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ransom
ransom Reader
5/17/11 4:22 p.m.

I've never enjoyed digging a ditch so much in my life. The ditch will soon be the footing for a wall, and the wall will make my half-carport/half-garage into an enclosed two-car garage (or one car and a bunch of tools).

I have 50A 220V service to the shop. I haven't decided on how to heat yet (I'm in Oregon, so mostly it's a semi-luxury, but I think I'll be a lot happier/more productive with at least a chill-knocker-offer). Plumbing didn't seem worthwhile; it's not a big enough shop that I wanted to trade out the space for the ability to wash my hands without going into the house.

Without adding more preconceptions, what things would you all be thinking about as you were pulling together not a dream shop, but a good, solid garage?

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
5/17/11 4:30 p.m.

Lots of light, then add a couple more light fixtures because you'll need them.

Woody
Woody SuperDork
5/17/11 4:37 p.m.

Use engineered beams for the roof so you can avoid columns. Then you can get three cars into your two car garage if needed. Columns also seem to attract piles of stuff around their perimeter.

Sheetrock the walls and paint them white.

+1 on lots of lights.

ransom
ransom Reader
5/17/11 4:44 p.m.

Thanks, guys! Keep 'em coming!

Sheetrock's definitely on the to-do list, both for the reflected light, and so I can weld without wondering whether bouncing sparks have found a flammable crevice...

And light's definitely high-priority as well. I'm so excited about working on my car after 4 p.m. in January without a flashlight in my teeth...

Unfortunately, I am going to be stuck with a pillar at each end of the shop, as there's really no way to use the existing structure to support the beam, but we are using a laminated beam to replace the wall which used to divide the carport and garage halves, so we don't have any pillars in the middle.

grafmiata
grafmiata Dork
5/17/11 4:48 p.m.

As mentioned, lots of light. Working on cars in poor lighting becomes really unenjoyable quickly.

Another overlooked thing is lots of electrical outlets. A buddy of mine built his new shop a couple years ago, and besides the numerous outlets evenly spaced along the walls, he had 10 double outlets with removable covers installed in the floor. Makes it really nice not having extension cords tangled up all over the space you're working in.

Beyond that, just some nice srorage/organizational stuff so you can maintain "work" space.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
5/17/11 4:51 p.m.

If you've got a compressor I'd probably run a couple of air lines along the wall, too.

HoustonNW
HoustonNW None
5/17/11 5:04 p.m.

Is it too late to reconsider the sink? I regret not putting a sink in our garage almost every time I work on the car. Do you have a mud room? I hate walking into our kitchen with greasy hands.

Will the slab support a lift? I really like my Bendpak MD-6XP Mid-rise scissor lift. The concrete requirements are 3.5” Min. Thickness / 2,500 PSI. The Two Post and Four Post lift requirements are the same. It might be nice to have the option in the future. Edit to add: I just noticed that you have an existing slab, nevermind.

  • Wayne
dollraves
dollraves Reader
5/17/11 5:22 p.m.

+1 on the sink. I just moved into a great space with a 4 car garage six weeks ago, and my one big complaint already is that there is no sink in the garage. :(

triumph5
triumph5 Dork
5/17/11 5:26 p.m.

Make sure the compressor can run if the shop is cold--some do NOT want to be operated, or can't be if it's cold.

Two, overhead beam capable of supporting rolling device to which you will attach an electric hoist. Make moving those heavy parts and pieces so much easier. HF, amongst others, has the parts.

Three, drive way that slopes AWAY from the garage. I mean, right away from the garage door. Cleaned out an intake manifold last night, with it on the ground, blasting water 3 ft away from the door. None ran in. Nice easy slope.

More outlets than you think you'll need. ++BIG for heavy duty overhead stoarage; walls strong enough for heavy-duty shelves.

ransom
ransom Reader
5/17/11 5:31 p.m.

Yeah, it's a toughie, but unfortunately being limited by the size of the existing structure, the room just isn't there for a sink. Or rather, I'm afraid it'd try to displace the air compressor, solvent tank, band saw, drill press, the welding table I need to build, the blast cabinet and lathe I don't have yet...

