double up a couple of the rafters and cripple the ones in between with a header. I think the structural ridge and dormer also gives a good look on the inside.

-- Tom southern MI

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 1603 days

#5 posted 03-20-2014 01:54 AM

I would raise one roof up if your doing a structural ridge. Or you can split the roof like this
This would effectively give you more height and add a ton of light

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 2941 days

#6 posted 03-20-2014 03:09 AM

Idea posted by bbrewer sounds like a winner. Since you mention emergency exit as a primary need for second door, make one of the windows an emergency exit type window. In an RV, you flip handle to release pane and they open up hinged on top or side. Emergency window exit might not help with the moving in/out of large equipment.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2641 days

#7 posted 03-20-2014 03:18 AM

Make the door swing out and you would lose a bit of hanging space in the wall. As long as you can get the knob and turn it, push the door open then you could go under a bench if you had to do that. In an emergency speed might be needed. What if a fire started the front garage and wanted out in a hurry. I don’t air condition my shop so I added a full overhead garage door in a wall for air flow. Of course I have 2 doors in the opposite wall.

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


298 posts in 1589 days

#8 posted 03-20-2014 10:58 AM

A dormer or the split roof Greg proposed are interesting ideas, never thought of that, but it sounds like either one would add quite a lot of work compared to just extending the existing ridgeline. I’m going to be doing this alone, with some assistance from my daughter’s fiance. Cutting angles in metal roofing is a PITA, too.

No door in the wood shop? Hmmm… The door into the garage can’t be too large, as the garage also has a built in workbench along the back wall, as well as the furnace. If that was the only door, I’d need room for a ramp (even a temporary one) there. If it’s just a man door I only need one step. Plus depending on what I’m doing, there might be a non-running car blocking the side without the workbench, so I think I really need another door in the wood shop.

The loss of wall space is certainly an issue. I guess I don’t really need a ramp door, and one step outside the door makes the low height less of an issue… or I could cut away the floor inside the door and put the step there, making the door more normal height. But then I’d lose floor space… if it opened inward, and was of stout construction, I could actually have shelves mounted to the door, that might not be a bad idea if it’s not an everyday door. If that door is adjacent to the garage back wall, it makes it easy to get plywood and such in, as I expect lumber storage will be along the wall shared with the garage.

So many issues to think about. I guess that’s why architects make lots of money.

Today a guy from the power company is stopping buy to look at it as the electric service entrance and meter are in the middle of the garage back wall, so they have to move. I’ll probably upgrade to 200A service with a new main panel at the same time, only thing to decide is whether to move the meter to the garage side before starting or do something temporary with the new meter finally being on the back wall of the new shop (there are good arguments for both options).

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1914 days

#9 posted 03-20-2014 11:28 AM

you could just cut the door down to 6’. Steel doors are very easy to cut down with a circular saw. just peel the foam out and put the wood strip back in with some PL polyurethane, and clamps. Then file down any sharp edges.

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


298 posts in 1589 days

#10 posted 03-20-2014 11:37 AM

I’m not worried about making the door itself, whether I cut it down (I’ve done that before) or make it from scratch (done that too). It’s more a matter of what and where the door will be, and I’m starting to like the idea of a homemade door with shelves mounted to it.

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View bbrewer's profile


43 posts in 1941 days

#11 posted 03-20-2014 01:36 PM

An easy way for a dormer is just to reduce the pitch of the roof a couple inches for a small section. If you want a 3-0 door you could do the dormer at 4’ or 5’ wide and put it where two roof panels will fall. You still need to flash the sides of the dormer but very little panel cutting.

You can have your panels cut prior to delivery to save some of the onsite cutting, I hate cutting steel also.

-- Tom southern MI

View firefighterontheside's profile


17948 posts in 1822 days

#12 posted 03-20-2014 01:53 PM

I have basically the same situation as you. My shop is added to the back of my garage just per your drawing. My only advantage over you was that the garage walls were already 8’6”. I have shop end walls that are about 7’6”. I was going to do as you and put a door to the outside, but decided I didn’t need it. I have one 4’ door from garage into the shop. If you really need the door, I would do a simple shed dormer as was recommended earlier. It would also add a little character to the building. Otherwise I would put the door in the corner along the tall wall. If you can’t lose the counter space, make a portion of it hinged and open below.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View MrRon's profile


4718 posts in 3209 days

#13 posted 03-20-2014 05:57 PM

Can you raise the roof on your addition?

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


298 posts in 1589 days

#14 posted 03-20-2014 09:36 PM

I could raise the roof or add a dormer, but life is so much simpler if I just extend the existing roof line, no issues with flashing, half walls, etc. In my experience short walls adjacent to and above a roof are just asking for rot and/or leaks, I’d rather have a single unobstructed roof.

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View Woodknack's profile


11478 posts in 2346 days

#15 posted 03-20-2014 09:53 PM

A stubby door could be an annoyance for years vs. a few hours extra work for a dormer.

As for the type of door, I’m partial to Dutch barn doors, nice and wide—36” minimum. Open the top to let in the breeze while keeping critters and kids out. Or a regular wide barn door if critters and kids aren’t an issue.

-- Rick M,

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

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