Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Digital Experience Director
8/16/18 2:53 p.m.


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Story and Photos by Tom Suddard

We wanted a haven for building cool cars, and we were willing to work for it. After planning, paying for and assembling a 24×30-foot garage in our backyard, our freshly painted new building was still far from a functional shop. It needed electricity, insulation, drywall and air conditioning. (Hey, it’s Florida, and we don’t like dripping sweat on our paint.) We grabbed our safety glasses and headed to the backyard to finish the job.

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Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
8/16/18 5:50 p.m.

A ceiling fan might help that AC.  I have garage envy.

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress New Reader
8/16/18 8:23 p.m.

In reply to Jerry From LA :

Depends on ceiling height-I removed mine because it got in the way of raised hoods or cars on lifts. It wouldn't surprise me if they decided to insulate the ceiling with blow-in after a few years. 

Easy to nitpick-I'm really just as jealous as you!

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Digital Experience Director
8/16/18 8:34 p.m.

I actually insulated the ceiling right after finishing the garage. Now, even on a 90-degrees day, it’s cool and comfortable inside. 

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
8/17/18 8:32 a.m.

My garage is fully insulated too - 2x6 walls and 2x6 ceiling (the ceiling is pitched so there is no real attic).

I've only had it less than a year, but so far without any HVAC its been mostly comfortable inside. I have a really high ceiling, so maybe after I get my lift done a big ceiling fan would be a good idea!

maschinenbau
maschinenbau Dork
8/17/18 8:48 a.m.

For only 100 amp from main house panel to the sub panel, you can direct-bury some mobile home feeder cable. It comes with 3x 2ga (2 hot 1 neutral) and a 4ga ground, is cheap, and available at most big-box stores. You have to dig 2 feet down, but don't have to worry about conduit which is nice for very long runs. I also put some direct-bury ethernet cable in the same trench, but you need separate transitions for service and ethernet into the wall. And it was totally to code, at least where I live. The caution tape is definitely a must-have. 

singleslammer
singleslammer PowerDork
8/17/18 9:00 a.m.

In reply to Robbie :

You also don't live in Florida.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Digital Experience Director
8/17/18 9:01 a.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

I looked into it, but it didn’t meet code where I live, and was only rated for 85 amps due to the length of my run. 

singleslammer
singleslammer PowerDork
8/17/18 9:01 a.m.

Tom, do you have a expenses list somewhere? I am potentially in the market for a shop in the next few years and have been trying to get a handle on what I should expect to pay. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Digital Experience Director
8/17/18 9:04 a.m.
singleslammer said:

Tom, do you have a expenses list somewhere? I am potentially in the market for a shop in the next few years and have been trying to get a handle on what I should expect to pay. 

I don’t have a full list, but do know that the entire project cost me about $35k start to finish, which includes everything from site work to some of the bigger-ticket tools, A/C, etc. 

Where I live, that’s a bargain: I was getting quotes of $50k before any insulation, finishing, etc. 

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
8/17/18 9:46 a.m.
Tom Suddard said:
singleslammer said:

Tom, do you have a expenses list somewhere? I am potentially in the market for a shop in the next few years and have been trying to get a handle on what I should expect to pay. 

I don’t have a full list, but do know that the entire project cost me about $35k start to finish, which includes everything from site work to some of the bigger-ticket tools, A/C, etc. 

Where I live, that’s a bargain: I was getting quotes of $50k before any insulation, finishing, etc. 

I think that's a bargain regardless. Mine is 840 sqft and 9-13 ft ceilings. Concrete (including the local village required 42 inch deep fully formed concrete footings under the 36 inch foundation walls), 2x6 construction, 100 amp service with 3 220 circuits including a 50 amp one, fully finished with drywall, insulation, paint, vinyl siding, asphalt shingles, etc. All I did was sign checks, but it was more like 50k.

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
8/17/18 9:46 a.m.
singleslammer said:

In reply to Robbie :

You also don't live in Florida.

True, but I haven't been too cold yet either.

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
8/17/18 9:50 a.m.
singleslammer said:

Tom, do you have a expenses list somewhere? I am potentially in the market for a shop in the next few years and have been trying to get a handle on what I should expect to pay. 

I'd be happy to go through my experience with you. I think you could do WAY better than me both on building materials and on the type of structure. If you don't have the ridiculous concrete foundation requirements and if you can consider a metal building you could do really well.

At least that is what my rural Illinois friends tell me.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau Dork
8/17/18 10:26 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Due to my run, I breakered at 90 amps in the house and it's been more than enough. Including 2 pottery kilns and an air conditioner. 

Randy_Forbes
Randy_Forbes New Reader
8/23/18 9:46 a.m.

Good job Tom!  I know you're already enjoying the fruits of your labor.  Lets get some more of those how to articles out there, we're hungry for your projects!

I like doing things myself as much as the next guy, but other factors can influence your decision (like time, distance, AGE__I'm probably 3X your age, lol).  So for my latest garage, built separately, but in conjunction with building a house nearer the west coast of Florida, I used the same builder.

The detached garage is built of the same materials (typical of Florida, block walls and trusses) and the finished appearance same as the house.  Talk with a builder, but when mine offered to do the entire shell, with finished/painted interior ceiling and walls, with minimal lighting package at "cost plus ten percent (+10%) I was all in!  For a 30 x 35 x 12.5 shop, they only charged me $42k.  Granted, I still had to add a/c__Florida, YOU know__plus circuits for welders, compressor and service outlets, so my total cost goes a bit higher than yours.  Point is, I don't think it was any less cost effective, as it allowed me to "hit the ground running" as soon as we arrived (from Ohio, >1100 miles away).  I also wanted to get all "my stuff" out of the three (3) pod-like 8x8x16 containers** as soon as possible, saving some rent money there.  Besides, I don't have near the number of friends willing to help as you did!

An "apartment unit" HVAC

Your Bud' in the act of reloading the red car (conveniently blocking the fact that there's no rear wheels...)!

 

** Getting back to those "pod-like" containers: I shopped around, like all good car enthusiasts do (why waste good money when it could be put to better use buying car parts or tools?) and found that the moving company Mayflower has a subsidiary pod business.  Not only were the Mayflower containers considerably less money to rent, ship and store, than the Name-Brand "Pods", there was No Weight Limit!  That latter feature is a Big Deal when most of your stuff is made of steel (and have lathes, mills, welders, hydraulic stuff, etc., etc.) and also a Full Library of hardbound books and magazines__including some going back as far as a little known publication out of Florida called Auto-X.  Just passing along the pod-savings as a PSA; car guys helping car guys.
 

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
8/24/18 4:30 p.m.

Hey Tom,

it looks to me like you went for individual GFIs on outlets.  Why did you decide on individual GFIs instead of one or two big GFIs in the breaker box?

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