I hemmed and hawed and admittedly just sort of finished up and filled in the 4' deep trench for my new wiring without opening that can of worms.

I have no doubt that there will be times I'll wish there was a sink, but I'm already trying to cram a lot into a small space.

Maybe when we build the potting shed we can run water out there, so at least I can just move to another dirty building for hand-washing

TRoglodyte
TRoglodyte Reader
5/17/11 7:06 p.m.

Windows in the wall will add natural cheap light. Skylights? If you are digging anyways go ahead and throw a piece of pipe in the footing and stub it off inside and outside for a "mechanical drop" , this will leave options open for later. Congrats on the new mancave.

JoeyM
JoeyM SuperDork
5/17/11 7:30 p.m.

Lots of lights, lots of outlets (many 110 and at least one 220 for a decent size welder), lots of ventilation.

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
5/17/11 7:32 p.m.

Add at least 2 outlets in the ceiling with pull down cord reels hanging from the ceiling. You'll use them for everything.

I have 3 electric cord reels and 3 air hose reels hanging from the ceiling. Awesome.

Don't know if your design or budget can handle it, but the best thing I did was install 2 roll up doors on opposite walls. One is the entrance, the other let's me push stuff easily out the back of the garage to hide by the fence at the property line. but they are also fabulous for ventilation and natural light.

Sink doesn't need to eat up any floor space. A spigot 3' off the floor with a bucket under it will suffice.

Put everything on wheels- workbench, shelves, large tools, everything.

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
5/17/11 7:34 p.m.

Install 220V convenience outlets around the shop. I have 6 so large tools can be plugged in in multiple locations.

Kramer
Kramer HalfDork
5/17/11 7:43 p.m.

Water is nice. Install a french drain, and hide the supply/drain under a thin layer of concrete until after inspection. Then break out the concrete and install a frost-proof hydrant.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk HalfDork
5/17/11 7:56 p.m.

www.garagejournal.com

Spend some time looking around this site.

ddavidv
ddavidv SuperDork
5/17/11 8:06 p.m.

More lights. Yeah, I know the other guys mentioned it, but you need even more than that.

I have a half bath right inside the entry door to the house, so don't care about a sink. Ditto the beverage supply, but you may want a small fridge for garage drinks.

A stool to sit on, and a heavy duty workbench you can put stuff in a vise and pound the living crap out of.

Cords and hoses from the ceiling, YES.

See if you can find a big pedestal mounted (or wall mounted) industrial fan. I have on with wheels and use it all summer. It moves so much air I generally don't feel the need for a/c. Lots of shelving, or better yet upper kitchen cabinets. There's a lot of wasted space up high on the walls; may as well use it. The more crap you can get off the floor the better.

alfadriver
alfadriver SuperDork
5/17/11 8:13 p.m.
triumph5 wrote: Three, drive way that slopes AWAY from the garage. I mean, right away from the garage door. Cleaned out an intake manifold last night, with it on the ground, blasting water 3 ft away from the door. None ran in. Nice easy slope.

While you are at it, please do your self a favor and make sure the floor will drain properly, too. I get puddles, and salt/dirt likes to stay in the puddles. Hate it. I don't think it takes much for a slow drain kind of slope. It's important.

Start organized. I didn't, and am still paying for it. Kind of a mess.

Oh, and a 4 post lift will stand on most slabs. Not the same requirements as the 2 posters.

I like all the rest of the suggestions- light, high celings, fans, white walls, power, air distribution, central high amp (120 or 220 V) for a welder. Good stuff.

M2Pilot
M2Pilot Reader
5/17/11 8:20 p.m.

For heating/cooling, I've been pleased with a motel type combination unit mounted thru the wall. Didn't cost a whole lot & will take off the chill nicely on 20-30 degree days & cool things enuff on 95 degree days. I'd also suggest insulated doors,walls & attic. Something I'd have liked to do but couldn't afford was sheetrock walls with stainless sheeting over the lower 4 feet or so. The garages at VIR are like that. If you think you might install a lift later, have the concrete poured thicker with rebar in a 4x4 area where you expect to place the posts.

JoeyM
JoeyM SuperDork
5/17/11 8:26 p.m.

A cheap radio, DVD and TV from goodwill make a shop a better place to work. (see my earlier comment about lots of outlets.) The same is true of garage art....you'll be spending a lot of time there, so make it an enjoyable place, somewhere that reflects your interests. (I have lots of rockabilly pin-ups on the wall and a bokken hanging from the ceiling.)

Hocrest
Hocrest Reader
5/17/11 8:38 p.m.

Is there room for this? Outside?

http://www.amazon.com/Ames-True-Temper-2391900-Outdoor/dp/B000WU5Q5M

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon SuperDork
5/17/11 8:40 p.m.

Put in electrical outlets so close together you can touch them with your arms spread. You CANNOT have too many outlets. it's just not possible. Put them ~40" off the floor so stuff against the wall won't block them. Use 12/2 wire and 20 amp breakers/outlets for all the 110V stuff, that way you don't have to worry about a high draw tool overheating the outlet. Run coax cable and phone wiring while you are at it, when you move in it's nice to have that already done. Plan ahead; where will the refrigerator/TV/stereo/phone be? Put all those in the same spot, the best is a back corner; it takes up less wall space that way.

Put in an overhead hose reel, they can be had reasonable from HF. I have two, one near the front and one at the door. While you are at it, a recessed box in the ceiling with a 110V outlet will give plenty of room to hang a couple of cord reels, including a light.

Plumb permanent air lines with threaded galvanized pipe. It's cheap and damn near indestructible. PVC has been used, but chemical reactions from strong solvents or even long exposure to sunlight will make it brittle enough to pop under the right (wrong) conditions. I wouldn't trust my life to it! On air, my compressor is outside in an 'outhouse', a bud has one (same model etc) inside. Maybe it's because his is the newer version but it's quieter, not offensive at all. For the best of all worlds, put it in the overhead. Be sure to run a tank drain to the outside!

Decide ahead of time where you want a lift even if you can't afford one now, then make sure that area of the slab is at least 4" thick. In fact, ideally the whole slab sould be at least 4" thick. 4 posters are fine, but sometimes an asymmetric is the only way to fly. I'd personally go with the asymmetric.

At the front of the slab where the roll up door(s) go, have a recess in the slab 'dropped' about 3/4-1". That way blowing rain etc can't get into the shop. Both my house and my shop are done that way, it's great! The slab should tilt toward the door opening(s) about a degree or two so water will run outside. Be sure to use treated lumber on the sill plate so termites won't start munching right away.

When you pour the driveway, make sure there is a 4-6" diameter PVC pipe running under it from side to side, just cap it off for now. Now when you want to run electric/water/etc under the driveway slab in 5 years, you are set. I wish to hell I'd remembered to do that with mine. That works great with house driveway and sidewalk slabs, too.

TR8owner
TR8owner Reader
5/17/11 8:42 p.m.

Its all been said, but ditto on the lighting and electrical outlets. The only other thing is that no garage is ever quite big enough. I built a garage a few years back and know this from experience.

banzaitoyota
banzaitoyota New Reader
5/17/11 9:00 p.m.

come visit www.garagejournal.com

joey48442
joey48442 SuperDork
5/17/11 9:06 p.m.
SVreX wrote: Add at least 2 outlets in the ceiling with pull down cord reels hanging from the ceiling. You'll use them for everything. I have 3 electric cord reels and 3 air hose reels hanging from the ceiling. Awesome. Don't know if your design or budget can handle it, but the best thing I did was install 2 roll up doors on opposite walls. One is the entrance, the other let's me push stuff easily out the back of the garage to hide by the fence at the property line. but they are also fabulous for ventilation and natural light. Sink doesn't need to eat up any floor space. A spigot 3' off the floor with a bucket under it will suffice. Put everything on wheels- workbench, shelves, large tools, everything.

I love the two door thing as well. The only drawback is that I would love a row of shelves across the back, but can't because if the door.

Also, my dad who is quite the welder said it's tough to weld in a place with white walls as you get alot of reflected light behind your shield.

Joey

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